Does the use of superstition in sports increase with an increase in competition? Essay Sample

Superstition is frequently defined as an irrational of baseless belief in general and the term is used by many to simply demo that they wish to characterize given beliefs or sentiment as false. misinformation or ignorance. ( Bernardin. 2004 ) Many definitions have been put frontward as to what superstitious notion means. nevertheless it is non easy to specify or separate superstitious notion from other types of belief and action. The lone thing that is apparent about superstitious notion is that it is powerful in that it can act upon people how to move or non to move in mundane life.

I propose to analyze superstitious notion in athletics. as I became progressively interested in the psychological science of superstitious notion late whilst composing an essay on the continuity of superstitious notion in the universe today. When researching I found superstitious notion was apparent in the professions. particularly those which produce a high degree of anxiousness. like competitory athleticss.

I have chosen the research inquiry ‘Does the usage of superstitious notion in athleticss addition with an addition in competition? ’ because of the increased involvement of competitory athleticss and featuring success in the public sphere. With many people today choosing for some sort of athletics as a avocation or following or back uping a squad means that athletics is a popular pick of involvement. whether it be as an business. a agency of disbursement leisure clip. observation or taking portion in it. doing it a relevant subject to research in today’s society. The force per unit area that athletes have to cover with from their fans in order to win certain rubrics or trophies for illustration. is great. so certainly these force per unit areas need to be dealt with by some agencies. Many people in society today may happen it interesting to see how jocks cope in state of affairss like this and to see whether it is these rites or superstitious notions that aid in their alleviation from the anxiousness of competition.

Superstition in athletics can be defined as “actions which are insistent. formal. consecutive. distinguishable from proficient public presentation and which athletes believe to be powerful in commanding fortune or other external factors” ( Bleak & A ; Frederick. 1998. p. 2 ; quoted in Todd & A ; Brown. 2003 ; McClearn. 2004 ) . Reports in the media indicate the prevalence of superstitious notion practiced by jocks in today’s athleticss ( Kuehls. 1994 ; Sherman. 1988 ) and how it varies from behaviors related to vesture. nutrient. pre and post-competition rites. and activities during competition. ( Buhrmann. Brown. Zaugg. 1981 ; Woman’s Sports and Fitness Magazine. 1986 ) . Harmonizing to Becker ( 1975 ) portion of the motive for athletes’ usage of superstitious notion is man’s basic demand to order and modulate his life. Superstitious patterns help jocks maintain equilibrium as they keep things changeless and minimise break. Some jocks turn to superstitious notion for the same grounds that others turn to religion or drugs. to alleviate force per unit area and to convert themselves that consequences are predetermined. to take the fright out of the unknown. McCallum. 1992. p. 203 ) .

Equally much as athletes’ might indulge in their superstitious notions. featuring types may seldom care to acknowledge that they are superstitious. as they prefer to speak about “habits” or “routines” . ( Clark. 2003 ) . This is because “Science” has taken on an about mystical value for us. and we like to believe of ourselves as “rational” . ( Womack. 1992. p. 199 ) However a everyday becomes a superstitious notion when person believes that he must follow it to hold good fortune. or that bad fortune will result if he doesn’t. ( McCallum. 1992 ) . As Nanne provinces in McCallum ( 1992. p. 210 ) that “Little rites become small compulsions. Compulsions become superstitious notions. ” However harmonizing to Woman’s Sports and Fitness magazine ( 1986 ) name them processs. name them rites. Name them traditions. no affair what you dub them. it all comes down to the same thing…superstition.

Some see superstitious notion every bit good as it seems to assist with anxiousness and Acts of the Apostless like a get bying scheme when degrees of competition are high. Neil et Al ( 1981 ) noted that the higher the competition degree and the greater the engagement in athletics. the greater the prevalence of superstitious notion. regardless of gender. Athletes are superstitious because assurance ( Lustberg. 2004 ) . together with preparation and physical conditioning. is necessary to exceed athletic public presentation. Harmonizing to Crust ( 2005 ) emotions are an indispensable portion of athletics competition. but if you don’t derive control of them before viing they might command you and impede public presentation. By taking mental charge by implementing psychological programs and modus operandis can assist all jocks to a more optimum province of preparedness for public presentation. It is of import that the jock feels he is every bit much in control of himself and the state of affairs as possible.

