Vanguard Roundtable #2: Mental Health vs. Mental Toughness

by Fusion Sport
 | 22nd October, 2021


2:40: How do you define mental health as compared to mental toughness?

7:27: How do you assess and monitor mental health and mental toughness in a performance program?

12:27: How does the approach change when dealing with an athlete returning from injury?

15:05: Do you track anything when working with your athletes before going into a competition?

18:52: Can you advocate mental health while also encouraging mental toughness – are they in opposition, or complimentary of each other?

20:41: How do you get the performance and coaching staff on the same page when it comes to mental health and mental toughness?

29:52: Recommendations on how you build relationship with coaches to have conversations that need to happen.

33:55: How do you know which data is appropriate to share with the coaching staff?

38:21: What are the limits within your specific role and how do you bridge that gap to help individuals access the resources they need?

47:41: How do you work with an athlete who may use mental health as an excuse, and how do you know when to push?

53:46: How do sports psychologists and mental skills coaches work together?


Roundtable participants include:

  • Uma Dorn, PhD – Licensed Counseling and Sport Psychologist at Salt Lake Psychology
  • Sebastian Little, PCC – Leadership and Performance Coach at Sebastian Little Performance and former collegiate student-athlete
  • Brian Alexander, MA CMPC – Mental Skills Coach with the Athletic Performance Unit at UC San Diego
  • Emma Ostermann – Human Performance Consultant at Fusion Sport and former collegiate student-athlete

Full Transcript

00:00:03.629 –> 00:00:15.960
Emma Ostermann: Perfect yes welcome and hello to our second vanguard round table where we discuss topics that we believe need more attention in order to drive the human performance industry forward.

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Emma Ostermann: today’s topic, we’re going to look at mental health versus mental toughness before we dive into today’s topic we do want to highlight a few housekeeping items.

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Emma Ostermann: Our North American human performance summit is right around the corner so visit human performance to register and use the code vanguard for a 25% discount on an in person or virtual resident registration.

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Emma Ostermann: The views expressed today are those of the individual panelists and do not necessarily reflect the position of fusion sport or the panelists organization.

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Emma Ostermann: Please submit questions and the QA window, we will also be able to upload each other’s questions.

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Emma Ostermann: Will pause during the conversation to take a question from the audience and we will also leave some time at the end for questions, we would also like your your feedback today at the end, I will be.

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Emma Ostermann: bringing up a qr code that has the opportunity to scan a qr code and we will donate $5 two girls who code.

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Emma Ostermann: So for each survey completed we’ll donate that that $5 and we also want your feedback on the survey as well.

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Emma Ostermann: For today’s panelists we have Dr Uma Dorn she’s a licensed counseling and sports psychologist.

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Emma Ostermann: Sebastian Little, leadership and performance coach Sebastian Little Performance. Brian Alexander a mental skills coach from UC San Diego and then myself, I will be moderating today’s session. Before we dive in we do want to do a poll.

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Emma Ostermann: To start this conversation off and so we’re going to get that pull off right now.

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Emma Ostermann: And this is an anonymous audience poll, the focus on mental health for athletes or service members has come at the expense of developing mental toughness so we do encourage you, before we dive into this conversation to vote on one of those answers.

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Emma Ostermann: And we’ll leave it up here for a few more seconds trying to get a few more people in.

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Emma Ostermann: Thank you so much for taking that poll that just gives us an opportunity for our panelists to see kind of what our audience things and help engage you guys as well.

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Emma Ostermann: Perfect yep so go ahead and end the poll and let’s go ahead and dive into our conversation today.

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Emma Ostermann: First up, we have Sebastian, i’m going to kick off this first question of how do you define mental health as compared to mental toughness.

00:02:50.850 –> 00:02:56.820
Sebastian Little (he/him): First of all thanks for having me on this is super exciting thanks for everybody’s in the audience I love this question.

00:02:57.360 –> 00:03:04.470
Sebastian Little (he/him): I think it’s one that’s super relevant in the athletic space I’m actually to take this a little bit out of the context of even just sport and answer it more broadly.

00:03:05.400 –> 00:03:12.090
Sebastian Little (he/him): So in my background is a life and leadership coach and get trained my training is really an ontological coach development and leadership.

00:03:12.900 –> 00:03:26.010
Sebastian Little (he/him): We make the distinction between coaching and therapy has a pretty distinct line and i’d love actually for my panelists to jump out at this point at some point and kind of give me your own thoughts, but the way that we think about the mental.

00:03:27.120 –> 00:03:37.560
Sebastian Little (he/him): Mental health conversation is more with therapeutic conversation right typically what we’re doing is we’re looking more in the past right and the therapist as a as a clinician they can prescribe they can diagnose.

00:03:38.370 –> 00:03:48.060
Sebastian Little (he/him): And in that context you’re unraveling what happened in the past, usually there’s something around trauma you’re looking at what is the underlying source and being able to start to heal that healing work.

00:03:48.930 –> 00:03:54.870
Sebastian Little (he/him): When I have when I think about a mental toughness conversation I think about it being more of a coaching conversation towards performance.

00:03:55.260 –> 00:04:00.750
Sebastian Little (he/him): And now we’re starting to shift our perspective of looking at what does the individual athlete need in terms of…

00:04:01.170 –> 00:04:04.020
Sebastian Little (he/him): bridging their own gap, from where they are right now to where they want to go.

00:04:04.410 –> 00:04:12.090
Sebastian Little (he/him): So the conversation for me shifts from going from more of a past based conversation around making sure you’re trying to remedy something get something back up to health.

00:04:12.480 –> 00:04:21.000
Sebastian Little (he/him): versus what is the next jump in your in your gap in your performance and how do we close that gap so it’s more of a plus conversation versus trying to fill the delta to go either way.

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Sebastian Little (he/him): yeah.

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Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah I want to jump in of course kind of from the the mental health side of it, and I do think there’s this perception of mental health being more a deficit or pathology based model but but.

00:04:36.540 –> 00:04:50.070
Uma Dorn [she.her]: I would say, for me and my perspective, it’s is that it’s more strength space and more wellness space, and so I see mental toughness and I will, I will say like that that word itself that I probably struggle with for me it’s like this idea of.

00:04:51.210 –> 00:05:00.480
Uma Dorn [she.her]: resilience or this this kind of knowing where my mental limits are and working to kind of expand them and mental health is kind of a part of that or a piece of that.

