Sports psychology is a somewhat young discipline. As such it’s first ventured into the group sports and avenues where team relations can actually determine the victor. But as time goes by day by day there’s new interesting studies done regarding grappling.
One such study revealed something rather interesting – that there’s evidence of winning bias for the athlete who is first called on the mat in a judo match up.
This unique study, published in Frontiers in Psychology was initially interested in whether the color of the uniform had any influence over the victor. Traditionally, the first called player always wore a blue gi, but after a rule change in 2011 the first called player switched to the white gi.
Prior to the rule change it was widely believed that the player in blue was more likely to win with little attention paid to the actual athlete.
Science daily writes:
“A unique policy change in judo switched the uniform colour assignment of the first called athlete, who is normally known to be the better athlete,” Dr Dijkstra explains. “The change showed that before 2011 the blue judogi athletes won more matches, and, not surprisingly, after the colour switch the white judogi athletes won more contests. We found that there was no effect at all of uniform colour itself on winning in judo.”
“We have shown that using a blue-white pairing ensures an equal level of play in judo. This colour pairing could be an alternative for sports where red-blue pairings are commonly used,” suggests Dr Dijkstra. “Given the strong association that sports fans have with their team’s colour a change is not going to happen overnight. But it should be considered in competitive sports, if we want to level the playing field.”
Peter D. Dijkstra, Paul T. Y. Preenen, Hans van Essen. Does Blue Uniform Color Enhance Winning Probability in Judo Contests? Frontiers in Psychology, 2018; 9 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00045