Butler Adds Mental Training

October 4, 2017

Butler University has incorporated mental training into its lineup for student-athletes. The athletic department brings in two sports psychologists to work with athletes off the field.

“It was initiated by our athletic administration,” Ryan Galloy, director of sports medicine at Butler University, told The Butler Collegian. “Things are a lot different in Butler athletics than they were in 2006. We are always looking for the next best things we can do for our student athletes and mental health is a big initiative by the NCAA and we want to be in line with that as an athletic department.”

The two sports psychologists typically schedule appointments on campus once a week to work with student-athletes. They focus mostly on journaling and visualizing to help both on and off the field.

“There are many stressors and pressures that come along with being a student-athlete,” Dr. Kacey Oiness, sport and performance psychologist at St. Vincent Sports Performance, told The Butler Collegian in an email. “And it is hard, if not impossible, to meet all the demands if athletes are not in a mentally healthy place. Just as athletes focus on building physical strength and maintaining physical health, our goal is to do the same on the mental side: assist in building mental strength/’muscle’ in order to assist them in being able to achieve their peak performance athletically and academically.”

This translates to reflecting on thoughts in a journal to put the day in a positive light, and spending 15 minutes each day “putting thoughts into a shoe box.” This is paired with focusing on breathing and visualization exercises that bring the action of the game to mind.

“I wanted to see how I could get better mentally,” Joey Lindstrom, a redshirt freshman quarterback, told The Butler Collegian. “Sports are 90 percent mental, the four inches between your ears is the biggest part of your game. I wanted a way to get internally focused with myself so I could become a better athlete.”

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