Pre-Game Rituals Determine State Titles

By J1 reporter Natalie Bullock

Pregame rituals are used by almost every athlete to get them in the mindset to play their best game. There are a variety of rituals that athletes will use and usually depends on the sport.  

Photo Courtesy of Avianna Gonzalez

Avianna Gonzalez is a senior on the varsity soccer team with her own pregame ritual.  She has a strict rule of not eating two hours before her game. When she gets to the game, she said, “I will put on my right shoe and then my left and then my right shin guard and then my left shin guard.” She also likes to do specific stretches in order when warming up.

A pregame might look a little different for a golfer such as junior Brielle Abboud. Before a meet she likes to have time by herself so she can talk to herself through the meet and make sure she knows that she will be alright. Phrases like “I can do this” and “stay calm” help calm Abboud’s nerves. She likes to take a couple deep breaths and visualize herself playing well. 

Both of these athletes have been in high pressure state competition situations where their pre game rituals have helped them navigate their game.  Gonzalez was a freshman when she was playing for a state title.  She was not expecting to play that game so she was enjoying being at peace watching from the sidelines but when she was called to go in, her jaw dropped. She jogged down the sideline, just like she does every game, and she took her time to go through her stretching routine. “I played my best game I think I have ever played,” Gonzalez said.

Graphic by Natalie Bullock

Abboud has been to state both her sophomore and junior season. State golf is held in Norfolk every year.  Her pregame is especially important when she is traveling two hours to play in the most intense meet of the season. While she is on her ride down to Norfolk she will put in her air pods and listen to Drake and J. Cole. She closes her eyes and likes to visualize her smooth strokes. These tactics have made Abboud successful in her career as her team placed 7th in the state her sophomore and junior year. 

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