This point in the fall season is often a time when many athletes athletic career's come to an end. For many, senior day/night comes and goes faster than you were able to process the fact that it was most likely the last time you will ever step foot on the field/court/etc. For others, maybe a career ending injury shattered your dreams of playing at the next level. Regardless, a day will come when playing sports comes to an end for every athlete. Unfortunately, there usually no roadmap, lesson plan, tutorial or guide given to you to show you what your next step should be or what will fill the void left your life. After I suffered a career ending brain injury during a high school football game, feelings of confusion, hopelessness and insecurity quickly crept into my life with full vigor. I only ever knew myself as an athlete, a football player and a baseball player. What was I without these outlets to prove my "worth?" Honestly, I felt like I was nothing and a nobody. These feelings stuck around with me for close to 4 years. Fortunately, there is help out there and my goal with this episode is to prevent other athletes from feeling how I felt.
This week on the podcast we hear from Dr. Jarrod Spencer, Sports Psychologist, President and Founder of Mind of the Athlete. He is the creator of the Mind of the Athlete Program, a cutting edge video and audio sports psychology curriculum. This program, made up of sixteen videos, sixteen accompanying worksheets, and ten CD’s, is currently used worldwide in countries such as South Africa, Ireland, and South Korea. He is also author of the book The Sky is Not the Limit: Discovering the True North for Your Life's Path.
Dr. Jarrod Spencer works with professional, Olympic, college, and high school athletes, coaches, and teams across the country. In addition to serving as the Sports Psychologist for athletic teams at such schools as University of Maryland, Old Dominion University, Lehigh University, and Lafayette College, Dr. Spencer also works individually with athletes from University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, Ohio State, Cal Poly, Princeton, and many more.
As an athlete, Dr. Spencer was an All-State high school wrestler who captained his team to back-to-back New Jersey State Championships. While in college, he was a record-setting tailback for the Lafayette College football team until his career ended due to suffering multiple concussions. Dr. Spencer knows all too well of the mental and emotional struggles athletes face in their search to find an identity outside of sports. In this episode, Dr. Spencer gives you the tools to make this transition easier than ours was. Some of our talking points can be found below:
- A humbling experience Jarrod had with a reporter after a high school wrestling match.
- The dangers of kick-offs in the sport of American football.
- Career ending concussions while playing tailback at Lafayette College and the ensuing post-concussion symptoms (PCS) and how he still suffers, but doesn't regret playing.
- The impact the book "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman had on him.
- Where Dr. Spencer's passion for sport psychology was sparked “power of the mind."
- The problems with sports specialization.
- Depression during transition to life after sports.
- Chuck DiBilio (Episode 34) reference. "The greatness is still there."
- “Follow the Energy” (Things you do that don’t drain you, you actually get energized).
- Dr. Spencer's involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes during his transition to life after sports.
- The difference between quitting and retiring (Positive Re-Frame)
- Why "if you don’t have an outlet to let out the stress you are bound to crack under the pressure."
- The importance of exercise in the athlete transition. "Natural drug release." (See above video)
- CrossFit discussion and avoiding injury.
- Adding tools to your mental tool box, "the physical always leaves you, but the mental never leaves."
- Discussion on the work he has done with Sage Karam (Pro Indycar driver) USA Today : A Comeback Story
- Dr. Spencer's first book, "The Sky is Not the Limit"
- Why it's important to practice what you are good at.
- Why passion drives success, "The Energy Bus" book.
- How God will keep sending you the same lesson over and over and over again until you get it. (I have learned this one the hard way)
- Mind of the Athlete Offerings
- Dr. Spencer's new book: "Mind of the Athlete : Clearer Mind, Better Performance"
- The film 7 days in Utopia (Seen Below)