Sporting superstitions - Deepstash

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The science of superstition – and why people believe in the unbelievable

Sporting superstitions

Superstition is also prevalent within sport. It has been shown to reduce tension and provide a sense of control over unpredictable factors.

Personalized actions and behaviors include wearing lucky clothes, kit, and charms.

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A belief in supernatural forces
A belief in supernatural forces

Superstitious individuals believe in fate as a way to resolve uncertainty and gain some sense of control. They look for a connection between co-occurring, non-related events, such ...

Superstitions can promote both positive and negative attitudes
  • Superstitious beliefs promote a positive mental attitude, but it can lead to irrational decisions, such as trusting in good luck rather than sound decision making. For example, carrying charms or wearing certain clothes.
  • Superstitions can also give rise to the idea that objects and places are cursed, such as the Annabelle Doll who is said to be inhabited by the spirit of a dead girl, or the number 666 that is associated with evil things.
Sporting superstitions

80% of professional athletes admit to engaging with at least one superstitious behaviour before a performance. Superstitions are known to reduce tension and give a sense of control over chance factors.

Within football, gymnastics, and athletics, competitors are found to pray for success, checking their appearance and dressing well to feel in control. They also wear lucky charms.

Believing in luck
Believing in luck

Luck is a hard thing to prove. There is no real thing we can call luck, but we can create a real object and transfer luck to it, such as a lucky penny or a lucky charm.

Studies on lucky charms
  • Studies reveal that people perform better on tasks when they have a lucky charm with them. During a series of memory tasks, students who were allowed to keep their lucky charms performed better than students who had their charms taken away.
  • Attitude plays a big role in luck. Someone who believes they are lucky will try harder at a challenging task. That persistence can have a self-reinforcing effect. The harder the task they take on, the more chance of success, increasing the belief that they are lucky.
A positive attitude and luck

A positive attitude towards life makes it seem like more happy events happen for a person.

While it is not rational to believe in luck, understanding the psychology behind it can explain why some people seem to be successful while others can never get to the top.

Luck And Chance
Luck And Chance

Like the flip of a coin coming up with heads or tails, chance is what happens out there, and is an aspect of the physical universe. Luck, on the other hand, is a perceived value of...

Getting Luckier

People try to change the chance outcomes, and thereby their luck by using blind superstition or old ritual to affect the outcome, but there is no evidence of them working.

Luck can be increased with hard work, though what can happen out there is still anybody’s guess. The prepared mind that is able to act with speed and direction has more favourable chances than the one who is not paying attention.

Luck and Our Perception On Life

Being lucky or unlucky often is our own perception and outlook towards life.

If we survive a car accident, we consider ourselves lucky to be alive or to be unlucky to be involved in the accident in the first place, ruining our vehicle.