00:05:02.430 –> 00:05:04.740
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah I love to dovetail on.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): Both of those comments on mental health versus mental toughness.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): First and foremost, I’m a certified mental performance consultant through our association for.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): It and in light of the.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): publicity of the Simone biles you know case of twists at the Olympic Games there’s been a lot of publication media attention to mental health clinics.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): And they came out made a statement which I agree with that mental health is a continuum.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): That ranges from thriving to disorder, so we usually think about it from driving is like wellness vs disorders illness.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): And then there’s different people trained in different ways to address those goals that you might have around boosting your mental health, something that I think we all have just like our physical health.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): So we can look at it, not so much from a pathological point of view, all the time versus just okay Where are you on this mental health continuum and what kind of support and services, do you actually need to help you get to just functioning versus thriving.

00:06:18.060 –> 00:06:19.770
Emma Ostermann: Those are all really great points..

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Emma Ostermann: Just do a follow up question, there is mental health and mental.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): toughness.

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Emma Ostermann: Is there any other term or word.

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Emma Ostermann: That you’ve heard associated whether it’s an athletics regarding you know anything related to that.

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Uma Dorn [she.her]: Well, I like again mental resilience that there’s that there’s mental skills that we talked about in kind of the performance area, you know and and even like kind of mental strength that’s probably another one that i’ve heard but yeah i’m curious to if folks have heard other terms.

00:06:55.530 –> 00:06:57.960
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah i’ve also heard mental fitness.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): Which is a new kind of growing buzz term I think in terms of that idea of such as fun as a problem which is working fitness as well as.

00:07:09.150 –> 00:07:13.020
Brian Alexander (He/Him): kind of more catchy but mental wealth, you know set of mental health.

00:07:16.590 –> 00:07:17.760
Emma Ostermann: Those are all really great.

00:07:17.820 –> 00:07:30.480
Emma Ostermann: great words, I think, at one point I did hear muscle tightness, you know as just another there’s another word to describe, you know that the mindset that you, you want to be able to share with your athletes are the individuals that you work with.

00:07:31.050 –> 00:07:41.430
Emma Ostermann: Those are all really great points I do want to keep this moving along at Brian i’m going to come to you with this next question, how do you assess and monitor mental health and mental toughness and a performance Program.

00:07:44.010 –> 00:07:56.220
Brian Alexander (He/Him): That is a great question because I think any great work starts with assessment and we have to get really good at not jumping to conclusions right away from just you know what we think we see.

00:07:57.030 –> 00:08:05.910
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Especially as we’re training coaches to boost athletes, you know feelings of support vitality and well being in their program and cultures.

00:08:06.780 –> 00:08:19.320
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So I what we’ve done at UCSD we’ve we’ve actually created a performance plan sort of development plan that identifies these pillars of principles around what does it look like to have.

00:08:19.770 –> 00:08:27.630
Brian Alexander (He/Him): This both you know mental toughness balance if you want to call it, or I like to use more of the resilience these that Dr Dorn is talking about.

00:08:33.240 –> 00:08:37.410
Brian Alexander (He/Him): 10 different pillars that we actually built in Smartabase.

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Brian Alexander (He/Him): we’ve and then we asked the athletes to reflect on their their past week, how are you doing these areas, and so you know we have six mental and then for life balance.

00:08:50.100 –> 00:09:00.360
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So it’s stuff like emotional regulation performance enhancing self talk motivation, we talked about teens and then we also talk about.

00:09:00.810 –> 00:09:17.910
Brian Alexander (He/Him): core values and we talk about life organization and we also talk about mental recovery time that you can just disconnect from your score in order to reconnect with a little more balance so we do that on we try and do that on a weekly basis, then use that to inform us.

00:09:18.030 –> 00:09:20.460
Brian Alexander (He/Him): It and combine it with the observation.

00:09:20.550 –> 00:09:24.120
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Which is the unstructured assessment of what we see out there would work.

00:09:26.400 –> 00:09:38.610
Uma Dorn [she.her]: I love the idea of mental recovery, and I think that that just gets me really excited and just I, and I do think it starts with assessment and that monitoring that happens regularly regularly we we talk about.

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Uma Dorn [she.her]: You know the physical side pretty pretty consistently we’re looking at nutrition we’re looking at.

00:09:44.820 –> 00:09:55.950
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Where they are physically and we have trainers and I think in the same way that that mental checkup should be part of that process and that we’re looking at that emotional and social health there as well, so.

00:09:58.860 –> 00:10:01.410
Sebastian Little (he/him): i’ll add a little bit of a different angle on this I love.

00:10:01.470 –> 00:10:04.980
Sebastian Little (he/him): love the idea of assessment of where we are now and, like, how do we actually close the gap.

00:10:05.820 –> 00:10:13.350
Sebastian Little (he/him): A lot of the work that I do with folks at the end, this is more athletes to the lens of life coaching is looking at their world and where they want to go.

00:10:13.740 –> 00:10:21.390
Sebastian Little (he/him): So the question is, of course, there’s always gonna be metrics that are performance indicators, like a high performing culture high performing athlete there’s going to be certain things that are going to.

00:10:21.690 –> 00:10:24.630
Sebastian Little (he/him): be kind of a constant across our baseline across the board.

00:10:25.230 –> 00:10:32.040
Sebastian Little (he/him): But the next question is case of what do you want to do with it and I love to be in the conversation with the athletes around and coaches and staffs around.

00:10:32.310 –> 00:10:42.990
Sebastian Little (he/him): It what is the next next kind of breakthrough we’re aiming for, and how do we get there that’s a different slightly different conversation because it’s more exploratory often involves more creativity and partnership.

00:10:44.250 –> 00:10:56.910
Sebastian Little (he/him): And once we have the baseline establish we can really look to what’s next so assessment for me is ultimately comes back down to asking the question, what do you want, which is a question that we get asked a lot, but not actually.

00:10:58.710 –> 00:11:06.630
Sebastian Little (he/him): will get through was thrown around a lot, but we don’t always actually sit and take time to think about what is the thing that I really yearn for a truly desire let’s go get that.

00:11:07.830 –> 00:11:08.670
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And I think you guys.

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Uma Dorn [she.her]: Okay.

00:11:10.140 –> 00:11:12.360
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I was gonna say, can you say the same thing yeah.

00:11:12.510 –> 00:11:13.200
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah yeah.

00:11:14.790 –> 00:11:23.040
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah I was gonna say I think I think you’re absolutely right, I think if you’re doing monitoring just for the purposes of monitoring and not doing anything with it, it is absolutely kind of.

00:11:24.150 –> 00:11:33.540
Uma Dorn [she.her]: not helpful right if we’re just monitoring and having data or doing an assessment, and then we don’t actually think about what’s next it kind of is pointless and not not really helpful for for that.

00:11:35.130 –> 00:11:46.290
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah I think we see that, to a lot of times down in the trenches with athletes inputting all this information they’re sending it off into the ether, and then they’re never, never hearing anything about it and they’re like well what’s the point.

