Walking through a flood of uniform color could be an exhilarating experience – you feel as if you are part of something greater than yourself. That one home game during the sports season definitely accentuates the dedication and passion fans have, decked out in their team’s colors. Whether you’re watching the big game in person or on your television, the energy levels are skyrocketing. The entire environment is buzzing with competitive tension. Team spirit is at an all time high – the swarming seas of reds, the orange face paint, the yellow mascots- all piece together a grand experience for the fans.


Color plays an imminent role in the world of sports and fitness. There is, in fact, a psychology behind team colors, the walls of fitness centers, and, sometimes, even biased referees. Depending on a certain color pattern, such as stripes of contrasting colors, our eyes are drawn to certain teams- this can also apply to opposing teams and referees.

Looking at colors individually, each one gives off a certain energy and vibe. This is applicable to our daily lives, whether that’s deciding what color package to get or what color you should paint your walls. Color can influence our perceptions and behaviors. It may have a greater impact on athletic performances than we may originally believe.


What deeper meanings do these colors carry?

  • Red supposedly increases physical energy, revealing passion and spontaneity. In fact, sports psychologists have revealed a slight advantage for teams that wear red during games. There is a certain aggression and dominance that is associated with red.

  • Orange symbolizes creativity and optimism, creating more of a relaxed kind of energy than anything else. Oranges are often paired with contrasting colors, such as blue. They are complementary colors, which tends to make advertising easier and games more fun to watch.

  • Yellow is a lighthearted color of fun and cheerfulness. They are often paired with darker shades for contrast purposes and to increase the look of confidence and dominance.

  • Green is the color of health and prosperity. It changes the entire atmosphere and mood of a sports environment, giving off a relaxed, poised, and confident energy.

  • Blue is another common color that is used by a plethora of teams over all kinds of sports. While overall being a popular color that tends to fit and compliment most others, blue tends to exude calmness and levelheadness.

  • Purple is a color of success and intelligence. A purple and gold/yellow color scheme is popular with teams, further spreading a triumphant and celebratory vibe. Purple and yellow are also complementary colors that catch the eyes of audiences!

  • Black tends to be a dominant, intimidating color that offers a sense of prestige and competitiveness.

  • White is a practical color – it’s a staple color that adds further contrast to darker, more vivid shades.

Effects of Color on Observers

While colors do have psychological influences on a player’s performance and perception due to their impact on self motivation and how they draw our attention to certain parts of the environment, they have more effect on observers. Sports, for many people, is ultimately entertainment and a way to meet new people and have fun! Contrasting, bold colors amp up excitement.


The perception of colors could also result in unintentional referee biases!

  • Because of the rapidly moving culture of games and the pressure of making the right calls, it’s likely that colors may have a psychological effect on what referees call.

  • Referees have a difficult job of maintaining objectivity. Bias doesn’t only have to come from favoring one team over the other, but rather it can also come from the psychological impacts of what they see throughout the game/competition.

  • Red teams have shown to have a slight advantage, perhaps because of the referees’ visual bias towards red as the more dominant, aggressive color.

Colors in Fitness Centers

The connotations for these colors are also applied to fitness centers! Whether you know it or not, you may actually determine whether or not you like a certain gym based on the color of their walls.

  • The light from colors travel through neurological pathways and into the pineal gland, which is the part of our brain responsible for receiving information about the light-dark aspects of the environment. This affects our mindset, body, and emotions.

  • Going back to red – it can increase motivation and physicality but is also associated with agitation and aggression that wouldn’t be suitable for a friendly fitness environment.

  • Fitness centers try not to add too much visual strain that could stress people out. There aren’t usually too many neon walls that could be potential distractors.

  • Pastel colors are suitable for calmer environments such as yoga. They create carefree, nurturing spaces. Too much of it can be immature and childish for some people, though.

  • Many gyms just have plain white walls that clear the mind and provide a spacious workspace for people to train.


Visual factors can have a prominent psychological influence on players, officials, and viewers, even though they are usually for advertising and marketing purposes.


A smart usage of colors can attract people to watch a game and hype up the energy, and your self motivation and perception could shift based on the color you’re wearing. A large part of performance is mental, so a psychological factor, like colors, can change the way you perform. Psychology and training go hand in hand, and colors are just one part of their complex relationship!

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