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FIT’s Allie Modica’s Blog #5: Game Day Rituals

Written by Lee Roggenburg on . Posted in .
I’m Allie Modica, a senior midfielder playing lacrosse at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida and I will be blogging my experience in lacrosse and collegiate athletics this 2017 season. Just some background, I was a high school All-American, and won four state championships at Vero Beach High School and then went up north to the University of Connecticut and played lacrosse at the Division 1 level my freshman year. After a lot of snow and a tough injury, I came to Florida Tech and found the perfect environment-the beach, an emerging D2 lacrosse team, a coach that believes in me and a school that challenges my academics. Since my time here starting in 2014, I have made huge leaps on the field- SSC Player of the Year, All South First Team Member and Second Team All-American last season.  I will be sharing my insights, experiences and provide some advice in this blog series on recruiting, hardships, collegiate athletics and the balance of it all.
  It’s almost April, which means season is in full force! Games are starting and we’re playing one, two, even three games a week! One thing I realized, as my season rolls along, is how important my rituals are to me on game day. From waking up and feeling motivated from the start of the day, establishing your own individual routine is essential for getting in the game day zone. You want to feel ready to play, and by doing the same things before each game I always feel my best and most prepared. Especially now as our conference games are approaching, my anxiety for each game is rising. These rituals help me control my emotions pregame, so I am in the right mental state when the first draw goes up. Some habits/traditions/routines could be having the same pregame food, wearing a certain pair of spandex or special headband, or listening to the same song before each game. Developing a pattern will keep you mentally focused and limit your stress before playing. I have my own little quirks I like to do on game days that make me confident each time I step on the field. My pre competition routine makes me feel in control of the game and my day as a whole because I never want to make excuses or blame outside factors on my play so I try to take it into my own hands. For instance:
  • Throughout the day I drink coconut water. I am a huge fan of this to ensure I am fully hydrated and refreshed before the long game ahead as a midfielder.
  • In the locker room I do my own sort of stick warm up – fiddling with my stick, making sure its legal, and doing some quick sticks, BTB’s etc… against the wall.
  • I watch film during the day to motivate me. The film is usually our team and some of the opponent so I can remind myself exactly what I have to do in the game to succeed.
  • I also like to help my teammates with their eye black in the locker room. I get to talk to everyone right before hitting the field and get everyone on the same level and same page mentally before warming up.
Each game is important, that’s why athletes need to have some things to keep them inspired before the game, while being hungry for the next one to come so you can do them all over again. Establishing habits for each game also allows you to separate yourself from the game a little. Doing the same rituals for every game enables you to never overlook a team or get lazy, but also doesn’t allow your emotions to take over for a big game; everyone knows what that feels like. You can reduce those anxious nerves in the locker room by focusing on your pattern and going over the things you can control in your head. During this time, don’t waste your time on things you can’t control like referees, weather, or location. It shouldn’t matter. Prepare the best you can for each game by mentally being in the zone by recognizing the areas you can control (your play, attitude, motivation), this will boost your game even more then before, and that starts right when you wake up on game days! Habits and traditions are great to have, but being superstitious is another thing. You don’t want to be reliant on the routine to affect your play.  Game day traditions help me feel less anxious about the game, but superstitions increase those worries if the routine doesn’t go to plan or something stops you from continuing the process. Luck plays a small part in our game, but to be superstitious is to be ill prepared to take the field. Excited nerves you may experience leading up to a game, tryout or tournament can actually help you stay in the moment with each play.  Learning how to handle them and use them to your advantage will set you apart from everyone else on the field. Once your emotions start to affect your play, they will also trickle into your teammate’s heads and now everyone is out of whack. Remain calm and trust in your skills and mental toughness to pull you through the tough parts of the game, staying focused on your goal.   Here’s a list of Allie’s Blogs for the season . . .   BLOG #1 – Running BLOG #2 – The Process of Recruiting BLOG #3 – Why We Play The Game BLOG #4 – Putting The Time In