Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Athletes embrace pregame rituals

Before a Loyola athlete takes the field, court, or course, meticulous routines and superstitions often precede. Many Wolf Pack athletes have pregame rituals to anchor themselves in a proper mindset.

In the world of sports, superstitions and personal traditions have allowed athletes to trust something outside of their training. From diets to wearing gear from their first championship, these ritualistic routines offer a snippet into how athletes prepare to succeed.

Repetition and attention to personal details make a difference in performance, according to Diego Rodriguez, a junior tennis player.

From how he fuels his body to how he prepares his gear, Rodriguez said his methodical procedures have paved the way to his success.

“Routine is crucial,” Rodriguez said. “When you catch something recurrent while performing well, keep doing it. You’ll feel a new level of confidence. You’ll learn to associate certain practices with feelings of success.”

The night before an athlete competes impacts their performance. Eating, resting, and gear preparation weave through the night before a competition, each task allowing the athlete to concentrate.

Senior golf player Daniella Salazar said she never overlooks getting enough sleep and rest.

Amongst Salazar, Wolf Pack athletes consider multiple factors in their preparation, including interpersonal interactions. Human connection can make an impact on how athletes perform during a match. For sophomore track and field thrower Richard Maggan, talking to a specific person is necessary.

“I have to talk to my mom before I compete every time,” Maggann said. “She was the first coach I had and always gives me the best advice.”

Some athletes take a more solitary approach. Sophie Sierveld, a criminology senior swimmer, said she prepares through an “isolated method.”

“Since I was little, I have always isolated myself and kept quiet while I listen to music,” Sierveld said. “Mainly in efforts to get my head and body prepared to compete.”

Some pregame practices step outside of conventional routines, as some athletes have adopted niche rituals that allow them to connect with their roots.

It makes his competition event harder, Maggan said, but he will continue to use the same throwing shoes he wore the first year he won the state championships in high school.

“All of my accomplishments have been made with those shoes, so it’s too difficult for me to say goodbye,” Maggan said.

Even seconds before competing, athletes transpire their personality into their performance through small gestures and quirks.

Sierveld said she wiggles her fingers for good luck on the block – seconds before she dives into the water.

Salazar, who is faithful to changing a putt if she doesn’t make it, said rejecting frustration and patience is key.

“Being motivated and trusting your talent – that is so important,” Salazar said, emphasizing the mental rituals present in her life as an athlete.

And according to Rodriguez, it’s not about luck.

“It is about being aware of what works for you when you’re succeeding and what brought you there.”

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