These Professional Athletes' Pre-Performance Rituals Will Inspire You

by Taylor Ferber
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

When it comes to getting in the right head space before pushing one's body — whether it be hitting the gym or performing in front of thousands — everyone has to do what's right for them. When it comes to sports, training and practice are important, but getting pumped up just before game time is arguably just as significant. Everyone could use a little inspiration for those moments, even if it's just for motivation to hit the gym. From the 2017 ESPYs, 10 professional athletes reveal their rituals before go time, because these pros know a little something about what it takes to give their best performance.

Men and women from the NFL, NBA, WWE, and Olympics reflect on what's right for them before the showdown, no matter how ridiculous or boring it may seem. Learning their usual rituals proves nothing is too silly or outside-the-box to get in the right place, mentally. In fact, they may inspire others to try new things — from watching a badass movie, cuddling with the perfect blanket, having the right meal, or tapping into their spirituality. Take a look at ten athletes pre-performance rituals.


Tony Jefferson, Baltimore Ravens

The 25-year-old watches a modern classic. "At home games, we get to be at home two hours until the game starts," he says. "I watch 300, that movie gets me hyped up. Gets my mind right." And with that epic line, "Tonight, we dine in hell!" it's enough to get anyone pumped.


Orlando Scandrick, Dallas Cowboys

Scandrick feels best when he looks his best. "I lay out all my clothes like Deion Sanders and I just visualize," explains the 30-year-old. "When I get into the stadium, I drop my bags at my locker and just go in my full suit, I walk up to the stadium, look around, ‘OK, this is where I’m gonna work today.’" Mental prep is half the battle.


Nerlens Noel, Dallas Mavericks

This 23-year-old takes no distractions. "Nothing too crazy with me, I just have my own little preparation — I got my headphones and get ready in my own zone. I’m not really joking around too much," he says. "But I always get the butterflies. Always."


Sydney McLaughlin, Track and Field Olympian

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

17-year-old McLaughlin owns the fact that she has a lucky charm. "I have a lucky blanket I use and take it with me at every track meet," she says. Adorable and badass at the same time.


Zaza Pachulia, Golden State Warriors

This pro basketball player gets plenty of rest and carbs. "Gotta take a nap for an hour-and-a-half before the game and gotta eat pasta, with different sauce, bolognese, alfredo, with protein. Those two things are my go-to," says the 33-year-old. Sounds ideal any day of the week.


Summer Rae, WWE Wrestler

For Summer Rae, the non-ritual is the best ritual. "I’m the worst," she jokes. "I don’t even warm up. Probably why I’ve been injured." She just goes for it, and that works too.


Corey Brewer, LA Lakers

This 31-year-old has usual pre-game treats, but they don't consist of carbs. "I eat a bunch of bubblegum, to be honest. Dubble Bubble," he says. Clearing the mind, one roll at a time.


Michael Porter Jr., Missouri Tigers

David Banks/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

This 19-year-old clears his mind by embracing his spirituality. "I just like to open my bible and read a chapter and pray to god," says the Missouri native.


Lana, WWE Wrestler

WWE's Lana has a little combination of rituals. "I definitely do some stretches, definitely say some prayers, 100 percent," she says. "Try to focus on whatever I’m about to go out there and do. Something more emotional or intense, put my thoughts there."


Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos

Lastly, this 28-year-old preps best by chilling out and kicking it with some video games. "I’m pretty chill on game day. I play PS4, relax, chill, get in my zone. Listen to music," he says. Again, another ideal day.