That Sounds Really Interesting, But What is It?

When I tell people that I am pursuing a degree in sport psychology, the most common reaction is the title above.  People are interested but want to know more about what exactly it is I hope to do.  Hopefully this blog post will shed some light on the subject.

What I want to accomplish in sport psychology is help maximize performance of athletes and coaches and to enhance the sporting experience for all of those involved.  If my answer still sounds vague, that is because it is.  There is no cookie cutter formula for making everyone perform at their peak level or for making everyone enjoy the sporting experience.  There are best practices that help, but success and enjoyment are not that simple.  If they were, then every time a hitter in Omaha takes a deep breath and stares at his barrel he would hit a bomb.  We all know that has not been the case this year!

Initially, I hope to work with teams and individual athletes across the state of South Carolina (and beyond) at the amateur level.  What that work looks like can vary tremendously.  The work could involve speaking to teams or at camps about topics like "controlling what you can control" or "visualization."  My work could also involve individual consultations with athletes in which we talk about whatever is going on with the athlete.  Work could consist of observing a practice session and giving coaches feedback about effective communication with players.  It may be running a clinic on parent behavior at Little Leagues.

So again, you ask, what is it I'm hoping to do?  I am hoping to help people however they may need it.

In closing, I'd like to share a picture you may have seen on Twitter or other social media about what people think the path to success looks like compared to what it really looks like.  I share this for two reasons.  First, I love the picture's message and think its a tremendous reminder that we all have ups and downs along our journey.  Second, I think the picture also relates to the answer of the question on "What is it exactly you hope to do?"  It may be easier if there were a straight line answer, but the journey to figure it all out will be much more exciting the way it is.

Thanks again for reading the blog.  Please give me any feedback at all.  I'd love to hear what you all want.

Side Note: Did you watch the College World Series last night?  The mental side of the game had a huge effect on the outcome.  Virginia starting pitcher Nathan Kirby, after averaging a walk and a half a game for the year, walked five guys in one third of an inning.  Did Kirby suddenly forget where his release point was?  No.  What happened is something rattled him, and he doubted his ability to do what he has done thousands of times before.

Side Note 2: One of my favorite players to watch during the postseason has been Dansby Swanson.  His beating a tough force play at second base really changed the entire dynamic of the inning and ultimately the game.  It was the kind of play that many casual observers overlook.  What makes the hustle play even better is that it came from Swanson who, in my opinion, is Vanderbilt's best player.  When your team's best player plays like they are battling for a spot on the team that has an enormous effect on the group.


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