4 Comments

If You Believe It…It Is! The Placebo Effect

We are all looking for the magic button that will make the difference in our tennis game.  We want something that will give us more power, accuracy, better balance.  We look at new rackets, strings, shoes, you name it we buy it hoping it will be the secret to becoming the elite tennis player.

I found myself falling into this trap just the other day. I read a great article on Tennisopolis titled Tuning Your Racket-A Revelation.”  It is about a new string that the author claims makes his hitting significantly better.  I was enthralled with the article, soaking in every word and dreaming of how this was going to improve my kids tennis game.  I immediately went to the web to see where I could order it.  Is this the “magic button?”  Just before hitting the proceed to check-out button, I came back to reality, there is no magic button.  I am the one who wrote A Tennis Racket Doesn’t Make A Great Player what was I thinking?

Not so long ago my son fell into the same trap of believing he had found the secret to increasing his power and balance in his tennis game. Yes the silly rubber band that you put on your wrist.  Power Balance Bands the magic button that could either improve your balance or power simply by placing the band on your wrist.  You don’t need to do anything else, just let the “magnets” do their magic.  Put the racket in your hand and swing, suddenly you are hitting with a greater power than you had before you placed it on your wrist.  The incredible thing is he did hit better.  He was hitting harder than he had in the games prior to putting the band on.  Was it true, could this “Power Band” really give you more power?  Of course not.  A month or so later a news release came out stating that there was not scientific evidence behind the bands.  So why did he hit so much better?  Simple explanation is the Placebo Effect. He thought he could hit harder therefore he did.  The power band did not give him more power, it gave him more confidence!

One week-end my son decided that he was intimidated by players that wore high black socks.  Don’t ask why, he’s a teenager, do we understand anything that goes through their head.   When I asked him why he explained that you have to be super good to wear something that looks weird and not care what anyone thinks.  So that was it, he decided he needed high black socks.  Instead of being intimidated by others he decided he would be the intimidator.  Believe it or not I went out and bought the black socks (it was more about the fact they were easier to clean for me).  Did he play better in the black socks?  You bet he did.  Again he gained confidence and confidence translates to a better game.

Am I advocating going out and buying every little gimmick and gadget that promises to improve your game?  Absolutely not!  Save your money and pay for more lessons.  Confidence is what makes us better and what better way to improve your confidence than practicing to reach a level where you are confident in your game.  Aside from that remember, if you believe something will improve your game, it probably will.  It is called the placebo effect.  Personally, I will take whatever I can to help my kids gain confidence.  If you see a young man on the tennis court sporting long black socks and a black power band it just might be my son.  Who am I to mess with what is working?

Do you have a “magic button” you use to give you more confidence on the court?

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4 comments on “If You Believe It…It Is! The Placebo Effect

  1. I want to buy a magic button, let me know if someone makes one I can purchase online!

  2. I think that the balance bands could be helpful in that everytime you look at it, it reminds you to think about your balance. I wear my “Live Strong” band when I need a reminder to stay strong. I look down and there it is, telling me to be strong.

    • I agree. He has currently changed his wristband to one that simply says “believe and achieve” that the school gave him. You are right it is the reminder of who you are and what you can be that gives you the confidence. (I believe the power band may be lying on the bottom of the bay after a wrestling match with his cousins. It caused him great grief to lose it believing he last his “power” Kids!!!)

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