The uniqueness of soccer affords us so many things to witness. It allows great sports fans to witness some traditions and rituals. And it is a known fact that many traditions done in different sports have their reasons unexplained.
As a result, soccer fans are left to wonder the exact reason for the traditions. When fans and soccer players aren’t aware of the reason for holding hands, the tradition becomes undervalued.
Most of the traditions practiced in most sports, especially soccer, have their advantages, and most of them have good reasons.
This is why this article has been dedicated to getting a closer view of the reasons why soccer players are seen to be engaged in the rituals of holding their hands in soccer matches.
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- Why Do Soccer Players Raise Their Hands?
Why do soccer players hold hands?
Just like it was mentioned above, no actions taken by humans consistently do not have a reason, a source, and possibly a goal.
This applies to soccer players too and various athletes in various sports. Their consistently repeated actions are most likely envisaged because of an end goal.
This part of the article will shed more light on why this is also seen in soccer and why it has been the order of the day in the beautiful sport.
To start or end a match
You often see players from both teams shaking hands before the match is started, this is one of the procedures that both teams must follow before starting a match.
Then there was the handshake of the two captains of the two teams, and other handshakes with the referees.
These are handshakes that promise the spirit of Fairplay and adherence to the rules of the two teams for the match.
Besides, it is also easy to see players from both teams shaking hands after finishing a dramatic match, or compatriot players holding hands intimately, …
You usually see this if you watch a full Premier League game. The above shows the spirit of solidarity and Fairplay in soccer.
To commemorate certain characters or events
Several tragic, historic, happy, or milestone events occur in the game of soccer. And sometimes, before a match starts, players of both teams usually gather around near the halfway line, holding their hands to commemorate certain characters or events.
This tradition is done as a sign of respect for the event or character being celebrated, honored, or remembered.
The commemoration of these events usually happens on the exact day the event took place in the past, or the nearest match day to the event. For instance, soccer players hold hands to mark the birthday celebration of a club legend.
A perfect example of this was when the players of Napoli honored Argentine and club legend, Diego Maradona after he passed away due to a cardiac arrest.
Before the start of their match against HNK Rijeka which they won 2 – 0, players of Napoli wore Maradona shirts, observing a pre match minute silence while holding hands.
To boost morale before a match
Tradition is an important pillar of any well-organized sporting activity. And holding hands is one of those long-lasting traditions that is seen in many sports, not only in soccer.
And one of the common aims for which players engage themselves in this aged tradition is to help boost their morale before the kick-off.
Anxiety is one of the most natural feelings humans exhibit. However, for any match, and especially in some decisive ones, players may begin to develop cold feet due to reassurance of what might happen in the course of the game
In many cases, there are many players who, due to anxiety, were not stable at the start of a very decisive match. Many had this same experience on their debut.
And holding hands happens to be one of the most unlikely prescriptions for the problem of anxiety before a match, but it happens and proves to be an effective solution indeed.
Due to the effectiveness of touch, which hands are highly sensitive to, the tradition effectively makes players feel comfortable, reduces the voice of their fears (anxiety), and helps them look forward to the match ahead.
Touch is one way a human can communicate since the sense organ of a human generally is sensitive to touch. Through this means, while holding hands with teammates, a better feeling, which can overcome the feeling of anxiety, is instilled.
This feeling, which can be said to be a solution to overcome the anxiety problem, is the second reason that will be discussed in this article as to why soccer players hold hands.
To feel secure and comfortable
One of the feelings that can be instilled in any human during the process of holding hands is the feeling of security. And it should be noted that this feeling of security can help anyone overcome the feeling of anxiety.
When soccer players hold hands like the humans that they are, it helps them feel comfortable and secure enough to carry out their appointed assignments on the soccer pitch.
When soccer players are not comfortable with themselves, there will surely be an issue of misunderstanding and lack of trust. And when there is a lack of trust in a soccer team, it shows in their performance on the pitch.
For example, a player who is well positioned to receive a pass from a teammate might not receive the pass due to lack of trust and disagreements. As a result, the player who’s supposed to play the pass will make another decision which may not bring a positive outcome.
And to ensure that this mischievous experience does not occur in a soccer team, it is better to prescribe a solution that is holding hands. As soccer players, they tend to send a message of being in agreement and comfortable with themselves.
To feel united
In the world, when the word “unity” is being mentioned, what comes to mind is a conglomeration of people who are holding hands and agreeing to an idea.
