IWU Athletics plans mental performance series for student-athletics

By James Stein Sep10,2021
Image by Isabel Sperry
Image by Isabel Sperry


In an attempt to promote mental and emotional wellness among student-athletes, Illinois Wesleyan’s Athletic Department is planning to introduce a series called “Titan Mindset.” The three-session series will take place over September, Octoberand November and will cover various aspects of the mental fortitude of athletics.


Leading the “Titan Mindset” committee is Lindsey Kellar, the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach and Assistant AD of Student-Athlete Wellness. “Titan Mindset” is the brain-child of the Athletics Mental Health Committee composed of Kellar, Candy Anderson (Healthcare Administrator and Rehab Coordinator), Tommy Gilbert (Assistant Swimming Coach) and Mike Wagner (Athletic Director).


The Athletic Mental Health Committee plans to bring in different field experts to host and facilitate each session. For Fall 2021, Dr. Scott Pierce (ISU Kinesiology and Recreation), various ISU sport-psychology students and IWU Counselling and Consultation Services are each scheduled to lead a monthly session. Kellar is hopeful that the event will occur again in Spring 2022, though the roster is yet to be finalized.


“College students face a variety of challenges in terms of balancing academics, extracurricular activities, family and social relationships, job responsibilities, etc. Student-athletes are no different. As coaches, staff and administrators within the athletic departments, we see these challenges and want to provide support,” Kellar said.


Using the results of a student-athlete mental health survey from Fall 2021, Kellar and her associates decided to organize a series focusing on athlete-specific mental performance skills. Thus far, Kellar has explained that “the first session will allow student-athletes to complete their own needs assessment… [and] give the participants an idea of their own areas of learning,” allowing students to determine their own needs and adjust their “Titan Mindset” sessions accordingly.


Athletes and coaches of every skill level and prestige have placed increasing importance on the role of wellness on athletes and their performance. From the Olympics to colleges around the country, teams that once prioritized physical fitness are now focusing on mental health.


According to Kellar, she hopes these events help student-athletes and faculty emphasize mental strength just as much as physical strength for the betterment of their teams. 


“Student-athletes are often expected to practice and strengthen their sport skills on a daily basis. However, the same expectation isn’t always set for the mental side of sport skills – which could arguably be more important,” Kellar concluded.


The “Titan Mindset” events will take place on September 14, October 12 and November 9 from 8:00-9:00 PM in the Northeast classroom of the Shirk Center and is open to all Illinois Wesleyan student-athletes. 


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