00:11:46.440 –> 00:11:52.800
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Right, how is this going to benefit me what how do I use it, so you know so that you need is kind of triggered the idea of goal set.

00:11:53.220 –> 00:11:57.510
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But be having informed goal setting and not just those outcome based tools, but also.

00:11:58.140 –> 00:12:06.930
Brian Alexander (He/Him): here’s the big dream let’s break it down into performance improvement targets and let’s break that down into process oriented steps that are more short term.

00:12:07.320 –> 00:12:20.250
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And let’s flip that upside down in terms of what we focus on, so that we can really drill into the process and I don’t say trust process, I think we have to follow a process which is to your point, but then keep them.

00:12:26.400 –> 00:12:31.950
Emma Ostermann: they’re all really great questions we have had some questions are coming in, as you guys are keeping the conversation going.

00:12:32.430 –> 00:12:40.050
Emma Ostermann: One of the questions that came through was how does this approach change when dealing with an athlete returning from injury obviously you do your assessments.

00:12:40.920 –> 00:12:54.600
Emma Ostermann: Coming from a performance coaching side I understand those assessments, but does that change with what you’re looking at how you’re communicating with the athletes, as they come back from injury and boom i’m actually gonna kick that over to you to to kick us off with that one.

00:12:55.110 –> 00:12:56.370
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah I mean, I think.

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Uma Dorn [she.her]: A big part of.

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Uma Dorn [she.her]: It is again going back to kind of what what are they are needing and really understanding how is the injury impacting them.

00:13:05.760 –> 00:13:14.040
Uma Dorn [she.her]: I think oftentimes For some it may be a quick bounce back and for others it might not be and to kind of know where they’re at I think it’s really helpful.

00:13:14.820 –> 00:13:19.230
Uma Dorn [she.her]: The other piece of it is that I think it’s really important that there is a touch point.

00:13:19.860 –> 00:13:25.110
Uma Dorn [she.her]: With whoever that might be to think about that mental side of recovering from an injury.

00:13:25.470 –> 00:13:30.510
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And I think that there’s both the physical recovery in the mental recovery from an injury and that can be at any.

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Uma Dorn [she.her]: Given point in the continuum right, it is also from just being injured, all the way up to like getting back into the sport and what does that look like from the mental side of things.

00:13:42.180 –> 00:13:44.760
Sebastian Little (he/him): Through one more thing on this as well awesome.

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Emma Ostermann: of course, go for it.

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Sebastian Little (he/him): I actually want to take the perspective, I want to put myself back in my playing days I played football Yale university.

00:13:54.780 –> 00:14:05.250
Sebastian Little (he/him): I tore my acl and meniscus my senior year game five my season came back to my fifth year started my first game back, and I say that only because the journey was more important and what I want to pull out of it.

00:14:05.910 –> 00:14:11.910
Sebastian Little (he/him): And the thing that I learned about myself, but also the process was how important the social circle was along the way.

00:14:12.690 –> 00:14:21.390
Sebastian Little (he/him): And it’s something that’s easy for us to forget particularly it’s like hey the strength staff or the medical staff has this person they got it right and they did they had me.

00:14:21.900 –> 00:14:31.470
Sebastian Little (he/him): But the to the check into the touch points that really created with my teammates and my coaches and the mental thing that the thing that I did a social thing that I did I actually created a.

00:14:32.220 –> 00:14:42.960
Sebastian Little (he/him): An acl group chat with everybody else that was going through a similar injury, if you had a knee injury I included you we weren’t we were inclusive in this thing, but we brought people together of that we’re going through a shared experience.

00:14:44.130 –> 00:14:50.430
Sebastian Little (he/him): And I had some other outlets, to make sure that that was that was a healthy experience, even in the frustration.

00:14:51.060 –> 00:15:03.390
Sebastian Little (he/him): So of course there’s going to be the frustration of the pain that goes through recovering from an injury, but what I want to speak to is like the social and mental aspect there those really go hand in hand with having me made a full recovery and then get back on the field next year.

00:15:06.870 –> 00:15:07.320
Sebastian Little (he/him): that’s great.

00:15:07.350 –> 00:15:16.920
Emma Ostermann: Thank you Sebastian yeah and there’s there’s also another question that came through and it’s do you track anything when working with your athletes, before going into a competition.

00:15:17.520 –> 00:15:30.390
Emma Ostermann: Is there, like a negative or positive influence on the mental side that you guys would look at, or is it a continuum that basically just stays the same whether it’s an offseason in season out of season, do you guys approach things differently.

00:15:31.500 –> 00:15:32.370
Emma Ostermann: To different periods.

00:15:36.660 –> 00:15:48.180
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Can I love to take that one, because I think that falls right into the wheelhouse of mental skills training, which is what you know my education is in performance psychology and sports psychology in the applied sense.

00:15:49.290 –> 00:15:56.580
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And I think something that especially around mental health is we, we tend to take a reactive approach, a lot of times when we talk about it.

00:15:57.540 –> 00:16:02.580
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But you know what we’re trying to reinforce this this idea that mental skills are meant to be practice.

00:16:03.120 –> 00:16:15.780
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And so that may may speak more towards the mental toughness aspect is fashion was alluded to right it’s like going from where you are to where you want to be and what kind of skill sets align with that daily training.

00:16:17.130 –> 00:16:36.180
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I didn’t say or share this earlier, but I think mental toughness is kind of an abused term and we came up with some other terms, but I also think of this term called malleability and and what that really means to me is you know you can be pushed on by.

00:16:39.900 –> 00:16:46.500
Brian Alexander (He/Him): right and you’re going to use those skills as you’re bending you’re kind of working around this force maybe plan for you hadn’t planned for it.

00:16:46.830 –> 00:16:54.120
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Or you just didn’t know you didn’t know you needed to but you’re never going to break and when it stops pushing on you’re going to go back to form as you continue on.

00:16:55.140 –> 00:17:05.010
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So that’s part of the idea and a lot of times as we’re preparing for competition it’s about what can I control and can I control the controls yeah so.

00:17:07.980 –> 00:17:11.040
Emma Ostermann: I think like you said you hear that term a lot, whether it’s coming from.

00:17:11.820 –> 00:17:20.970
Emma Ostermann: If you’re working with a sport coach you hear, I want to build mental toughness I want to build mental toughness and it may be hard to distinguish the difference between the two, especially whether you’re.

00:17:21.390 –> 00:17:32.940
Emma Ostermann: A sports performance coach who’s not as familiar with you know what does mental toughness mean it’s more studying versus you know psychological setting versus you know, a strength conditioning setting I wish I was used to.

00:17:34.080 –> 00:17:43.860
Emma Ostermann: But with that can you advocate mental health also encouraging mental toughness Are they in opposition, or the complimentary of each other, what are your thoughts on that.

