Athlete Superstitions

From wearing a lucky clothing item to doing the same pregame routine from the last time you won, there are many different athlete superstitions. Although there is no scientific evidence that these superstitions affect the outcome of a sports game, many people still believe in them. Why is this? 

According to Old Dominion University, the reason for superstitions is adventitious reinforcement. Adventitious reinforcement is when someone worries something bad will happen because of an action they did. This is the case for many athletes.

Lily Greenfield is a Lakes Sophomore who does horseback riding. For every competition, she has two lucky pairs of socks that she rotates wearing. She explained that she “wears one Spongebob sock and one Patrick sock or Scooby Doo socks.” Greenfield says that she wears these socks because it makes her feel lucky and ride better. 

I used to not believe in superstitions until a few months ago. I play volleyball, and in one game I was wearing my hair in a braid which I only do once in a while. I played my worst volleyball game ever. I didn’t think much of it until I wore a braid again for a volleyball game and continued to play badly. I stopped wearing a braid while playing and have played well since. It may seem strange that I blamed a hairstyle for how I play, but somehow it worked.

Although different factors go into how you perform in a game, it’s much easier to blame superstition for doing badly than yourself. Whether it be professional or Lakes athletes, superstitions can affect the minds of many.