How Do Athletes Tie Their Hair While Playing Sports?

woman exercising tying up hair

How Do Athletes Tie Their Hair While Playing Sports?


If there's one unifying element across the globe, it's sports. People all over the world have at least one sport they either participate in or cheer for. But beyond the cheers and goals, free throws, and touchdowns, the one aspect that often goes unnoticed is the athletes' hair game. There's a whole science behind how athletes tie their hair while playing, and it's as intriguing as any on-field strategy.

In this blog post, we’ll uncover the fascinating strategies athletes use to manage their hair during the heat of competition. Let's get started.


Why Do Athletes Need to Manage Their Hair?


Before we delve into the various ways athletes manage their hair, it's crucial to understand why hair management is such an integral part of sports:


1) To Ensure Visibility


 woman athlete running

Credit: Envato Elements/ realsportsphotos


The primary reason athletes manage their hair during games is to ensure optimal visibility. Unmanaged hair can potentially block an athlete's view at crucial moments. Picture a footballer missing a goal, a tennis player failing to land a serve, or a runner misjudging the finish line, all because of uncontrolled hair. Sports demand sharp focus and precise vision, and there's no room for interruptions.


2) To Ensure Safety


Safety is another significant factor. Loose hair can easily get caught in equipment, risking not just the performance but the athlete’s safety as well. For instance, sports involving heavy machinery, like rowing or weightlifting, can turn dangerous if the hair gets caught.


3) To Ensure Comfort


 woman athlete crossing arms

Credit: Envato Elements/ Chayantorn


Comfort is key in any sport. If an athlete is constantly tugging at their hair, trying to keep it in place, it can be a huge distraction. Also, unmanaged hair sticking to the skin due to sweat can cause discomfort, affecting the athlete's performance.


4) A Symbol of Discipline


Lastly, well-managed hair reflects discipline and professionalism. Sports isn’t just about physical strength or talent; it’s about portraying a certain level of discipline and dedication to the game, and a neat hairstyle can mirror these attributes.


How Do Athletes Tie Their Hair


Now that we know the why, let's delve into how athletes tie their hair while playing sports. Here are the different hairstyles used in different sports:


1) Soccer


 woman playing outdoor soccer

Credit: Envato Elements/ drazenphoto


Soccer players, with their hair often exposed, have developed a keen sense of tying their hair to withstand the intensities of 90-minute matches. A lot of soccer players prefer to tie their hair into a bun at the nape or the crown of the head to prevent the hair from blocking their view.

Alternatively, some players also prefer braids. Braids, such as French braids, fishtail braids, or Dutch braids, can keep hair secure throughout the game. And with creativity, there's no limit to the braiding styles one can adopt.


2) Tennis


In tennis, hairstyles need to withstand swift movements and sudden turns. While soccer players focus on buns and braids, tennis players typically prefer a ponytail. The classic high ponytail offers simplicity and functionality and helps to keep hair in one place while allowing the player to move freely. Some tennis players also opt to twist their ponytails into a bun, especially those with longer hair, adding an extra layer of security.


3) Basketball


 women playing basketball

Credit: Envato Elements/ YuriArcursPeopleImages


Basketball demands hairstyles that can endure constant motion and occasional contact. Here, like most sports, high ponytails have earned a top spot, providing a resilient solution that stays intact throughout the game. 

Other options include buns, and braids, all tailored to allow unhindered movement and vision. Players that have a natural hair type prefer to opt for cornrows or box braids.


4) Running


When it comes to long-distance runners, their chosen hairstyle must endure the entire duration of the race. A common sight among these athletes is the high ponytail, which offers practicality and reliability. To enhance endurance, many runners choose to braid their ponytails.

Runners with short hair, shoulder-length hair, and medium-length hair also have their own tactical approach, often opting to leave their hair loose and keeping it back with headbands or bandanas to ensure that their focus is undeterred.


