By: Roxy Carr
As the varsity lacrosse season approaches, sophomore Jared Gavsie is looking forward to practicing his pre-game rituals. He said his habit of playing the song “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas, before a game, boosts his adrenaline levels. “The song [“Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas] is so exhilarating because the beat goes so fast,” Gavsie said. “Listening to it increases my heart rate and gives me the energy to play well during games.”
Along with jamming to his favorite song, Gavsie said he also makes sure to stretch his muscles completely before a big game. If he does not stretch, Gavsie said he gets painful cramps and sore feet. He said he tries to arrive at games early just so he can take a few minutes to roll his muscles out.
“Taking an extra five minutes before a game to stretch out my legs makes all the difference,” Gavsie said. “I love using muscle rollers when I stretch, they always get every knot out.”
Like Gavsie, Junior Drew Solomon also follows a pre-game ritual. Solomon’s ritual consists of dry scooping, which is the practice of taking a spoonful of protein power without any water. He also makes sure he’s wearing his lucky socks. Without them, he said he can’t play his best.
“These have been my lucky socks since middle school, when I started getting serious about lacrosse,” Solomon said. “My favorite color is blue, and I think the stripes look cool.”
Solomon also dry scoops chocolate flavored whey protein powder. He said that even though the powder is dry and not particularly tasty, it increases the size and elasticity of his muscles, enabling him to recover faster and stronger. He said he prefers to dry scoop his protein powder instead of blending it into a shake because it takes less time.
“Since I learned about dry-scooping protein powder instead of traditionally drinking a shake, I’ve changed my routine permanently,” Solomon said. “Instead of forcing a nasty protein shake down my throat for 30 minutes, my pre-workout can be done in seconds if I scoop it dry.”
Varsity lacrosse coach Emilio Loeza said his pre-game ritual from when he played lacrosse in high school was the night before a game, he would try to get a lot of rest and eat a huge bowl of spaghetti. He said that the carbohydrates in his pasta is what gave him energy for the following day.
“It’s scientifically proven that carbohydrates give your body the most amount of energy and keep you full for longer,” Loeza said. “Many athletes swear by this habit, and I’m one of them.”
Loeza said that he will usually remind his team to load up on carbohydrates the night before a game. He said that pregame rituals are essential for peak performance, even if they are not actually helping his players run faster, recover quicker or play harder. He said he believes that these rituals are all mental, but believing in rituals does not hurt performance.
“Participating in a pre-game ritual helps players get in the headspace they need in order to perform their best,” Loeza said. “Even though wearing lucky clothing probably won’t affect performance scientifically, just the thought of it helping is enough.”