Playlists for Athletic Performance: Ed Ratledge

Playing my best isn’t necessarily about being “pumped up.” The back half of this playlist will address that “pump up” feel, so hang tight, if that’s all you are here for.

For me, playing my absolute best requires emotional catharsis. Scrubbing off the plaque that gets in the way of fully feeling things day-to-day.

Many of my best matches have come after a legit, full-on, completely unhindered cry session. As an athlete and a man in today’s world, you often have to manage emotions in real-time, but those feelings definitely need to be processed, otherwise they lodge themselves and your body and psyche and don’t let you move/breathe/think naturally.

Remembering the hard truths of this life and this world is vital and these next two songs, both from the “Into the Wild” soundtrack take me to a place where anything that needs to come out does.

  • “Hard Sun” – Eddie Vedder
  • “Rise” – Eddie Vedder

The third song is also an emotionally cathartic one, but it takes me in a different direction. Part of the reason I still grind day in and day out (for 4-figure paychecks) is that I want my kids to see me compete at the highest level. I want to demonstrate where hard work and dedication can take you in a real, tangible way to them. To me, this song is all about the experience one should have as a father, and it reminds me just how central my kids are to my world.

  • “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)” – Dave Matthews Band

Sometimes as an athlete we play through pain. Loud music can be a terrific analgesic, and there’s no song that I want to play louder than this one. Whether I’m in pain or not, it Pumps Me Up.

  • “Icky Thump” – The White Stripes

Cannon fire is also known to turn on the adrenal glands, but isn’t often featured in music. Not to worry, this one’s got loads of it and I’m happy to say that this band’s music regularly counterbalances the depth of the songs in the first half of my playlist.

  • “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” – AC/DC

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