Pre-game rituals: shared by athletes and coaches


Chelsee Sawai

Adonis Espania stretching in preparation for the Boys varsity basketball game.

Chelsee Sawai , Staff Writer

One might assume the result of a sporting competition comes from strategizing on the spot. However, there’s more to the competition than one might think. 

According to Bleacher Report, John Henderson, former NFL tackle for the Jacksonville, Jaguars, always needs to be slapped in the face with all of his trainer’s strength.

Many Mid-Pacific athletes have their own rituals and traditions to prepare for a competition.

Junior varsity baseball player, Chance Otsuka, comes 2-3 hours before a game to stretch, practice hitting in the batting cages, and rest. 

For some athletes, these pre-game rituals can affect and influence a strong performance on the playing field. 

“I try to clear my mind most of the time because if you have too much on your mind then you put too much pressure on yourself if you were to think about too many things at the same time,” Otsuka said. 

What you put in your body before a game can drastically affect what you produce during that event through your energy, strength and mental preparedness, according to Lincoln Orthopedic Center. 

“I like to eat a sandwich because it’s easy to digest and it feels better when you run,” said PAC 5 football player, Reyn Shirakata. 

Unlike an athlete’s dietary choices before a game, some teams come together to support one another mentally in order to get in the right state of mind. 

Junior varsity 1 paddling team member, Shanelle Nishimura, encourages her team to motivate each other with positive comments to one another. 

“Once we carry our boats to the starting point, we do a chant and a prayer and everyone holds the boats together and holds hands,” Nishimura said. 

In addition to a team’s encouragement, prayer and mediation are a part of many team rituals, according to Outside Online.

“I tell myself to try my best and I pray for my teammates,” said Varsity boys basketball player, Adonis Espania. 

Espania says him and his team like to stretch a lot before a game, especially leg workouts. 

“We do squats the day before and run sprints,” Espania said. 

Many student athletes have their own pregame traditions and so do their coaches. 

Girls Varsity Softball Coach, Aiko Gojo, always wants to know about the opposing team they’re playing in order to know their habits. 

“We try to strategize as early as possible. Now that we have one years worth of data, since last year was my first year, we’ve been charting the other team’s tendencies and we know our players better,” Gojo said. 

It’s good to give the team some confidence, avoid the negative and always stay positive said Girls varsity volleyball coach, Tommy Lake. 

“During the practice the day before the game, you don’t want to highlight the negatives you see and have a positive attitude,” Lake said. 

Boys varsity basketball coach, Robert Shklov never stops preparing. 

“Whether it’s a last second idea, a play I want to run, or something I notice during warmups, I make sure to share and note my thought process,” Shklov said. 

Rituals are one of the ways student athletes and coaches relate to one another and both want the best for their team. 

“I make sure I take a moment before, during and after each game to reiterate my unconditional support to the team,” said Shklov.