Mindgames

by barbaragarn

Every sport has its subtle mindgames. I grew up an elite swimmer, and we used to say the race was half won behind the blocks. So many ways to psych out the other swimmers.

You could stand there wearing your tinted goggles and Walkman(!), face stone and eyes obscured, staring straight ahead as the music blasted.
Or–still stonefaced–you could spring up and down, windmill your arms forwards and backwards, displaying assured physical prowess.
I confess my favorite technique was to look alongside the other swimmers as we lined up to take the blocks. One looong and appraising/dismissing look to the right, then one looong look of the same to the left. You mean nothing to me, my eyes were saying. I will crush you.

Even the way we wrapped our towels said how badass we were. It was all about the psych-out.

And then I grew up and started to play hockey, where I will never be elite enough to deliver a true psych-out. Haha, I am usually trying not to fall over.

So what are some of the ways hockey players try to psych out one another? I can guess at a few:
Bang! Bang! Bang! shots to the boards before a game.
Skating through the other team’s zone during warmup.
Edging over the line at a face-off.

Any others? I know there’s more.