00:17:45.780 –> 00:17:50.310
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Can I go back to the previous question around tracking, I guess, for me the the.

00:17:50.790 –> 00:17:52.140
Uma Dorn [she.her]: The one thing I think.

00:17:52.470 –> 00:18:02.280
Uma Dorn [she.her]: That Brian talked about was this idea that mental skills have to be practice, and so I think, for me, when I work with athletes, the big thing to let them know it’s like.

00:18:03.330 –> 00:18:09.060
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Not to have situations where they’re practicing what it feels like to be in competition, but also in competition to.

00:18:09.300 –> 00:18:16.950
Uma Dorn [she.her]: To have this experience of having what the mental skills what what actually happens and oftentimes I think we we kind of maybe focus on.

00:18:17.280 –> 00:18:28.320
Uma Dorn [she.her]: This idea of like what’s my best performance or how do I get get better but also like the idea of like I teach folks to also visualize when they did make.

00:18:28.590 –> 00:18:35.520
Uma Dorn [she.her]: A mistake or they did fail and then how did they bounce back because that’s the part that they need to keep building on and keep kind of.

00:18:36.030 –> 00:18:50.460
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Encouraging to do that, so I think in terms of tracking I think it’s more like yes, maybe you’re tracking differently, but it’s more about how, what do you use and how to use that with the athlete I think that’s more important so yeah and I know I went into that question but.

00:18:52.080 –> 00:18:54.330
Emma Ostermann: that’s perfect that’s a great point and it does.

00:18:54.660 –> 00:19:06.300
Emma Ostermann: That does tie in with that next question I asked and Sebastian I do want to you know throw it over to you, I mean, especially with the group that you worked with you’ve probably heard it as an athlete is you want to build mental toughness want to build mental toughness.

00:19:07.710 –> 00:19:15.570
Emma Ostermann: Do you think they are in opposition of one another between mental skills or sorry mental health and mental toughness or do you find them more complimentary at one another.

00:19:16.320 –> 00:19:16.650
Sebastian Little (he/him): yeah.

00:19:16.980 –> 00:19:17.700
Sebastian Little (he/him): thanks for the question.

00:19:18.000 –> 00:19:19.140
Sebastian Little (he/him):

00:19:20.610 –> 00:19:28.530
Sebastian Little (he/him): So even in the way that it’s worded right, can you have one or the other, it actually creates a paradox, for us, which means that you can have either or.

00:19:29.400 –> 00:19:42.480
Sebastian Little (he/him): And I think that the the perfect marriage is a combination of both and right so it’s complimentary but i’ve actually even put them in as integrated, I think, as a coach and a practitioner, you can only go as far with your team as you’re willing to rest them.

00:19:43.590 –> 00:19:48.360
Sebastian Little (he/him): Right, so if we look at them being the power is actually in the paradox of powers and polarity both and.

00:19:48.990 –> 00:19:57.690
Sebastian Little (he/him): If you’re going to advocate hey go take care of your your well being go take make sure that you go to that therapy session that you talked about it’s really important that you talk about what’s going on at home.

00:19:58.290 –> 00:20:06.570
Sebastian Little (he/him): You can go further there if you do that, you can go further into pushing your athlete to performance or what we would kind of consider perform traditional performance.

00:20:07.020 –> 00:20:13.890
Sebastian Little (he/him): So I actually think that the more willing, we are to go to one end it also gives us permission to go to the other, and they don’t exist without each other.

00:20:17.280 –> 00:20:19.410
Emma Ostermann: Very well, said, Mr do you have anything to add to that.

00:20:19.560 –> 00:20:20.730
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah I love.

00:20:20.970 –> 00:20:25.110
Uma Dorn [she.her]: What you just said, this idea of both and and I think it also goes back to what Brian was saying earlier, that.

00:20:25.170 –> 00:20:38.970
Uma Dorn [she.her]: It is a continuum right they are all on that same same spectrum in that line and that, if we see it as two opposing things or different things than I think we are missing, to really address the whole person of the athlete.

00:20:39.930 –> 00:20:44.460
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Which is, I think, really what we if we do that their performance will will be better.

00:20:48.720 –> 00:20:57.690
Emma Ostermann: that’s awesome Thank you this this conversation has been amazing so far, so thank you guys for all of your responses, I do want to keep it moving forward. Uma i’m going to come to you with this next question of.

00:20:58.170 –> 00:21:03.000
Emma Ostermann: How do you get the performance and coaching staff on the same page when it comes to mental health, mental toughness.

00:21:04.290 –> 00:21:04.980
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah.

00:21:05.610 –> 00:21:06.270
Uma Dorn [she.her]: I think.

00:21:06.690 –> 00:21:19.230
Uma Dorn [she.her]: A big part of it is changing the the kind of the language and the narrative around it, because I think there’s still this perception of mental health equals bad mental toughness is good for for performance.

00:21:19.590 –> 00:21:26.310
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And that I think being really careful about not necessarily emphasizing one over the other right, I think it is this balance of having both.

00:21:27.450 –> 00:21:34.500
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And also providing specific I think oftentimes writing specific tools and language and how to approach athletes around.

00:21:34.830 –> 00:21:46.740
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Mental health and mental toughness I think oftentimes there’s this fear of I can’t talk about mental health that must be something the psychologist needs to do or the therapist needs to do and but but knowing that.

00:21:47.730 –> 00:21:58.620
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Just like Sebastian just said, a minute ago like What would it be like for the coach to say hey I think you need to go to that therapy session that’s great, how can I support you in doing that, that your well being is just as important.

00:21:58.920 –> 00:22:05.070
Uma Dorn [she.her]: But that coming from the coach makes that much more accessible for the athlete.

00:22:08.550 –> 00:22:10.320
Emma Ostermann: Brian I know you work with a variety of teams.

00:22:10.380 –> 00:22:13.260
Emma Ostermann: college, setting as well do you have anything to add on to that.

00:22:15.330 –> 00:22:15.780
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah.  I agree with what you.

00:22:17.670 –> 00:22:27.390
Brian Alexander (He/Him): said about just educating the coach giving them language that’s common language also making it okay to not be okay as we’ve probably heard by now in the media.

00:22:28.560 –> 00:22:35.940
Brian Alexander (He/Him): it’s a cultural you know shift and i’d love to hear from Sebastian too cuz he’s in the.

00:22:40.290 –> 00:22:42.480
Brian Alexander (He/Him): he’s in the test for the football player, but.

00:22:42.930 –> 00:22:51.750
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I play water polo and that’s also one of those things where it’s like hey get punched in the face don’t talk about it just you know be tough keep swimming keep going it’s part of the game.

