17: Interview with Defiance College psychology student, former D3 soccer standout, and future sports psychologist Abbegail Rank
In today's seventeenth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we hop into an interview with Defiance College psychology student and former D3 soccer player Abbegail Rank. We talk about topics ranging from student-athlete mental health to NCAA policies, to tactics and techniques like mindfulness. We also get into some of the peculiarities of European vs. US systems. If you're someone who works with athletes, is a professional athlete or aspiring to be one, or in general, is interested in what athletes go through and or interested in sports psychology, and wants to gain some inspiration in terms of what high schools and universities can do to provide better support to their student-athletes, then you’re right where you want to be.
Abbegail Rank Bio:
Abbe graduates from Defiance College in Ohio in May with her bachelor's degree. She triple majored in social work, psychology, and criminal justice with a minor in autism studies. She's going to grad school at the University of North Texas to get a dual master's in Kinesiology and clinical mental health counseling. She played soccer at Defiance College where she received the co-award for team rookie of the year in 2019. She also received the all-conference academic award 5 times.
Questions asked and answered during this episode:
Question 1: Talk to me about your experience with sports, playing soccer at the University level
Question 2: You've already started studying social work and psychology, what attracted you to this area of study?
Question 3: What excites you the most about becoming a sports psychologist one day?
Question 4: What experience did you have in school, or coming up in sports with sports psychology?
4A: What really helped you?
4B: What were you needing or missing?
Question 5: What do non-professional athletes need the most in your eyes when it comes to sports Psychology?
Question 6: What did you see in your teammates that they needed and were missing? What helped?
Question 7: What technique, habit, or tool from your sports days do you consider the most important and still use today?
Question 8: What are you in the process of working on currently? Where is your personal development currently moving?
Reach out and let's talk:
Book a session: https://www.coachingpraha.com/bookonline
16: NBA All-Star game special! Receiving awards, how to approach getting snubbed, and turning receiving awards into further motivation
In today's sixteenth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are diving into awards, all-star games, receiving awards, being snubbed, and how to approach planning for and accomplishing getting awards. If you're someone who works with athletes, is a professional athlete or aspiring to be one, or in general, is interested in approaching awards and being snubbed, be that in sport or business, then you’re right where you want to be.
Please reach out:
Book a session: https://www.coachingpraha.com/bookonline
15: NBA trade deadline part 2: internal and external factors to work with in making the transition to a new team successful
In today's fifteenth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are diving into part two of the NBA trade deadline special where we discuss transferring teams as a player, the approach to working through external influences and impulses needed to successfully complete our transition as best as possible, and the whole discussion on how to internally prepare for the transition and succeed with the new team. If you're someone who works with athletes, is a professional athlete or aspiring to be one, or in general, is interested in what athletes go through, and some of the ways they can prepare for such turbulence in their lives such as being traded, then you’re right where you want to be.
14: NBA trade deadline part 1: dealing with being traded, and external factors to a successful transition
In today's fourteenth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are diving into part one of the NBA trade deadline special where we discuss transferring teams as a player, the approach to working through emotions with the previous team, and part of the discussion on external factors. If you're someone who works with athletes, is a professional athlete or aspiring to be one, or in general, is interested in what athletes go through, and some of the ways they can prepare for such turbulence in their lives, then you’re right where you want to be.
13: Active relax, planning to invest in yourself and your me-time in advance, and what is self-love and respect?
In today's thirteenth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are diving into active relaxation, and investing in yourself first. Then we're going to get to the subject of self-love. If you're someone who doesn't know how to relax or doesn't feel like they're regenerating in the right way, or in general wants to improve your relationship with yourself and how you work with your stress and anxiety levels, then you’re right where you want to be.
12: Finding objective reality, how to stop blaming others or myself, Brittney Griner, cognitive dissonance, anything and everything objective personal reality
In today's twelfth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are diving into a difficult but needed discussion about whether I see objective reality, or am trying to get close to it, or not. We touch on our tendencies of who we place blame on, and the pure importance of spending time reflecting or in self-reflection looking for answers. We also go over setting up plans based on subjective reality, which often don't lead to achieving our goals, since the starting point is false. So if you’re a coach, player, or interested in psychology, then finding objective reality is something relevant, and you’re right where you want to be.
