If you are a die-hard sports fan, you may have noticed your favorite players or their prolific coaches chewing gum while the game continues in full swing? Have you ever wondered if it is a secret weapon for the ultimate win? Or just done to look cool or assert dominance? Chewing gum is a rather common and mundane practice, however, chewing gum on the field may have far greater reasons that run deeper than you think.
A matter of habit or science?
If your evenings are spent on the sofa, glued to the tv screen, cheering as your favorite game comes up, then you must have noticed something really bizarre with sports players. A large percentage of players are often seen chewing gum as they run across the field or scurry through the court.
Even though this particular feature might go largely unnoticed by some, there is a deep connection between chewing gum and playing sports. Science in chewing gum? Yeah, exactly.
Anyways, what is this connection? And why do sportsmen seem hooked onto this extraordinarily common, yet surprisingly uncustomary activity on the field? Let us debunk!
A lot more common than you think.
Even though chewing gum while playing is generally common across all sports, it is most largely and habitually seen in naked sports such as basketball and baseball. And if you watch the NBA games, you may see this trend even more strong with prominent players like Michael Jordan who actively and consistently chewed gum while playing for the NBA.
So, does chewing gum really work as a magic spell for sportsmen whether it be NBA players or not?
Read below to find out.
Stupefying reasons why NBA players are seen to be chewing gum while playing
Just when you thought life could not get any more bizarre, we are here with full-fledge research that tells you exactly why NBA players chew gum so consistently while playing. Of course, there are technical and strategic reasons behind it. An addiction to chewing gum is not something scouts look for before selecting players for teams. So why actually do these players have their jaws moving all most of the time?
Gum can be used as a substitute for water. Unbelievable? Not so much.
As weird as it may sound, chewing gum does actually work like magic while playing. Dashing across the court without constant hydration during a rather charging game like basketball can more than often cause the player’s mouth to go dry.
However, when players pop a piece of gum into their mouths before the game starts, they are able to focus better on the game and also communicate better with their team members because constant chewing produces saliva in their mouths which if not fully, then to some extent, erases the lack of hydration in the players’ mouths.
Along with hydration, if players opt for certain gum brands like Trident, Icebreakers, and Orbit, they may even be able to prevent unpleasant cavities that can otherwise easily root from chewing regular gum. It is, however, not possible in all cases. Nevertheless, we will be talking a little in detail about this at the end of the article. Stay tuned.
As a means of boosting brain function.
We are not talking about medicine. It’s gum! The real knight in shining armor
Before you think we are spitting absurd twaddle like a mad scientist, let us tell you that we are not lying. Nor exaggerating.
Gum is really proven to improve brain function. Now you may ask how?
Science says that the act of chewing in fact has a positive effect on various bodily functions. As one chews gum, their sensory organs produce information that is then transmitted to their nerves, causing an increase in activity in a part of the brain known as the cortex.
To give more detail, this actually means that the blood flow to the brain increases, one’s heart rate and blood pressure improve, and a generally calming, stress-reducing effect is channeled into the brain. Good for cardiac health and now a mood lifter? We are sending some stores to run out of stock for gum once this article goes out!
Additionally, have you ever heard that chewing gum helps to calm the butterflies in your tummy before an exam or an important job interview? We hope you are now starting to join some dots. We will talk about this psychological effect as the article proceeds as well.
To conclude this segment, it is believed that there is a positive effect on a player’s physical reaction and response time if they play while playing gum; as compared to a player who does not chew gum before play. The player’s response time shortens, while the reaction time improves. A quicker response time means quicker movement, for those of you who were not aware.
Chewing gum can help shoo all those nervous butterflies away
Everyone has at least once felt the nerve-wracking butterflies in their stomach before an important event. Be it an exam, a job interview, or an encounter with the girl/boy next door.
This goes the same for NBA players who obviously also feel tingles due to the stress of nervousness of an upcoming game. Not the part with the girl next door, but you get what we mean.
It goes without doubt that stress can negatively impact one’s concentration and the same applies on our players. We all know this and must have experienced this as well.
And definitely, if the players cannot maintain sufficient concentration on the game, then they may not be able to perform very well. Which obviously, no one wants.
In such a situation, players prefer to take gum as chewing gum is directly linked to lowering stress and anxiety levels and increased alertness; as compared to when they do not take gum.
Not only the folks on the court, even the men in action off the court such as coaches who are stressed beyond words use gum as a method to release their tension and improve their concentration and focus levels so they do not crumble into pieces of nervousness wreckage before the game ends.
Introducing to you, chewing gum: the new free therapist in town.
Do all gums work the same magic?
Before you run to your nearest grocery store to buy your share of packets of gum, we must let you know that all kinds of gum may not project the same range of effects.
It is said that chewing flavored gum is better than regular gum as the aroma and taste released from a flavored piece of gum helps to rejuvenate the senses and also activate various parts and sensors of the brain. This in turn helps to improve brain activity, boost concentration, and also better mood.
Moreover, as you are smart enough to guess, sugar-free gum should be your preference if you are at the store picking up your gum supply. Like we mentioned previously in the article, certain gum brands can help you stay safe from cavities and some other dental issues. And if you happen to choose their sugar-free alternative, then there is a greater chance that you will not have to make all those unnecessary extra trips to the dentist.
Now that we have laid out all the possible reasons behind NBA players obsessively chewing gum on the court, we are certain that the next time you are buried onto your couch, barely hanging by your nails in stress of who emerges as the winner, maybe you will be able to easily tick off your confusion regarding your favorite players and their never-ending chewing!