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In sports, don’t fall into the trap of being superstitious!


I’m from Italy and everybody knows that we often fall into the trap of being superstitious. A black cat crossing the street, walking under a ladder leaning on the wall, sitting 13 at a table, accidentally spilling salt on the table, Friday 17th and other stupid things that we consider bad luck. (I say ’we’ even if I’m not like that………………………… almost!)

To compensate, in Italy we have Friday 13th, salt thrown out the door of our house, stepping on……….dog ‘gifts’, a ‘gift’ from the sky from a bird, spilling wine on the table (dip the finger in it and touch behind the ear) or eating lentils just after midnight at the end of the year, is considered good luck. (How sick we are!!!)

For many of us, it is just a joke… but for many it’s a kind of addiction. We come from centuries of this ‘brainwashing’, so this is not easy to change if you grown up immersed in this kind of reality.

Unfortunately, many of the greatest athletes in all sports have this addiction. I remember when the Formula One superstar Niki Lauda retired, he left his gloves at the box. A photographer took them as a memorabilia. It was a great surprise to notice that in every finger of the gloves there where a little coin!

Without arriving to this point, almost all the soccer players have their ’unconscious’ rituals. You don’t have one? C’mon, be honest. Wearing that particular pair of socks? Wearing that particular jersey…beneath your team jersey? Don’t step on the chalk line entering the field? Enter with the right or the left foot? Use only that pair of shoes, even though they are destroyed and kept together with duct tape? One of my soccer students confessed to me that, from when he was a kid, he still kisses both goals post before the games!!!!! And this, without considering ‘religious’ involvements! And the astrological aspects? Worse than all the others!

How many people read their horoscope before going out from the house? Astrology is the worst of the addictions. And the ridiculous thing is that is based on planetary positions or alignments. So, as a bit of information for those ‘addicted’, I’ll let you know that a big truck passing 100 yards from you, magnetically influences you more than any possible alignments of the giant planets Jupiter or Saturn, millions of miles away!

Do I have to continue? I don’t think so. You get the idea.

So, being a little ’talismanic’…. that’s O.K. It’s part of being human (!?!?) even for the ones who deny this, but lets not exaggerate!

If you fall into this trap of habits, then one day, for some reason, you don‘t have those socks, those shoes or that jersey, that bag, that soccer ball… this could become a nightmare and your performance will be greatly affected.

I remember that when I was young, I was driving home very late at night on a Friday 17th. That was already ’courageous’ enough but I had something very important to do so, reluctantly, I had to go! At a certain moment, in a street totally deserted, suddenly a cat crossed the street! And not only was a cat. It was black and big like a little panther!!! Friday the 17th plus a big black cat? Tragedy! The maximum of bad luck…… multiplied by 10! I immediately stopped the car, without crossing the cat path and waited for another car to pass there. Usually that happen in a few seconds but being late at night no one was coming.

After 10 minutes of waiting (!!!!) I said to myself:” how you could be so stupid?”. I put the gear and I went home. Obviously, nothing bad happened and that helped me to move away from that stupid way of acting. How? From that moment I considered a black cat that suddenly crosses the street in front of the car, a clear sign of…………………………… good luck!

So, please, don’t do that, and just in case……………………… knock on wood!

I’m just kidding……………….or not?

Coach Gianni



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Posted on 30 Nov 2007 by coachgianni
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