KU sports psychology expert sees lessons in Kansas City Royals team chemistry

Watching the Kansas City Royals come back from several deficits and win a wild card game and advance in the Major League Baseball playoffs, Mary Fry saw a team that gets it.

Fry, director of Kansas University’s Sports and Exercise Psychology Lab, said the Royals are an example of a team that has embraced a positive and caring atmosphere, which in turn promotes excellence.

“The players had each other’s backs and they seemed to be focused on each pitch and be in the moment and that sets the stage for people to perform under pressure,” Fry said.

She said the Royals’ team chemistry could be a lesson for all coaches and athletes.

Fry, who also is an associate editor for the Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, said the body language of the players showed they were supportive of one another even when it appeared they were on the verge of losing.

She said when management, coaches and players value everyone giving their best effort and trying to improve, then “winning falls into place.”

The Royals eventually defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-8 on Tuesday with an incredible comeback in the 12th inning and advanced to play the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Division Series.