Most professional athletes have their own ways of getting things done before taking the field or court. Here, three vets share elements of their routines that help them relax and minimize distractions before the action starts.
Maintaining a routine doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got OCD. In fact, establishing one can help your body and mind relax and focus. Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis still applies the same routine he developed in high school.
“I put my uniform on the same way every day. I can’t tell you how though, because it’s a secret [laughs]. I am a big baby powder person; I put it all over,” Markakis says. “Then I throw on my undershirt and head to the training room to put on some heat to get my body going.”
Routines don’t need to as individualized as Markakis’ to work. Enforcing a team routine can allow you and your crew to avoid game day interruptions, such as having a teammate show up late or not being accounted for during warm-ups. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Lee Evans and his teammates have a group-established plan. “In the NFL, we have the same routine every game; we stay in a hotel, catch a certain bus and get to the stadium at the same time,” he says.
Another benefit of a routine is that it can program your body to perform when you need it to, such as when you have to compete in the evening. To ensure that you’re prepared for the action, Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas suggests a routine that allows you to “train at [the same] time on days you’re not playing, [so] your body will get used to playing then.”
Implementing similar elements into your game day routine can help keep things flowing smoothly so you can focus on what really counts, getting the W.