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Pre-Game Rituals

By Keiran President
On September 24, 2017

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

LeBron James’ chalk toss. Usain Bolt quieting down the crowd when being introduced. Odell Beckham Jr.’s one handed catches. These are just a few pre-game rituals performed by professional athletes in their individual events.

However, pro athletes are not the only ones who have pregame rituals. We all do for certain aspects in our lives. Whether it be staying up all night before a class final or making sure you drink a cup of coffee to start your day.

Rituals can be the simplest of things, but pre-game rituals help athletes get in the right frame of mind for their ensuing competition. Many Ottawa University athletes and teams as a whole have pregame activities which has turned into rituals that get them hyped, focused or physically prepared for their games.

Sydney Coleman, sophomore cross country runner for OU, has some personal and team rituals she does before every race in order to calm her nerves. Coleman starts by having a fresh pair of socks on for comfort and double knotting her laces so that they don’t come undone mid race.

As a team, the runners find a spot away from the other teams to gather in prayer before the race. Following that, Coleman hugs all her teammates as she wishes them well in the race.

Tabitha Sparks, senior wrestler at OU, also has her share of pre-duel rituals. Sparks gets hyped up by listening to either rap, R&B or dub step music while jumping around to get her in the right frame of mind. She then jumps rope to get her blood flowing before doing some shadow drills. This is when Sparks becomes mentally prepared for her duels. She puts herself in a variety of situations and thinks of what moves she can do during the match. Sparks takes her weaknesses into consideration and thinks of ways she can stay away from putting herself in positions where her opponent could exploit them.

As a team, the wrestlers start off by getting something to eat -- not too much since they would be tumbling and tossed around. On arrival to the match, the team members run to get their muscles warmed up before they stretch and get into some basic tumbling exercises. When all warmed up, they will then take some practice moves against one another by putting themselves in specific positions and trying to work their moves.

These rituals or routines are very specific; other may even be done subconsciously. And if you don’t know it, now try to look out for it. Rituals can be a great way to help focus, calm your nerves or get you hyped up before something important.


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