ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY BRIAN HUXMAN
Ever wonder how powerful a wintergreen or cherry lifesaver can be?
Have you ever worn the same pair of socks on the same foot with the same suit and the same shoes over and over and over?
Are there little daily routines that you do to help make life easier for you?
Call them quirks or superstitions, routines or rituals, but local coaches have many things they do before, during and after every game to enhance their chances of winning.
High school boys? basketball coach Darrel Knoll says routines are used by coaches to obtain a certain mindset within a team or individual.
?To me, there has to be something to having a certain routine you do everyday that makes you successful,? he said. ?I think you have to do those things to develop a certain mentality or a certain mindset to make you a success.?
That mentality comes from the routines Knoll has set as head coach. He always sits in the same seat on the bus to and from away basketball games.
Whenever Hillsboro is playing a ?big? game, Knoll wears a certain suit he thinks helps get him in the proper mindset.
?Every time you prepare for a game, every time you get ready to step onto the court for practice or whatever…I think you have to get your mind set so you can perform that to the best of your abilities,? he said. ?I think everybody has routines they go through and don?t really think of them as routines or superstitions. They just do them and don?t even think about them.?
Maybe, but Knoll does have a few practices that might appear to be more than mere routine.
For all 11 years of his coaching career, Knoll has always written names in the scorebook the same way: the players are listed in numerical order, and, after he writes in the name of the opposing team, he never looks at it again.
He carries the scorebook and other materials to games in exactly the same way.
Knoll also works on getting practice schedules into a very specific routine, so much so that he times drills to the very second, then changes to the next drill without even looking at a clock.
Before every game, the team goes through the same warm-up regime.
But these routines are not superstitions, right?
?You can call them what you want, but I think they are very important in getting a group into the right frame of mind to play well and execute,? Knoll said. ?It?s a combination of fun and what I consider to be a good mentality.?
Darrel Kohlman, high school assistant basketball coach, has a few oddities of his own.
Before the start of every basketball season, Kohlman watches the movie ?Hoosiers.?
?I think it adds to the whole basketball experience,? Kohlman said. ?It?s that whole little guy versus the big guy, and I think that is a great image to have. Plus, it?s a great movie.?
But watching Kohlman closely gives more clues into his routines.
The Trojans? assistant coach also carries wintergreen Lifesavers in his pockets during games.
During every time out, Kohlman can be seen wiping the floor with the same towel every game.
?A few years ago, I spoke at the honors program and they gave me a white towel, and I always have my white towel with me during the games,? Kohlman said. ?If we?re not doing well, I might wipe the floor a little harder or a little longer, but that?s a really big one for me.?
Assistant football coach Dennis Boldt evidently has a strong belief in cherries.
At least that would be the assumption after standing on the sidelines of a football game at Hillsboro High School.
Before every game, Boldt gave out a cherry lifesaver to coaches and spectators alike as a sign of good luck.
Talk about quirky.
Head football coach Dustin McEwen stood on the sidelines on a bitter cold night without a jacket on.
?I think it is difficult to play in cold games as a player sometimes,? McEwen said. ?Things seem to hurt a little more when you get hit, and it?s just kind of used as a motivational factor. I want to show them that it?s not that cold out there, that way they can?t come complain to me about it.?
McEwen said it started for him in college, when his Fort Hays State University coach went through an entire practice topless because players were complaining about the cold weather.
The football team also prays before every game and does the ?What?s the score?? chant at halftime.
The answer is always the same: 0-0.
Whatever each case may be, Knoll remains adamant about routines being a part of making everything a mindset.
?If anything comes out of this article, I hope it is that people realize that these routines help you attain a certain mindset,? he said. ?That?s what they do for me and I think for my players as well.?
HHS girls? basketball coach Becky Carlson agrees.
?I always have to have about 30 minutes before every game to get myself mentally prepared for the game,? she said. ?Other than that, I?m pretty boring when it comes to superstitions.?