Jason Kidd’s Free Throw Ritual

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Canadian
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/11/2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

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“Even in the NBA, players have superstitions. For example, Jason Kidd, who whenever he shoots a free throw will touch his butt and kiss the crowd before he shoots.”

This ritual is a way of to soothing oneself during a stressful time through repetition of a familiar action. At the same time it is an act of showmanship, directly addressing the audience. Many athletes have rituals that they perform before or after games, as there is a strong belief in luck among them. This makes sense as the outcome of many athletic competitions doesn’t come down purely to skill. There is often a strong element of chance or luck involved in sports, so athletes often feel like luck and ritual is very important.

The idea of using familiar repetitions to relax is also seen when athletes or students choose to wear their “lucky socks” during a competition or exam. Whereas the item probably does not improve a person’s luck, it is often comforting by providing a memory as a souvenir of success.