Every athlete seems to have a certain way they
prepare for a water polo game. Some come from a swimming background, where
the only way they know how to prepare for a game is to eat a huge pasta
dinner, watch a movie like Gladiator the night before, and listen to the
Rocky soundtrack on the bus ride to the competition.
Some might take a more laid-back approach. I
remember teammates in high school who walked to a playerís house, played
video games, watched Jerry Springer, ate chips, drank Slurpees, and then
wondered why they had a stomach ache during pregame warm-ups. Iíve seen
some players wrestling on the deck before games and looking like they lack
focus, then go out and lead their team to a convincing win less than an
Since many games are played midweek after a 7+
hour school day, I often wonder how athletes choose to stay focused
throughout the day while sitting in an Algebra or Biology class.
Coaches probably approach things a bit
differently. There are only so many ways a starting lineup can be adjusted
with seven starting spots available, but Iíve seen coaches scrutinize and
change their minds countless times before a game. Some coaches will spend
most of their time before a game getting the pool facility setup perfectly
to keep them occupied, with a certain amount of warm-up balls dropped into
the pool, the shot clocks set up and angled perfectly towards each bench,
and so on. Minutes later, they
might go over and readjust the angle of the shot clocks because they saw
them from a different angle and thought they looked a little bit off.
Other coaches might have a different job than
that of a teacher and can only get to games with a minimal amount of
preparation, though theyíve probably spent all day at work and the drive
to the game visualizing how the entire first quarter will play out.
For players and coaches alike, there is
probably no right or wrong way to prepare for a game. Whatever works for
one individual may not work for another. After all, some people are more
conventional than others. Iíve probably done something similar to
everything I mentioned in the previous paragraphs as both a player and a
coach, though I tend to think I am more on the conventional side when it
comes to preparation. Then again, I once downed three Red Bulls and
brought a 2-liter of Mountain Dew to an away game to keep me fired up to
coach both the Varsity and JV games after a long day of school, so what do
I know? At least we won both games before I crashed on the couch as soon
as I got home.
Whatever your ritual, we would like to hear
from you. How do you prepare for a game? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if
you would like to comment and possibly be included in a future article.