Shaving Rituals Can Enhance an Athlete’s Performance

March 9, 2011

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Shaving: some athletes shave their faces to uphold a philosophy of “look good, feel good, play good.” Some shave their heads to become more aerodynamic. Some shave to prepare an area of the body for the application of athletic tape. Whatever the reason, developing a routine shaving ritual can lead to a better-focused and more relaxed athlete, ready to perform.

According to Dr. Rob Bell, assistant professor at Ball State University and a certified sport psychologist, following game-day or weekly routines helps sharpen an athlete’s focus. A hygiene ritual, such as shaving, as part of an athlete’s preparation, creates an opportunity to concentrate hard on an upcoming game or competition.

For inspiration on developing your own shaving ritual, check out what some top professional athletes do with a razor when prepping for battle.

Ray Allen: Boston Celtics, SG
After stretching precisely at 3:45 p.m. on game days, Allen shaves his entire head before walking on the court to warm up at exactly 4:30 p.m.

Derek Jeter: New York Yankees, SS
In compliance with team policy, Jeter ditches his five o’clock shadow daily. “We have strict rules with the Yankees [about being clean shaven], so I really don’t have much of a choice,” he stated during an interview.

Phil Hughes: New York Yankees, P
Unlike Jeter, this Yank risks a fine by not shaving on days he’s scheduled to pitch. Hughes claims sweat on his clean-cut face causes him to itch and lose focus.

Michael Phelps: U.S. Olympic Swimmer
The 14-time gold medalist shaves his entire body the day before a competition. Phelps has said it makes him feel unbelievably smooth and helps him become more aerodynamic.

Ray Rice: Baltimore Ravens, RB
Rice shaves on game day. “I was blessed with great hair,” Rice stated during a press conference. “You got to [shave] with the hair, everything nice and smooth. As long as everything is nice and smooth, I am good to go.”

Brian Wilson: San Francisco Giants, P
During the Giants’ 2010 World Series run, the Giants' closer ditched the razor and dyed his beard jet black. [He’s never openly admitted it, though.] The look helped rally Giants fans around Wilson whenever he took the mound.

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Matt Siracusa
Matt Siracusa


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