Athletes Wear Wristbands for a Number of Important Reasons

Tennis player prepares to hit tennis ball.
©boggy22 via

While watching sports or playing them yourself, you’ve probably noticed athletes sporting different kinds of wristbands. I’ve never worn a wristband when playing a sport before but the benefits of doing so are apparent in certain situations. Depending on the sports you like to play, you might want to consider the benefits of wearing wristbands going forward.

So why do athletes wear wristbands?

Athletes wear wristbands primarily to absorb and prevent sweat from running onto their hands. Sweat on the hands can lead to decreased grip, which can have a huge impact on tennis players and athletes of other sports as well. Athletes also wear wristbands to promote causes and to look cool.

Tennis players tend to wear wristbands the most due to the need to grip rackets for multiple hours at a time. To learn about the different types of wristbands athletes wear and the reasons behind doing so, we encourage you to read on.

Sweat Absorbent Wristbands

Tennis players prepare to play doubles.
©dima_sidelnikov via

The main reason athletes wear cloth wristbands is to help absorb sweat to prevent it from running onto their hands. This is especially important for tennis players who have to grip tennis racquets for hours at a time.

For these players, any loss of grip can result in losing points, games, matches and potential sponsorships.

Not every tennis player wears wristbands but they’re a pretty common sight among the professionals. If a pro does use a wristband, it’s almost certainly on their racquet hand to prevent sweat from running down their arms and onto their hands.

Sometimes professional tennis players wear wristbands on their non-racquet hands but this isn’t quite as common. Wearing a wristband also allows players to swipe sweat away from their face or foreheads.

Along with tennis players, many other athletes across the sporting world wear wristbands. A lot of basketball players like to wear wristbands and/or sleeves on their arms.

Much like tennis players, the use of these items prevents sweat from running down onto their hands, which would lead to decreased grip on the basketball.

Cloth wristbands are also a good option for runners who want to keep sweat out of their faces. This can pretty much be said for any sport that involves the players being outside for a prolonged period of time, such as soccer or cricket.

It’s not super common to see gym-goers wearing wristbands while working out, but you’ll see it from time-to-time. The main reason why someone would wear wristbands in the gym is to prevent their hands from getting sweaty, as that would lead to decreased grip.

Grip strength is important for anyone lifting weights but especially for those lifting heavy weights. Dropping any weights on yourself can have life-altering consequences.

While the primary purpose of wearing wristbands is to absorb sweat and prevent it from running onto the hands, they also provide some shock absorption.

This shock absorption is beneficial for dunking in basketball, tennis players who snap their wrists for hours on end, baseball players who are hitting and fielding ground balls, batting cricket players and the list goes on.

Athletic tape generally serves this purpose better than that of cloth wristbands but it’s still an option.

Superstitious Athletes May Wear Wristbands

Many athletes will wear wristbands because they believe doing so will positively affect the way they play or the outcomes of their games/events.

If an athlete wears a wristband and performs well or wins a contest, they may correlate their success to the wristband and continue wearing it in future contests. In their minds, there’s no reason to mess with success.

Superstitions are a part of the sporting world at large but are especially prevalent in baseball. Tons of baseball players will recreate their actions leading up to a game if they performed well in previous games.

These actions could be stretching in a certain fashion, sitting in a certain part of the dugout, drawing in the dirt before batting, digging their feet in a certain amount of times in the batter’s box, eating certain foods before they play and many other things. If you can imagine it, someone has probably done it.

Different Types of Wristbands

Professional basketball player dribbles ball toward basket.

There are many different types of wristbands that athletes wear during their events. Cloth wristbands are the preferred option for keeping sweat off the hands and for wiping sweat off from the face.

Wristbands generally aren’t made of athletic tape, but this type of tape can be used to provide athletes with additional wrist support to prevent injuries.

Many positions in football are known to use athletic tape to support their wrists as well. Offensive and defensive linemen tape their wrists the most due to the explosive nature of the position.

These giants of men have to ram into each other each play, which can lead to wrists being severely damaged on one play or over time.

The athletic tape they use increases shock absorption and prevents the likelihood that their wrists bend back the normal range of motion. These are the same reasons why any athlete would use athletic tape to tape their wrists.

Many soccer players opt to protect their wrists with tape because there are lots of instances in soccer where they might fall to the ground, whether they trip, fall trying to gain possession or are fouled.

As humans, our natural instinct is to stick our hands out to protect ourselves as we fall.

While this seems logical, it can lead to instances where we fall awkwardly on our wrists and potentially dislocate, sprain or break them.

The tape provides an extra form of protection and prevents these disastrous outcomes from happening.

Silicone wristbands also aren’t an uncommon sight to see athletes wearing. These wristbands don’t offer any kind of performance edge but do allow athletes to express themselves and promote causes that are dear to their hearts.

Raising Awareness for Cancer, Children, and Other Causes

Person holds silicone wristband.
©Viktoriya Abdullina via

Athletes are also known to wear silicone wristbands to help raise awareness for causes that they believe in. The first prominent athlete to start this trend was Lance Armstrong with his “Livestrong” bracelets.

Armstrong founded the Livestrong Foundation in 1997 to help raise awareness for cancer. Cancer awareness was very important to Armstrong because he faced his own battles with testicular cancer.

Cancer later spread to his brain, forcing him to undergo multiple surgeries in 1996 to remove the cancer. Years after the surgeries, Armstrong went on to win his first of seven consecutive Tour de France titles in 1999.

Armstrong became a sensation after his first title and became a symbol of hope and inspiration for those with and without cancer around the world.

Despite Armstrong’s submission to Oprah in 2013 that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his Tour de France victories, there are tons of people who still respect Armstrong for significantly raising cancer awareness.

Today, Livestrong is a household name and these bracelets are still being sold. No matter what you think of Armstrong, he persevered through cancer and serves as an inspiration for people around the world.

Andy Roddick was another athlete who wore silicone wristbands to promote a cause. The wristbands Roddick wore while playing tennis said “No Compromise” and were intended to raise support for underprivileged children.

All the proceeds from these wristbands went to the Andy Roddick Foundation, which was founded in 2000 and gave disadvantaged youth additional opportunities to learn, thrive and succeed.

LeBron James also tends to wear wristbands during his basketball games. These wristbands say “I Promise” and signify the promise LeBron made to Akron public school students.

The students promised they would continue going to school and that they would treat everyone around them with respect, while making good decisions.

LeBron also made his own promise to the students by promising to be a good role model to them on and off the court. As great of a basketball player that LeBron is, he’s shown that he’s a better person.

Additionally, athletes may wear wristbands to call attention to some kind of injustice in the world they feel strongly about or simply because they think wristbands are fashionable.

It’s also not uncommon for athletes to wear wristbands with some kind of motivational phrase to keep them going strong during their contest.

While there are many reasons why an athlete might wear a wristband, they’re mainly used to help them keep sweat off their hands and face.

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Steven G.

My name is Steven and I love everything sports! I created this website to share my passion with all of you. Enjoy!

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