Routines, rituals and superstitions: sports betting

Betting routines, rituals and superstitions

If in life there is always some degree of superstition, in sports and gambling, because they mess with the emotional and the pocket, these irrational beliefs are exacerbated. Betting routines, rituals and superstitions.

Routines, rituals and superstitions: sports betting

And I will repeat it again: irrational. To think that by doing a certain ritual we are going to affect a sports result is just irrational. Since I am against it, I love black cats and 13 is my favorite number.

It was always my number while I played. Because that doesn’t change sports performance. How to enter with the right or left foot, or jumping.

They are just mental pillows to make us feel more comfortable. They work either as cognitive excuses (especially if the result is not expected) or as mental tranquilizers (because we are putting the weight on a supernatural entity, whether religious or not).

But let’s start with Psychology. A superstition is a belief that, even without scientific evidence, certain behaviors have a causal relationship to certain results. These rituals differ from pre-competitive routines, which are sequences of preferred actions or repetitive forms of behavior before the task or gesture.

That is, whenever we see a tennis player hitting the ball a number of times or a rugby player taking the same number of steps back and forth before a penalty kick, they are performing a routine to focus on the present moment, without going into a rumination process (that is, always thinking about a past event) or an anxiety process about a future event.

Because athletes know that the secret of performing well on a task, play or game depends on staying focused on the moment of action

Once, a player on a team that accompanied him missed a goal scored in the first minutes of his first game for the team. He confessed to me at the end that he was thinking about that move the whole game.

In other words, he was ruminating on that event and never concentrated again. Realizing that he was an athlete who might have a tendency to chew, I made him concentrate on the most important thing in a football game: the ball.

At all times he had to talk to the ball, whether he was with it or not. Only then did I get him to concentrate on the present moment.

If it worked? It was one of our best scorers. All because it focused on what is really important.

Changing sports, those tics that we see Nadal doing before each service are a routine in which he reviews what happened in the previous move and anticipates what he has to do in the next point.

There are no superstitions

There is complete control by the athlete over its preparation and execution, and not an external or supernatural entity. Thus, routines and rituals are distinguished by internal or external control and by the rational or irrational purpose of actions.

Now tell me, as gamblers, how many irrational rituals do you have or do you support each other when you bet? Since not watching the game, betting with the left hand, not wanting to open the results, all things that affect zero the result of the event.

The gambler clings to chains of irrational connections (and usually the rituals grow in size and duration) in the hope that this will bring him luck. And what’s the problem with that?

It is a problem whenever these beliefs affect the analysis and bets made. In the same way that I spoke in another article about the fact that betting on the team itself can affect the analysis capacity, also believing in irrational factors that can influence the game is a mistake of punter.

As I said, a professional gambler (or at least one who wants to make money from betting) has to reduce emotion and irrationality to the maximum.
Over the years that I was an athlete and especially since I started to accompany athletes and teams, I found dozens of superstitions

So serious that in professional sports any coach, doctor, physiotherapist, wardrobe or psychologist is called a “cold foot”, who comes in again and does not bring victory. I would say that I was lucky to have good results in the teams I followed. I was never called a “cold foot”, but also whenever I heard it from other people, I tried to explain how irrational it is.

That in any activity what matters is competence and not other factors. I saw coaches being labeled as unlucky when the problem was physical, technical or tactical.

I saw players who, instead of training aspects related to their position, are concerned with putting on their inside-out socks or playing with a third in their underwear. One of the most well-known football curses was created by Béla Gutmann.

The Hungarian coach, furious at being dismissed by the management of SL Benfica, prophesied that they would never win a European final without him. On March 6, 1968.

Since then there have been five lost finals.

And in some of them they even took the land of the late coach’s grave. All because it is easier to blame the curse than to realize that in one of the finals the opponent was the strongest Milan of the three Dutch (and that was still 1-0), in another the right wing missed the decisive penalty after being the best in in another, they were stolen against Sevilla and lost only on penalties and against Chelsea they conceded a goal in the 92nd minute.

If there was bad luck? There was, as there are in all games. Is it due to what a gentleman said fifty years ago? No. Like Brasil do Maracanazo lost to Uruguay because of a mistake by the goalkeeper and the 7-1 with Germany because they were much inferior to the Germans.

We tend to try to come up with explanations like superstitions, ghosts or extraterrestrials because it’s easier. It is difficult to analyze the error. When we have a green, we think our analysis was fantastic. We hardly appreciate that there was a ball in the post in our favor or that there was an own goal when we needed the over.

But if by chance there is a red, we easily fall into the temptation of not analyzing why and just say “I was unlucky!”. Whether betting, sport or life.

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