All eyes on you. The game comes down to this play, race, moment. Your heartbeat quickens with every roar from the crowd and the tension builds up throughout your body.
These are nerves. Nerves can be a common denominator throughout all sports, and everyone has a different way of handling the pressure in order to play at their fullest capacity.
First up, is the preparation before sporting. Having the right equipment, clothes and mindset are all essential in the games, and some people have exact rituals when prepping for sports.
Laurel Burns (sophomore) gets ready for her game by packing all her swim or soccer equipment the night before, so she doesn’t have to do it in the morning.
“It just makes me feel like I have less do too in mornings, and I can sleep a little more if I have to be ready,” she said.
Avery Glover (sophomore) also packs up her things, but with a checklist instead.
“The checklist helps me get all my thoughts of what to bring out of my head and onto paper,” she said.
Cameron Gillespie (sophomore) also preps the night before by hitting the hay; that is, getting a goodnight of sleep.
Next, an hour before gametime approaches. The nerves are creeping up on athletes like Burns. Burns has to sit completely alone and listen to loud, “pump up music” to get ready for a swim meet.
Athletes also have superstitions, or “rituals” that they MUST do before every game to get the nerves to go away. Glover does a shake down, which is shaking out both arms and legs before dancing at competition, and Burns pops all her fingers before hopping up on the swimming blocks, and kicks each shin guard before a soccer game.
Gillespie also has a ritual of high-fiving his coaches and friends before a wrestling match.
“It makes me feel like I’ve got support from the team,” said Gillespie.
It’s clear that everyone has their little thing they do in order to achieve success and get rid of anxiety on the field, court, floor, etc.