11: Motivation, your why behind reaching your goals, dealing with rejection, standing up for your teammates, and creating motivation out of negative scenarios
In today's eleventh episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are diving into an awesome question from a listener from South Africa, and that's how to stay motivated through rejection or through not seeing the results I expected from the work I put in. We touch on motivation, your why, how to deal with rejection, how to look at standing up for your teammates in relation to the repeated Patrick Beverly shoves in the back and now 3-game suspension, as well as creating your own motivation out of negative scenarios. So if you’re a coach, player, or just a regular human being, then motivation is going to be a topic for you, and you’re right where you want to be.
10: Lowering stress and anxiety through brain dumping and better planning; planning for those who hate planning
In today's tenth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are doing a specific technique, and that’s brain dumping, and planning. I’ll explain what it is throughout the pod. But we’ve all been there, where we’re stressed out by everything we have to do, our days seem like only superman can handle them, and my brain is so full of juggling different items, I’m exhausted. So if you’re a coach, player, or sports enthusiast, and you want some help giving your brain a break, then you’re right where you want to be.
9: Decision making, move up, or stay where you are? JV or Varsity, senior employee or manager? How to make taking that big leap easier, and decision-making in general as easy as possible
In today's ninth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we are talking about situations, and I saw this question on Twitter among the players hoping to get scholarships for University, should I ride the bench on Varsity in my sophomore or Junior year, or start for JV against lesser competition? We’ve all been there in life, where we’re too good for what we’re doing, and maybe not good enough for the next level yet. So if you’re a coach, player, or sports enthusiast, and you want some help with decision-making as to continuing where you’re at, or taking the next big leap which means taking a risk, then you’re right where you want to be.
8: Flopping and diving, why and how to do it! Learning from the best in Marcus Smart, James Harden, Luis Suarez, Ashley Young, and Damian Lillard
In today's eighth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we have a fun episode planned. We’re talking about flopping, or in soccer, diving. Why we do it, why we love it, and an approach to becoming a great flopper. So if you’re a coach, player, or sports enthusiast, and you love, hate, or a mix of the two flopping and diving just like the rest of us, then you’re right where you want to be.
7: Draymond Green deep dive and dealing with aggression as an athlete
In today's seventh episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we’re diving deep into Draymond Green’s career, and then in the third segment, hopping into how to work through anger as an individual, and working with others dealing with anger or aggression issues. So if you’re a coach, player, or sports enthusiast, and you’re interested in Draymond Green and his career, or want to learn how to work with your anger in a positive way, then you’re right where you want to be.
6: Going game speed and tactics towards quickly learning or improving on skills, approaches to coaching for improvement, Adelaide 36ers, Portland Thorns, and more
In today's sixth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we’re looking at approaches toward training and getting better. With new seasons starting, we all have areas where we want to grow or want our team to grow, and it’s important that we all improve in the important ways as quickly as possible to achieve results. So if you’re a coach, player, or sports enthusiast, and you’re excited about getting better, then you’re right where you want to be.
I’m going to break this down into 3 sections. First, we’ll talk about the approach to learning a new skill quickly. Then, we’re going to take a look at how to improve what we already know and are already good at. Then, in the third segment, we’re going to talk about coaching, how to get the best out of our players in practice, and step-by-step how to create game-like situations.
Learn the technique, get the foundations, and don’t stop practicing them
Don’t rush into competition
Build a routine
Get up to game speed first without competition then start slow with 1-on-1, 1-on-2, etc.
Improving on skills:
Build a routine
Ask where the improvements can come, and focus on those areas
Train without competition, and individual skills or pieces of the activity at game speed before putting things together
Create manipulations or variations
Test and expand in practice/competition that doesn’t matter
How coaches can facilitate positive training with their team:
Build skills and repeat the foundations
For foundational skills, always go game speed
Accept effort over mistakes
Build an environment of growth
5: Integrating new teammates, yourself, as a veteran, or as a coach. The new NBA season, Tua Tagovailoa’s head injuries, and much more
In today's fifth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast, we’re looking at the fastest way to bond with new teammates. With new seasons starting, we all have new teammates, and for the good of our success, and the team’s success, it’s important that we all bond as quickly as possible to achieve results. So if you’re a coach, player, employee, or student getting to know new people, and want to know how to bond with them quickly, then you’re right where you want to be.
I’m going to break this down into 3 sections. First, we’ll talk about the approach of a newcomer to a new team to bond quickly. Then, we’re going to take the opposite side where we’re a team veteran welcoming a new face. And then in the third segment, we’re going to approach new faces to a team from the coach's perspective and how we can get a team to vibe and bond faster.
