BY CLAY BRYCE | Ball State Sports Link
Living a fast life is not for everyone, but for Tatiana Hawkins-Dabney, it comes easy.
Transferring from South Florida, Hawkins-Dabney has torched defenses in the first five games this season. Already with three goals and six points, she is off to a hot start.
What does she do to keep her feeling light and ready to roll for her match?
This is how Tatiana Hawkins-Dabney gets dialed in.
Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019:
In an Omaha hotel, Hawkins-Dabney rises from her bed at 8 a.m. and heads straight to the bathroom to take a shower and brush her teeth.
When breakfast finally rolls around, she piles her plate with waffles with a heavy load of syrup accompanied by a bowl of mixed fruit.
After breakfast, there is time for her to sit back and relax.
Hawkins-Dabney loads onto the bus and sits next to her best friend and roommate, Nicky Potts. While on the bus she eats apples and drinks a lot of water. She is constantly making sure her body is at its peak.
“I like to make sure that not only am I hydrated, but I’m full,” Hawkins-Dabney said. “If I play on even a half empty stomach, I’m moving so much that it will mess me up energy-wise. I always have to stay full and energized.”
At 10:30 a.m., the team piles off of the bus. They have some time to explore the complex, but are required to be in the locker room soon. Hawkins-Dabney gets there 30 minutes early to focus on the game.
“I can listen to my own music and get myself calm and ready for the game. Everything else that has happened that day just goes away.”
She puts in her earbuds and listens to her favorite genre of music, Hip-Hop. Future and Young Thug bring her vitality.
“I always listen to Hip-Hop. It gets me in my zone and its really upbeat. It moves as fast as I do.”
Some teammates are up singing and dancing, but Hawkins-Dabney is sitting on the couch with her music playing, watching and laughing.
She pulls out at a green apple and takes a bite into it. She continues her tradition of eating a green apple before every game because she believes it helps her move faster and brings a sense of peace.
“I always have them before the game. Either it’s in the locker room or before. I always eat it. And then that’s kind of the moment to really relax and my last meal before game time, so I cherish it.”
Next up, her equipment.
“I always put on my right sock first, but I always have two socks on,” Hawkins-Dabney explains. “So, I have my Nike sock, and then I put on my regular sock. Then I put my shin guards in-between the socks.”
Her goals for the game start flooding through her head.
“To make an impact, whether it’s me scoring, assisting, or just making it hard on their defense and being a problem so other people have an opportunity.”
She constantly thinks about her teammates and not just herself.
“If I’m running down the line, and there’s two people on me, that opens up for somebody else. So, either way I’m doing my job for the team.”
After going over her goals, Hawkins-Dabney pulls out her phone and reads her three specific reminders her mom set for her when she first started off playing. These help her get ready because her mom was a very positive role model in her life.
“I’m from Atlanta, so she is not here all of the time. When I read those, it’s like her talking to me. It always gets me ready. She’s like my little angel.”
The three reminders go back to speed and using it against the opposition.
“Stay light, stay on your toes, and stay after it.”
Constantly staying focused is her forte. Heading out onto the field, she goes through her normal routine, running full speed to get her body ready for the game.
“I make sure that when I’m crossing I’m doing what is more realistic for me. It’s more like me moving at my pace instead of us just warming up.”
When both teams are required to leave the field after warm-ups, Hawkins-Dabney is totally concentrated. She heads to her teammate, Chelcy Ralph, and they do their pre-game handshake.
When the buzzer sounds and the clock starts, she is reminding herself to stay light, stay on her toes, and stay after it. Tatiana Hawkins-Dabney is dialed in.
Editor’s note: Ball State defeated Omaha, 1-0, to improve to 5-0. The team competes at FAU Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.