Adlee van Winden's song of choice is "Lean Like a Cholo." She would watch her older cousins practice volleyball and this was the song that was always playing. | Hanna Crowley/Mustang News

Music often plays a huge role in how athletes prepare for competition. It can offer a means to calm, excite or focus before performing. Here are a few different fall athletes and what music they listen to before hitting the court or field:

Adlee van Winden

Photo by Hanna Crowley | Illustration by Gurpreet Bhoot

The sophomore outside hitter’s favorite pump-up song is unconventional and you can’t find it on Spotify.

“Growing up, [my sister and I] had older cousins who played volleyball, and they were our biggest inspirations,” van Winden said. “They listened to this song called ‘Lean Like a Cholo’, [and] we would always watch them dance and sing to it. So we kind of took the song with us even though it was way past our time. It was on every middle school volleyball warm-up playlist, high school volleyball warm-up playlist and now it’s on each of our college playlists. So the song doesn’t have much meaning behind it, but it’s a memory of family and how we got into this sport.”

Though the song is a reminder of the roots of her love for volleyball, van Winden also says that it matches her outgoing and aggressive personality.

“I like to think I take that leadership role on the team and am the one who is always going to get on you for stuff. ‘Lean Like a Cholo’ pumps me up to be the leader who I want to be every game,” van Winden said.

Justin Dhillon

Photo by Christa Lam |  Illustration by Gurpreet Bhoot

The senior forward has a very structured playlist. He starts out with light music to get his mind off of the game as long as possible, and ends with songs by Drake, Logic and Future to pump him up. But in between, he likes to have a reminder of his love for soccer and where it all started.

“I like to listen to Latin music. Growing up I’ve always loved those Joga Bonita commercials, [which are] these old Nike commercials that a lot of successful soccer athletes would mess around and play with the ball in, and remind us how much fun soccer really is. You kind of forget about that a lot, especially preparing for a game, you get really stressed out,” Dhillon said.

When he was younger, Dhillon was one of the only non-Latino kids on his team back in LA, and his teammates would all listen to Latin music before the games. Listening to that music now brings back memories of his childhood and that same excitement he felt when soccer was just a fun game without expectations.

Though he thinks it’s important to stay calm and remember his love for the sport, Dhillon also acknowledges that there are higher stakes now. That’s where songs like Last Breath by Future come in.

“There has to be a balance. You can’t only have fun and be calm, you also need a little bit of grit, and I think that’s the final piece to get me ready before a game,” Dhillon said. “I’m calm but passionate so I want to make sure when I play I put both of those out there: passion and composure.”

Caitlyn Kreutz

Photo by Hanna Crowley |  Illustration by Gurpreet Bhoot

Unlike many athletes, the sophomore forward listens to country music to relax. But, like many athletes, her playlist calms her down because it reminds her of home.

“You can interpret song lyrics whatever way you want to, and I think a lot of my music is different from what other athletes would listen to because we all go through different stuff,” Kreutz said. “I’m one of those people that need to be calm instead of always needing to be pumped up. I’m from Fresno so I’m a little aggie, and it’s calming to me because I’ve always grown up around that music and that’s the music that makes me feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

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