The tradition of holding hands, though it has an untraceable origin and has been in practice since time immemorial, still has a unique goal that has also been in existence for a very long time.
In soccer, players also channel tradition to make themselves one accord. And this is a very good way of helping each player on the team see themselves as a team player and make the team’s goals come before their personal goal as a player.
Holding hands before the start of the match sends a strong message of oneness among the players. As such, their performance as a “team” will be visible in their game play.
The presence of good teammate relationships, and togetherness increases the team’s chances of success in the long run.
Holding hands is a way through which teammates build emotional connections. It has been shown that holding hands is a good way to build an emotional connection. Emotional connection is not only for romantic relationships; it is essential for every relationship for empathetic reasons.
That is why when the opponents commit a foul against soccer players; you see their teammates angry and ready to fight for them. This is because they have built a level of connection emotionally, and they only want good things for their teammates.
And to a degree, the empathetic nature of teammates born due to their emotional attachment is for their own good. Since soccer is a team sport, any weak link can be a way through which the opponent might steal the victory.
So, with the knowledge of this, the players hold hands to strengthen their unity and boost their morale to stand tall against the opponent.
For goal and victory celebration
One of the most beautiful moments in the game of soccer is when a soccer team gets the ball to the back of their opponent’s net. The players of the team who score find several ways to express their joy. They do this in different styles and manners.
Some players raise their hands while celebrating their team’s goal, and some make a sliding run, and so on—an example of the most iconic goal celebrations by the Portuguese legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.
He is known for his “siuuuu” goal celebrations, and the goal celebration has been copied all over the world. So, some soccer players display their team spirit, dedication, and unity by holding hands to mark the celebration of their goals.
Also, the aims of every soccer team are identical in most cases. Most soccer teams aim to win the match.
And there are some decisive games, for example, a league’s final or the final match of any important competition. In the end, for any team that comes out the winner, it is most likely that the soccer players will hold their hands and bow in front of their fans.
This simple act is to show respect for the support from the fans throughout the competition. And this act is very well appreciated by many fans, who clap for the soccer players in turn. These kinds of instances are most likely seen after a victory.
To prevent an attack situation
This often happens when the defensive player is at a disadvantage in the situation of stopping the opponent’s attacking player.
If the defending player is left behind by the opponent in a challenge for the ball, the best way to stop the attack is to “hold their hands” to make a tactical foul.
The method can lead to a penalty by the referee, the defending player may receive a yellow or red card if used to block an attack that could lead to a goal for the opposing team.
To take pictures
It is a popular tradition that at the beginning of most soccer games, the teams playing take a picture, and it is common that while taking these pictures, most teammates hold themselves by the arm.
They rest their arms on themselves while taking the picture, and the meaning most teams are trying to depict with this form of hand-holding is still the fact that they are united and that they are ready as a team to take down their opponent.
This scenario is mostly seen in international matches, where teammates are seen standing together, holding their arms. However, many nations do not use this style when taking their pictures.
To depict Fairplay
As a form of holding hands, Handshakes also send signals and communication to the human brain. And before the COVID-19 pandemic, handshakes were a way through which soccer teams could show affection toward themselves before and after the soccer match.
Fist bumps have replaced it to reduce the transference of the coronavirus. But whether it is in the form of a handshake or a fist bump, the aim is to foster sportsmanship spirit and encourage fair play among teams.
Due to the competitive nature of each soccer game, there are instances where opposing players might have a heated argument or confrontation. But after the game, to exhibit true sportsmanship spirit, having a handshake might be necessary.
Soccer players are humans, and humans are known to be emotional beings, and as emotional beings, soccer players can be anxious before matches. And holding the hands of teammates can be a very good way to overcome the feeling of anxiety before a match.
Holding hands can help instill a feeling of security, which will help the soccer player feel comfortable and ready to play against the opponent. Likewise, holding hands is a way soccer players use to depict a spirit of solidarity amongst their team.
This can be a way to intimidate their opponent, and it can also be a way to help remind themselves of the fact that, as a team, with one aim, they need to all play as a team player, not a selfish one.
There are many ways in which soccer players celebrate their victory, and one of them is by holding the hands of their teammates to demonstrate solidarity. They also hold hands while about to take a picture, also to depict fair play, or exhibit the true spirit of sportsmanship.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!