Travis Murao: Home Court Advantage

As we're heading into the home stretch of our preparations for the World Championships a lot of friends and family have asked about the "home court advantage" factor. They wonder if it will add more pressure, or pump us up to perform even better.

I think the truth lies somewhere inbetween. As athletes, we've all played in front of crowds before; at the last World Championships, New Zealand bussed in 2,500 screaming school kids, similar to what will happen in Vancouver. The pressure to perform exists with or without anyone watching simply because as an athlete, you are your own harshest critic and anything other than a great game is disappointing. Once you start playing, the crowd blends into the background.

At the same time, my blood starts pumping when I think of seeing a home crowd decked out in red and screaming their support. A lot of our mental preparation leading up to the World Championships will involve visualizing not only the physical aspects of the games, but also our emotional reactions and responses. I think coming into this World Championships, we are mentally better prepared and more focused than we have been in the past.

The home court advantage can be a distraction or a liability depending on your preparation and we are working hard to make sure we gain every possible advantage from our fans.