Rituals and superstitions are a big part of the sports world. I have seen and heard of athletes performing ritual movements before competition. For example, when I use to play soccer, I remember one of my friends who would always bring a particular necklace to the games. She would just put it in her pocket. I never saw her bring it to school or when we are playing outside. At that time, I just thought that it might be something like a toy that she really loves and always likes to keep it with her. But as I grew up and learned about rituals and superstitions in sports, I realized that she used to keep the necklace in her pocket for good luck. That was just something she did because of her superstitious belief although she was not old enough to realize that at the moment. She probably thought that the necklace made her hit more goals and win.
I think that the value of rituals and superstitions is basically the boost of confidence and the sense of control that they provide an athlete. If an athlete believes that doing a specific action or behavior will make them perform better, then they probably will perform better. For instance, if a hockey player thinks that playing with his favorite stick will make the team win, then he is more likely to perform better. This is not because he has the stick but because he mentally thinks that and therefore he will perform better and play a good game.
I personally do not remember having any superstitious beliefs or doing any kind of rituals before soccer games. Although I remember when I was a freshmen in high school, I use to have a lucky pencil that made me do great on my tests and exams. So I would always write with that to get good grades. I was aware that it was just a superstitious belief but I still did it anyway because I was getting good grades.
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