‘Don’t touch my bag’: The Role of Superstition in Professional Male Boxing

Allen-Baker, Georgia, Thornton, Claire and Riby, Holly (2020) ‘Don’t touch my bag’: The Role of Superstition in Professional Male Boxing. The Sport Psychologist, 34 (1). pp. 35-42. ISSN 0888-4781

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2019-0107

Abstract

The superstitious actions athletes undertake before competition have been well documented, yet the role of such behaviors has received little qualitative attention. The aim of this study was to explore the role of superstitious routines in professional male boxing. A descriptive phenomenological approach was adopted, and individual semistructured interviews were conducted with 5 professional male athletes in the United Kingdom. Results show that superstition is regularly used by boxers in the lead-up to fights to aid mental preparation, fulfill a need for control, and improve the likelihood of success. Common themes emerged, such as the use of praying and engagement in acts thought to bring good luck and/or the avoidance of behaviors that might bring bad luck. Findings also indicate that despite a rational link, boxers use superstition as a coping mechanism (e.g., as a scapegoat/excuse for losing) and to gain a sense of control.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Superstitious behaviours, mental preparation, coping mechanism
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2019 10:02
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2020 10:45
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/41137

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