It’s not uncommon for athletes to have good luck charms, lucky numbers, and superstitions, including some downright bizarre pre-game rituals. For instance, Michael Jordan wore his UNC shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform in every NBA game. Before a night game, third baseman Wade Boggs would begin practice at exactly 5:17 PM and start wind sprints at precisely 7:17 PM. It sounds crazy, but it seemed to have worked for these two Hall of Famers.
One superstition some athletes hold may actually have some scientific merit. Studies have shown that the colors of athletic uniforms can sometimes make the difference between winning and losing. Certain colors associated with dominance and aggression can actually empower players and give them a competitive edge.
Colors have a psychological effect on the animal brain, ours included. A certain hue can impact a person or animal’s mood, behavior, brain activity, and body posture. For instance, in nature, orange and red signal aggression and danger to a variety of organisms. In many human societies, red is associated with anger and fear. Black often signifies dominance and death.
When it comes to athletic uniforms and coaches apparel, scientists say that the colors black and red may affect the way the team’s opponent sees them as well as the way the wearer feels and performs. During a 1988 study, Cornell University’s Mark G. Frank and Thomas Gilovich showed 25 subjects a series of images of hockey and football team uniforms in different colors. They found that the subjects were more likely to label those in black uniforms as more aggressive than those in other colors. The researchers also concluded that hockey players wearing black team apparel acted more aggressively on the ice.
In a similar study, Olympic athletes wearing red were found to be more likely to defeat those in blue uniforms, according to researchers from the University of Durham, Russell Hill and Robert Barton.
Of course, if red and black uniform colors were actually a dominant factor in determining the success of a team, the Atlanta Falcons would have won a Super Bowl by now and the New York Yankees would not have earned 26 World Series titles. Nonetheless, if you’re choosing a design for your custom team uniforms, it might not hurt to go with something red and black.