You’d think that, once they’d reached the very top of their game, professional sports stars would be able to rely on their talent to see them through. But, just like the Sunday footballer with his lucky Y-fronts and the club tennis player who always needs to use the same changing room locker, it seems like ritual and superstition have a big role to play at every level of sport – and here are five of the most extreme examples.
The world’s number 1 woman tennis player with no less than 72 WTA titles to her name may be having a year off to have a baby but few doubt that she’ll be back, bringing with her some of the most unusual rituals in sport. The most famous of these is her insistence on bringing her shower sandals on to the court each time she plays. She is also very particular in her preparations each time she serves always bouncing the ball five times for a first serve and two bounces for a second.
As one of the legendary Waugh brothers, Steve is one of the mast famous Australian cricketers of all time. He’s also one of the most successful batsmen too having scored nearly 11,000 test runs over the course of his international career. In all of his appearances for the national side he always played with his grandfather’s red handkerchief in his pocket. On his final appearance for Australia hundreds of fans waved identical ones as he came on and left the field.
The legendary Chelsea player John Terry, with a net worth estimated to be $50 million, has a very particular ritual that he follows every match. When he use the toilets in the home changing room at Chelsea’s ground he always has to use the urinal to the far right of them all – and his team mates know there’ll be trouble if it’s not left free for him.
For many years the poster boy for English football, Beckham is said to have had many rituals and superstitions in his playing days. One of these was the insistence that there should be no papers, brochures or leaflets left in his hotel room. There also had to be an even number of drinks cans in the mini-fridge. Even his wife was once quoted as saying he was a weirdo.
He might have been named European Footballer of the Year three times and have an estimated fortune of over $230 million but Ronaldo’s still prey to the odd ritual or two. If he flies to an away match he has to be the first to get off the plane but if he’s travelled by bus he makes sure he’s the last. He’s also well-known for always ensuring his left foot is always the first to touch the pitch.
So if you have any odd quirks or rituals, hopefully these will help to make you feel that they’re by no means abnormal. After all, if they’re good enough for all these superstars and may even help them to perform better, yours could make the difference between zero and hero for you on match days!