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Advocating For a Written Sport Psychology Curriculum for Youth and School Sports Teams
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The coaches speak...

I am the head volleyball coach at Caledonia High School in Minnesota. After a very difficult loss in the middle of the season I felt I needed to change some things that I was doing if I wanted to get change from my girls. Much, if not all, of what I implemented was from your article "Ready, Set, Focus" in Athletic Management. We ended going all the way to the section championship, and had we been healthy, might have gone to state. Great stuff!!

Scott Koepke, head volleyball coach, Caledonia High School, Caledonia, MN

"The biggest thing I have noticed this year (in implementing the curriculum) is that our players have been more focused and able to regain their composure more quickly than before."

Layne Hales, volleyball coach, San Rafael High School, Ferron, UT, August, 2006

"We have just completed our basketball season and I want to thank you for your contributions to our program. We used your curriculum and text for the 2005-06 team.

At the end of the season, our team met and I asked the question: "Why were we 11-10?" Our "new captains"--our current juniors--were at the board and eagerly wrote responses--good team chemistry, mental toughness, good leadership, Psych book, etc.

We called your text: our Psych book. We read each day a part or two and really tried to apply it to our workouts; we urged our players to read it on their own, it was mandatory for all road trips; many times, I would come into the dressing room on the nite of a game, and there would sit a player/s reading their Psych book. Our players kept goal books and daily--before each practice and game-- would write their goals.

The psych book made us coach better--instead of "chewing" a player out--"What are you thinking" would be the first question. I know our players had to "buy what we are selling", and we as coaches had to "sell in order to buy"; but the bottom line is, you made this available to us.

Please keep me informed of future newer editions, techniques, new chapters, updates. Our kids really enjoyed the "mental side" of the sport....especially when they can carry this out in the real world.

Rick Wilgus, Varsitiy Basketball Coach, Evansville Memorial High School,Evansville, IN, March, 2006

"For whatever its worth, we're 6-1 since the workshop! We have actually been applying it regularly. We have had the kids complete the first half of the quiz, and have reviewed it as a team. We'll complete the second half this weekend. We regularly ask the kids "What are you thinking" before and during games and practices. We are also working on having them each develop goals for each practice and game. We have used the simple relaxation techniques in pre-game, halftime, and timeouts. It definitely seems to be helping us.

As we get through the rest of the course material and begin to apply it even more regularly, I'm sure it will only grow in its value to us. I also think it will help our kids tremendously off the court as well.

We expect to repeat the workshop next year with our entire program."

Mitch Finnegan, Boys Basketball Varsity head coach, Weston High School, Weston, MA, January 20, 2006

"We have completed our volleyball season. It ended short of our goals and expectations. However, traditionally only one team is left standing and that leaves the a lot of others, including ourselves, behind. Implementation of GPS curriculum was smooth and embraced throughout the season. We strongly emphasized not only improving our weaknesses but strengthening our strengths. I have had the best serving team I have had in some time. Serving is all about mental toughness. We established goal buddies to hold each other accountable to daily goals. I feel that transfer of ownership is a terrific asset to a team and team chemistry. The entire curriculum truly created a greater sense of "team" and "focus" making for a successful season despite finishing sooner than we had hoped. Thank you for your efforts. I look forward to incorporating the curriculum with a new group next season."

Paul Steinhaus, Girls Volleyball Coach, Northeastern Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Green Bay, Wisconsin, November 8, 2005

"The curriculum has been a tremendous addition to our soccer program. Our players have embraced the challenge of using the power of their minds instead of just relying on talent and skill. It's changed the way they approach each practice. We are constantly ask ourselves in practice, what are we thinking about? Are we giving maximum effort? If not,then we have the power to change it. The mental skills has given them a framework for success on and off the field. It's made them realize that they have the power to recognize their negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Everyday presents a new challenge for us. However, we now have a recipe for success that my players will take with them when they graduate."

Ucal McKenzie, Head Boys Soccer Coach, Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, Cambridge, MA, October 25, 2005.

"I am talking to them differently than before we implemented this mental skill training. It is helping me and it is helping them. We had three incidents last Saturday that bothered me: a block in the back resulting in a penalty, a slap to the head of the opponent as retaliation, and an insult thrown at one of our players by his own teammate. I told them that these three things showed mental weakness and that we cannot come out of the game feeling good about ourselves when we are mentally weak. I told them that we needed to be stronger mentally. That means thinking about what we are thinking about and making changes to our mentally weak thoughts. We know when they happen. We need to get control of them."

Gary Doherty, Head Football Coach, AD, Framingham High School, Framingham, MA, October 20, 2005.

