Applied Experiences Outlook
Knowledge is not power, its potential power. I must apply academic knowledge in ways that are relevant to guiding a student-athlete towards peak performance and fulfillment as a foundation to a long and successful career as a mental skills and performance enhancement consultant in a college athletic department. Here are the applied experiences I will seek over the next ten years:
Intercollegiate Athletic Teams
Exposure to college sport teams will be the bread-and-butter towards preparing for a major position in a college athletic department. Here are the critical learning outcomes from these experiences:
Understanding how to build relationships and trust with athletes, coaches, and other important individuals in the athletic department.
Learning how to understand relevant team and athlete dynamics just by observing teams during practice, outside of practice, and in competition.
Understand how strength and conditioning coordinators approach mental skill training, athletes, and the mind.
Connect with athletic trainers/physical therapists to understand how athletes approach recovery from major injuries and how to apply performance psychology principles to assist athletes in the difficulties of the rehabilitation process.
Understand the doubts, skepticism, and objections that coaches and athletes have on mental skills training and sport psychology so that I can educate them on the benefits of mental training in a way that they can understand.
Youth Sport Programs and Camps
Many adults have difficulty coping with adversity because of unresolved traumas from childhood. I will have a better understanding of how the college athlete's personality and performance tendencies develop when I gain exposure to six-to-nine-year-old athletes. Here are the critical learning outcomes from these experiences:
Learning the psychological personality differences between children who cope with failure resourcefully and those who don't.
Understand how a child's past experience, family situation, and sport ambitions influences his or her approach to sports.
Spend time with youth athletes outside of practice or competition to gain greater insights into the psychological qualities of the youth athlete.
Learn how the demands of coaches and parents affects the sense of athletic identity, enjoyment in sport, and emotional qualities that the child carries through the years and into college.
Learn how elementary-aged athletes best learn coping skills so that I can help parents, teachers, and coaches effectively guide their child through the athletic journey.
Learn how to ask college student-athletes questions about their past experiences and use the answers to find relationships and understandably explain how the college athlete's performance struggles relate to his or her upbringing.
Clinics and Counseling
College athletes are also human beings who struggle with some of the same issues as certain people in the general population. I believe the following clinical areas are most relevant to the struggles that numerous college student-athletes face:
Study and Life Skill Programs: Many schools do not explicitly teach people how to manage time and energy, study course material, and deal with social demands. In my career I must teach college athletes how to apply mental skills to ace academics and build a foundation to a career.
Eating Disorders: Struggles with eating disorders is not limited to celebrities, endurance athletes, or women. All types of athletes face societal pressures to look great or earn a competitive advantage by building the body in a certain way.
Substance Abuse: Turning eighteen and leaves his or her parents' house is a difficult transition for many college-aged individuals that athletes are not excluded from. The NCAA's drug and substance policy will not override the enormous pressure that some college athletes face to ingest harmful substances to socially fit in with friends.