The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Dealing with the streak

    Before the UW-Eau Claire women’s softball team starts any game, they come together on the field to do their pregame ritual.

    They huddle together and the seniors lead a chant that ends with the team shouting “Blugolds!” The simple tradition may not make them better players, but it gives them confidence.

    That confidence is what is driving their winning streak, sophomore Amanda Fischer said.

    “When players are playing with confidence, their individual performance gets higher and that increases the team performance,” Fischer said. “If the person next to you is playing with confidence, that makes it easier for you to play with confidence.”

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    There’s more to a winning streak than just confidence though. The pressure of the game can have different affects on the mentality of the team.

    For some teams, like the softball team, a winning streak increases the pressure to keep winning. Fischer said it feels like the team has a target on its back as the team to beat, but it’s a better pressure.

    Rob Anderegg, defenseman for Eau Claire’s national champion hockey team, has experienced both a winning streak and a losing streak and says the pressure feels worse in a losing streak.

    “The pressure definitely builds and you can feel everyone kind of forgets about their role on the team a little bit,” Anderegg said. “You try to do just a little bit extra to try to score an extra goal or create an extra opportunity and that’s where it hurts you.”

    The mentality of the team as a whole changes during a streak. Anderegg said once the team had strung together a few wins early in the season, performance anxiety started to get to them.

    “You get a little bit anxious to play,” Anderegg said. “Especially if you escape a few one-goal games, which we did, and then you’re going into an opponent that we historically didn’t play very well against.”

    When they reached this stage in their streak, Anderegg said the team didn’t want to mess with anything. The starting lineup remained the same so they could keep going with what works. They were focusing on the big picture: the national championship.

    For the softball team, it’s different. Fischer said she doesn’t think about other games and tries to take each game one play at a time.

    Winning and losing streaks don’t just happen in team sports.

    Jeremy Kieser, a member of the track team, said runners can get in ruts, but they’re pretty easy to reverse.

    “All it takes is one better race to get them out of it and they’re thinking positively again,” Kieser said.

    In general, Kieser said the track team focuses on positive thinking and training to keep them in the right mind-set for a race.

    “If we’ve all been doing poorly and we’re thinking we’re never going to get better, that reflects poorly on us as a team,” Kieser said. “I just try to stay relaxed as much as possible before the race. We have a warm-up and drills that we always do … so we just treat it like a workout so we can stay in that mind frame and get used to it and come race time, we’re ready to go.”

    All three teams highlighted the importance of team unity whether they’re winning or losing.

    Like the softball team, the hockey and track teams both have unity-building rituals that they do. The softball team’s may be the most elaborate though.

    In addition to their pregame chant, they also say, “win” after each inning and after each game, they gather at home plate to say, “together.”

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