No matter if an individual is playing sports in Little League or at the collegiate level, there are specific drills, rituals, superstitions, tokens and music that players swear by in order to be successful. Depending on the sport, these pre-game preparations may vary, but one thing the athletes agree on is that there are certain things that have to be done before a game.
Whether it be football, soccer, field hockey, tennis, cross country or volleyball, there are traditions that these teams are bound to follow.
When it comes to football, head coach Trey Brown explained that the team has a very methodical and strategic schedule for the whole week before a game. Each day of the week is designated to a different aspect of the game: staff planning, an inside run, 7-on-7s, team periods, kick game, situational calls, substitutions, highlight videos, lifting and mental prep.
Numerous players on the football team have adopted these rituals and continue to practice some of their own.
According to freshman linebacker for the football team Aidan Sinisgalli, “On game day, I like to look over the plays real quick before I put on the pads. Before we go out to the field, I have to listen to ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ by Meek Mill; it’s been a ritual for me since high school.”
Compared to football’s weekly routine, men’s soccer follows a similar approach.
“We have structured a schedule so that we are physically prepared for our game, home or away, in 35 minutes,” said head coach Michael Piranian.
In addition to the structured routine of stretching, ball touches and increasing the tempo, coach Piranian notes that he was a superstitious player himself and that these tendencies have carried over into coaching for him.
“Some variables I take into consideration are: my clothing (comfort versus class), what I need to say to the team in regards to preparation for our opponents, motivational statements/stories/clips and how they are talked about and displayed, watching how individuals act/prepare during warm-ups and how it translates into our performance,” elaborated coach Piranian.
Following the same mind-track as coach Piranian, senior soccer player Tyler Kukosky reiterated the importance of fulfilling one’s rituals before a game. Kukosky noted that he always watches the movie “300” as game time approaches, stating, “King Leonidas and the brave three hundred always get me motivated for the upcoming competition.”
Besides his personal ritual, Kukosky noted that the team likes to have a “loose and energetic atmosphere in the locker room,” which is why they play the song “It’s a Great Day to be Alive” by Travis Tritt before warm-ups.
Lastly, head coach John Sumoski confirmed that the women’s soccer team succumbs to these pre-game rituals as well.
The team’s weekly preparation focuses on nutrition, myofascial rolling, stretching, active recovery and sleep, as well as following their own set of rituals by handing out five culture coins to the teammates who embody those characteristics the most that week. In doing so, the women’s soccer team emphasizes the importance of fitness, effort, ambition, integrity and teamwork while preparing for upcoming games.
No matter the sport, whether it be the three detailed in this article, or the numerous other fall, winter and spring sports on campus, sporting teams tend to follow structured routines of weekly preparation with glimmers of personal touches, such as certain songs or movies in order to feel prepared for their upcoming games.