You might imagine that after all the years of training, working with sports psychologists, and the positive visualization sessions, sports megastars might be able to rely on faith in their own ability.
Surprisingly, however, a huge number, across a wide range of sports, have rituals that they have to follow before or during every game. You can read about the psychology behind these quirks in a number of places. But it’s not quite as interesting as discovering just what those superstitions are.
One of the most complex sets of rituals that have to be followed come from the multiple-Ballon D’Or-winning footballer from Portugal. When traveling to away matches by bus he insists on sitting alone at the back and being the last to disembark.
Then, at the start of the match, he has to both wear a long-sleeved shirt and walk on to the pitch right foot first. Plus, oddest of all, it’s vital for him to change his hairstyle in some way at half time. Only when all these are achieved, he believes he can perform to his full potential.
2) Rafa Nadal:
The world of tennis is famous for being packed with superstition – for example, Bjorn Borg would never shave during the Wimbledon fortnight. Today’s prime example is Rafa Nadal who has a range of pre-match rituals including taking a cold shower and jumping up and down at the net at the coin toss.
He’s also well-known as a keen poker player and no doubt has his own rituals and superstitions he runs through before playing the three-card variety of the game that you can experience for yourself by clicking here. Naturally, these rituals are less relevant for playing games based more on luck like slots and roulette but poker, which needs a level of intuition and judgment, would certainly benefit from a little mental preparation.
3) Laura Trott:
Socks feature in the pre-race preparations of Olympic cyclist Laura Trott and it’s enlightening to see the results. Because she cycled her way to victory in the Junior World Championships wearing a sock that she had accidentally got wet before the race, now she also has to compete in the same way.
Maybe this isn’t so unusual as many people have so-called lucky items of clothing which they think will bring them good fortune in a range of situations.
4) Wade Boggs:
It’s not just what you wear, it can also be what you eat too. The baseball player Wade Boggs always insisted on enjoying a hearty meal of chicken before each game. In fact, he became so well known for it that one publicity-seeking food company once sent him a six-month supply completely free of charge.
5) Tiger Woods:
Finally, arguably the greatest ever golfer will only ever wear a red shirt when he plays on a Sunday. Any other color goes on the rest of the week, but he’s convinced that he’ll only ever win a tournament if he follows this instinct.
So there they are. Weird, wacky, and without logic. But, say what you like – they’re all habits that seem to have led to success for these five.
Let us know in the comment section if we miss someone in the top 5 List.