Put a sock in it: Superstitions do not exist

Joey Eovaldi, Sports Columnist

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Superstitions don’t exist in sports, and no, I didn’t just jinx you by saying that.

Many athletes believe their performances depend on superstitions they have created, but in actuality, an athlete’s performance relies on their confidence levels, their skill, how much they have worked, and whether they are ready to compete or not.

Athletes create superstitions in their own heads, thinking it will help them perform better. Once an athlete wears a certain pair of socks and performs well, they continue to wear those socks, not wash them, etc., for each competition.

Athletes use these rituals to tell themselves they will perform while superstitions have the ability to raise an athlete’s level of confidence, they also have the ability to completely shatter it. When an athlete first creates a superstition, such as wearing their lucky socks, mentally, they give themselves a reason to perform well. And this most likely will raise an athlete’s confidence when they put on their lucky socks, and assist in getting them ready to compete. But, when an athlete creates this notion in their head that they are performing well just because they are wearing their lucky socks, this is bound to hurt them. As I mentioned, an athlete does not perform well just because they are wearing their lucky socks.

But by thinking that they do perform better with their superstition, this really hurts them. When ‘lucky socks’ go missing, are accidentally washed, etc., one day, their confidence is lost. A little doubt starts to creep into the athlete’s mind because their constant, their superstition, was based around a false belief. But when you look at elite athletes, you are able to see that they make their constant their sport. Because they know that the weather, the competition, or your own mood are going to change each time they compete. But they also know that their sport will remain the same each time they compete.

So, while superstitions may be fun, they really are excuses.. Because when that superstition goes wrong, athletes tend to lose their confidence. Many athletes have their own pre-competition rituals, and they feel that if they change these rituals they won’t perform as well. But in reality, their pre-competition rituals are completely mental.

I’m not saying that an athlete should completely drop their rituals. I’m just pointing out that these rituals could be performed mentally rather than physically or by wearing the same pair of socks frequently, for example. While I have used the example of wearing lucky socks repeatedly, I am not saying that any athelete who wears the same pair of socks when they compete is superstitious.

As long as they have the mindset knowing that they control their performance, or even, the mindset of sticking with what works. But when an athlete gives the credit of their performance’s to their superstition, they are not being honest with themselves, while also hurting themselves.

While superstitions are fun, athletes who drop their superstition and trust themselves, will actually perform better, as their confidence levels go up.