What happens before the game can settle nerves, or provide an edge


Things happen in the run-up to kickoff of every football game. Teams have routines, established by their coaches – from the timeline for game day to how they conduct warmups.

Sometimes, there are rituals, motivational or just something subtle that is a good luck charm. It may be a team-wide act, or a personal habit insignificant to anyone else. It could be a superstition.

This week’s Shreveport-Bossier Journal Coaches’ Roundtable question: do you have a pregame ritual or routine you’ll share? Or something you’ve seen from an old teammate, another coach, or a player, something that impressed or amused you?

CHASE THOMPSON, North Caddo – “I think pregame routines are a great tool to keep your athletes feeling a sense of normalcy. Gameday can be stressful on your student-athletes, and having a structured pregame routine helps to counteract some of those nervous feelings.

“A good pregame routine should feel like an abbreviated version of your day-to-day practice. This hopefully keeps your athletes mentally ready to compete and maintains the status quo of operation within the team.”

AUSTIN BROWN, Northwood – “Early on gameday, I try to do stuff that’s not football related. Find some rabbit holes on YouTube, yard work, grade school work.

“As the day goes on, I begin to review the week’s work, notes, game plan, etc. ….”

DENNY DURON, Evangel – “The last thing we do before hitting the field is Corporate Worship!

“We put a video of a worship band on the screen … put our helmets on and sing along until it’s time to go, and we leave the fieldhouse running.”

STEPHEN DENNIS, Huntington – “As a player in college, I listened to Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Bulls on Parade’ right before we went out before every game. Now I like to have 5-10 minutes of quiet in my office. Quiet is the exact opposite of that song!!”

GARY COOPER, Booker T. Washington – “I had an Arena teammate who would lay his uniform completely out, accessories and all, before he got dressed.

“Recently, the other team’s coach paced from sideline to sideline the entire pregame. It looked like a ritual to me, or a habit. I have my own: I do everything left-side first.”

JUSTIN SCOGIN, Airline – “At 5 p.m., I take an Advocare Slam along with a safeguard for the night. I’m not superstitious — that’s the only thing I really do that is repetitive.”

JAMES BRADFORD JR., Green Oaks –– “I know a coach who had these same socks with holes in them that he kept wearing while we were winning.

“One that was weird but worked: one year, a seasoned coach gave me, the young assistant coach, a dry erase marker and said, ‘hey, give it to me in the first quarter.’ The first time it was because he didn’t want to lose it, but we kept winning, so that routine continued all the way to state.

“Now, I pack my track bag with all my quick needs and supplies in it, and one of my trainer girls wears it throughout the game just in case.”

ADAM KIRBY, Captain Shreve – “I have to listen to the song ‘Black’ by NBA Youngboy, and then right before kickoff, after the coin toss, I pray for safety and a clear head.”

THEDRICK HARRIS, Woodlawn – “I’ve seen plenty from coaches and players, from wearing the same dirty socks each week to eating the same breakfast every Friday. I’m not a big believer in luck, but if it gives someone a psychological boost, then more power to them.”

REYNOLDS MOORE, Benton – “This is hilarious and there’s no way I’m listing everything. I’ve found I’m almost OCD, and breaking my routine throws me off, so I do the exact same thing starting Thursday night until post game Friday night.

“I’m not superstitious — just a little ‘stitious! It’s really not superstition. It’s just me being so routine-oriented.”

COY BROTHERTON, Parkway – “I’m not real big on superstitions. I have seen some coaches that go way overboard on doing the same thing every week.

“I try to stay busy on gameday and not think about the game much. About the only consistent thing I do each week is eat a Snickers and drink a Monster.”

JASON BROTHERTON, Haughton – “Medium Coke Icee before every game.

“Wonder if I can get an NIL deal? Lol!”