By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports Writer
When it comes to pregame routines and superstitions, every athlete is different. High performance is important and some athletes do a lot to ensure their game day goes as planned. But what exactly do Baylor athletes do to get into the playing mindset?
For former Baylor women’s basketball and current WNBA player Jordan Lewis, it has to do with her nails. In any picture of her on the court, whether that be for Baylor or for her former team at the University of Alabama, she has perfectly manicured, multicolored nails. That’s not an accident.
“If my nails aren’t done then I feel like I’m going to have a bad game,” Lewis said. “I always have my nails done for every game and every practice. So if they’re not done or if one is cracked, then I feel like I’m going to have a bad game.”
With Baylor men’s tennis senior Sven Lah, his superstition has to do with clothing. Oftentimes fans can spot him on the court based on his socks.
“There’s definitely a few things. Some that I can think of right now, I usually wear similar socks,” Lah said. “They have to be black, even though it’s kind of against Baylor’s policy, but I think they’re letting us use the black socks … It’s usually the same routine from the standpoint of warm-up and what you do before. As far as food or anything like that, not really.”
Although Lah doesn’t have any special food or drink in his pregame routine, Baylor baseball sophomore Kobe Andrade does. He has a particular drink before each game and wears certain bracelets.
“I do drink a Red Bull before every game,” Andrade said. “I have to wear my bracelets every game, unless I pitch.”
Superstitions can allow players to have a sense of control and oftentimes helps calm nerves. In this way, set routines may lead to an improvement in play. Additionally, if an athlete performs well in a game or a match, small things such as bracelets, socks or nails can be tied to the success and they become lucky charms.
However for some athletes, superstitions can go too far. Rather than focusing on the game at hand, players become caught up in the routine. This is something Baylor baseball junior Jack Pineda experienced in high school.
“I was really bad about being superstitious, it was to the point where it’s unhealthy,” Pineda said. “Same food, same socks, drive the same way to school and stuff. So now I try really hard not to be superstitious … I was getting more stressed out about making sure that all my superstitions were in line than actually worrying about playing the game.”
Pineda said he tries not to participate in superstitions, but he still has one. He said after going two games without a hit, he changed his parking routine. He refuses to park in the second row of the Ferrell Center parking lot closest to the Baylor Ballpark. The first row and third row are fine, just not the second — it’s bad luck.
Beyond pregame routines, a few Baylor baseball players have certain routines during the game.
“[Tre Richardson] does this thing with his hips and knees in there and it’s a little bit exaggerated when he’s going really well,” Pineda said. “Jared [McKenzie] just takes forever before he steps in the [batter’s] box.”
Pineda said there is definitely “a lot of mockery in pregame.”
These routines may seem silly to the outside or to other athletes, but some players believe their performance depends on the small things, and therefore the small things matter.