Journal of a Sport Psychology Consultant

Journal of a Sport Psychology Consultant

Journal of a Sport Psychology Consultant

This is a journal of a sport psychology consultant. A week with the Cheyenne Stampede working with them on the mental game. Pre season Mental training with them.  I thought I would take a brief moment to talk about the process. It is a process I have used many times, but it is always different in the sense that flexibility is critical. I had worked out a rough schedule with the GM prior to my flying in. He and the head coach had worked it into a posted schedule on the website so the players were aware of what we were going to be doing. I flew into Denver and drove up to Cheyenne where I met the GM at the Holiday Inn (a team sponsor).

Working with the Cheyenne Stampede, Jr A Hockey Team

Our first session was at 5PM, but our first stop was practice. I met briefly with Coach Quarters as the players hit the ice. Right after practice we headed to Smart Sports which is where they do strength and conditioning. It’s a great facility with its own medical facility. I met the facility owner and head physician Dr. Skip Ross and the personal trainers and physical therapist. There were a few players getting PT while Ro the personal trainer was killing it with the team doing core and strength work.

Headed to the Arena for my first session with the team

journal of a sport psychology consultant

Ceremonial Puck Drop prior to Stampede vs Weber State

Talked a little more with Coach Quarters about my plan and then met the team officially. I was introduced to the team by GM and owner Mark Lantz. GM & coach sat in on introductory session. This is important to establish that what we are doing is important to the team’s success. I’ve often been asked to work with teams and the team coaches and front office more or less go play golf. This hurts the programs credibility as players see it as there is no buy in from staff.

First session Introduction to The Mental Game

Session covered Discipline, Motivation, Stress, Self-talk and how your game is affected by these things. It was a quick intro and meant to get them interested and excited about the coming week. They were also given their first homework. Remember the Coin exercise. (I really need a better name from it).

After our session many of the players had responsibilities to assist with the Stampede Academy. Players work with kids in the community on the ice. Program is run by the coaching staff. There is also study hall for High School players on Monday/Tuesday night so 6 or 8 players were there.

First Relaxation and Imagery Session

I taught players importance of being able to relax. Took them through a relaxation / imagery rehearsal session with emphasis on developing relaxation and visualization ability.

Finally went to dinner at 9:45 with GM and his family.

Coaches Radio Show

10am Wednesday morning I was on the Coaches Radio Show on KRAE-KYOY Radio Cheyenne promoting what we were doing in the community. I actively participate as a full team member when working with a team. After that we got back into the routine with practice and two sessions. One session was on Mental Toughness followed after dinner with a relaxation/imagery session. Focus was on Mental Toughness. I also met with three players at their request during their PT and dry land sessions. These were short sessions focused on individual questions. One was to help a player return to action following a concussion. He was undoubtedly ok to return to play, but still had to pass his cognitive test the next day. I helped reduce his stress and he easily passed the test. To be clear he had been symptom free.

Thursday’s schedule was the same. Focus was on overcoming Stress and Fear in both sessions. Met with six other players individually. Also joined GM, Coach and 4 players at a networking event sponsored by the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce. While I was there to promote the team I was also able to talk with the players about college and other opportunities they were looking for in the future.

Friday – Game Day

The routine changes today because of the game at 730pm. Met with players at 5 to talk about game day routines and emotional intelligence. At lunch with GM I am told to bring my sport coat. I figure it is team rules like a lot of professional teams. I get to the arena around 630 for game prep. I go into team meeting with players and coaches now as an observer. Players are getting ready, coaches doing last minute preparation. GM tells me I am dropping the ceremonial puck at 7:30. He also hopes I don’t fall on my rear end. This was a surprise and an honor. I’ve done a lot of things, but never got to participate in pregame like this.

Games vs. Weber State

Details are not really important. Stampede wins 5-2. A few lapses in focus and a few in judgment, but I’m told they played better than the week before.

Saturday – Last Sport Psychology session

Last session with players. Used the time to summarize what we had worked on and to emphasize the importance of practicing the skills we have focused on. Weber State came out with more fire. End was similar with score 5-3. Stampede had to step up and did. Winning a couple of pre-season games was not really critical, but playing well is. Winning of course helps athletes realize that the mental work they were putting in this week will serve them well and with winning it is easier to see from the beginning.

During the week I had a lot of time to talk with coaching staff. I got a good feel for what they were trying to do and we talked about some of the ways to integrate mental skills into practice.

Sunday there is a team meeting. I’m asked to say a few words and of course never pass up the opportunity. It is also my chance to shake hands with all of the players and let them know what to expect in their emails in the coming weeks. Copies of my book, mp3’s for Relaxation and Imagery sessions and other exercises.

It was a really good week. Tough week for the players and coaches adding my work in to their regular schedule. Players were very appreciative, as was all of the staff.  We are looking to see I can make the trip out again later in the season. It was one of my favorite weeks with a team. My thanks to Mark and Tammy Lantz, Coaches Marty Quarters, Ty Smith and UAA Goalie coach Scott Johnson and of course all of the players.

Returned to Seattle having worked with and met a lot of people. Typical week in the life of a sport psychology consultant. Maybe next time it will be with your team.

I can be found as always at The Mental Game. The Cheyenne Stampede are a Junior A Minor League Ice Hockey team. To find out more about them check out their site. Can You Hear the rumble?