A New 26: E is for Everyone

          A real light bulb moment came for me a couple of years ago.  Our athletic director and I were brainstorming ways to make expanding sport psychology happen at our school.  At that time I'd taught four total sections of the class (two each semester) and worked with a handful of teams after throwing out the idea at a beginning of the year coaches meeting.  Anyone with experience in public schools knows funding can be a real challenge so we were somewhere between a lemonade stand and raffling off a kidney when it struck us.  I'd always go on about, "Sport psychology is really performance psychology, and we're all performers.  It's for everyone."  Why are we only thinking of athletes?  With that came a pitch to an assistant principal and then principal about the idea of expanding mental performance coaching to classes and other groups as well.  I sent out a feeler via schoolwide email (maybe my first ever) asking if teachers would be interested in this the following year.  The response was very positive, and one AP Literature teacher even said she didn't want to wait until next year.  So we didn't.   We did a series of sessions leading up to her students' AP test.  I wasn't sure how the students would respond or how I'd enjoy working in the academic setting.  It ended up being a blast, and her students were engaged and did really well with our sessions.  I'll forever be grateful to that teacher for giving up time in class to allow me to share.  It helped things springboard into the next year.
        Since then, our mental performance program, thanks to a lot of help from countless people, has evolved into truly being for everyone.  I've had the opportunity to do sessions with theater, choir, dance, and student activities.  I've been a guest in classrooms ranging from self-contained all the way to AP and in a variety of core classes.  We've done something called High Performance Teachers where 15-20 of our teachers came to sessions on subjects related to them individually.  We also started a Captain Class leadership group for a group of our student activities and fine arts student-leaders.  A Sleep Study Focus Group launched this year where about thirty of our faculty and staff have been educating ourselves on the importance of sleep with hopes for helping students and staff improving theirs.  With the expansions have come hard lessons on the effects of doing too much which has led to a scale back this year, but I hope to strike more of a balance in 2019-2020.  Sport psych may be for everyone, but it can't be delivered to everyone all the time.  That's a great challenge to have though and one I wouldn't have seen coming three years ago.

- Coach Ehrlich


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