"We had a talk about effort on wednesday because we were dragging and brought up points from the curriculum, about how you can control your effort and it seemed to make sense because we had two great practices after."

Jaron Cohen, Head Football Coach, Rockville High School, Vernon, CT, October 6, 2005

"I really like this curriculum. I went through portions with my team yesterday and the attention that they are paying is great and the information is so relevant to them. I really am happy with it and want to tell you that what you are doing is a great thing. I believe there are so many people that can benefit from this. I have also benefitted, because if I expect the kids to be listening to these mental skills and making progress in these areas, I also have to look at my thoughts and actions on a daily basis, especially in the 6 mental skills."

Laura Cleveland, Chelsea High School Girls Volleyball, Chelsea, MI, January 20, 2005

I was looking for ways to promote a more positive feeling around the team. This program helped us to achieve that goal. Also, the program emphasizes that the players focus on their effort, details and goals they have set for themselves; all of the things that the players have control over. We had a good season and my teamís effort was never in question as a result of our participation in this program.

Charles R. Tryder MHS Girls Hockey Coach Melrose High School Melrose, MA (Winter 03 - 04)

I remain a believer in the idea of having a written sport psychology curriculum on our sports teams. I continue to communicate to players, during every practice, at least several of the basic ideas. By constant learning, i.e. attention to the ideas, the players start to feel stronger inside. They are more confident and play more confidently. I think the primary reason is our emphases on having each of them KNOW their teammates are actually on their side. They can let out emotions without embarrassment,recrimination or retribution. The atmosphere is trustworthy and positive, and the result is players (i.e. team) playing consistently at or near their highest level.
In a more technical, volleyball sense, setting goals attainable within a practice, or within a single drill, has been a tremendous success for players. Players are motivated by such challenges, and their energy in drills jumps regularly. It is easier for me to run strong drills, and the skill improvement is more rapid. This is a simple idea, but I never used it regularly. In the past I set the goals for drills and players had to meet my goals. Now, we both have something at stake!
The basic lessons of your curriculum are entirely relevant to the athletes’ life outside of sports as well, and it would be a great world if such a curriculum were a required course at Newton North High School.(Fall '03 Workshop)

Richard Barton, Head Volleyball Coach, Newton North High School

I want to thank you for your presentation to my team. You do a great job. I'm wondering if there's a chance that you could meet with them again to do some follow up stuff. I've got a young inexperienced group that really needs to learn mental toughness.

Paul Connelly, Newton North Boys Varsity Basketball Coach (Winter í03 Workshop)


"This was an excellent workshop, especially for golf. Visualization and focus are key."
"Great info!"
"I hope you can help out personally with winter sports as much as fall"
"Way too short - needs to be spread out over an entire day. Very much enjoyed."
"Will address issues/strategies with my coaches and ball players to be more effective over all."
"I feel the class was very beneficial and I believe I found some very good strategies that I am going to work on and implement. Thanks."
"Good in mental effort, motivating individuals. Liked focus on goals. details and effort. Excellent presentation - time went by very fast - will be very helpful."

We worked on the mental game throughout the season and I believe it really helped. My team and I certainly did enjoy your presentation last year and are committed to the mental part of baseball as being equally important as the physical. I appreciated the opportunity to have my kids know that this is something that is useful not only in sports, but in their life.
Peter Moscariello, Reading Memorial High School, Boys' Baseball, Reading, MA.

"This program puts real meaning behind the "sports as life" metaphor often used by coaches. The skills learned and used are applicable on a daily basis and Mitch does a great job of relating the science to athletics. What he teaches is really a recipe for success in life. The program has helped the players on my team to recognize how much of their success is in their own hands. Mitch builds a ladder of success that can be climbed by everyone. This is as much a part of our basketball program as any of the fundamentals we practice daily.
Mark Aronson, Head Coach, Girls Basketball, Newton North High School, Newton, MA.

Coach Lyons' workshop and having him as an assistant coach on our team has had a tremendous influence on our young program. The skills are simple to understand, but take committment to implement. They have changed the way we prepare for the game of basketball and more importantly...the game of life!"
Chris Harvey, Head Coach Mens Basketball, Lasell College, Newton, MA.

"The response from my girls' varsity volleyball players was overwhelming; they enjoyed Mitch's program, were very intrigued by it, and have already requested Mitch's presence for the beginning of the season! He has a way with words that kept my athletes focused, while at the same time allowing the athletes to work through and problem solve for themselves."
Robin Lee, Varsity Girls Volleyball, Milton High School, Milton, MA

Our Mission
To bring positive change to the general school curriculum and sports programming by:
 •  Building a positive school environment
 •  Enhancing emotional health
 •  Reducing violence, addictions and eating disorders including obesity

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