Are ‘Hot Hands’ in Sports a Real Thing?

Winning streaks in sports may be more than just magical thinking, several new studies suggest. Whether you call them winning streaks, “hot hands” or being “in the zone,” most sports fans believe that players, and teams, tend to go on tears. …

But our faith in hot hands is challenged by a rich and well-regarded body of science over the past 30 years, much of it focused on basketball, that tells us our belief is mostly fallacious. …

Now, however, some new studies that use huge, previously unavailable data sets are suggesting that, in some instances, hands can ignite, and the success of one play can indeed affect the outcome of the next. [cont.]

Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times