Panthers in sports are using music to motivate themselves

Illustration by Montenez Lowery | The Signal

For people worldwide, whoever you are, you share a love and appreciation for music. Its ability to bring cultures together, bring out emotions and give people a platform, among others, allows people to express themselves.

In sports, it’s the exact same thing. Whether a boxer is strutting to the ring with his theme song, a basketball player putting their headphones on during pre-game routines or simply someone seeking motivation to crush their lifting session, all athletes use music to their advantage.

At Georgia State, with 14 sports teams and over 400 athletes, the plethora of team locker rooms are bound to hear almost every genre of music in hopes of boosting the Panthers’ success on the court or field.

Currently, the Panthers have quite a few sports in season. Men’s football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and women’s cross country have all kicked off their 2020 seasons. Let’s see these athletes’ playlist picks to get them pumped up for victory.

Women’s Volleyball

When they are not spiking their Sun Belt rivals, the women’s volleyball team has excellent taste in music.

For freshman Katie Strickland, a long list of artists gets her motivated for upcoming matches.

Some of the artists I’ll listen to are Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, Migos, Big Sean, Kanye [West] and so many others. I have so many different types of music that I’ll listen to before a game,” Strickland said.

Strickland also knows the importance of what music does for the team as a whole.

“Listening to music during practice always gets everyone in a good and positive mindset ready to work,” Strickland said. “I think listening to music before a game can really put our team in a great headspace ready to bring it and take home a win.”

But the real question on the minds of most is, “Who gets the aux in the locker room?”

“In our locker room, a lot of the time freshman Clara Bednarek will have the best playlist,” Strickland said.

Women’s Soccer

The Georgia State women’s soccer team has started off the season red hot, holding a record of 6-1-1 through the first half of the year. Is that in part due to a good playlist? Probably not, but a unique taste in music still helps the team focus.

During full practices, the team locks in without music, but individual workouts are when the players open their music streaming apps.

“During team training, we don’t listen to music. But most of us need music to get through the fitness test,” junior midfielder Emily Burke said. Specifically, for her, this means “EDM or anything with a good beat.”

Everyone does get a chance to play their own playlist from time to time, however.

“Our team has a variety of music tastes, so it’s hard to pick one playlist. Lexie [Knox] hypes everyone with rap and techno, Maria [Sabies] is always dancing to Spanish pop and Liz [Anne Fogarty], Alex [Addington] and our trainer sneak a little bit of country here and there,” Burke said.

However, when it comes down to it, one player seems to get the aux more times than not.

“Lexie [Knox] for sure,” Burke said.


For Georgia State’s men’s football team, the large roster ensures a long list of artists and genres in the locker room.

The team-wide playlist electrifies the already red-hot. Star-wide receiver Sam Pinckney knows the importance of a right playlist to to improve his skill set to the max.

Music motivates me to work harder,” Pinckney said.

In Pinckney’s playlist, you will find just about every genre, showing how he embodies a diverse playlist.

“In my playlist, you’ll find rap, country, blues and R&B,” Pinckney said.

But come crunch time, Pinckney turns to one artist, in particular, to really get him going before a big game.

“I enjoy listening to Lil Baby,” Pinckney said.

And on the defensive side?

Something is getting the Georgia State defense ready to dominate from shutting down a team’s offense on the ground or in the air.

For senior linebacker Trajan Stephens-McQueen, he sticks to more upbeat music to get him fired up.

“A lot of hip hop [and] rap, upbeat tempo music,” Stephens-McQueen said.

As far as his favorite musicians, Stephens-McQueen has three in mind.

“No cap, Lil Baby and Kodak Black every time,” Stephens-McQueen said.

But it is only fair to include the special teams in this list as well. Long snapper Charlie Flint takes the crown for the most diverse playlist.

Anything from Taylor Swift to Travis Scott,’’ Flint said. “I like all genres. You can hit shuffle on my phone, and literally, anything will pop up. Same with artists.”

But with a large locker room, the question of “Who gets aux?” has just a little more honor to it.

“[For sure] Cornelius McCoy,” Pinckney said.

Some could not narrow the list down to just one player.

“[It’s] between Akeem Smith and DeAndre Bowman,” Stephens-McQueen said.

Others give the honor to themselves.

“I always get aux. DJ Papa C in the building,” Flint said.

With such a variety of music blaring over the speakers, the Panthers express themselves each day and will continue to hone their skills while humming their favorite tunes.