Most anybody in professional sports seems to have some kind of odd superstitions or pre-game rituals as they get ready. New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is no different.
Eric Branch put together a fantastic feature on Shanahan, focusing on how he and his wife met, and the things they have gone through in their relationship to bring them to this point. They have dealt with some serious stuff, and I highly recommend giving the article a read.
However, there are some light moments in the article, including his wife breaking down his pre-kickoff routine once he gets to the stadium. She said that he has never deviate from this:
The process starts with a self-deprecating text to his wife. A typical message: “Things are about to get weird.”
First, Shanahan must find a solitary place to examine his game plan, which can be challenging on the road. Shanahan has studied X’s-and-O’s in janitors’ closets and shower stalls, while using a bench, box or Gatorade cooler as a desk. During his quiet time, he must have four red pens and just-the-right temperature coffee. Then, before he goes onto the field, he holds a good-luck charm his son, Carter, gives him during the week and looks at a picture of his three children. His grand finale? The yoga advocate stands on his head for 45 seconds in the locker room to clear his mind and reduce stress.
I tried yoga for a couple weeks eight or nine years ago, but I did not last long enough to get to whatever stage involves standing on your head. But hey, if it clears his head, so be it. And now that he’ll have his own office, maybe he’ll stay out of the janitor’s close for pre-game rituals.
I don’t recall Bill Walsh doing any yoga, but it honestly would not have surprised me if that had been something he did. He seemed like a yoga type of guy. I can totally picture a player coming into his office to complain about something or ask a serious question before a game, and Coach Walsh sitting there on his head telling him to relax and hang on a second. Or even just ignoring him completely until he finished his yoga.
Whatever the case, make sure and give Eric’s feature a read. It’s a good one.