Sporting myths debunked

Tab man Marco Bell on common sport myths and we look at some interesting and odd superstitions.


Despite the drinking and partying, a lot of students like to stay fit. But there are plenty of pitfalls out there for the unsuspecting amateur athlete. Here we debunk a host of sporting myths, and also take a look at some interesting and odd sporting superstitions.

Myth: You only need fluid when you feel thirsty. Thirst is said to be a poor indication of an athletes fluid need while playing sport. Each individual has a hydration level and it is important to be aware of yours. Make sure you have a regular intake of fluid throughout. Neglecting fluid intake will enhance chances of cramp, heat exhaustion and injury. And a significant drop in performance levels too.

Myth: Sport drinks have no affect on performance. Some have begun to question if the likes of Powerade and Lucazade really give your game a boost. The carbohydrates in these drinks mean their fluid is absorbed quicker and help to maintain blood glucose levels. Still, excessive use of such drinks can be counterproductive, with sugar levels far higher then they should be.

Myth: More training always provides results. Some athletes continue to train when and wherever they can. But this doesn’t always make much difference to their original performance levels. The reality is that the training programme needs to be stripped down and components changed to make sure you are getting the most out of each session.

Myth: Pasta for dinner is adequate carbohydrate loading. I’m one of the many who would go to bed feeling happy with myself, a bowl of pasta consumed in time for the early morning start. While this meal will help, it’s not a highly effective way of aiding muscle glycogen levels. To provide a real boost, start planning a carbohydrate schedule for the days before the event, combined consumption will give you the upper hand.

Myth: Protein supplements will provide muscle gain on their own accord. For those who have already honed their muscles protein supplements will just add excess protein, which is stored as fat. Besides, it is resistance training that provides the stimulus for muscle growth, supplements only the resource.


So there’s our list of myths. Superstitions can play an important part in sport though. Here are some of the best for you:

Serena and her bouncing balls

Serena Williams always bounces the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second.

In the NHL there is the so called ‘play off beard’. When teams enter the play-offs, players grow their beards until they win or are knocked out.

Cricketer Mark Ramprakash would chew the same piece of gum throughout an entire innings. If he was not out overnight he would stick the gum on top of his bat in place for the next session.

Good luck son

In the 1998 World Cup, French defender Laurent Blanc would kiss goalkeeper Fabien Barthez on the head before every game for good luck. France went on to win the tournament.

Before every NBA game Lebron James is said to throw a handful of chalk into the air. Well if it improves his game. . .

In preparation for football matches former England goalkeeper David James would avoid speaking to anyone and spit on the walls above urinals. I don’t think too many UEA teams will be following suit, considering the Colney Lane changing rooms’ current state.

Gary Neville would always wear the same brand of aftershave if Man United were on a good run.