The use of performance enhancing drugs has plagued the game of baseball over the past decade. Players who were looking to gain an advantage turned to illegal substances to help them throw the ball faster or hit the ball harder and farther. Many players were exposed as cheaters, which sullied their reputations and negated their achievements. If only they knew about a secret weapon that would have improved their performance, without jeopardizing their reputations. This secret weapon is perfectly legal and is also welcome in smelly locker rooms that have been known to get a little stale due to sweaty players and dirty uniforms. What is this secret weapon? Jasmine oil.
Before you click out of this site, give me a few minutes to make the case for using jasmine to improve hitting. In 2012, a study by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago concluded that there was a direct connection between jasmine oil and enhanced performance. In the study, six Chicago White Sox players alternated between wearing jasmine-scented and unscented wristbands. They sniffed them once before swinging at 10 pitches in the batting cage at U.S. Cellular Field. Each player faced the same pitcher, who tried to throw the ball consistently to each batter.
In an interview, Dr. Alan Hirsch stated, “The pitcher and batting coaches rated how each player swung at the ball, connected for a hit, how far the ball went, how fast the swing was and whether the performance changed for better or worse. The pitcher and batting coaches didn’t know when the players were wearing the scented and unscented wristbands. Each batter rated how he felt about the swing and batting ability. Across the board, they were better with jasmine. They hit better. Their follow-through was better. The scent of jasmine could have put the players in a positive, happy mood, made them less nervous, or given them an extra boost of energy, leading them to perform better. Or it could have increased hand-eye coordination and alertness.”
I read about this study soon after it was published and immediately went to my local GNC store where I bought a one ounce jar for $9.95. I couldn’t wait to get in my car to take a whiff. I found the aroma to be pleasant, but if I’m being honest, I wasn’t sold that it would help my hitters.
At this point, you are probably expecting me to write about how all of my hitters increased their bat speed and consistency by putting jasmine oil on their batting gloves, wristbands, or the grips of their bats. Unfortunately, I don’t have any scientific proof that my hitters who decided to start sniffing jasmine hit any better than they did before I gave them their first jar. However, I do believe the study has some validity, because I brought some jasmine oil along with me on my long bike ride across Iowa last summer. Each day, I would apply jasmine oil to my biking gloves for periodic sniffs along the route. I found that soon after taking a whiff, I felt more energized and the pedaling seemed easier and I was definitely more alert.
Even if the study is totally wrong, sniffing a little jasmine before entering the batter’s box is harmless, but it could give hitters a psychological boost. I welcome anything that will increase the confidence of hitters or will cause them to have more fun. I KNOW that increased confidence and a positive attitude will improve hitting perfomance…..smelling good is an added bonus?