5 Clenching Your Left Hand Defuses Stressful Situations
No matter what game you're playing, chances are that the final moments are going to come down to some edge-of-your-seat high-pressure situation -- that deciding field goal, the crucial free throw in the last seconds of a basketball game, or, if you're desperate for entertainment, that teeth-clenching putt on the 18th hole. If you're an athlete, you know that this moment can be the difference between getting carried out of the stadium by adoring teammates and having spectators shower you with their own poop.
"Do you want me to go chimpanzee on your ass? With my ass?"
Science thinks that there's a simple way to decrease your risk of going home smelling like poop -- athletes can defuse a high-pressure situation just by clenching their left hand. And yes, oddly enough, it does have to be the left hand.
The study tested the skills of experienced athletes of three different sports -- soccer, judo, and badminton (you know, the three most popular ones). In pressure situations, the athletes were asked to squeeze a ball in one of their hands. The results were the same in all three experiments: Those who squeezed a ball in their left hand did just as well as, if not significantly better than, they had done during practice. But, bizarrely, those who squeezed their right hand tended to choke and mess up.
"Just got the call from upstairs. They said execute all the righties."
It's been theorized that this works because the clenching of the left hand might activate the right hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with "superior performance in automated behavior" -- basically, the clenching helps prevent the athlete from overthinking what he's doing, thus letting the action come naturally. Regardless of the outcome of the study, we like to think that the researchers just liked watching people fuck up.
4 Watching Erotic Movies Boosts Your Potential
Hundreds of expensive, rigorous scientific studies across many decades have concluded that men like to watch a lot of porn. But in case you needed another excuse, studies have also shown that watching porn can improve your sports performance. And we don't just mean by working out the right bicep.
You should probably switch hands every so often.
In the study, a group of athletes were shown short video clips in five different categories -- sad, erotic, aggressive, training motivational, and humorous, which served as a control video. (We here in the Cracked offices can confirm that comedy is the opposite of sports.)
The researchers noted a significant improvement in the athletes' performances after they watched erotic, aggressive, or training films, with the opposite occurring after the funny and sad videos. It's believed that this has something to do with testosterone, which plays an important role in the growth of muscle mass and strength and increased bone density. Saliva samples taken from the athletes showed that watching the erotic or aggressive videos gave the participants' testosterone levels a short-term boost.
"It's the eyyyyyyyyyye of the tiger ..."
The only problem is that it's hard to take advantage of the effect -- after looking at porn, most people would rather look at more porn than go out and play football.