I’m not very original or exciting, so at least for this year, it was always taking a nap before games and practices. But to list some other ones…
Before games, always show up exactly an hour and half early to get warmed up, stretched, relaxed before the game… listen to some really pump-up music, and… before the game starts, always make two layups and a free throw. I always wore the same spandies and bra, and one teammate always took a shower before a game. I knew one girl who just had to shave her legs before each game. Even if there were multiple games in a day, she’d shave before each and every of them. One teammate always drank only red Powerade during games, and had to have an apple during the game. Most of my teammates, their superstitious things that they do are just coming in and shooting around before each game.
Most of the time it’s just because it something you know that worked in the time before another game, and then you grow into it like a habit. Like in high school I never had any of these. You take these more seriously the more serious your sport becomes. Like compare a middle school/intermediate game with NCAA sports or… the Olympics… then there’s this crazy, elaborate list of rituals, things you just do out of habit/routine.
I had a coach that used to eat a quarter pounder with cheese before the game, just to show how ridiculous these things get… I feel like in all my experience most people fall into the category of eating something or wearing something that “worked” before in the hopes that it will again.
How did you come across this folklore: “This is kind of a culmination of “rituals” that I’ve come across/picked up in my personal experience, over 15+ years of playing basketball at clinic, intermediate, high school varsity, and college varsity levels.”
This collection of rituals can be interpreted as protection, and both contagious and homeopathic magic. With these techniques, athletes and coaches aspire to protect themselves and their teams from loss/injury, inherit the winning properties of something that was done before and for whatever reason was attributed to victory, and induce a like outcome with a like setup.