00:22:52.140 –> 00:23:01.380
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Or you know you’re going to grind don’t worry about it get over it, you know it’s that kind of stuff but we don’t want to lose that aspect of competition.

00:23:01.830 –> 00:23:15.330
Brian Alexander (He/Him): We just want them to know that you need to take care of yourself as a person first and then an athlete second and there’s certain ways to do it, where it’s performance enhancing versus performance debilitating you can do both.

00:23:18.330 –> 00:23:18.900
Brian Alexander (He/Him): You can.

00:23:20.460 –> 00:23:27.690
Brian Alexander (He/Him): maintain that balance in your mental health, with the right outlets, with the right support system at the right cultures that place.

00:23:30.210 –> 00:23:32.100
Sebastian Little (he/him): john Maxwell talks about.

00:23:32.130 –> 00:23:43.500
Sebastian Little (he/him): The level of the team will never see that the level of the LEADER I always go one level further the level of the LEADER will now exceed that the level of the system and the culture that they live in right.

00:23:44.310 –> 00:23:57.840
Sebastian Little (he/him): So one of the thing, the reason I bring that forward is, if you as a coach aren’t doing your own work, not necessarily therapeutic not necessarily coaching but doing your own work actively, you are a clearing for the rest of your team.

00:23:58.920 –> 00:24:07.260
Sebastian Little (he/him): Right, so the permission you permission your athletes give themselves to take care of themselves happens when they see their coach go home for dinner with their kids.

00:24:08.040 –> 00:24:14.310
Sebastian Little (he/him): It happens when they bring work life balance, to work and they actually have the two roles running on practice field.

00:24:14.910 –> 00:24:25.650
Sebastian Little (he/him): So the level of the LEADER actually gives the team permission to go take care of themselves, but if they’re not eating well or if they see them in in the film room super late eating pizza every night.

00:24:26.850 –> 00:24:35.250
Sebastian Little (he/him): Credibility comes off a little bit and sort of the permission to the rest of the team, so I actually even look at this as a cultural conversation if we just continue to elevate this frame we’re going to different angles.

00:24:36.660 –> 00:24:44.250
Sebastian Little (he/him): But yeah as as the individual you know I totally agree with what you learn and Ryan put forward, and when we look at the system, what is the system actually saying yes or no to.

00:24:45.000 –> 00:24:56.640
Sebastian Little (he/him): And I think that’s super important thing when we look at people being willing to go step into an ask for support, which is very, very difficult to do even more difficult to do when you don’t quite know what high school or college athlete.

00:24:58.680 –> 00:24:59.220
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah and.

00:24:59.250 –> 00:25:00.900
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Sebastian, you said that really.

00:25:01.140 –> 00:25:10.830
Uma Dorn [she.her]: I yeah I do think we have it’s not just the coaching staff right, it is administration, it is further up right, it is across the board, and we have to be educating across.

00:25:11.070 –> 00:25:17.310
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Because the pressure just doesn’t come there it’s it’s across the board and how do we kind of shift the culture to.

00:25:17.730 –> 00:25:28.710
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah I mean and and I would say athletics is notorious for not shifting the you know not being in that culture of well kind of that mental health and wellness So how do we kind of shift that across across the board.

00:25:30.660 –> 00:25:31.920
Sebastian Little (he/him): I think what we.

00:25:31.980 –> 00:25:36.420
Sebastian Little (he/him): We have to start to practices and is what we do when we do any type of training or teaching.

00:25:36.990 –> 00:25:47.700
Sebastian Little (he/him): there’s kind of three different levels, usually have like a simulation with the content that we’re trying to provide there’s language i’m going to give you some new language here’s some new terminology, we can go use together great.

00:25:48.900 –> 00:25:58.470
Sebastian Little (he/him): that’s typically happens in a training, you get some of the external to come in, everybody walks away they’re really happy with it and then usually within 72 hours we’ve forgotten most of what we talked to.

00:25:59.610 –> 00:26:06.840
Sebastian Little (he/him): The next level of it is real skill building and then what I love about this conversation is we’re starting to get into the how like just the nature of the work that we do.

00:26:07.320 –> 00:26:13.890
Sebastian Little (he/him): So you go from language to skill to true identity, where I started to identify that’s how I do things so that’s how we do things.

00:26:14.460 –> 00:26:19.410
Sebastian Little (he/him): And now we’re talking about a value conversation when the value conversation and starts to look at team norms and culture.

00:26:19.920 –> 00:26:28.380
Sebastian Little (he/him): So when mental health or mental toughness is good moves from the language of it, the sexiness of it into now skills, we can now use.

00:26:28.890 –> 00:26:35.640
Sebastian Little (he/him): You know, a focal point we can use breathing and meditation we can use different calls and communication on the field, or in the locker room.

00:26:36.210 –> 00:26:43.080
Sebastian Little (he/him): Now we start to have an identity conversation, and that is really where the juice, the juice happens and that’s where you see the consistency happen over time.

00:26:46.410 –> 00:26:48.810
Emma Ostermann: You guys both spoke about the system and changing it from you.

00:26:48.810 –> 00:26:54.420
Emma Ostermann: Know an administrative level and that can be really difficult, especially like you guys all said and then collegiate setting.

00:26:54.720 –> 00:26:58.590
Emma Ostermann: If they’re looking they’re checking period, or you know touch base period that.

00:26:58.950 –> 00:27:10.170
Emma Ostermann: You find that you would have to do, whether it’s hey I need to check in with this group every so often just to make sure that they’re staying educated, the points that we made two months ago are still staying in contact.

00:27:10.980 –> 00:27:19.080
Emma Ostermann: Do you guys have any advice on that terms of those touch base or just check in periods for the system based he has books book about.

00:27:22.350 –> 00:27:31.980
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I could just share the frequency with which I usually meet with teams, but it’s it’s sort of a model of service, where you.

00:27:34.530 –> 00:27:34.800
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Really.

00:27:36.060 –> 00:27:41.160
Brian Alexander (He/Him): going to be a change agent in the system right it starts with the buy in.

00:27:41.640 –> 00:27:52.020
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And just mastering the art of hanging out right, you may I mean I think i’m i’m my point of view I just hang out sometimes and I feel like i’m totally worthless and not doing anything.

00:27:52.470 –> 00:27:58.530
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And then, all of a sudden, they see my face and I start to get some trust build rapport built no son they’re saying hey.

00:27:59.370 –> 00:28:12.600
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Oh hey you see me right, and then, and then, if I know their name boom that’s a big one, but then, all of a sudden there’s this one day, where you’re there, and if it’s one on one or the coach or whomever.

00:28:13.710 –> 00:28:17.160
Brian Alexander (He/Him): They asked you a question and then them you’ve got you’ve got an opportunity.

