This -past Sunday’s show was great fun for me, as I always enjoy trading observations with other sports psychologists, and clearly Garrett Kramer had plenty to say about dealing with slumps and, at the other end, how athletes can find their way back to the “zone.”
I do want to make something clear. There’s a real distinction beween going through superstitious behavior as opposed to going through a set, pre-game ritual. Just making sure you’re wearing the same pair of lucky socks each game is more just a matter of superstition. On the other hand, finding and developing a comfortable pre-game ritual is more about trying to focus your body and mind on the upcoming game. Wade Boggs was known for always eating chicken each day as a pre-game meal. Some call that a superstition. To me, I call that part of his pre-game ritual. Boggs clearly knew that his body was comfortable in eating chicken as he prepared for a game.
All top athletes have their own pre-set rituals. And for young athletes, it’s a good idea to find what works for you. Some athletes listen to music before games; others play video games. Some just like to take naps before games. You have to find whatever works for you. Remember, taking care of the mental side of your preparation should be a key part of your athletic development.