13 SUPERSTITIONS: Warwick athletes reveal pre-game rituals
SUPERSTITIONS, we all know about them.
They're the little pre-game rituals and routines that transform athletes from everyday people into champions.
Athletes at the highest level are known to follow specific rituals, from champion golfer Tiger Woods who only wears a red shirt on Sundays, to the most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps slapping his back three times before diving into the pool.
King of the Clay Rafael Nadal is known to have the most intricate rituals, only stepping onto the court with his right foot, jumping up and down during the coin toss, and ever-so carefully placing his water and recovery drink down with the labels facing out - always.
Closer to home, the rituals and superstitions aren't as extreme, but importance remains the same.
Warwick Water Rats player-coach Vlad Savovski has always wondered why certain superstitions stick but said sometimes people don't even realise they're doing them until they're not.
"It's just something you get used to doing and it's just another built-in part of preparing yourself for the game," he said.
"It helps to switch on your mind and focus mentally and physically for what's ahead.
"They're routine, and players feel comfortable in a routine - once they're in that, they comfortable."
From clothing choices to dining options, we've found the pre-game rituals and superstitions Warwick athletes follow to reach their peak performance.
They're one of the most prominent teams in Warwick, making it all the way to the Toowoomba Rugby League grand final last year, but there's a few quirks which help players mentally prepare.
Cowboys head coach Matt Grew broke down some of the superstitions happening in the Cowboys sheds.
"We have a player who says a quiet prayer before he runs out onto the field," Grew said.
"There's one bloke who things it's bad luck to wear the club shirt on game day, but he wears the same black T-shirt and same black shorts.
"There are certain players who have to run out in a particular order - they want to be third out or last.
"I wear Cowboys playing socks on game days, with my jeans and boots - we won a game we shouldn't have and then from then on, it's something that's stuck."
Warwick Water Rats
From one footy code to the next, pre-game rituals are something which don't waiver.
Over at Risdon Oval, Savovski shared the game day routines which make players great.
"Some of the boys only eat a vegetarian meal before a game, so no meat the night before," he said.
"I always have to go right sock, left sock, right boot, left boot.
"There are boys that have to listen to a certain type of music or spend the morning playing Xbox or PS4."
Warwick Netball Association
What works for one, doesn't necessarily work for all, but superstitions are something that stick.
Netball coach and player Deanna Naughten has seen a few quirky routines to put players in the right mindset.
"One of the girls has a lucky hat that she always has to wear to and from training," she said.
"There's one who has a lucky ribbon she carries in their netball bag.
"Another girl, she's a defender, she loves Sarah Klau and always has to wear her hair in Sarah Klau bun.
"I even have a ritual where I have to fold all of the bibs in the positions they take on the court, from goal shooter to goal defender.
Warwick Gymnastics Club
Over in the gymnastics club, superstitions are taken extremely seriously.
Club president Coby Walker found the wonderful beliefs keeping gymnasts ahead of the rest.
"There is a girl who never washed her wrist guards, and they'd end up smelling like corn chips," he said.
"Two girls used to take the toys out of McDonald Happy Meals (a Spider-Man and Superman) and put them in their bags and take them onto the competition floor."
Whatever the superstitions, quirks and rituals may be, they're helping our athletes compete at the highest level and achieve their peak performance. If you have or know of anyone who has a superstition worth sharing, email firstname.lastname@example.org