00:28:17.550 –> 00:28:29.820
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So you just gained entry, if you can sort of even just use your counseling skills and actively listen and give them an opportunity to sound sound off on what they’re seeing and how they’re experiencing.

00:28:30.720 –> 00:28:36.090
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But a lot of that does also work through your relationship with the coaching staff because they’re usually.

00:28:37.560 –> 00:28:38.100
Brian Alexander (He/Him): The.

00:28:39.300 –> 00:28:39.630
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Keep.

00:28:40.800 –> 00:28:41.400
Brian Alexander (He/Him): The team.

00:28:42.660 –> 00:28:51.090
Brian Alexander (He/Him): and obviously there might be more on top of that, depending on who’s green when paying you may be paying for your services or whomever, but I think it’s it always comes down to that right.

00:28:51.510 –> 00:28:57.450
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But then I usually try and meet weekly or just be around weekly at least once a week, if not more.

00:28:57.990 –> 00:29:15.270
Brian Alexander (He/Him): so that they feel like you’re a part of what their experiences as well right because there’s that covenant to athletics, where if they don’t feel like you’re given some some of the sacrifice or some of the the consistent showing up aspect.

00:29:18.300 –> 00:29:27.570
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But if you do that, then you’re in the team is, you have to kind of get that buy in and it’s hard it’s a it’s an art it’s not necessarily so it’s.

00:29:30.240 –> 00:29:31.350
Emma Ostermann: Definitely understand that.

00:29:31.350 –> 00:29:43.740
Emma Ostermann: Especially when I was a performance performance coach you know we sit in on these weekly performance staff meetings, and I know you’re familiar with that, as well as fashion and Ryan i’m sure you guys are all familiar with that and that kind of helps with that check in.

00:29:44.790 –> 00:29:46.230
Emma Ostermann: But when it comes to building that.

00:29:46.230 –> 00:29:52.530
Emma Ostermann: relationship you, you have a head of you need to build a relationship with the coach the coaching staff.

00:29:52.950 –> 00:30:03.420
Emma Ostermann: Do you have any recommendations on how you go about that to build that relationship so, then you do get that buy in when it is time you know, to have those conversations that need to have happen.

00:30:07.380 –> 00:30:07.950
Brian Alexander (He/Him): well.

00:30:08.520 –> 00:30:21.330
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I can share the way I do it and it’s not a one size fits all approach it’s definitely a one size fits one approach, depending on how well I know the coach Hello i’m.

00:30:23.250 –> 00:30:32.790
Brian Alexander (He/Him): or well, as you know what kinds of similar connections, do we have but it starts usually with just like a discovery I kind of call.

00:30:34.230 –> 00:30:43.680
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Because if they’re if they’re seeking me out or if i’m available to work with them, well then there’s something that hopefully we can find to work on right, so I just want to state of the Union.

00:30:44.340 –> 00:30:58.050
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And maybe even not just with the team yet maybe it’s just with the program is tell me a little bit about the history of your program I would love to know your coaching philosophy, what do you stand for, I just want to be a sponge and really just learn from.

00:30:59.400 –> 00:31:04.980
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Because, then all of a sudden you’re giving them the power station, and I think they’re usually used to that.

00:31:05.730 –> 00:31:10.800
Brian Alexander (He/Him): like this is there you’re coming in to add value you’re not coming in just take it away.

00:31:11.760 –> 00:31:24.060
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So I think that’s always good it’s kind of an assessment process right so it’s kind of like yo the first step, I usually take just gaining information trying to open dialogue with them and through that.

00:31:29.790 –> 00:31:38.550
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But sometimes you need that maybe elevator pitch to share what what kind of value, what do you offer what kinds of things you work on.

00:31:39.600 –> 00:31:43.890
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And then you kind of customize it if you have an opportunity there.

00:31:46.980 –> 00:31:54.510
Uma Dorn [she.her]: I would say, similarly to Brian I think it is about that relationship and creating space for that, and I think much of it is also.

00:31:55.050 –> 00:32:03.120
Uma Dorn [she.her]: empathizing with their role that they’re in and really understanding the complexity of what that means and what is.

00:32:03.780 –> 00:32:17.790
Uma Dorn [she.her]: kind of what they’re doing and what its impact on them and their well being right, and I think kind of coming in from that empathetic role can really help to then build those relationships and then hopefully connect an open open dialogue about the atoms.

00:32:20.130 –> 00:32:22.110
Sebastian Little (he/him): Good good really nitty gritty tactical here.

00:32:23.850 –> 00:32:32.610
Sebastian Little (he/him): we’re speaking really to like, how do we maintain and build a relationship so that we can be effective right, because if we’re not in relationship with somebody then we’re just consulting or throwing stuff at them.

00:32:33.720 –> 00:32:39.210
Sebastian Little (he/him): I love the equation a touch point equals quality times quantity times frequency.

00:32:39.900 –> 00:32:47.370
Sebastian Little (he/him): So touch point is any interaction, you have with somebody else right quality is the type of interaction that could be called text facetime zoom.

00:32:48.120 –> 00:32:57.360
Sebastian Little (he/him): Physical touch acts of service, right now, you start to get to like love languages that we might call quantity might be like I need to go check in with the head coach once a week.

00:32:57.930 –> 00:33:07.440
Sebastian Little (he/him): That is what he or she needs in order for us to be in relationship and the frequency or sorry quantity might be an hour right frequency might be once a week, so I look at.

00:33:08.280 –> 00:33:14.760
Sebastian Little (he/him): i’m always kind of constantly looking for what is this person need right, I do they really responsive via text, one would assume just text.

00:33:15.360 –> 00:33:29.130
Sebastian Little (he/him): podcast via text right maybe they really need more in person time, so it really requires a stop in their office and i’ll be looking at like how do I create relationship and maximize my time because I that’s not a finite, it is a finite resource.

00:33:32.730 –> 00:33:33.450
Emma Ostermann: I mean that’s great.

00:33:33.480 –> 00:33:39.960
Emma Ostermann: Thank you guys and and I think Brian you said it best as a support staff you’re there to add value.

00:33:40.680 –> 00:33:49.170
Emma Ostermann: Coming from that performance coaching side you know my the value, I would add, was hey these these are their metrics are testing numbers, and this is how they’re performing on this side.

00:33:50.040 –> 00:33:54.750
Emma Ostermann: But when it comes to the data you collect on the mental skills side or the sports psychology side.

00:33:55.410 –> 00:34:02.310
Emma Ostermann: How do you know which data is appropriate to share with the coaching staff and in which isn’t because there is going to be some.

00:34:02.670 –> 00:34:11.760
Emma Ostermann: Some conversations that happen, where hey that that information might be pertinent to know, especially going into a competition or or heavy practice.

