Professional development has always been a tool that we use to help our coaches grow and continuously improve from year to year. This year, our coaches have had the opportunity to work with a local sports psychologist.

Dr. Cindra Kampoff is a professor and directs the sport and exercise psychology graduate program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is recognized nationally for her work and contributions to the field of performance psychology.

Dr. Kampoff is currently in her fourth year providing mental training for the Minnesota Vikings where she works one-on-one with the players. Our coaches had the opportunity to work with Dr. Kampoff in August and October and will meet with her again in March.

Her work centers on high performance mindset, and she has given our coaches many strategies that they can use to help our student-athletes be successful. Many of these practices are explained in her book Beyond Grit: Ten Powerful Practices to Gain the High-Performance Edge.

A lot of the work that Dr. Kampoff does ties in very well with our InSideOut initiative that we have been implementing at the school, especially around the area of purpose. She also talks about dominating the controllable (things like attitude, preparation, and effort).

This is important for high school athletes who sometimes tend to focus on the officials, the behavior of the other team or fans, or even their own teammates. Our coaching staff has learned a lot of good strategies to help our athletes master their thoughts, including positive self-talk and avoiding negative thoughts.

We want our students to stay in the present moment and be able to overcome the mistakes that we know they will make (since none of us are perfect). Dr. Kampoff is a great resource for our coaches to learn from, especially since she has worked with so many high-level athletes, coaches, and companies.

She also has a great podcast focused on high performance mindset. The most important goal of our coaches’ professional development is that we want our staff to help each other out and use each other as resources.

As a coaching staff, we realize that we belong to each other, we need each other and we affect each other. We continually strive to get better so every one of our student-athletes can have a positive experience. And we will never stop working towards that goal.