Athletes’ pregame rituals prepare them for games

Athletes pregame rituals prepare them for games

By Amye Ellsworth, Senior Reporter


In order to prepare for competition, some athletes turn to rituals or superstitions that they believe will bring them good luck and keep their minds focused.

Both women’s basketball center Laura Hughes and volleyball player Talia Fermantez must listen to music before every game. The music they choose to listen to is always the same, and they feel they must go through their playlist in order to have a good game.

“I have a specific list of songs, and I never change them,” Hughes said. “I have mostly Michael Jackson, Jay-Z and Beyonce.”

Fermantez only needs to listen to one song before a game.

“What I have to do before every game is I have to play ‘Teach me how to Dougie’ all the way through. Otherwise I won’t be ready,” she said. “Something about the song gets me in the rhythm and gets me relaxed.”

Hughes said that she has been performing this pregame ritual since she was a junior in high school. She selected these songs because she thought they would bring her the most good luck due to the fact that they pump her up before a game.

“They help me get a little angry, so they can help me play hard,” Hughes said.

While she is listening to the song, she also goes through a visualization process. She pictures herself being aggressive on the court and dominating the opposing team.

“I close my eyes and get lost in the music,” she said. “I think it definitely calms my nerves.”

If Hughes has a bad game or does not play her best, she will listen to the songs again after the game to help her relax and take her mind off the loss.

There have been games when Hughes was unable to go through her pregame ritual, and she said she ended up playing poorly as a result.

“There was once that I got rushed out of the locker room. I was nervous, and I thought I wasn’t going to have a good game,” she said. “I was superstitious.”

During high school, Hughes would always eat a Subway sandwich for lunch on game day. But, she said she had to give that superstition up upon coming to Eastern.

Sophomore soccer player Kayla Sutter has a ritual of her own that does not involve music. Sutter has the initials of her grandpa and her cousin on her cleats. While the players are lined up on the field before a game, Sutter will kiss her hand and touch each of the initials.

“I have my cousin’s initials because my cousin has been battling brain cancer this past year and recently passed away,” Sutter said.

She explained that performing this routine helps develop her mentality for the game.

“I just want to play for something bigger than me,” she said. “I want to make my grandpa proud. I definitely want to keep playing for my cousin.”

Both Sutter and Fermantez anticipate continuing their individual routines during the fall soccer and volleyball season.

Hughes will need to be sure and complete her pregame ritual as the women’s basketball team compete in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, starting March 14.