00:34:12.600 –> 00:34:25.830
Emma Ostermann: But also understanding that there is that that door where it’s like hey I can’t I can’t share that information, how do you distinguish which information you’re able to share in which you are and i’m going to kick that one off to you.

00:34:25.830 –> 00:34:26.250
Brian Alexander (He/Him): First.

00:34:26.940 –> 00:34:35.190
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah I think this is really tough on the mental health side of things, I mean I think when it’s more performance or mental skills, like, I feel a little more comfortable and.

00:34:35.520 –> 00:34:42.630
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And I can but when we get into that blurred line of where that starts and where it stops it gets really complicated.

00:34:43.140 –> 00:34:53.070
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Because a big part of why therapy works is that there’s confidentiality and that the the client can trust that that’s going to be kept.

00:34:54.000 –> 00:35:08.250
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And I think, for me the hard part is not always knowing how that information is going to be used, you know i’ve had where that information, then gets used in ways like you can’t play in the game, this week, you know those kinds of things which then really kind of.

00:35:09.570 –> 00:35:18.360
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Again, what he says trust or and then also hurts kind of that trust with the coach and athlete as well, so, for me, I think it’s it’s really tough.

00:35:19.770 –> 00:35:27.030
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Typically, I try to provide like aggregate kind of data or here’s some general information or hear some themes that are coming up.

00:35:28.200 –> 00:35:35.970
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And, knowing the coach really well and knowing what kind of where, how did, how did they align with all of this and then maybe being a little more.

00:35:36.360 –> 00:35:45.330
Uma Dorn [she.her]: About you know this athlete needs something extra this week, and maybe not getting into specifics, but more talking about what their needs are and kind of helping them to support that lead now.

00:35:48.240 –> 00:35:50.190
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah, I think, to add to that.

00:35:50.340 –> 00:35:52.350
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I also fall into this.

00:35:54.180 –> 00:35:59.340
Brian Alexander (He/Him): dilemma sometimes right because we want to honor that confidentiality and privacy.

00:35:59.910 –> 00:36:09.030
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And a lot of times too I hear that from athletes when I meet with them one on one that they really value that separation from the coaching staff and someone that they can just lean on.

00:36:10.020 –> 00:36:13.380
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So we have to remember who’s our real client.

00:36:14.160 –> 00:36:24.960
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Right who’s our real client, even though there’s certain people that get you in the door, certain people that give you an opportunity to work with athletes, I think the athletes are the one reason why i’m there.

00:36:25.350 –> 00:36:37.080
Brian Alexander (He/Him): You know i’d love to be able to coach the coach and a lot of times, I am just through being there as well as having challenging conversations and just asking those questions.

00:36:37.530 –> 00:36:47.340
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Around maybe you know something that we agreed to earlier in their season and now that they have real time results now where you know, maybe veering off track a little bit so ask a.

00:36:47.610 –> 00:36:56.250
Brian Alexander (He/Him): question that brings them back on maybe or just gets them to think about it in a different way, but using the data to, I think.

00:36:57.000 –> 00:37:05.400
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I usually have a plan right before I just asked for the data and i’m usually including all the stakeholders and creating that plan.

00:37:06.030 –> 00:37:19.350
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So kind of sharing like Well, this is the expectation about you know I use that mental training and wellbeing scoreboard for smarter base, so this is the expectation about four times throughout the year.

00:37:19.890 –> 00:37:27.060
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I plan is to average each area and give you sort of like a little graph and show you where your team.

00:37:29.250 –> 00:37:33.090
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Right now, stay with no one’s names let’s say.

00:37:33.570 –> 00:37:41.940
Brian Alexander (He/Him): athletes, how do you feel about that what what what can we have dialogue like what could you know come of that right and i’m obviously going through all these ethical situations my my to before I get there.

00:37:42.630 –> 00:37:52.860
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Maybe, even going through an ethical decision making model with other peers outside of it, so I get a different perspective, but then, in addition to that i’m also asking them like what would be really valuable.

00:37:53.970 –> 00:38:07.440
Brian Alexander (He/Him): With this data to help your team perform at a higher level right, and so, then maybe we get creative together and kind of innovative and and come up with some kind of display of that right so it’s all that stuff put together.

00:38:08.130 –> 00:38:11.640
Brian Alexander (He/Him): to sort of support them and, obviously, like I said add value to it.

00:38:15.690 –> 00:38:20.790
Emma Ostermann: that’s part of it, yes, thank you guys, I think that transitions really well into this into this next question of.

00:38:21.390 –> 00:38:27.150
Emma Ostermann: What are the limits within your specific role and how do you bridge that gap, do you have individuals access to the resources they need.

00:38:27.750 –> 00:38:37.440
Emma Ostermann: And what I mean by that is once again, I come from a performance coaching background and then you also have you know sports nutritionist dietitians athletic training sports medicine staff.

00:38:37.980 –> 00:38:47.490
Emma Ostermann: who may all experience a conversation with an athlete or an individual that they are working with and it’s what information or what feedback, can I give them.

00:38:48.510 –> 00:39:00.180
Emma Ostermann: For my own experience, I know it’s knowing my own limits and understanding my limits of what talking points that I can give to that individual as well as the relationship, I already built with that individual.

00:39:01.140 –> 00:39:09.600
Emma Ostermann: As well as this idea of breaking down the silos when I mean by silos is, if you have mental skills or mental health in one silo.

00:39:10.020 –> 00:39:13.830
Emma Ostermann: Sports performance and another strength and conditioning and other sports nutrition and another.

00:39:14.430 –> 00:39:22.560
Emma Ostermann: and your sole thing and your silo are we creating organic conversation, are we do we have anything that may be pertinent to the other person.

00:39:23.520 –> 00:39:31.860
Emma Ostermann: In their silo quote unquote or are we coming together and sharing each other, these tidbits of information that can help for the athlete sake and.

00:39:32.280 –> 00:39:39.810
Emma Ostermann: My biggest takeaway for that was communication and transparency, you know as long as we’re communicating you know with one another and.

00:39:40.530 –> 00:39:48.000
Emma Ostermann: I do bring light into this, because I have worked with Uma before was especially in the weight room, how can what she is doing what she’s working on.

00:39:48.570 –> 00:40:05.580
Emma Ostermann: also help in the weight room side of things, and one of the biggest things that we did was hate, this was a theme that I was going to highlight this week when working with a specific team and, within that theme, I created a team of banner team challenge that that also brought that female.

00:40:06.690 –> 00:40:20.220
Emma Ostermann: That was one way that we that we work together to help bridge that gap i’d be interested to hear from from either one of you, how do you guys see bridging that gap between those different silos that we’re all in.

00:40:25.080 –> 00:40:33.480
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And I think I mean that was a great example and I always loved that work that we did together me, and it was really quick right, I came in and did this.