5) Ice Hockey


 woman ice hockey player

Credit: Envato Elements/ seventyfourimages


Ice hockey, along with other helmeted sports, presents its own hair challenges. Athletes here often sport short haircuts or hairstyles that can be securely tied and comfortably accommodate a helmet. For those with long locks, braids, and buns are the preferred choice, neatly tucked beneath their protective gear.


6) Swimming


Although swimming may seem unusual to mention due to the standard swim cap, there is a strategic approach to tying hair for swimmers. Typically, swimmers with long hair twist it into a tight bun or tuck it into a fishtail braid, among other braid variations, before wearing the swim cap. This method serves two purposes: it protects the hair from chlorinated water and ensures that the cap remains securely in place during swift underwater strokes.

On the other hand, swimmers with a shorter hair length type often opt to pin their hair back before putting on the swim cap. This keeps their hair out of their face and ensures a snug fit of the cap.


7) Gymnastics


 woman on balance beam

Credit: Envato Elements/ realsportsphotos


Gymnastics and figure skating require a hairstyle that can withstand twirls, flips, jumps, and spins. Hence, the secure, low-movement bun is a go-to choice. Athletes often opt for the classic high bun or the braided bun. For extra security, these hairstyles are usually sprayed with hair spray and pinned down with multiple bobby pins.


8) Wrestling


In wrestling, loose hair can be a hazard. Therefore, wrestlers often opt for very tight hairstyles. Tight buns and tightly braided ponytails are common choices. These styles ensure that the hair doesn’t interfere with the match and also prevents opponents from grabbing the hair during the competition.


The Role of Hair Accessories and Hair Products in Sports


 women running group

Credit: Envato Elements/ jacoblund


In sports, every minute detail can have a significant impact, and hair is no exception. Athletes rely heavily on a range of accessories and hair products to keep their hair in place during the game. Here's a rundown of some key items and their importance:


Hair Accessories


Hair accessories are the unsung heroes on the field or court, providing essential grip and hold to hairdos. Below is a list of accessories that are commonly used by athletes:




  • Hair Tie: From securing a ponytail to holding a braid, hair ties are an absolute necessity. They come in various sizes and materials, each suited to different hair types and styles.
  • Elastic Headband and Bandana: Elastic headbands and bandanas help keep hair off the face and absorb sweat, enhancing visibility and comfort during the game.
  • Bobby Pin and Hair Clip: Bobby pins and hair clips secure any loose strands or baby hairs, ensuring the hairstyle stays intact.
  • Hair Nets: Used in sports like gymnastics and swimming, hair nets help keep hair completely contained.


Hair Products


In addition to accessories, athletes also rely on various hair products to maintain their desired hairstyles and withstand the demands of physical activity and the elements. Below are the most common hair products used by athletes:


  • Hair Spray and Hair Wax: Hair sprays and hair wax ensure that hairstyles stay put. Athletes often use strong-hold products to maintain their hair throughout the game.
  • Hair Gel and Cream: These products can be used to tame frizz, manage curls, and add structure and hold to hairstyles.
  • Conditioner and Hair Mask: Post-game, athletes need to restore moisture and strength to their hair. Regular use of conditioners and hair masks can counter the damaging effects of sweat, sun, and chlorine.
  • Dry Shampoo: When there's no time for a full hair wash, dry shampoos come to the rescue. They absorb excess oil and sweat, freshening up the hair and adding volume.




Whether you're an athlete actively participating in sports or a passionate sports enthusiast, gaining insight into the hairstyles athletes use while playing can provide a fresh perspective on their dedication and meticulous attention to detail. This often-overlooked aspect adds an additional layer of excitement and intrigue to the sporting world. So, the next time you find yourself watching a game, take a moment to appreciate the player's hair game.

And, speaking of hair management in sports, are you tired of hair ties that snap or slip during intense workouts? That's where Burlybands come in. Designed specifically for high-intensity activities, these hair ties are perfect for heavy, unruly, and thick hair that needs extra support. Shop with us today.

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