Student-Athlete Guide: Superstitions

Superstition, Noun- a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.  You wanna see superstitions in action all you have to do is walk into any locker-room before a game and simply observe. These observations will reveal that some players have a routine that brings them comfort and others that boarder the line of insanity.

I border the line of insanity.

In my defense I think I get my superstitious habits from my mother. Stuff like that is hereditary right? I believe that there is nothing wrong with having superstitions when it comes to sports. I feel that it helps focus you into the game and finding a routine that gets you ready to play. I can tell you at exactly what time a player will be doing something on our team. Whether it is eating a certain food, talking to a certain person, or stretching in a different location, it is very easy to pick up on other teammates habits.

I am not going to explain all my superstitions to you because I would like to remain as a sane person in your eyes but when it comes to my superstitions I like to incorporate other people. I play soccer with one teammate, have a bite to eat with another one, and have handshakes with about half my team. But the thing about incorporating someone else into your routine is that it builds a sense of trust. I find comfort in my routine I also find comfort in regards to being around the person I do that routine with. If you are comfortable with someone that builds trust and trust in someone translates out into a game situation.

It’s when people get so obsessed with completing their routine is when things can get out of hand, and it can hinder your performance. For example let’s say your bus is running late to get you to an away game, which causes your pregame warm-up to be sped up. Are you going to be the type of player that lets the chaos of not being able to do your routine get to you, to the point of that’s all you think about during the game. Or are you going to be the type of player to adapt to the chaos and shift you’re routine to make things work.

I know of some coaches who are well aware of how a routine brings their players comfort. But in life and especially in sports you can never except to always be comfortable… that’s too boring. So these coaches will sometimes purposely mess up a game day routine to make their players adapt and learn how to deal with chaos.

That’s all sports is, is controlled chaos. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that athletes look to build a routine that becomes superstitions to find that sense of comfort. However there needs to be a give and take relationship with those superstitions.

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Members of the 2013 Oswego State Women’s Ice Hockey Team participate in a soccer pregame tradition. The same tradition continues today in 2015.