Mind of an Athlete Seminars Come to Our School


A slide from the seminar

Adam Steiner, Editor-In-Chief

Barb Peterson
Students attentively watch Dr. Cannon.

On September 14, Sports Psychologist Megan Cannon delivered the first of her three-part seminar “Mind of the Athlete” to all students involved in athletics.


This particular seminar focused on teaching the athlete to clear his or her mind in preparation for entering athletic competition. Students that play sports may not be as focused on the game if they have a lot on their mind, which translates into a decrease of performance during the game.


Cannon received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southwest University. She has been featured on Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN) multiple times as an expert in sports psychology, and the Mind of the Athlete program has been featured on a number of popular media outlets, including USA Today and New York Daily News.


Athletic Director Gary McChalicher organized this series of seminars. When asked why he decided to bring these seminars to the school, McChalicher said, “We are trying to provide services for our athletes to deal with the mental component of sports.”


Students seemed to understand the importance and focus of the presentation.


Basketball player Carson Fish said, “I think that they did it so that our sports teams could be better and more mentally prepared.”


The other two seminars are to take place later in the year. The second of these seminars is to occur sometime in December, and the third is to take place in the spring. All of these seminars are a part of a four year curriculum, and each of these seminars builds on the previous seminars information.


While this first seminar was about clearing the mind, the seminar that takes place in December will focus on maintaining mental endurance throughout the game. The last seminar in the spring is about increasing mental strength so that athletes can make it through the whole game without being physically exhausted.


When asked about why psychology is so important to the sports world, McChalicher repeated a saying that an old high school coach taught him, stating that sports are 90% mental. He went on to talk about how that if students are able to clear their mind, then they will be able to to focus on visualizing what will happen next, and will be able to perform better.


“It made me have a different outlook on how to keep my composure and help others keep their mental composure. For example, I need to to think of the positives and not concentrate on the negatives going on right then and there,” football player Tanner Harkins said.


An additional challenge to athlete’s abilities to gain rest come from the fact that a number of our sports teams lack players, and because of this, they cannot be rotated out during the game. This causes a drop in performance about ¾ through for most teams.


He also commented that a large portion of students face a drop in performance during their junior and senior years because their participation in many activities as well as social lives increases. McChalicher hopes that these seminars will help to combat these drops.


While many appreciated the concept, students like athletes Blaine and Ethan Phillips stated they thought the target audience would be professional athletes or collegiate ones. They felt the high school audience may not have needed or understood how to process this presentation as effectively.


Our school is one of the first in Pennsylvania to sponsor this program.


McChalicher expressed that he was very grateful for all the cooperation that took place in order to have these seminars occur. He expressed explicit gratitude to teachers for allowing students to leave classes in order to attend these seminars. There were approximately 350 students who attended the seminar.