For many sports fans, chewing gum is synonymous with disappointing moments. It’s a sad, yet inevitable fact about the world of professional sports. Players who are elite at their sport often find themselves struggling to maintain the same level of play once the adrenaline has subsided and they have returned to normal life.

In some cases, this struggle can be a result of an imperfect or unfavorable environment in which to train and perform at one’s best. If you’ve spent any time following baseball during the offseason, chances are you’ve noticed players chewing gum quite a bit more frequently than usual.

The reason for this increase in gum-chewing probably isn’t what you think it is – and we’re not talking about those wacky chew toy baseballs that some people put up on Amazon or something similar.

Instead, the increased urge to chew gum among professional baseball players can offer insight into what happens during the season and off-season when things aren’t going well for them on the field or court.

Why Baseball Players Chew Gum

The popularity of chewing gum among professional baseball players has been on the rise over the past decade, according to a survey conducted by the American Dental Association.

In 2005, only 24% of baseball players surveyed said they chewed gum regularly, but that number has jumped to 70% today. There are a number of possible reasons why many baseball players have increased interest in gum over the years.

For one thing, gum’s ability to reduce stress and promote calmness is especially helpful if a player is under a lot of pressure to perform.

The chewing gum phenomenon

What’s happening with baseball players and gum isn’t a new fad; it’s a sign of a much larger phenomenon in the sports world. Chewing gum is now so common among professional athletes that it’s earned a name of its own: “the chewing gum phenomenon.” It’s a big deal.

How chewing gum affects performance

Gum chewing effects performance during practice and workouts for a few reasons. Chewing gum helps baseball players relax and reduce anxiety when they’re about to perform a stressful task, like taking a swing in a baseball game.

Unlike other substances that athletes can sometimes get high from, like anabolic steroids, the gum doesn’t impair their ability to think clearly and make good decisions.

And while chewing gum isn’t going to help a baseball player hit the ball farther or faster while they’re practicing or competing against a team, chewing gum can help players relax and improve their focus, making them more likely to put forth their best effort during competition.

The importance of routine and mental preparation

A great deal of professional baseball success can be attributed to the importance of routine and mental preparation. When a player is in a routine and prepares themselves mentally for a game or a practice, they are more likely to perform at a high level.

And while chewing gum can help relax a player and reduce anxiety, it can’t replace the benefits of a routine and mental preparation. This is why chewing gum is only used as a last resort when a player’s routine and mental preparation have been negatively affected.


Although chewing gum is often used as a healthy distraction from the stresses of life, it can also help professional baseball players maintain a high level of focus when they need to perform a task, like taking a swing in a baseball game.

In fact, chewing gum can help a player relax, focus, and perform better. But chewing gum can’t replace the benefits of a routine, like mental preparation and relaxation, so it’s best to use gum as a last resort when a player’s routine and mental preparation have been negatively affected.