What is Your Chalk Toss?
Lebron James, who is arguably thegreatest player that has played the game of basketball, has always encouraged people to focus on their mental health and not just physical health. There has been an increased encouragement on mental health and discussion from athletes to include the greatest shooter, every Steph Curry and many others. An interesting part of some athletes’ preparation and mental focus is pre-game rituals or a PPR (Pre-game Performance Routine), pre-game rituals have existed in sports for many, many years. In recent years, the most popular or noticeable of these has been the “Chalk Toss” done by Lebron James in each game, he goes through periods in which he does not do this ritual, but mostly he continues to do it. Like many pre-game rituals it started off with practical purposes. The pre-game ritual or action was initially him attempting use the powder to keep his hands dry, this allows for better grip on the ball and decreases sweat on the hands, so he pours powder in hands, rubs and claps both hands together and tosses the excess into the air. The excess powder forms a cool looking sort of smoke screen, and the crowd goes wild! The “chalk toss” became a huge thing unexpectedly, so big that the conspiracy theorist came out on YouTube and said he was possibly conjuring demons in a high-level wizard ritual. This is an example of how strange our world has become with wild assumptions, but also a testament to how a simple pre-game ritual in major pro-sports can all of sudden become a part of marketing. For Lebron is symbolized the start of the game, it is him preparing physically by ensuring his hands have better grip and mentally by saying to himself, “Its time, it’s game on”.
Pre-game rituals (Pre-game PerformanceRoutine) are not just for athletes, we can all create our own preparations in the morning or just before work or a large meeting. In fact many have a certain type of coffee, some take a walk, others listen to certain songs. Day to day many workers use their favorite radio shows or stations to prep mentally for the workday. A study at the University of Austria led by sports psychologist Peter Groepel in Vienna, analyzed 800 athletes across 15 different sports and found significant improvement in performance when those athletes had a Pre-game Performance Routine. Pre-performance routines in the workplace decrease anxiety and typically lead to a boost in performance. In conclusion proper mental preparation with asteady routine creates stableness, comfortability and fights against the angst and stress we may feel prior to walking into work or into a meeting. Ask yourself, “What is my Chalk Toss?”.