Yes, singing. But to understand why it works you have to know something about the phenomenon we call "choking."
It happens to pro athletes in every sport, from the 1993 Houston Oilers (who famously blew a 35-3 lead in the playoffs) to figure skater Michelle Kwan in the Olympics. But why does it happen? An amateur fucking up is one thing, but a professional who has done nothing but train his/her entire life?
Validates our laziness?
Well, it turns out they are actually more likely to choke, and choke harder than any of us.
Basically, once you get the mechanics of a sport honed and perfected, it's best to just let it happen. Choking occurs when people who know better start thinking too hard about what they need to do. The added pressure forces your brain into a state called "paralysis by analysis" where the "working memory" part of your brain literally stops working, and the more talented you are the more working memory you have meaning the harder the failure.
But it turns out that the solution to all of it can be as simple as singing.
Research indicates that doing anything that your brain also controls (singing or humming) preoccupies your mind from the task at hand and will keep those pathways from becoming over active. This in turn keeps your working memory from shutting down and prevents you from choking. It's essentially just distracting your conscious mind long enough that your muscle memory can finish the job.
This man's catchy tunes could save your life.
Golfers consistently use a variation of this strategy to avoid psyching themselves out. They will count down from 10 while putting to keep their mind from over analyzing the situation. You probably participated in group song that time you served on the chain gang. Regardless of the activity, as long as you don't mind mouthing lyrics on the free-throw line or humming at the plate then it turns out providing your own soundtrack can actually help your game.
We hate it as much as you do when Glee ends up being right.
2Sports Drinks (But Not Why You Think)
Sports drinks are a huge business -- Gatorade alone makes well over a billion dollars a year. And the reason so many athletes swear by them is the promise of increased performance, replacing all those vital nutrients lost during exercise, just like the ads say.
"GIVE ME SIGHT BEYOND SIGHT!"
It turns out, however, that all that electrolyte and re-hydration technology is nothing compared to the simple pleasure of having a bunch of sugar in your mouth.
A study found that sports drinks work because they activate the pleasure center of your brain. You don't even have to drink them, just swishing some around in your mouth and spitting it out has the same effect.
However, motor oil will not "unlock the power" like the bottle says.
The carbohydrates in the drink stimulate receptors in your mouth that then send your brain messages that things are all totally cool. Your brain, in turn, becomes more active in the pleasure center, allowing you to enjoy feeling the burn far longer than some idiot without a sugary drink. It also stimulates the part of your brain in charge of movement control. So not only will you be content while kicking your water-drinking opponent's ass, you'll actually be kicking it harder.