It is the opportunity component that is present in athletics. which contributes to the athlete’s feelings of uncertainness and deficiency of control. Such feelings may take away from their assurance and contribute to anxiousness. ( Van Raalte & A ; Brewer. 1991 ) . It has been acknowledged that in order to experience some sense of certainty and to supply a agency of experiencing control in competitory state of affairss. many jocks pattern some signifier of superstitious notion ( Neil. 1982 & A ; Dunleavy & A ; Miracle ) . Superstitions aid athletes overcome both physical and mental obstructions through what Antonelli footings a “psychological placebo” ( Becker. 1975 ; Raalte et Al. 1991 ) . However some may reason that the opportunity component is present in all life. non merely athletics. Although superstitious notion may look to be a positive attractive force as it seems to supply predictability. chancing excessively can hold a positive temptingness for many. good as many other signifiers of uncertainness and hazard. It would look that non many things in life are predictable apart from the prison modus operandi but what is appealing about this?

Superstition may perchance hold a positive endurance value in certain fortunes. like a ‘coping mechanism’ in order to cover with the force per unit area to win. Harmonizing to Lustberg ( 2004 ) “Athletes begin to believe. and want to believe. that their peculiar modus operandi is heightening their performance…in world. its likely merely pattern and assurance that’s doing them execute better. ” Matute ( 1994 ) found that in an unmanageable state of affairs where support is non-contingent. people are prone to superstitious behavior and semblance of control. inaccurately believing that they have control over the support. Skinner ( 1948 ) observed that superstitious notion is a mere conditioning procedure that occurs as an inadvertent consequence due to the fact that a support coincides temporally with a response and it is hence assumed that the response is dependent upon the support.

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Superstitious beliefs and patterns is hence perceived as the result of larning. except that the acquisition has in a sense gone incorrect. ( Jahoda. 1969. p. 89 ) Skinner believed ritualistic patterns and superstitious notion stemmed from the inadvertent connexion between the response and the visual aspect of a reinforcing stimulus ( Todd & A ; Brown. 2003 ) . It has been observed excessively in Yale jocks that superstitious notions depend on their anterior record of success or failure. Success leads to repeat of behavior. harmonizing to Vic Esclamado “…because you associate it with the manner you played…if something plants you don’t alter the modus operandi. ” ( Becker. 1979. p. 149 ) .

Womack ( 1992 ) discussed these superstitious behaviors as ritual and stated that although. by definition. rite is non indispensable to proficient public presentation. anthropologists have offered impressive grounds of the impact of ritual on human personal businesss. in both the psychological and sociological kingdom. Malinowski. harmonizing to Womack ( 1992 ) . argued that ritual or charming behavior is associated with high hazard activities. with the hazard being expressed in footings of physical danger to the participants or perchance of failure of the activity. In the context of athletics rite. Gmelch ( 1971 ) supports Malinowski’s contention. He determined that charming behavior in baseball is associated with the bad activities of pitching and striking. instead than with the low-risk activity of fielding. ( Womack. 1992. p. 193 ) . Case ( 2001 ) carried out a survey with first twelvemonth pupils. which seems to mirror Malinowski’s statement. where a series of opportunity determined undertakings with varied results and varied possibilities of success were employed.

The pupils were offered the advice of a psychic. Case observed when the chance of success was high. no 1 used the psychic and one time the chance of success reduced pupils used the psychic more. When Case measured the students’ belief in psychic powers he found no association between such beliefs and usage of the psychic. It portrayed to him that it did non count whether they believed in the superstitious scheme or non. the pupils used the psychic every clip they felt desperate. This concluded for Case that people tend to utilize superstitious schemes when their control is most threatened. even when they say they do non believe in the effectivity of such schemes. If they truly believed in their superstitious notion they would transport it out irrespective. However the fact that they merely resorted to it when they were most dying indicated they were utilizing superstitious notion as a agency of control. ( Vozella. 2001 ) . This may be attributed to Neil’s ( 1980 ) that it appears that superstitious patterns addition as the bets become greater.

