Pump Up With the Pilots

UP student athletes give their insight on what makes a great hype song and share their personal song recommendations.

By Molly Bancroft | September 28, 2023 3:00pm
Kayla Adams wins a header in a game against UC Irvine.
Media Credit: Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

For some athletes, music can make or break a workout. It can motivate, energize or even calm someone down after a workout. But what about athletes, who seem like they’re in the gym every day to prepare for their next match? The Beacon spoke to student athletes currently in season to see how music influences each of them as players and to get their best workout song recommendations.

For volleyball player Lia Hawken, music has always played an integral part in her life. She grew up listening to country music and finds that it connects her back to her family. 

Lia Hawken spikes the ball.
by Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

On the court, however, music becomes a superstitious, negative energy that messes up her game. Contrary to her teammates, Hawken does not like listening to music before a game and opts for going headphone-less to pump herself up, which includes tuning out the music over the loudspeakers during warm-ups. 

“I find I just don’t get focused,” Hawken said. 

Her favorite song to listen to before a game, if she decides she wants to listen to one, is “HOTEL LOBBY (Unc & Phew)” by Quavo and Takeoff.

Men's cross country runner Isaac McGill finds that the music he listens to can actually affect his performance on the terrain. While there aren’t many instances where he is allowed to wear headphones, he finds that when he can, the music changes his normally steady rhythm. 

“Sometimes you’re trying to go an easy pace, and you listen to certain songs…and then you look down at your watch and you’re running like a minute faster,” McGill said. 

He has even seen some of his teammates listen to the beat of a metronome to keep their strides consistent. But that’s not the only role music plays in the team’s life. 

“Listening to music like any other student would do, we kind of utilize music to, you know, get us [his teammates] in certain mental states that help us practice better,” McGill said. 

His favorite pump up song is “Still Tippin’” by Mike Jones.

Isaac McGill - Photo by Jason De Leon

Kayla Adams, a sophomore forward for the women’s soccer team, states that music is one of the components of getting herself in the right headspace for a match. To her, a good song before practice has to be something that you can move around or dance to, or one that simply gets the adrenaline pumping. 

However, music right before a match has to be calmer.

“I feel like I listen to songs that’ll calm me down more and remind me to just have fun with it,” Adams said. “That it’s not the end of the world because that’s when I play my best, when I have fun.” 

For the women’s soccer team, music plays a big role in their practices. They enlist the help of their teammates who are out on injury to queue up the songs and get the team hyped. Adams’ favorite song that’s been added to the team playlist is “Bring Em Out” by T.I.. 

Make sure to keep an ear out for these during UP sporting events, or even add them to a workout playlist.

 “You have to have something going to keep yourself going,” Adams said.

Molly Bancroft is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at bancroft26@up.edu.