Pacific University’s student-athletes have developed game day routines that contribute to their success in competition. 

Whether you play a team or an individual sport, game day rituals are popular among student-athletes to prepare for competition

Koari’i Atkinson-Sioloa, the junior and cornerback for the Pacific Football team, relies on his game-day ritual to maximize his performance. 

“For me, it’s all about calming my nerves before competing,” said Sioloa. “When I wake up, I do my best to not think too much about the game because I feel like the anxiety of getting out on the field can drain your energy come game time.”

Sioloa said one pregame action he has begun to incorporate in his routine is an alternating hot and cold shower as a strategy to gain mental focus. Once game time approaches, Sioloa switches gears from physical actions to mental preparation. Sioloa refocuses his thoughts and energy towards visualizing his success in his role within the team, with the ultimate goal of helping his teammates be successful alongside him. 

For student-athlete Ray Pruitt, gameday preparation is slightly different as they compete as individuals within the Pacific Track and Field program. Pruitt, a freshman student-athlete who competes in the 200 meters long jump and the 4×100 meter relay, has a unique preparation routine for his competition. 

“As a track athlete, my preparation for meets is slightly different than most,” said Pruitt. “I really have to make sure my head is clear before my races because depending on what event I do, I could be waiting up to 2-3 hours for a race that only takes 30 seconds.”

To help clear his mind, Pruitt enjoys prayer as a Christian athlete, listening to music, and positive internal communication to boost his confidence before the competition. 

Allison Wilkes, a junior student-athlete who competes as a swimmer, likes to stay loose before racing. 

“I don’t really do anything out of the ordinary honestly,” said Wilkes. “I just like to listen to Taylor Swift, envision success in my upcoming competition, and remind myself to just have fun.”

Despite the difference in sport for these athletes, the necessity for athletes to be able to control their minds is highlighted by the intentional methods of Sioloa, Pruitt, and Wilkes that allow them to tame their nerves on gameday, which helps set up their success in competition. — Noah Steverson

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