Pre-Game With the Pros

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Having trouble getting focused before games? Listen up as some top athletes share how they get locked in before the starting bell.

Alecko Eskandarian // Forward, Chivas USA // 2004 MLS Cup MVP Before every game, I splash some water on my face, take a look in the mirror and just think about my family and friends that I represent—especially the ones who may have passed away or wish they were in my position. It's something I never forget to do, and it is a huge source of motivation for me. Stephen Neal // Offensive guard, New England Patriots // Three-Time Super Bowl ChampI might be a little different from most people in this respect. I think about trying to relax and not making any mistakes assignment-wise. I try to get my mind and mental framework right as far as doing my job, doing it well and staying relaxed doing it. TJ Ford // Guard, Indiana Pacers // Eighth Overall 2003 NBA Draft PickIt all depends; sometimes I crack jokes and loosen the guys up, and other times I'm serious. Everyone usually does their own thing and zones out. Everybody is allowed to do whatever they need to do to get ready for the game, so people don't step over the boundaries.

Chad Cordero // Relief Pitcher, Washington Nationals // 2005 NL Rolaids Relief Man of the YearI still get nervous every game, but I have ways to deal with it. If I start feeling too nervous, I take a step back and find something in the stadium to look at. It could be something small or big—anything I can use to collect myself.

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Having trouble getting focused before games? Listen up as some top athletes share how they get locked in before the starting bell.

Alecko Eskandarian // Forward, Chivas USA // 2004 MLS Cup MVP
Before every game, I splash some water on my face, take a look in the mirror and just think about my family and friends that I represent—especially the ones who may have passed away or wish they were in my position. It's something I never forget to do, and it is a huge source of motivation for me.

Stephen Neal // Offensive guard, New England Patriots // Three-Time Super Bowl Champ

I might be a little different from most people in this respect. I think about trying to relax and not making any mistakes assignment-wise. I try to get my mind and mental framework right as far as doing my job, doing it well and staying relaxed doing it.

TJ Ford // Guard, Indiana Pacers // Eighth Overall 2003 NBA Draft Pick

It all depends; sometimes I crack jokes and loosen the guys up, and other times I'm serious. Everyone usually does their own thing and zones out. Everybody is allowed to do whatever they need to do to get ready for the game, so people don't step over the boundaries.

Chad Cordero // Relief Pitcher, Washington Nationals // 2005 NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year
I still get nervous every game, but I have ways to deal with it. If I start feeling too nervous, I take a step back and find something in the stadium to look at. It could be something small or big—anything I can use to collect myself.

Joe Thornton // Center, San Jose Sharks // 2006 NHL MVP
I really don't have a problem with nerves because I'm a pretty laid back guy. Obviously, some good music can get me pumped. [Sharks center] Mark Smith usually picks the team's music for the day. It could be anything from Nickelback to AC/DC to a little rap.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock