A Note From Katie Pagel, Director of Mental Performance
Hello CRYSC Caregivers!
I hope this message finds you all amidst an enjoyable spring season. Having recently started in this new position, I am reaching out to personally introduce myself, and give you all a bit more information about mental performance, and the role it plays in our Club. My job as Director of Mental Performance is to work together with coaches, directors, and caregivers like you to build psychologically safe, growth-oriented, high performing soccer environments for our athletes. In addition to myself, we have over thirty Center for Performance Excellence (CPEX) mental performance consultants working within our club. CPEX consultants are mental performance specialists in training, currently studying to earn their Master’s Degrees in Sport & Performance Psychology from the University of Denver.
While CPEX consultants are specifically assigned to work with our ECNL teams, they are also available to provide mental skills training to athletes and teams throughout all levels of the Club. But what is mental performance training, exactly? The way I like to think about it is that an athlete can train three things: Their body, their craft, and their mind. To train their body, they work with strength and conditioning coaches and athletic trainers; to train their craft, they go to practice and work with their soccer coaches and teammates; and, to train their mind, they work with one of us! Through engaging in discussion and activities on topics like self-talk, motivation, confidence, goal-setting, anxiety, and emotional regulation, athletes will learn mental skills and strategies conducive to not only sustained high level performance, but also continued enjoyment of the game and overall sound mental health. Added bonus? These strategies are transferable, and can be useful to athletes in other aspects of their lives, like school and social relationships.
In addition to working with CPEX to provide support to athletes and teams directly, another aspect of my job is to support you in your absolutely integral role of an encouraging sport caregiver. To that end, I will be reaching out a handful of times throughout the year with opportunities for you to learn more about the psychological side of competition, and how to best support your child as a youth athlete. These opportunities will range from short videos or newsletters to online courses and in-person workshops. Every Fall and Spring season will bring with it a specific theme that is particularly relevant to sport caregivers; keep an eye out next month for a brief survey seeking your input on what topics you’d most like to see covered!
In the meantime, if you have any questions about mental performance, thoughts on parent education, or want to sign your child up for mental skills training, email me at [email protected].
I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with all of you over the coming months, and confident that, together, we can build healthy, competitive environments within which our kids can thrive.
Katie Pagel, Director of Mental Performance
Check out the Sport Psych webpage for more information on mental performance in our Club.