Drop the ego - Everyone hates a know-it. Use an example from companies of 3 months before bringing value. Try and understand the situation before showing out.
Understand existing and possible future roles
Show culture and standards
Lead by example
Show patience and encouragement
Be positively vocal
Take the initiative in integrating new faces into your existing activities
Now in the 3rd segment, we’re going to dive into how coaches can facilitate integrating new teammates into a team:
Definition of a good manager
Creating bonding experiences
Communicate, communicate, communicate on vision and role
4: Why athletes get tattoos, and why they're helpful, ways to boost our aggression and motivation, Ime Udoka suspension, and Spain and the Las Vegas Aces won!
In today's fourth episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast coming to you every Saturday morning, we're going to have a bit of fun, and jump into the topic of athletes & tattoos. I feel like it’s a topic that is marveled about, but rather seemed as something as taboo to discuss. So here I am, going to discuss it in depth. We’ll jump into some of the lesser-known psychological reasons behind why these decisions are made, and the benefits tattoos might bring to players’ performance. And next week we’ll be right back into the tips and tricks for increasing performance. If you're interested in the psychology behind sports or the power of symbology, then you’re right where you want to be.
Every fourth episode or so, I want to change up all the serious performance and growth talks with a more fun topic. And the first one I thought of was athletes and tattoos. What an interesting fascination. Most athletes I know personally, even amateurs have them. So what purpose do they serve, why do athletes permanently color their skin, and psychologically what do we see it doing for them?
Let me be clear before we jump into this, I don’t recommend people to get, or not to get tattoos on their bodies. I believe that it’s everyone’s choice as to whether it’s something that brings them value in their life or not. I do think, though, that there are a lot of beneficial reasons and factors psychologically to tattoos that we might ignore.
I hope that you’ve had a good time listening to me discuss why athletes get tattoos. If you have other ideas, comments, or just completely disagree with me, make sure you send me an e-mail at email@example.com and I’ll definitely respond. I think it’s great to see how athletes can help themselves in committing, motivation, and their values by putting those symbols directly on their skin. On top of that, they can firm themselves in their identity as adults choosing their path instead of always just performing for others who expect that from them.
3: Why players move back to Europe, Robert Sarver, dealing with unfortunate owners and managers, and a deep dive on support systems and basketball culture in Europe
In today's third episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast coming to you every Saturday morning, we're doing a deep dive into European basketball players like Tomas Satoransky and Dzanan Musa, who’ve recently decided to come back to Europe and play in Spain and the Euroleague. We’ll jump into some of the lesser-known psychological reasons behind why these decisions are made, and some of the cultural differences that Americans just aren’t aware of. If you're someone who works with European athletes, are an ex-pat, or in general, are just interested in the psychology behind both sports and bridging the cultural gap to pursue one’s career, then you’re right where you want to be.
I believe that it’s great that players are more often choosing where they want to play, including moving closer to home when financially and for the role, they want it makes sense. This isn’t some reason to say they couldn’t make it in the NBA. I hate when I hear someone say that European players choosing to come back to Europe couldn’t cut it. That’s not the reality. As it’s not the reality for many Americans who chose to stay and play in Europe. It’s just a better situation for them. They have different goals than the fans of a given team who think that every player’s biggest goal should be to play for their favorite or the most famous team. News flash! It’s not. So let’s congratulate these players the same way we did Jimmy Butler when he finally reached Miami, the place where he had been wanting to go for years it seemed like.
2: Getting out of your head during competitions, micro-goals, Sue Bird, EuroBasket, coach Ataman's meltdown, and working with fear
In today's second episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast coming to you every Saturday morning, we're diving into a topic that every one of us athletes has fought with at one time or another, and that’s how to get out of your head. We’re going to jump into the first step towards finding flow and focusing during competition on what’s important. And those are micro-goals. This is valid for coaches, trainers, athletes of any age, and all of you casual sports fans out there looking to get a one-up on your buddies in that next YMCA run. Ya, you know who you are. This is for you too. If you're looking to take ownership over your growth, and your goals, and set yourself up for success in your season, then you're right where you want to be.
I chose today’s topic as one of the maybe easiest, and most beneficial things we can do for our sports career or journey. A couple of years ago I had a professional hockey player come to me, and say that he knew he was much better than how he was playing. He had played in higher leagues and has the skills, when he’s alone training everything goes great. But during games, he acts timid and is so afraid of judgment from his coach and manager, that he stopped being productive. And after every game, between games, his coach and manager were harder and harder on him, because they knew that there was more in him, and that made him play worse and worse. He came to me hoping to find out how to not pressure him anymore so that he could be relaxed and play his game.
