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BG athletes adhere to gameday rituals, routines

Sports are often based on routine, and some athletes need rituals to have control of their game.

For Tommy Burke, a freshman goalie for the hockey team, certain food helps him prepare for games.

“I have a banana with peanut butter before warm ups, then a muffin and then I have a stick of gum,” Burke said.

When team warm ups are over, Burke repeats the cycle but leaves out the gum.

These types of rituals are common for athletes, said Vikki Krane, professor of sports psychology.

“All athletes have rituals or routines of some sort to help them focus, block out distractions,” Krane said.

Many athletes prepare for games the same way every day, she said.

“On nights that I play, I will do a workout afterward to loosen up again,” Burke said. “I’ll do squats or something light.”

Sophomore defenseman Marcus Perrier said he enjoys pasta and chicken from the Oaks dining hall and then takes a nap in his room before showing up to the hockey rink at 4:30 p.m.

“I tape up my sticks and eat a bagel by a quarter to five,” Perrier said. “I stretch out before team warm ups.”

Perrier gets “rolled-out” after the team’s morning skate, which means he gets his muscles loosened with a rolling pin-like stick that gets rubbed against tight muscles by the athletic trainers on staff.

Even Daniel Fischer, assistant athletic trainer for the hockey team, has rituals of his own.

Besides putting on his right shoe first, Fischer has to put his medical equipment in the exact same spot every game and cannot let anyone touch it, he said.

Burke also juggles before each game to prepare for a night of keeping the puck out of the net.

“It helps me get my eyes active and make sure my hands are working,” Burke said. “Being a goalie, hand-eye coordination is really important.”

Hockey players are notoriously famous for their superstitions and pre- and post-game rituals, Krane said. The school’s athletes visit with specialists who help them with stressful situations, she said.

“We encourage athletes to be consistent in how they prepare,” Krane said.

Many athletes also have rituals they do in the stop and start of games, Krane said. When basketball players shoot free-throws they will often bounce the ball a certain number of times or spin the ball, then shoot, said Krane.

“Rituals are very intentional and are done with specific purpose,” Krane said. “We teach people to do the same exact thing. They can go to automatic pilot if things get stressful or they get nervous.”

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