IF music be the food of love...play on! Wise words by one William Shakespeare! Music is an integral part of our lives right from the cradle to the grave, but what part does music play in sport?

We are all familiar with the haunting melody from Händel’s Zadok the Priest (a coronation anthem), adapted by Tony Britten in 1992 – you may know it better as the UEFA Champions League theme, and what an impact it has when you hear it.

Where else does music play a pivotal part in sport? Many athletes use music to motivate themselves and for company during what can be a very solitary existence.

Paula Radcliffe, the world record-holding marathon runner, once said: “I put together a playlist and listen to it during the run-in.

“It helps psych me up and reminds me of times in the build-up when I’ve worked really hard, or felt good. With the right music, I do a much harder workout.”

In 2007 the organisers of the New York Marathon made global headlines by banning music as part of the wider USA track and field ban on tactical communications between runners and their coaches.

They cited safety concerns as the reason behind the ban. However, the response from the participants was overwhelming.

Hundreds of the runners ignored the ban and risked disqualification, such was their need and desire to have music with them while they ran.

This rule is still in place today but in an amended form and only applies to those runners vying for awards.

In the late 90s while working for Scottish women’s football, I was privileged to travel with the national women’s squad on many occasions as their head of delegation.

The coach and technical director at that time was Vera Pauw, from The Netherlands.

Travelling to the game always brought out tensions in the players and they all had different ways of dealing with it.

Some would chatter, some would listen to music, some would read; whatever it took to get the tension out of their body and mind in preparation for what lay ahead.

However, the sign to settle down and focus came when Vera asked the bus driver to play a certain song: Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen.

It had an immediate impact on the players, galvanising the team and bringing them together as one. Collectively all thoughts were tuned in on the task ahead.

The song was also played during the warm-up, further instilling the sense of unity and focus necessary for good team-work, and it became the unofficial anthem for the women’s national team. Clearly a tactic used by the coach to very strong effect.

The psychology behind the effects of music on sport shows that music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency.

In a 2012 review of the research, Costas Karageorghis, of Brunel University in London, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music, wrote that one could think of music as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug”.

That is sound advice. Let music be the drug of choice for all athletes in all sports. It has a proven track-record, creates an equality platform for performance and doesn’t have long-term adverse effects on your body.

So what is your music of choice when you’re training or going into competition? Do you have a team tune? Why not tell me and share it with others? Tweet your motivational tunes to me @scotwomensport using the hashtag #swistune and let’s compare notes – no pun intended!