Main content

Writing's on the Wall

From lucky socks and perplexing pre-match rituals to Nadal’s perfectly placed water bottles, Martin Perry explores how superstition pervades the world of professional sport.

From tattered lucky socks and perplexing pre-match rituals to Nadal’s perfectly placed water bottles, superstition truly pervades in the world of professional sport.

Martin Perry has spent years coaching sportsmen and women to build confidence and handle the psychological demands of their game. Here, he delves into the popular, very personal and often secretive sporting superstitions - regularly noted, but rarely discussed.

Along the way, Martin discovers superstitions can reveal as much about the mindset of the player, as about what it takes to emerge victorious when the competition is fierce and the stakes are high.

At the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow, athletics stars from around the world reveal their own good luck charms. England’s Rugby World Cup finalist Lewis Ludlam runs through an extensive warm-up routine that includes a stuffed toy. And why did Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona once try to get his hands (or feet) on former Spurs striker Clive Allen’s lucky boots?

Martin takes a moment to explore those numerous and long-held rituals of tennis’ King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, which both baffle and entertain millions of tennis fans every year.

Surely sport would be slightly less compelling without the relentless, often hilarious, sometimes bonkers, always serious subplot of superstition?

Producer: Neil Kanwal
A BlokMedia production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 17 Aug 2020 21:00

Broadcasts

  • Tue 7 Jul 2020 16:00
  • Tue 11 Aug 2020 11:00
  • Mon 17 Aug 2020 21:00