Listen to Music and Improve Your Game

“Just like music, sports elevates us to new levels of achievement.”

-Randy Castillo

Music and sports have always been connected. We listen to music while working out in the gym, while on a morning run, getting ready for practice, or a bunch of other physical activities. Music is played before, during, and after different sports tournaments, be it the national anthem, the Olympic hymn, or upbeat music. It accompanies the victories and the defeats. Music ‘pumps up’ the audience before a game, and sets the relevant mood for any consequent event. However, this applies to the athletes as well! In this blog, you will find out how music influences an athlete’s performance and how it helped (and still helps) professional athletes in competitions.

When the first Olympic games were held in ancient Greece, musicians would gather and play. Musicians announced the events, addressed the audience, and accompanied the contests. Music was especially present during the long jump in a contest called “pentathlon.” This happened because ancient Greeks believed that music would improve motor coordination, encourage and motivate athletes to perform better. Even in those times, people saw a correlation between music and sports. Nowadays, there is solid research to support the claim that music does, in fact, aid an athlete’s performance. 

Screen Shot 2021-03-07 at 10.49.17 PM.png

Psychological Benefits

A well-known study done by Brunel University has shown that strategically picked out music “can significantly increase a person’s physical endurance” and ease cardio exercises. In this study, the participants were required to run on a treadmill and keep in time with the beat of the music they listened to. What exactly did they listen to? A range of genres: pop and rock, including Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Queen, and Madonna. Researchers concluded that the synchronization of music beats and exercising created a 15% increase in physical endurance. A fixed rhythm can help maintain heart rate, which improves stamina and performance. Music also reduces the feeling of tiredness

Famous athletes use this technique in their training. For example, this phenomenon allowed Haile Gebrselassie, an Ethiopian long-distance track and road running athlete, to set a world record in a 2000 meter race in 1998 in the U.K. He matched his tempo with the tempo of the music that was playing while the marathon was taking place. And the track that was playing - “Scatman” by Scatman John, was a very fast music track. 

Professional athletes listen to...

Screen Shot 2021-03-07 at 10.49.21 PM.png

We associate music with happy events or sad ones. Thus, music can prepare us for a particular event. Athletes revealed that they would listen to calm music throughout the time of the tournament, and a specific song just before the game. They also say that music helps them get into the right state of mind and calms them down. Listening to music that reminds you of success will positively affect your mindset, preparing you for action. Michael Jordan once reported that as his pre-game ritual, he listened to Anita Baker’s “Giving You The Best That I Got.” He drew the match-winning shot in that game. Jordan really did ‘give the best’ that he had. 

Every athlete has his or her own music artists that help them in their training. LeBron James listens to Kanye, Jay-Z, and Wiz Khalifa. Usain Bolt listens to Reggae, Bob Marley, and hip hop. Maria Sharapova listens to Adele, Madonna, Florence, and the Machine, U2. 

Because of the scientific findings, sports companies like Nike started to produce their own Spotify playlists, featuring music that helps alleviate your workout and boosts endurance. These are playlists with motivational lyrics and beats to pump up your heart rate. What music do you listen to during workouts?

Athletes in Music

Many athletes are also musicians. Shaquille O’Neal released four rap albums; the debut album was then certified platinum in the United States. He contributed to soundtracks and was featured in Michael Jackson’s song in 1995. Shaquille now mainly DJs and participates in rap battles with other NBA players. Wayman Tisdale, after retiring from his career as a professional basketball player, went on to pursue his dream in jazz. As a bassist, he released eight albums, one of which topped the contemporary jazz Billboard chart back in 2001. 

Overall, music can accompany you in many different aspects of life, especially in sports. According to scientific research, an elaborate approach to choosing a workout playlist will positively affect your mood, elevate performance and lessen the levels of fatigue. Listen to music and stay positive even at times of defeat, because those times are simply a chance to grow and improve for the better!

“Sports without music, it’s nothing but a game. Music adds the emotion.”

-Ice Cube

Works Cited

Brunel University. "Jog To The Beat: Music Increases Exercise Endurance By 15%." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 Oct. 2008.

Cammett, Nick. “Music does more than hype athletes, it helps prep the brain for action” Global Sport Matters, 2019, 

Klein, JoAnna. “Does Running with Music Make a Difference?» Brain World.” Brain World, 5 Nov. 2013, 

KU Leuven. “Ancient Olympics.” Ancient Olympics, 2012,,their%20talents%20to%20the%20world

Laskey, Eli. “Got Bars? Famous Athletes That Starred as Musicians.” TieBreaker, 28 Oct. 2019,  

Matthey, James. “Michael Jordan’s Pre-Game Ritual Involved Listening to Anita Baker’s Giving You the Best That I’ve Got.” NewsComAu, 18 June 2015, 

Pennell, Eric. “The Best and Worst Athletes Turned Musicians.” Bleacher Report, 24 Aug. 2011, 

Rose, Clive. “Why music is so important to athletes.” Athlete Network, 

Voo, Brian. “Music World Class Athletes Listen To.” Hongkiat, 6 July 2013,


The Interesting Link Between One’s Emotions and One’s Game


Team Vs. Individual Sports: Here is What You Should Know About Their Impact On Mental Health