Volleyball Superstitions: Players and Their Pre-game Rituals

August 31, 2023

In the high-stakes world of volleyball, where matches are often won or lost by the slimmest of margins, players seek every advantage they can get. Beyond rigorous training, strategy sessions, and physical conditioning, many players turn to something more intangible: superstitions and pre-game rituals. These deeply personal practices, often dismissed as mere quirks, play a pivotal role in a player's mental preparation. In this article, we'll explore the fascinating world of volleyball superstitions, shedding light on some of the most intriguing pre-game rituals in the sport.

The Power of Superstitions

  • Overview: Superstitions, prevalent across cultures and sports, are deeply rooted in human psychology. They offer a sense of control in unpredictable situations, like a high-pressure volleyball match.
  • Mental Edge: While these rituals might not have a direct impact on the game's outcome, they provide players with a mental boost, enhancing focus and confidence.

Common Volleyball Superstitions

  • Lucky Charms: Many players have a lucky charm, be it a piece of jewelry, a specific pair of socks, or even a particular hairband. They believe that wearing or carrying these items brings good luck.
  • Sequential Routines: Some players follow a specific sequence before every match – tying shoelaces in a particular order, listening to a specific song, or even eating a particular meal.
  • Court Entry: It's not uncommon for players to have a preferred method of entering the court, such as always stepping in with the right foot first.

Famous Players and Their Rituals

  • Kerri Walsh Jennings: The beach volleyball legend always wears a thin gold chain with a cross, believing it brings her luck and protection.
  • Giba (Gilberto Amauri de Godoy Filho): The Brazilian volleyball icon had a ritual of always being the last to enter the court, believing it brought good fortune to his team.
  • Misty May-Treanor: Another beach volleyball great, Misty had a unique ritual of drawing a cross in the sand behind the service line before serving.

The Psychology Behind the Rituals

  • Overview: At first glance, these rituals might seem arbitrary, but they're deeply rooted in psychology.
  • Control and Predictability: In a sport as unpredictable as volleyball, rituals offer a semblance of control, anchoring players in familiar routines.
  • Focus and Concentration: These practices help players zone in, filtering out distractions and centring their attention on the game.

Respecting the Rituals

  • Overview: While outsiders might find these superstitions quirky or even amusing, they're sacred to the players. Respecting them is crucial.
  • Team Dynamics: Within teams, players are often supportive of each other's rituals, understanding their significance. It's not uncommon for entire teams to adopt collective rituals, fostering unity and camaraderie.

Balancing Rituals and Reality

  • Overview: While superstitions can offer a mental edge, players recognize the importance of skill, training, and strategy.
  • Rituals as Supplements: Most professional players view their rituals as supplements to their training, not replacements. They understand that no amount of luck can substitute for hard work and preparation.

In the pulsating world of volleyball, where every serve, spike, and dig counts, superstitions and pre-game rituals offer a fascinating glimpse into players' minds. They're more than just habits; they're bridges connecting the physical to the psychological, the tangible to the intangible.

As fans, these rituals add another layer of intrigue to the game. They humanize the players, reminding us that beyond the powerful spikes and agile dives, they're individuals with beliefs. So, the next time you watch a match and notice a player whispering to the ball before serving or tapping their shoes in a specific pattern, remember: you're witnessing a sacred ritual, a personal talisman in the vast, unpredictable arena of volleyball.

Note: If you're an aspiring volleyball player, it's okay to have your rituals. Embrace them, but remember that the foundation of success lies in dedication, training, and teamwork.

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