Accomplished student athletes follow unique pregame rituals

Freshman Hannah Jung: Affirmations

Photo courtesy of Hannah Jung

Over her five years of practicing taekwondo, freshman Hannah Jung has maintained a pregame ritual to keep her centered before competitions. She first checks the quality and condition of the mat before relaxing her body and mind, and then she reminds herself to perform to the best of her abilities, regardless of the situation. “I always compete with the (mindset) of whatever happens, happens,” she said.

Jung developed this routine when she was younger and struggled with pre-competition anxiety. “I started competing (at) a young age, so I (would) struggle with confidence in my ability,” she said. “I ask what I can do for myself, and the answer I come up with is being in control.”


Sophomore Giovanni Rischmoller: Retaining focus and checking in

Photo courtesy of Giovanni Rischmoller

Sophomore Giovanni Rischmoller has played badminton since freshman year. At the beginning of this year’s season, he created a pregame routine to keep himself focused and calm during badminton matches. Before a match, Rischmoller takes three breaths with his eyes closed to clear his mind, then checks his grip on the racket and wipes his shoes before stepping onto the court. These three steps are a must before playing, but he also sometimes stretches, depending on how his body feels.

Rischmoller finds that the routine helps him relieve stress. “I don’t really feel that nervousness or pressure to play,” he said. “If I don’t do it before a game, I feel more nervous than I usually do.”


Junior Julia Maecker: A good warmup

Photo courtesy of Julia Maecker

Junior Julia Maecker’s pregame routine, used throughout her 10 years as an athlete, helps her focus before swim meets. The night before, she eats carbohydrate-heavy foods — such as fruits and vegetables — and takes a soothing bath with salts. She then finishes by massaging her body with a massage gun.

In the morning, Maecker listens to music to relax and get in the right mindset. She also makes sure to eat a good breakfast. Once she arrives at the meet, she warms up by swimming laps in the pool.

Maecker’s coach created her morning warmup routine, while Maecker developed her nighttime routine through learning from others and reading articles. Having a steady routine has allowed Maecker to establish a sense of control. “(The routine) is something I know instead of something that’s really scary and unknown,” she said. “By having this routine, I make sure that my
body is fully prepared to be ready, both mentally and physically.”