The Mind of the Athlete

JarrodWhile meeting with Jason C. Brown and Zach Even Esh at the Hammer Strength Clinic, I also sat in on several other lectures, one of which was Sports Psychologist Dr. Jarrod Spencer’s lecture on the mind of an athlete. This is a very interesting topic to me since my entire theme is based on motivations. Dr. Spencer is president and founder of Mind of the Athlete, LLC, a sports psychology company committed to improving the emotional health of athletes. He is also the creator of the Mind of the Athlete Program, which is interesting because rather than a curriculum based on reading (who has time for that, unless it’s for this blog!), it is a video and audio sports psychology curriculum. That’s definitely a cool approach to learning.IMG_9378

I thought I’d give my readers a brief overview since I know some of you are coaches and work with athletes regularly. The main take home point of Dr. Spencer’s lecture was that coaches need to be more aware of the emotional health of their athletes and to be sensitive to it. Athletes and non-athletes alike, deal with a multitude of situations daily that can affect physical performance. Many people in today’s generation would describe themselves as tired. Looking back, I completely understand. I have no idea how I was able to go to school full time, work three jobs and still remain competitive in martial arts. I remember times where I actually fell asleep on the floor of the karate studio in between teaching classes.

Some athletes are just mentally burned out, while others deal with an inability to perform despite having amazing training sessions. Dr. Spencer suggested three methods to help athletes:

  1. Create a way to understand where they are mentally. Dr. Spencer mentioned a term called Emotional Energy Management. He suggested using a 0-100 point scale to gauge the emotional energy of your athletes. 100-90, being an A for Emotional Energy, 89-80 being a B, 79-70 being a C and so forth. He said that 70 is a tipping point number. Athletes at a 70 or below may need a little more emotional coaching and support through the session. As coaches, it’s our job to identify their Emotional Energy level when we sense that our athlete is off.
  2. Establishing a winning culture off the field can create a winning culture on the field. Gather the team to work together on community service projects. Give them something to feel great about!
  3. Focus on the process and improvement rather than on the mistake. Take positive aspect from negative experiences and highlight it. Confidence is a bi-product of positive experience.

To learn more about Dr. Jarrod Spencer and the Mind of the Athlete go to


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