Want to be the man of the match, beat your personal best or become a sporting legend? According to experts, it’s all down to how you look.
Working on behalf of shave and groom experts, Remington, performance coach and former rally champion, Penny Mallory, has been looking at the science behind why knowing you’re looking sharp can actually improve how you perform on the pitch, court, track or field.
“If you look in the mirror and aren’t too chuffed about what stares back at you, your mood dips, right?” asks Penny. “The way you perceive yourself has an indisputable effect on how you feel about yourself, and ultimately how you perform in life. Without being consciously aware of it, you have an internal conversation running, saying ‘You look sharp as hell today. You are going to smash this, you handsome beast’. An upbeat, encouraging, flattering conversation with yourself results in raised confidence and self-esteem, and you leave the house feeling invincible. You are ready to win the game of life.”
The science behind the theory is centred on neurotransmitters in the brain, which send messages between neurons in our body that execute either a movement, or an emotional reaction. The neurotransmitter that has an effect on a person’s mood is the serotonin, which is closely linked to self-esteem, concentration and mental relaxation. These can all be controlled by a person at the time of competition or performing; it can result in pure and constant magic – just ask Beckham or McGregor.
“Positive self-talk and uplifting thoughts can promote serotonin synthesis, while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol,” continues Penny. “This means that if you look at yourself in the mirror and can genuinely think and affirm that you look good, it can positively affect your serotonin levels, making you feel significantly better all round.
“Peek into the sporting arena, and you’ll quickly trip over athletes who preen and style themselves to perfection. They train hard, eat well, stand tall, look sharp, and they perform at the top of their game; their appearance is taken as seriously as their sporting prowess. Although they may not realise it, they are using all their senses to produce serotonin, enhancing their confidence. They know they look, smell and feel great.
“Looking good is taken seriously by so many athletes because they are putting their personality ‘out there’ to their opponents and the world; this is me, I am a winner, a risk taker, I am invincible, unbeatable. It is highly effective and very powerful.”
It seems some British men are already well aware of the phenomenon, as research by Remington Legends reveals 1 in 10 have a pre-game grooming ritual to bring luck to themselves, or their favourite sporting heroes. This rises to 16 per cent of under 25s.
Of those ‘good luck groomers’:
- 72% trim their beard
- 54% go clean shaven
- 55% style their hair a certain way
- 41% trim their eyebrows
- A handful wear lucky outfits, dress in a certain order or wear a particular aftershave
Penny concludes: “Although men might feel they can’t tell someone they trim their eyebrows to bring themselves luck ahead of the big game, it seems science is on their side. It tells us the better you look, the better you’ll perform. Now, go and take another look in that mirror…”
Celebrity examples where looking good has gone (manicured) hand-in-hand with sporting achievement
David Beckham – When Becks first arrived on the pitch, football and fashion were not regular bedfellows. It was clear DB had a drive to do more than merely score goals; he used his image to transcend the beautiful game. Beckham’s willingness to wear a sarong or Alice band, a man bun, the gentleman’s buzzcut or the summer pool slider, all set the world talking. His changing looks would arrest, surprise and complicate, particularly on the pitch.
Kevin Pietersen – Cricket’s Kevin Pietersen, the dashing right handed batsman, was a world class cricketer known for his aggressive batting style who never shied away from unorthodox techniques – or sporting unorthodox fashion. He would undoubtedly have realised the power of looking sharp; it unsettled and intimidated his opponents every time.
Andre Agassi – Look to tennis and Andre Agassi was noted on countless occasions for his standout style both on and off the court. He’s one of the greatest professional tennis players of all time, winning eight Grand Slams, plus the Masters Cup, over the course of his twenty-year career. Whether it was a mullet, stone-washed denim shorts combined with fluorescent cycling shorts, loud bandanas, shaved-head-and-earring combo, stubble or a full beard, it all helped turn him into a superstar. He understood the importance of looking and feeling great, and how it helped him to perform at the top of his game.
Conor McGregor – The fight game has always been about exuding confidence and swagger, and as Conor McGregor knows, the suavest way to flex on your opponents is in a luxurious mink or a razor-tailored suit. While Conor may go down in history as the best-dressed MMA fighter of all time, he also likes to boast about swarms of ‘mini McGregors’ swanning around Dublin, dressed immaculately in beards and waistcoats, looking for ugly fights. “They all want to be me a little…. All them boys want to be me a little”. Asked how he felt about that, he said “I mean, I don’t blame them. If I wasn’t me, I’d want to be me, too.”
For more tips, tricks and legendary tales to inspire greatness and help you up your game, visit www.remington.co.uk/legends and follow @RemingtonMenUK on Instagram and Remington For Men UK on Facebook.