What's the Deal with Skylar Diggins’ Headband?

BlogHer Spotlight

Do rituals and superstitions really affect your game? Do you wear the same pair of socks for multiple games in a row or have a lucky charm? Dr. Nicole LaVoi of the Tucker Center says "Having a competitive ritual helps increase the likelihood of optimal performance in many ways: Athlete’s who have developed and practice detailed. consistent, and controllable competitive rituals are more likely to optimally perform on command regardless of the situation."  As March Madness wraps up, Dr. LaVoi takes a look at one of the most popular collegiate players - Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame.


Credit Image: © John Mersits/ZUMAPRESS.com 

I’ve watched Notre Dame play on TV 6-8 times this season and have heard “the headband” discussed in every game by commentators. It is also the source of many fan tweets. At the start of the game, Diggins wears a wide white Adidas headband. If she is happy with her play, it stays on. If she is unhappy with her play, she takes it off. Usually it comes off at halftime, but recently she has taken it off as early as the 5th minute. As a fan of Notre Dame, when I see her take off the headband I groan. As someone trained in sport psychology I find it an interesting case study. Here is my analysis of “the headband” ritual using sport psychology research.(note: I have not talked directly to Diggins, about how and why she uses this ritual, nor have a talked to her coaches or teammates about how they perceive her ritual).

Read more from Skylar Diggins’ Headband: A Sport Psychology Perspective at One Sport Voice