Ahead of Wigan Warriors’ crunch tie against Warrington Wolves this Friday, the club’s official energy partner npower has enlisted the expertise of Professor Greg Whyte OBE - the country’s leading authority on sport and exercise science - to share tips on how Wigan fans can help power their team to victory.
- Fitbits were used to monitor the heart-rates of 50 Wigan fans, as well as measuring noise-levels within the DW Stadium
- ‘Super Powers’ experiment conducted by Wigan Warriors and npower, exploring the link between fan ‘energy’ and player performance
Former Olympian, Professor Whyte, is well-versed in teaching athletes and celebrities how to channel their energy, having helped stars such as Davina McCall, David Walliams and Zoe Ball conquer significant challenges for Sport Relief.
He has been analysing data compiled during a three-match ‘Super Powers’ experiment conducted by Wigan Warriors and npower, exploring the link between fan ‘energy’ and player performance.
Fitbits were used to monitor the heart-rates of 50 Wigan fans, as well as measuring noise-levels within the DW Stadium.
From resting heart-rates in the 60s and low 70s, individual heart-rates occasionally peaked beyond 150 beats-per-minute at exciting points of a match. The collective average heart-rate spiked at 98 beats-per-minute, which is the equivalent of going for a jog despite sitting in the stands.
Noise levels at the DW Stadium also soared to 120.9 dBA (decibels suited to the human ear) which is similar to being in the front row at a rock concert.
In each game, the ‘npower high-energy point of the match’ was determined to reflect the moment at which fan energy and player energy combined to create the most powerful force for the club.
“Whether it’s driven by anxiety or by excitement, npower’s ‘Super Powers’ experiment has demonstrated ‘fan power’ has a significant influence on player performance,” said Professor Whyte.
“If we can monitor when fans have the greatest impact on performance, we can inform and educate them to intervene with this “high energy point” at the stage in the game when a team needs it most.”
Analysing data recorded at Wigan’s home games against Huddersfield, Hull KR and Castleford, Whyte was able to identify trends and moments in matches where fans created a surge of energy from the stands.
“In the game between Wigan and Huddersfield, it was clear when the fan energy was at its greatest. The ‘npower high-energy point’ was when Tom Davies opened the scoring with that very early try. We saw a crescendo in energy with the fan’s collective heart rate in the mid 90’s.
“Add in the noise levels at 118 decibels and that’s an enormous amount of energy being created, which undoubtedly affected the outcome of the game where Wigan went on to win.
“Wigan versus Castleford provided an interesting energy twist. While the overall ‘high-energy point’ was the combined force around George Williams’ second-half try, there was also a significant peak in the collective heartbeat in the opening minutes of the game when Castleford were awarded a penalty.
“The Wigan crowd really weren’t pleased about the referee’s decision. That’s interesting as it’s anxiety and particularly anger driving that ‘high-energy point,’ which can create as much of a positive effect as scoring tries as fans are still showing how they’re supporting their team.
“As we saw last Thursday against Leeds Rhinos, fans and players worked together uniting as one, with supporters really getting behind the squad and the team feeding of their energy as well as their own desire to put in a quality performance.
“As we reach the climax to the season, my advice to Wigan Warriors fans is be as pro-active as possible, rather than purely reacting to things happening on the pitch. Create as much energy as you can and sustain that energy throughout the game for the team to thrive off. In doing that you can affect play on the pitch and help influence the outcome of the game. It’s a great example of players and fans driving each other on to perform at the optimum level.”
The Super Powers Experiment Results are provided courtesy of Wigan Warriors Energy, powered by npower - a great value energy deal for Wigan Warriors fans who also receive an exclusive replica shirt with a personalised message from their chosen player when they activate the new tariff at www.wiganwarriorsenergy.co.uk