Baseball perspective: Players share mental, physical routines

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It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.

A plethora of different superstitions and routines can be found in the wide realm of sports. These routines come to define a team and how they prepare both mentally and physically to perform at their highest level. 

Dixie State University baseball follows routines set by head coach Chris Pfatenhauer, along with individual routines the players have developed before, during and after games.

Before Games

The night before the start of a series against any opponent, DSU baseball coaches and players go over a scouting report.      

This includes different information on what pitches an opposing pitcher may throw, along with different statistics DSU has about each batter.

The day of a game players show up three hours before the scheduled first pitch time. For junior infielder Wyatt Branch, a business administration major from Stansbury Park, just about every pregame consists of the same pregame meal.

“I usually get a Harmon’s salad and a Neuro Sonic drink [before games],” Branch said. “When I come in I’ll usually eat that then go get stretched by the trainer and get taped. After that we go out and get stretched as a team.”

After getting stretched, the players set up for batting practice, then followed by the opponents taking batting practice. When that is over both teams take “in and out,” a pregame routine where coaches hit balls to each position player, typically starting with fly balls to the outfield and working in to grounders to the infield. Throughout the pregame festivities music plays from the stadium speakers, with the type of music played determined by Pfatenhauer. 

“We have a reggae day, classic or hard rock day, and country day,” Pfatenhauer said. “We usually have a theme going each day.”

After each team has an opportunity to finish in and out, the DSU coaches remind players of different things to focus on during the game and last-minute refreshers on the game plan and the different scouting reports. Then comes the national anthem, and it is time for baseball.

During Games

Routines can be found during every at bat during a game. Each batter has their own walk-up song they have picked out that plays as they stroll to the batter’s box.

“We try to give everybody two walk-out songs,” Pfatenhauer said. “I think it is a nice feature of our program to give [the players] their own personalized touch.”

Different patterns can be found on defense, from the way a player runs out onto the field to what they do before every pitch.

“I never step on the [foul] lines going out [onto the field],” said infielder Joe Raymond, a junior finance major from Foresthill, California. “I always sprint out to my position, then between each pitch I lick my fingers, wipe them off and touch my hat.”

Seemingly each player has their own routine, whether it be what they do between each pitch in the field or how they orient themselves at the plate in their batting stance.

After Games

After the first half of a doubleheader, the team is supplied with food, Pfatenhauer said. It is consistently some sort of sub sandwich the players can eat before starting the second game. At the end of each game day the coaching staff usually does the same thing after a game.

“After the games there’s a lot that goes into the next day preparation,” Pfatenhauer said. “We meet immediately after each game as a coaching staff and address the team.”

After the players and  coaches meet the players head out and cleaning up the field, including raking and preparing it for the next day.

 “As a group, whether on a winning streak or not we try to stay in our routine,” Pfatenhauer said. “We try and stay consistent.”