How athletes at Don Lugo use rituals to boost performance


Diego Cruz

Photos Courtesy of: Diego Cruz (Top) & Don Lugo Volleyball (Bottom)

Diego Cruz, Sports Editor

Preparing for a game plays an interesting role in a student-athlete’s career. Whether it be listening to music to get amped up, or getting in a quick pre-game stretch, there is always something to do before the game gets underway.

Believe it or not, many athletes have shown that they follow specific pre-game rituals or superstitions that are supposed to boost performance during the game. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t. However, most rituals come to life after an athlete has a good performance and then establish a “cause and effect.” They connect the things they did that day prior to the game to their excelling performance. Rituals ranging from putting the same eyeliner on for every game, to wearing the same socks, all the way to the whole football team praying in the end zone. Nevertheless, these superstitions are important to these athletes and incredibly interesting.

Ellie Garcia spiking ball against Northview High.

Ellie Garcia, who was a part of the first-team all volleyball team uses her own ritual before each game starting right when she gets out of bed. She said that this ritual has started from the moment she was 8 years old. It all started when she had an amazing game of softball and she looked back at all the rituals she did prior to the game. She explains that on game days she puts on her socks starting with the left sock first then puts on her same pink Adidas shoes from left to right. She then applies the same sparkly gold eyeliner and on top of that drinks an iced coffee to get her energetic for the day.

My teammates and family think I’m crazy because I rely so much on superstitions.”

— Ellie Garcia

It seems like a lot to remember especially as a student-athlete, but Ellie does her best to keep up with her ritual. However no one is perfect, and forgetting something in her ritual plays a huge impact in her performance on the court. When asked if she has ever forgot something in her ritual, she responded, “If I forget something in my ritual I feel like I’m going to have a really bad game and usually I do have bad games if I forget to do something.”

Even her teammate, Nicole Boskovich, knows how superstitious Ellie is explaining, “She is very very superstitious.” However, her superstition has supposedly caused a HUGE impact on her performance as she took her volleyball team all the way to the CIF semifinals last year. Although her rituals may be the reason shes “killing” it in the volleyball season, she claims only herself and God can affect her performance. “I always trust in God and my abilities to do what I do.”

Don Lugo Football Field (Photo Courtesy of: Diego Cruz)

Lugo’s football team have also embraced a tradition every game that they claim to makes them play better. Their tradition involves more of a religious tone by praying in the end zone and receive good luck from up above. Their tradition is very heartwarming and has apparently been around in Lugo football for a while.

According to varsity receiver JT Cortinas, they all gather around the end zone before the game and have a silent prayer for 20 seconds. “Although we don’t know how this tradition originally started, it still plays a major impact on how we think it affects our performance” says JT.

The pre-game ritual used in most football teams can be portrayed as a must in the football world but according to head coach Greg Gano, the team has been using it for a purpose and that is to make sure that God keeps them safe. This brings a sigh of relief to fans of Don Lugo football because in the long run, no one wants to see someone go down with a nasty injury so it is important that they put so much emphasize on staying safe.

Pre-game rituals is a topic talked over most of the time when discussing players’ performances. People are focused mostly on the statistics and analytics but never take in account what goes on before the game where the athlete gets 10 kills in a game or scores 4 touchdowns. Although these superstitions don’t boost your physical performance, they boost your confidence which is the most important analytic in sports.