Article published: 06/08/2010: in Rajkot Plus, The Times of India
In this modernized era of sports, many players are frequently noticed going out on the ground chewing a gum. Sometimes, few minds may raise questions why do they do it on the field; comments may be thrown that these guys are there to compete, not to chew..!! Well, as an answer to such questions and comments, the reasons are plenty.
Chewing the gum obviously has some biological advantages: First, it improves the concentration. At work, chewing gum helps to concentrate on the task at hand. Many truck drivers find that chewing gum helps them stay alert at the wheel. So, same way it will definitely help the sportspersons also to improve their concentration and pinpoint their focus.
Second, it helps to relieve tension. Scientific studies have revealed that chewing eases down muscular tension and helps people feel more comfortable. This indicates that, in a tense atmosphere or during a cliffhanger, chewing the gum might help the players to settle down their nerves and combat the anxiety, which may help in keeping the panic at bay, which in turn will assist them to perform better.
Few of the general benefits are that it refreshes the breath, provides a low calorie snack and helps fight tooth decay.
In addition to the above mentioned biological advantages, chewing a gum offers an invaluable psychological edge to the sportspersons over their opponents (who may not be chewing a gum). When a player is chewing a gum, it reflects the attitude and aggression of the player during his outing, leaving an extraordinary impact on the opposition. The player chewing a gum appears vigorous and fully active on the field; it certainly provides a highly positive body language, a greatly motivated look and it sends a clear signal to the rivals about the intentions. Such a demeanour might intimidate the opposition, making them nervous and prone to make mistakes for the benefit of the chewer’s team.
Therefore, chewing a gum on the sports field is not at all a casual gesture, it’s actually a smart one with a purpose. Players like Yusuf Pathan and Ricky Ponting (Indian and Australian cricketers respectively) have been seen often chewing a gum while on the field.