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The five factors of home advantage

So it’s a fact that there’s a home advantage, but what’s causing it? A lot of research has been done on this subject, both by statisticians and psychologists. In 2013, three Spaniards wrote an overview in which they identify five causes: Supporters, familiarity with the field/circumstances, travel time, the referee and territoriality.

This article is written by Quality Squash Stores, an online squash store.


When we think of home advantage, we often think of the support of supporters as equal. There are almost always more supporters of the home team present. But even without supporters, there appears to be a home advantage. Niels van de Ven of Tilburg University investigated this by analysing football matches with and without supporters, and matches between teams that have the same stadium as their home base. In fact, supporters can even have a negative effect on performance, for example when a player has to take a penalty. This is a well-known phenomenon in social psychology. For easy tasks it increases performance when people are watching (social facilitation), for difficult tasks it decreases performance (social inhibition).

Familiarity with the field:

Every field or job can play differently, and you are used to your own field the most. That can be an advantage. For example, one squash court plays much faster than another, and the lights in badminton hang differently everywhere, so that you look at the light in a different way. One study shows that the effect is limited, another shows that the home advantage decreased by 24% when a club was given a new pitch. In fact, scientific research always focuses on top athletes. But this factor could be more important for amateurs. A professional squasher or badminton player plays and trains in many different places. But the average club player usually plays and trains at his own club, and is less used to different circumstances. This may be the reason why we don’t see the advantage at home in the Premier League, but in the lower classes of badminton and squash.

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Travel time:

When you play an away game, you usually have to travel further. You may arrive more tired, or you just don’t feel like playing. This appears to have only a limited effect.

The referee:

Several studies have shown that referees whistle or judge slightly in favour of the home team. The home advantage over the Olympic Games is also greater in subjective jury sports such as gymnastics than in objective jury sports such as weight lifting and athletics.



Territoriality: Territoriality? Yes, territoriality: “a defensive reaction to an invasion of what you see as your own territory”. The home advantage in the Balkan football league is greater than in Norway, for example, as the figure below shows. This is attributed to the (historical) conflicts between population groups in that region.


Home advantage in football competition, figure from Legaz-Arrese publication.


Home advantage has been demonstrated in many sports, and is attributed to the effect of supporters, field awareness, travel time, the referee and “territoriality”. Also in the Dutch (amateur) squash and badminton competition there is a clear advantage at home. Especially for amateurs, the effect of playing on a well-known pitch could be more important than for professionals.
March 24 was the day that a sports icon left us. Johan Cruyff who didn’t know him. His name regularly fell in the old Frans Otten Stadium for the following reason; Around 1990 I worked as a trainer of the ASRC and it sounded regularly that Roel Tolner was the Johan Cruyff of squash.

Actually it’s not up to me to explain that assessment but a few points do. No papers, but a vision that was conveyed and the way in which. Also the language of the simpler explanation did their job.

During the reunion of the 40th anniversary of the ASRC I was positively confronted with many who trained with me. And my explanation is partly based on their comments. That day that Cruyff died I was like so many people shocked. He meant a lot to many, partly because of his ideas, his foundations etc. Nowadays young people study through him and they can work on their future.

He was also from 1947 just like me and has reached the age of 68 and unfortunately had to say goodbye. At the beginning of September I turned 69 and I am lucky that I made it. I still have the feeling that I haven’t finished my life as a squash trainer. Until I can’t go any further, of course. But for the time being the feeling prevails that my work is not over yet. As long as so many people seem to feel that I can and may do something for them, that makes me a privileged person.

Thank you for that!

SBN issues!?

It seems to me that it is in the umbrella organisation