Captain's Corner - Pregame Preparations

What goes through the minds of players in the minutes and hours leading up to a kickoff. For each player, it might be different. In today's Captain's Corner, Jerry Rudzinski gives us a glimpse inside what some players might be thinking as they get themselves mentally prepared to play in a college football game. Click the link to read.

Just what is the mood of a football team the morning before a game? Growing up, I was always curious what the pre game meal was like. Or what the bus ride to the stadium was like. Or what the locker room was like as the players got their ankles taped. I used to stand by the bus when it arrived at the stadium to watch the players walk into the locker room, and the mood always amazed me. Needless to say, the players had their "game faces" on.

You want a "game face," but you don't want someone that wasted all their energy before the game even started. I have been around players that are wired too tight. Intensity and focus are definitely positives, but being loose and relaxed is also a positive.

The truth is that every player approaches the game differently. I believe you get yourself ready during the offseason as well as that week of practice. You have learned what you are going to learn by Saturday morning. At that point, you need to just relax and conserve energy. Is the pre-game meal completely silent? Absolutely not. Could you hear a pin drop during the bus ride to the stadium? No way. However, those times are not filled with laughter and practical jokes. When you wake up in the morning, you realize what you have in front of you that day. By default, you think about your assignment. You think about what could go wrong or right if you did this or that. You think about the man lining up over you. Players have to go out of their way to get their mind off of it and relax. You can literally wear yourself down both mentally and physically by getting too keyed up too early.

It's interesting to see the sports psychologists involved with the major programs these days. They don't force players to enter the game a certain way. They don't treat everyone the same. Instead, they realize every player gets ready in different ways. You want Santonio Holmes ready for opening kickoff. We don't want him ready for chapel before the game. We don't want him ready for half way through the second quarter. We want him ready and peaking at opening kickoff.

Some players are quiet. Some players listen to music. Some players hoot and holler with their position group. Just make sure that "game face" is on when they finish The Star Spangled Banner.

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