Superstition and Sport: Strange Bed Fellows
Venus Williams apparently maintains exactly the same routines to ensure her ‘luck’. In the Wimbledon final for the seventh time, and winner I think for the fifth she said in a BBC interview that she will do exactly the same as she has done on all the last winning occasions (same dressing room/ shower/ hanger/ locker…). Now designer of her own clothing range, she also made some comment along the lines of even wearing similar clothing.
Golfers are worse. In fact, looking at an article I pulled up from Google from News24.com they’re all as mad as a box of frogs….
But I began to wonder why this was. These people are amongst the most dedicated, driven, focused individuals on the planet. Fair enough that Jim and Jeff from work who play squash think they play a better game on court no. 4 at the local leisure centre. But Wimbledon winners. National team captains. Michael Jordan?
Then I began to think about NLP and the use of modelling. I thought through how some of the world’s leading stars will use famous coaches such as Anthony Robbins (Agassi, Greg Norman). Paul McKenna has done a CD called The Ultimate Athlete (Paul McKenna’s Sports Hypnosis).
Yet these people aren’t particularly good at the sport, so how can they coach?
By modelling successful behaviours and modes of operating; by capturing the processes and states via which these sports stars achieve their view of their optimum performance, the coach is able to identify the patterns and enable the sports person to access these at will.
So in effect, sports peoples’ superstitions are their (random) tools to access a previously successful state? They bluntly enable themselves to achieve a mental position which should then enable their physical training and coaching to kick in and do its work?
I put the question marks because I don’t know. It’s an informed guess. But actually, what does it matter? If it works, it works. And for me it kind of makes these incredibly committed and crazily physical people a little less scary…….
Shay in Juice and Pickles covers some great stuff on the number thirteen after the Friday 13th last month. Makes you realise the breadth of global superstition.
The African Kid takes superstition to a different place in this post
And this is as random as superstition itself