The thrust to derive control in unmanageable state of affairss is a characteristic of persons exposing type A behavior form ( TABP ) ( Prkachin & A ; Harvey. 1998 ) . A behavior form found to be prevailing among elect jocks. every bit good as a strong athletic individuality. which has been described as a strong designation with the athlete function and a inclination to be really ego-involved in athletic competition. Research by Neil et Al. ( 1981 ) found that jocks to be more ego-involved have a greater inclination to pattern athletics superstitious notions. Research has shown that TABP is motivated by a goaded demand to keep personal control over events ( Todd & A ; Brown. 2003 ) . Competitive athletics is seen to affect emphasis and uncontrollability. the really kind of state of affairs a type A person may set themselves in. It has been asserted that since superstitious notion can be seen as a manner to cut down anxiousness in athleticss state of affairss. it would be expected that the more ego-involved jocks. those likely to experience more anxiousness. would hence be more likely to develop sport-related superstitious notions. ( Raalte. 1991 ) . This is apparent from research carried out by Neil. Anderson. & A ; Sheppard. ( 1981 ) where it was found that the higher the ego-involvement of male and female ice hockey participants. the greater the prevalence of athletics superstitious notions.

Although Cohn ( 2005 ) argues for superstitions’ success in constructing assurance and assisting hike morale they should non be perceived as the lone ground for success and think that they will find success no affair how good you prepare before a game. Cohn ( 2005 ) references pre-performance rites and like Sherman believes functional behaviors such as exercising physiology. biomechanics and athletics psychological science. stand for a more productive usage of an athlete’s energies than battle in non functional behavior. such as superstitious ritual. those activities that have no demonstrated relationship to public presentation. as they have been proved through research to systematically heighten public presentation. Team psychologists and managers may seek to do jocks give superstitious notions up. rationalizing scientific idea ( Watson & A ; Tharpe. 1990 ) . nevertheless harmonizing to Womack there is increasing grounds that it makes good sense to maintain them. Brunvand stated that “whether personally superstitious or non it would be a foolish manager who would deter such a reassuring wont. ” ( Becker. 1975. p. 148 ) . Harmonizing to Val Skinner it has perfectly no bearing on how you perform. but if it gives you a feeling that it’s traveling to do a difference. why non make it.

Some perceive superstitious notion every bit deficient as it makes jocks believe they are non in control of their ain events. Sherman ( 1988 ) believes to follow a more internal venue of control. Locus of control can be defined as believing that an event is either in one’s control or out of one’s control. Those that believe in internal venue of control are more likely to believe that an event occurs as a merchandise of their ain behavior and this will therefore increase an individual’s motive to go on an activity. The other half who believe in external venue of control. who perceive that an event is contingent on opportunity. fortune. or the influence of other people will diminish in desire to prevail in an activity that he or she feels unable to act upon.

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This difference in beliefs leads to a parallel difference in behavior. because those that believe in internal venue of control perceive themselves as Masterss of their ain destiny. they will really seek. more than those who believe in an external venue of control. to asseverate control and to pattern behavior that enhance control over their ain lives. Follow up work. suggested by Bleak & A ; Frederick ( 1998 ) . that needs to be addressed is the relationship between usage of superstitious notion in athletics and existent athletics public presentation. Todd & A ; Brown ( 2003 ) besides suggested to look at corporate athleticss and single athleticss to detect which exercises more superstitious notion.

Few people care to acknowledge that they themselves are superstitious. particularly those that have a strong belief in scientific discipline and objectiveness. However it may look plausible to state that there is no nonsubjective agencies of separating superstitious notion from other types of belief and action. However Heath proposed that if there is nonsubjective grounds for a belief. if its chances are calculable and on sensible evidences. so there is nil irrational in believing it. but if odds are grossly outweighed so the belief is seen as no more than mere superstitious notion. ( Jahoda. 1969. p. 4 ) . However superstitious notion like all behavior is discernible so hence should be mensurable. Therefore I have decided to take the rationalist attack whilst transporting out the questionnaires. this is where the research worker applies ground to observation. Using empirical grounds to organize generalizations will so intend a hypothesis can be deduced from them.

This is known as the deductive method. My research design will be cross-sectional. as it will be carried out in a individual point in clip. I propose to prove the old hypothesis that research workers have mentioned by carry oning my ain survey in order to prove ‘whether the usage of superstitious notion in athleticss additions with an addition in competition’ and to see whether past research by Neil ( 1982 ) was right in reasoning that superstitious notion is used as a agency to get by with the emphasis of competition. and who concludes that there are differences in superstitious notions by athletics and gender. In order to transport out my survey informations will necessitate to be collected on competition. superstitious notion and athletics.

To roll up the secondary informations in order to reply my research inquiry I have began seeking relevant books. diaries. articles and web sites and besides made a trip to the British Library Document Supply Centre in Boston Spa. However my chief purpose is to roll up primary informations.

