If you’ve ever wondered why athletes tape their wrists, you’re not alone. As a child, I always thought athletes taped their wrists just to look cool but that usually isn’t the case.
So why do athletes tape their wrists? The main reason athletes tape their wrists is for additional support. Additional wrist support can prevent sprains, dislocations and fractures. Along with providing support, athletes wear wrist tape when trying to look cool, coming back from injuries and/or because they’re superstitious.
To learn more about why athletes tape their wrists and how to perform a tape job, we encourage you to read on.
Wrist Support for Athletes
Wrist tape offers additional support for athletes without hindering movement. Athletes might tape up their wrists for a number of reasons. One of the main benefits of wearing wrist tape is that it helps cushion falls.
When falling to the ground, our natural reaction as humans is to brace ourselves with our hands. This can lead to sprained, dislocated or even broken wrists. Taping of the wrists prevents the likelihood that any of these happen.
Athletes also tape their wrists due to the explosive nature of their sports. You’d be hard-pressed to find a lineman in football who doesn’t tape their wrists.
This is because the position is very brutal and involves men of immense size and power exploding into each other as hard as they can.
These battles can result in players falling or being taken to the ground, increasing the chance of injury. Because there’s the chance of a 300lb man falling on them each and every play, it’s worth it for linemen to tape their wrists.
The same can be said for other sports. In soccer, goalies tape their wrists due to the high velocity that shots come at them. A goalie that doesn’t tape their wrists is asking for trouble.
It’s not uncommon for other positions on the soccer field to tape their wrists as well due to the amount of falling down that happens within the sport.
Baseball is another sport that sees players taping their wrists. The reason baseball players tape their wrists is to offer additional support in the event they get hit by the ball.
Bad things are liable to happen if a 90+ mph fastball makes contact with an unprotected wrist. Added support at the plate can also lead to an increased sense of confidence knowing that if you do get hit, you’re more likely to be fine.
A lot of baseball players also like to tape their wrists on their glove hands. This offers additional support and reduces the impact of fielding/catching hard-hit balls.
The catching position is a perfect example of why someone might want to wear wrist tape. For most games, catchers have to catch over 100 pitches thrown at them.
When those pitches routinely come in at 85+ mph, additional wrist support is a must. It’s not uncommon to see first basemen wearing wrist tape on their glove hands either.
This is because the position has to catch balls rocketed to them from the rest of the infield.
Using Tape to Come Back from Injuries
To go along with wearing wrist tape for preventative measures, tape is also used to help athletes come back from injuries.
The use of wrist tape and the additional support that comes from it reduces the likelihood that a reinjury takes place. This allows athletes to ease back into action until they feel comfortable enough not to use tape (if they so choose) or to come back full-time.
Wrist tape shouldn’t be used if there’s a fracture or ligament tear involved with the injury. Players should also consult medical professionals if there’s any doubt in their mind if they should tape their wrists.
This isn’t a problem for professional teams as there are always doctors and trainers on staff.
Athlete Aesthetics / Superstitions in Sports
The primary use of wrist tape is to prevent injuries, but athletes also like to wear tape for aesthetic purposes. Basically, players think wearing the tape makes them look cool.
While wearing wrist tape may or may not make them look cooler, it does translate into increased confidence. A player who feels comfortable in their own skin is more likely to produce results in their given sport than a player(s) who is unsure of themselves.
As long as players don’t allow this confidence to turn into cockiness, there’s no downside to wearing tape to look cool. Wrist tape also allows players the option to cover up any kind of jewelry that has a special meaning to them and can’t be showing/hanging.
So while players aren’t able to show off their jewelry, they still get to wear it, satisfying any superstitions.
Another reason an athlete might use wrist tape is because they’re superstitious.
Superstitious athletes believe certain outcomes are more or less likely to happen based on their actions. There are superstitious players in every sport but superstitions are especially prevalent in baseball.
An example of a superstition could be an athlete shaking hands with all their teammates prior to a game, believing it helps improve their performance.
If a player is coming off a game that they performed well in, it’s not uncommon for them to try to replicate everything that led up to that performance.
The application of wrist tape and how much tape is used could be things a player might be superstitious about.
How Do You Tape Your Wrists?
Taping your wrist(s) isn’t difficult but it’s important you do it correctly so you don’t cut off circulation to your hand. You also don’t want to tape your wrist too loosely, as this won’t provide much support.
There are many types of tape and taping methods you can employ. Here’s one of the more basic ways to tape your wrist(s):