What I asked first, is when he gets the puck during a game, what are his thoughts? I can’t make a mistake otherwise I’m going to get yelled at. With every mistake, I’m going to be seen as not good enough and not get back up to the leagues I used to play in. If I turn the puck over, I’m not going to get a next contract. When I turn the puck over to the other team, my teammates are going to stop trusting me. More importantly, I don’t trust myself enough not to make any mistakes, and so I freeze. Do something that no one can be mad at. Pass the puck backward, don’t lose the puck.
And so what’s the result of this type of thinking? I play worse and worse, timid, scared. I don’t score points where I know I can. I’m in a constant fight with myself. Where I know how I want to play, but my head isn’t allowing me to.
First of all, this is extremely common among athletes. We get into our heads, our thoughts, tense up, become timid, are afraid of being judged by others, and then we don’t have the kind of results we know that we can.
So when you get the puck, what’s your goal? Well, to not mess up. To not disappoint anyone. To make sure that whatever I do, the manager and coach aren’t going to be angry at me… Dear listener, I hope that you’re pulling your hair out a bit right now. From the outside, this seems so obvious, but so many athletes fight with this issue. Can I focus on now, can I focus on what’s essential in the here and now, or am I more focused on the long-term, and therefore making fear-based decisions?
I said at this point, good, that’s great noticing. But for us to have a correctly stated goal, it has to be positive, not what we don’t want, but what we do want. The hockey player thought for a second, and then lightbulb, the goal when I get the puck is to score. Snap, crackle, lightbulb, I’ve never seen anyone’s eyes light up like in that moment. He literally realized that his main focus on the ice should be having his team score, no matter how that happens.
The most paralyzing thing for an athlete is indecisiveness. Take this struggle away by focusing on your micro-goal.
1: Off-season goal setting, Aubameyang break-in & defining success!
In today's first episode of the Sports & Psychology Podcast coming to you every Saturday morning, we're diving into the off-season, and how we can set ourselves up for a successful training camp, season, and into the playoffs or end-of-season tournaments. We're talking off-season goal setting. This is valid for coaches, trainers, athletes of any age, and all of you casual sports fans out there looking to get a one-up on your buddies in that next YMCA run. Ya, you know who you are. This is for you too. If you're looking to take ownership over your growth, and your goals, and set yourself up for success in your season, then you're right where you want to be.
We're at that point when school is starting and a lot of my athletes are returning from their summer vacation, or already have, and are back in the gym preparing for the season. A perfect time to deep dive into setting internal goals and expectations for the upcoming season. Teams that lack a sports psychologist, and good communicators usually whiff or miss hugely on this point and it is part of the large reason why they don't end up having success. If we're talking about winning, or success, then I would offer my equation:
Success is the convergence of preparation, growth, determination, confidence, leadership, and communication.
The topic of off-season planning theoretically covers all six of these determining factors.
1. What is off-season planning? Goal setting and expectation setting for myself before the season starts.
2. Why? In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes an athlete can make at any age is not taking an active role in their development. What does that mean? Not taking ownership. This activity makes the athlete the sole owner of their development and their goals. It's not the coach's responsibility, mommy's or daddy's responsibility, and not the manager's responsibility. If we take the time to plan and set goals before the season starts, then we take responsibility for achieving those goals.
3. Which areas? I challenge my athletes, to off-season plan in a multitude of areas. Let's start with growth: Let's set a technical growth goal, a physical growth goal, and a social/emotional growth goal. A technical or skills goal might be improving my handling or dribbling skills, developing an adult shot, or refining or adding certain techniques I've been averse to in the past. Physical goals can be speed, strength, or weight. And social or emotional goals can be considered any change or work with communication meaning talking or listening more, and emotions meaning work with anger, stress, fear, etc.
Something to remember, a goal has to be measurable!
Next, we can move over to confidence or an internal feeling. What is a goal for a value or personality trait we want to represent throughout the season? Some examples might be drive, motivation, internal feelings I want to have, and/or representing my values. (If you want to know more about values, don't forget to check out my blog post on values)!
Again, we want this to be measurable, and the athlete can measure each practice and competition if they've shown up in the way that they expect from themselves. Lastly, I would look at a goal in terms of leadership. This may have been covered in the social/emotional growth, but it may not have.
Have a great week everyone, and talk to you next Saturday.