I recognise that it would non be an easy assignment to seek and undertake a big sample of professional jocks who would endure from the most intense force per unit areas by competition. It may be difficult to track celebrated featuring professionals that will answer in my limited clip frame to give be significant consequences that would be dependable and valid in order to generalize my decisions. However as life near Headingly Stadium I may be able to derive entree to transport out my survey utilizing the ruby brotherhood and rugby conference and cricket squads. this will give me consequences for professional jocks. I could utilize the method of sweet sand verbena sampling for this. as I question a few squad members they will supply me with contact inside informations for other squad members that will be able to assist me with my survey. Although this survey would turn out to be a most interesting. it will merely dwell of male jocks and would therefore non be able to do generalizations or comparings with gender. Knowing this might non be an easy undertaking I have created a back up program.

The methodological and research techniques I will utilize to roll up the primary research for this survey will dwell of the study attack where I will carry on questionnaires. I will utilize an easy to administrate superstitious notion questionnaire and so administer it to a sample of pupils taking portion in 3 different athleticss. Male football. female netball and assorted hockey at a high degree of competition ( 1st squad ) and at a low degree of competition ( 3rd squad ) . so compare the consequences of these to see if there are any correlativities. I will utilize the process of graded random trying. this process involves spliting the population I am researching into separate strata and so taking a per centum from each stratum in order to supply me with a representative sample of the featuring pupil population. Access of my sample will be comparatively easy to derive and it will besides dwell of a broad assortment of people. giving me better evidences for generalization. I chose to try utilizing chance sampling as it will do it possible to mensurate the grade of trying mistake. My sample will dwell of approx 33 ( 3 squads of 11 ) .

After administering the questionnaires to my sample I will utilize the same sample to carry on semi-structured interviews enabling me to travel into more deepness in detecting the relationship between superstitious notion and fight. My purpose is to inquire inquiries refering positive and negative superstitious notions to see whether they each have different effects on the jock. because on a methodological degree. findings from Wiseman & A ; Watt ( 2004 ) suggested that it is of import that any valid step of superstitious belief should include mention to positive and negative superstitious notions. Therefore I should take to develop a broader step of belief that encompasses much wider and diverse signifiers of superstitious notion. as positive and negative superstitious notions may function different psychological maps.

In order to derive entree to the information I am looking for I will hold to derive informed consent from each participant and should non take portion in covert research or seek to lead on them in any manner. I would hold to clearly specify what my research involves as non to harm anyone when information is released. this is indispensable sing the Data Protection Act ( 1998 ) . ( Bryman. 2001 ) . The effect of non esteeming a person’s namelessness. privateness and confidentiality are hazardous so I must be prepared to expect and cover with ethical issues. Although some issues are evident before I begin to roll up my informations. I must be wary of others originating as I proceed.

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My informations analysis programs must run into my research ends. which are to happen out who is superstitious and to see whether higher degrees of competition in these 3 groups show a greater usage in superstitious notion. Analyzing two variables in order to detect whether they are related is known as Bivariate analysis. It will assist me seek for grounds that I need in order to see whether the fluctuation in one variable ( competition ) coincides with fluctuation in another variable ( superstitious notion ) . For each research objective I should stipulate how I will analyze it and do certain there is a clear relationship between informations analysis and the research inquiry. I propose to analyze the informations utilizing Likert graduated tables. from which I will roll up qualitative informations. McClearn ( 2004 ) carried out a study demoing how participants with high involvement in athleticss showed a inclination to subscribe to the type of irrational belief associated specifically with athleticss.

The Belief in Sports Superstitions Scale. which measured attachment specifically to athleticss superstitious notions. may be a good one to utilize. The descriptive statistics presented as the agencies and standard divergences that will be presented in tabular arraies and figures. will do it easier to understand and compare easy in order to reply my research inquiry. whether the usage in superstitious notions in athleticss addition with an addition of competition. The illative statistics will be used to find if relationships or differences occur between variables. I will transport out a t-test to see whether my consequences were important or non utilizing the equation T ( df ) = T-value. P

0. 05. If p= below 0. 05 therefore the consequences are important ( P

My survey should non be a timely or dearly-won reappraisal and I would be in a place to supply a thorough and comprehensive reappraisal in the hereafter. If I happen to happen that my consequences don’t show a important relationship so this could subsequently take to me proving other variables such as degree of instruction. spiritual background and any other variables that might bespeak a ‘non’-rational frame of head to see whether they have an affect on the usage of superstitious notion.


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