The same clothes, the same bus seat, and the same trio of songs. Men’s basketball player Grant Henricksen’13 employs these rituals, without fail, on the way to every away game.
“They are consistent for every game, and I believe it helps me get in the right mindset,” he says.
Henricksen is just one of the many basketball players at Beloit who has a personalized set of pre-game rituals.
Music is one of the most prevalent rituals, with players like Jenna Larsen’14 rocking out to Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry to energize her before games, and James Lazarcik’14 listening to seven songs by the heavy metal band Lamb of God in the locker room while putting on his uniform and stretching.
Steven Dowden’14 (pictured below) even has a game-day playlist of “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw, “Here Comes the Boom” and “#1” by Nelly, Garth Brook’s “Do What You Gotta Do,” and lastly “Heart of a Champion,” again by Nelly. Dowden listens to those five songs on repeat all day, but that is just one of his four rituals to prepare him for a game.
He starts the day off looking over the scouting plan of the opposing team during breakfast. Then he goes by himself to the gym before the women play and makes 200 shots and 50 free throws to get him focused on the game and the task ahead.
Lastly, he goes to the racquetball rooms while the women are playing and dribbles a basketball. The rooms are usually empty, and the echo of the ball bouncing off the walls gets him hyped up and ready.
“I think that this helps me get ready for the games and, hence, makes me play better,” Dowden says. “Everything I do−outside of attending my classes−on a game day revolves around the upcoming game.”
Lauren McNanna’14 also goes to the gym prior to games so she can stretch out on her own and make some shots before the team warm-up. If the team gets nervous or stressed about a game, her teammate Larsen usually tries to shake off nerves and lighten the mood by goofing off or cracking jokes.
Lazarcik, who always wears one sock inside-out for games, says that before every competition, including practices and scrimmages, the men’s team recites a phrase—but he’s not about to spill the beans.
“I don't think it would be right to disclose what it is that we say before every competition,” he says. “What I can say is that it reminds everyone that it takes a team acting as a single unit to win and we all need to come mentally prepared to every event.”