Mike Bibby, an NBA point guard, used to pick his nails while sitting on the bench in every game. However, he soon changed to clipping his nails instead. He clips his nails whenever he's on the bench, and even if he is playing, during the timeouts, while the coach goes over strategy. Luckily for everyone, cleaners sweep and mop the floor during the breaks.
Current female tennis star Serena Williams has her own share of superstitions. She wears the same pair of socks throughout a tournament. We do not know whether she washes them in between games though. Apart from this, she always brings her shower sandals to the court, ties her laces in a specific way, and bounces the ball 5 times before her first serve, and twice before the second. She takes this seriously, and has attributed some of her loses to a failure in following the routine.
Almost all drivers in NASCAR are superstitious. Green-colored cars are considered to be bad luck, and the drivers also completely refuse to carry any $50 bills on them. However, the weirdest belief is that, peanut shells are associated to catastrophic accidents. Therefore, shells are not allowed anywhere near the tracks. However, shelled nuts are just fine.
Almost every soccer player has a quirk, but Sergio Goycochea, the Argentinian goalie of the 1990 World Cup took it to a whole new level. Before every penalty kick, he would hitch up his shorts and urinate on the field before thousands of spectators and the world media. The superstition seemed to work, as he made some truly spectacular saves in the semi-final, before losing out in the finals to Germany.
Glenn Hall ('Mr. Goalie'), an exceptionally good NHL goalkeeper, was feeling a little unwell before an important match, so he threw up. This cleared his head to an extent which helped him perform well in the match. Buoyed by his success, he made it a ritual to vomit before any match, and he has been very successful following this bizarre habit.
Power hitter of the New York Yankees, Jason Giambi, was every baseball pitcher's nightmare. However, his form would slump every now and then. His solution, much to the awkwardness of his teammates, was to wear a golden thong during the time of his poor form. His success with this technique has prompted other players to adopt the ritual, and even they seem to find that it works. But why does the thing have to be gold?
Third baseman Wade Boggs got the nickname 'Chicken Man' during his MLB career, because he would eat a chicken dish before every game. He also had other rituals: He would take 150 balls during infield practice, enter the batting cage at 5:17 pm for batting practice, and do wind sprints at 7:17 pm. At games, he would swipe the ground in front of him with the left foot, tap his gloves 2-3 times, adjust his cap, and write the Hebrew word 'chai', which means 'life', in the dirt before batting.
When John Henderson, a gargantuan defensive tackle, played the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he would have the assistant team trainer Joe Sheehan slap him across the face as hard as he could. This ritual would get him pumped up for the game, and he did quite well. However, now that he has moved onto the Oakland Raiders, he must be having someone else slap his face.
NHL forward Bruce Gardiner went through a severe goalless slump during his rookie days. So, he sought the counsel of NHL veteran Tom Chorske, who told him that he was treating his stick too well, and needed to teach it to respect him by dunking it in the toilet. Although skeptical, Gardiner followed his advice, and he actually started to score in games. After that, he began visiting the washroom before every game, eventually toning it down, and using the tactic only to get out of a slump.
During an interview in 2009, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida revealed that he drinks his own urine each morning as a natural medicine that cleanses his body. While this practice sounds disgusting, it seems to have worked for the Brazilian Shotokan Karate master, as he has hardly ever lost a round throughout his professional mixed martial arts career.