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wundayatta's avatar

Why do athletes feel a need to get "pumped up?"?

Asked by wundayatta (58586points) May 3rd, 2010

In another question, a jelly asked about songs that could get him pumped up for a track meet. I’m curious about this athletic habit of “pumping up” before a competition. It’s not just track meets, but in team sports where all the guys jump up and down and shout in what appears to be an effort to get pumped up for the game. You also see it in movies amongst warriors about to charge into the pickets of the enemy.

Have you ever done this? What kind of sport? How did it affect you?

Why is this necessary? Don’t you get enough adrenaline going simply by the beginning of the competition? Is this a psychogical thing or does it have an important physical result? Is it a psych-out thing where you want your opponents to get worried about how competitive and vicious and strong you are? What’s going on here?

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18 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

Compared to just strolling to a game it is not enough. Think about when you are stricken with extreme fear or are confronted by an attacker, you aren’t going to be able to be as responsive and strong if you are just like “Oh well, just getting attacked, I guess I’ll defend myself, ho-huuummmmmm!”.

aprilsimnel's avatar

How different from martial arts, where before we do a kata, we center ourselves quietly and focus inward.

But I was on team sports too, and it’s as psychological thing as well as to get the adrenaline going.

The_Idler's avatar

it’s a combination of warm-up and psych-up. It increases the amounts of adrenaline by mounting the psychological pressure.

Just going into the competition doesn’t produce the same amount of adrenaline as being chased by a lion, but we can produce that amount of adrenaline, when we psych-up.

KeithWilson's avatar

I think that there are a number of different reasons to get “pumped up” before a strenous activity or competition. The most obvious answer is that you need to be prepared for the challenge ahead. Say you have a football game and you dont “pump up” before hand. You start the game at a standstill and use the beginning of the game to get warmed up. In other words you gain momentum during the challenge. If you want to come right out of the gate with already primed gears and dont want to waste the first few minutes of the game getting warmed up, then you should come to the game already raring to go. Hence getting “pumped up” beforehand so that you can give it your all from the get go.

marinelife's avatar

It promotes camaraderie on the team. There is the famous story told by Ahmad Rashad (a wide receiver) of how he one game went over to butt heads with the linebackers rather than engaging in the pre-game ritual with the wide receivers. A huge linebacker head butted him, and his bell was rung for the first half.

Have you seen the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints doing his pre-game warm-up call and response with the team? Here is a slowed-down version.

It’s important for the athletes to be up for the coming competition. Have you ever seen a lackluster performance? A team just going through the motions? It’s bad.

BoBo1946's avatar

very important to get the juices flowing or adrenaline rush! allows athletes to take their game to a higher level!

for example, the NBA playoffs, the players take their game to a higher level due to this adrenaline rush! World Series…Super Bowl, etc…

yes, I’ve done this…playing big games in high school and college….it allows you to jump just a little higher. Where you could dunk with one hand in practice, in the game, you can dunk with both hands!

rangerr's avatar

Like @The_Idler said, it’s the adrenaline.
When I was on track, we would jump around and scream like banshees. We would then proceed to tackle each other and just stand there goofing off/ rocking back and forth on our feet, anticipating the race.
We would grab each other by the sides of the face and yell in each other’s face to get our hearts pumping before we went out to the start lines. We’d generally yell things like ARE YOU READY? FUCKYEAH, WE GOT THIS.

Being so close with each other and comfortable enough to yell like madmen was a feeling that you can’t beat anywhere else.

Facade's avatar

It gets you in the mindset of “Go! Fight! Win!”

Rangie's avatar

It is all of the above and then some. It clears your mind from any outside issues in preparation for the contest.

wundayatta's avatar

Does this practice get you all pumped up for the beginning, and then what? How long do you keep the energy? Does it burn you up sooner?

In my experience, a calm, slow warmup works just as well to get me to do things I can’t ordinarily do. I usually hit that state somewhere in the middle of things. I can maintain my energy until the end of the time it’s necessary.

I am leery of using up too much energy at the beginning. But what do I know? I’ve never done team sports.

thriftymaid's avatar

Haven’t you ever heard that in contact sports it’s 90% mental and 10% physical?

WolfFang's avatar

@wundayatta it doesn’t always burn out. Sometimes if you have pumped up and got a big enough adrenaline rush, you feed off of your own momentum as well as your teamates, perpetuating the cycle. That can be seen in the case of many sports, football especially comes to mind, where teams just dominate throughout the whole game with unprecidented energy

BoBo1946's avatar

@wundayatta it does start in practice the day before the game! And, you would be correct, there is a leveling off stage in the game. so many teams that are the visiting team slow the game down until the other team has a slow down or a leveling off point. also, they call more time-outs in the first stages of the game, in some cases…depending on the situation.

wundayatta's avatar

@thriftymaid I’ve heard that and I believe that. That’s why this pumping up seems a little self-defeating to me. Maybe it’s just because I don’t work that way. I turn it on when I need it, and not before. That’s because it takes a lot out of me—or can take a lot. But maybe it’s just different strokes for different folks.

BoBo1946's avatar

have you ever felt like, well, maybe you are invisible!

what would i know about the gold rush!

“last time for dis cat!”

bane5454's avatar

Sports tend to be 90% mental and 10% crazy. That 10% comes from getting pumped up before running. There are many ways to do this. What it ultimately accomplishes is a feeling of urgency like no other. You have an extreme determination to dominate all others. This feeling becomes so strong that your body begins pumping adrenaline. When this happens, you get more energy and become far better then you would if you were not properly motivated. As far as ways to get pumped, no 2 people are the same… That’s all I have to say on that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Pumping up” is can be a mental thing or a physical thing, but the principal is all the same. Depends on what you’re getting ready to do. The human body is like any other machine….it needs to be primed to work at it’s best. Stretching, flexing, warming up, all of that gets the blood flowing faster and the nerves and muscles working faster. If you don’t do it before physical exertion you can hurt yourself. Seriously…I was running late for a volleyball game once and came straight in from the cold, stripped to my playing outfit, hit the court…and on the first move tore the crap out of the big muscle running down the front of my leg….(What’s that muscle called, Rarebear?). Just because I didn’t take five minutes to get ready, to pump up, to literally warm all the interacting engines up. That was 15 years ago. That leg still aches at certain times, when it’s cold, or when I’ve over exerted.

The mental is pretty much the same thing. Get those neurons fired up, man!

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