Inside the Pre-game Football Head
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Roaring fans, spiral passes, euphoric touchdowns. Delve into the minds of three varsity football players—junior Chris Noggle, middle linebacker; senior Silver Flores, middle linebacker and fullback; and senior Jonathan Valadez, nose guard—as they prepare for a game.
Question: How do you mentally prepare yourself the night before a football game?
Noggle: I mentally prepare myself by listening to a certain long song over and over and just closing my eyes visualizing it all. It helps me get myself in the right mental state from the night before all the way up to the minute before we go out on the field.
Flores: The night before a big game I build my “man,” for example I lay out everything in front of my bed, like my clothes that I will be wearing. Later we get into our DP gear which consists of DP Nike shorts and compressions and socks. I mentally prepare myself for a big game by watching a little film, getting lots of rest, focusing on schoolwork, and staying dialed in on my responsibilities on and off the field. Right before the game the only thing I focus on is executing my assignments that the practice and coaches have prepared for football on Friday nights.
Q: And do you have any superstitions or game day rituals?
Noggle: I really don’t have any game superstitions, except for eating the same thing every game day: two PB&Js, four protein bars, almonds and cashews, and eggs and cereal for breakfast.
Q: How do you focus in class the day of the games? Are you jittery; do you zone out?
Noggle: I seem to be able to focus really well before the game in class. I always have butterflies like crazy the day or two before.
Flores: I stayed focused in the classroom on game day by handling my responsibilities (grades, homework, and classwork) because if I don’t make good grades, then I can’t play. I hide all the jitters with a smile in a respected manor.
Valadez: How I mentally prepare myself right before the game: I just zone out to my beats and go over my assignment in my head.
Q: How do you feel dressing up for the game? Does it improve your mentality? How do people respond to you? And why do you do it?
Noggle: Dressing up the day of is the most important thing to me. Being with all of your brothers putting on your DP gear together really gives everyone a sense of this unity and an unexplainable bond where you would do anything for them. People treat you with respect, and I get along the same with everyone as I would otherwise.
Flores: When I dress up for the games, it does improve my mentality and it helps me keep my focus. And I feel like people know what a big deal it is when it’s friday and there seeing me dressed up, I get a lot of smiles and a lot of good lucks and questions like is it home or is it away and what time does it start.
Valadez: When I dress up it makes me feel fresh. It definitely improves my mentality.
Tonight, these three football players will be playing against Newbury Park at Newbury Park High School. The game begins at seven O’clock. Be there or be square!