Smile, you may pitch better

Topic(s): selection

Topic: Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (2003)
Article: The relationship between emotional intelligence and performance among college
baseball players
Authors: S. Zizzi, H. Deaner, & D. Hirschhorn
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin, M.A.

Emotional intelligence refers to the capacity to recognize and use emotions. If I smile, do you recognize this as happiness? Or do you believe that me laughing means that I am sad? If you knew that a smile typically indicates a state of happiness, give yourself a gold star. Now that you are the Albert Einstein of recognizing emotions, can you use them?

For instance, if you want to non-verbally convey how you are feeling, can you alter your body language so as to communicate your mood? If so, two gold stars for you. Since recognizing and using emotions seems important to the performance of everyday activities and communications, does recognizing and using emotions affect performance in other domains such as collegiate sports?

In investigating the relationship between emotional intelligence and athletic performance,
Zizzi, Deaner, and Hirschhorn examined the emotional intelligence and performance of 61
NCAA Division I collegiate baseball players. The players were divided into pitchers, 21,
and hitters, 40. The Emotional Intelligence Scale – a 33-item measure that is comprised of
the domains of appraisal and expression of emotion, regulation of emotion, and utilization of emotion – assessed emotional intelligence. The performance indicators of the pitchers were the number of earned runs, walks, hits, strikeouts, and wild pitches; and the performance indicators of the hitters were the number of hits, doubles, walks, and strikeouts. Results indicated that emotional intelligence was positively correlated with the total number of strikeouts by pitchers, but it was not related to any of the other indicators of pitching performance or any of the indicators of hitting performance.

Hmm, the results are less than clear. Emotional intelligence appears to predict
performance, but it only does so with one out of the nine performance indicators; it appears that the jury is still out. If I were a gambling man, I would bet that emotional intelligence not only predicts the performance of collegiate athletes, but also individuals in other settings such as the boardroom. Since emotional intelligence appears vital to effective communication, and communication is an important aspect of most tasks that involve more than one person, it should follow that the more emotionally intelligence someone is, the better they will be able to communicate, and the more effective and efficient they will perform. At least that’s what I think.

Zizzi, S., Deaner, H., & Hirschhorn, D. (2003). The relationship between emotional
intelligence and performance among college baseball players. Journal of Applied Sport
Psychology, 15:3, 262-269.

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management




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