00:40:33.810 –> 00:40:43.590
Uma Dorn [she.her]: five minute presentation on a mental skill and and then you kind of used it in in in the workout you know and in the in the in the weight room and I think that was really helpful to kind of help.

00:40:44.490 –> 00:40:59.490
Uma Dorn [she.her]: The athletes see how we can bridge it because I think they also see it as kind of siloed that this is mental health is this one thing nutrition is one thing, but if we kind of all speak the language of all of our kind of counterparts, I think you can really help to.

00:41:00.900 –> 00:41:09.450
Uma Dorn [she.her]: go back to what Sebastian was saying earlier, but helped to create an identity around this that we all value all the pieces of what makes us the best performer.

00:41:14.040 –> 00:41:18.120
Sebastian Little (he/him): I love this I love this question this one, yes, he fired up there’s something about this i’m.

00:41:18.840 –> 00:41:24.930
Sebastian Little (he/him): about how do you actually work as a team teams which represented as well, highly recommend that if you’re interested in looking at.

00:41:25.590 –> 00:41:31.830
Sebastian Little (he/him): How do you bring together multi disciplinary teams teams that do things really well individually to it being interdisciplinary.

00:41:32.280 –> 00:41:42.270
Sebastian Little (he/him): I think we’re ultimately we’re going, and even in this conversation we’ve talked about the continuum of that we’re on it makes a shift into being integrated or interdisciplinary teams.

00:41:42.990 –> 00:41:54.990
Sebastian Little (he/him): So Emma to your point, having your nutrition team or performance team you’re all of them separate every time we have a gap in a system and a team and a frontline it’s an opportunity for us to get exploited.

00:41:55.890 –> 00:42:01.920
Sebastian Little (he/him): So it’s in the breakdowns it’s in the breakdowns between teams that we usually see communication drops or.

00:42:02.610 –> 00:42:17.220
Sebastian Little (he/him): Competition right for resources and we’ve all bickered the resources they have more we don’t have as much all of those are taking away from us actually staying focused on the objective, which is to win to support our athletes to support holistic health, you name it right.

00:42:18.660 –> 00:42:24.660
Sebastian Little (he/him): So I think part of what we can do from the get go is even from your first kickoff many of the year, the annual one of the year.

00:42:25.110 –> 00:42:32.820
Sebastian Little (he/him): is to set really clear expectations of what it, how are we going to work together and service of the mission that we’re we’re trying to achieve.

00:42:33.690 –> 00:42:37.500
Sebastian Little (he/him): I think the breakdown happens when the expectations are unmet or unspoken to.

00:42:38.340 –> 00:42:45.210
Sebastian Little (he/him): And everybody could talk all they want about communication, but if we don’t actually vocalize and drive to your point and make it visible these things.

00:42:46.110 –> 00:42:55.710
Sebastian Little (he/him): You know, all of a sudden we’re going to have issues, not in week, one of the season we’re going to have we when we seven when we’re going to the big game right because there’s going to be a breakdown that we hadn’t spoken about.

00:42:58.140 –> 00:42:59.100
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And I think often.

00:42:59.130 –> 00:43:07.320
Uma Dorn [she.her]: times we do this reactive lead rather than proactively right, and I think Brian you were speaking to that earlier, but I think it’s really important that we.

00:43:08.010 –> 00:43:15.960
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Think about this on the front end because it’s often in in in when things happen is when we’re like there’s a communication breakdown, but.

00:43:16.380 –> 00:43:26.340
Uma Dorn [she.her]: What if we kind of think about it on the front end and really help to create a communication plan or have us kind of be on that same page at the very onset of it.

00:43:30.180 –> 00:43:30.540
Emma Ostermann: Ryan.

00:43:31.020 –> 00:43:42.810
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I was going to add, you know a lot of great organizations now are creating high performance teams right they have a high performance model, and they have different pillars within that model which cover all those things that you mentioned.

00:43:44.190 –> 00:43:50.370
Brian Alexander (He/Him): We at UCSD we’ve actually we’re in a transition period from going from division to division one.

00:43:51.600 –> 00:43:55.110
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But we hire university athletics hired.

00:43:56.340 –> 00:44:03.210
Brian Alexander (He/Him): A associate athletic director of high performance and well being from a national governing body.

00:44:03.840 –> 00:44:13.530
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Of all sport of Patrick right so there’s a model in place with all these people specialties in place and your job is to work as a team.

00:44:13.860 –> 00:44:28.320
Brian Alexander (He/Him): wrapped around each team, but probably more importantly each individual athlete right to support every need they could have in terms of high performance right and and so, in order to do that in order like Sebastian was saying.

00:44:30.510 –> 00:44:30.690
Brian Alexander (He/Him): You.

00:44:32.220 –> 00:44:44.460
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Get exploited you tend to hear about it, and then we take the reactive approach versus if we can be get ahead of it and set clear expectations and also procedures and strategies that we can follow through on.

00:44:44.940 –> 00:44:51.690
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Then, and have continuous checking because we’re not just going to set it and then it’s going to ride out perfectly right we’re going to set it.

00:44:51.930 –> 00:45:00.210
Brian Alexander (He/Him): i’m going to hit road bumps we’re going to constantly have check ins we’re going to make adjustments we’re going to educate one another on a different specialties and try and really.

00:45:01.560 –> 00:45:07.590
Brian Alexander (He/Him): You know, make each one that the the go to professional if that comes up in conversation.

00:45:07.980 –> 00:45:13.290
Brian Alexander (He/Him): With the individuals or with the coaches with teams, but still we’re going to support the high performance model, all the way through.

00:45:13.740 –> 00:45:24.030
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And then hopefully everything else kind of happens where they’re advocating for it as well, so it turns into a system right it’s not just necessarily like let’s throw it against the wall and see what sticks.

00:45:25.200 –> 00:45:26.100
Emma Ostermann: I love that and.

00:45:26.460 –> 00:45:27.570
Emma Ostermann: I think one of the things that was.

00:45:27.570 –> 00:45:29.340
Emma Ostermann: brought up was you know bridging the gap.

00:45:30.690 –> 00:45:35.550
Emma Ostermann: As a performance coach you know what as weather sports psychologist and mental skills coach.

00:45:35.940 –> 00:45:50.100
Emma Ostermann: What do you feel you’re comfortable with you know with someone in my position to be able to speak to an athlete about you know you build that trust with an athlete, especially from a performance coaching side or sport coaching side, where you’re with that athlete.

00:45:51.630 –> 00:46:00.780
Emma Ostermann: quite a bit of time and and they build that level of trust, and I think you were the one who noted it was you know you build those people who, you have a trust with and.

00:46:01.440 –> 00:46:15.780
Emma Ostermann: You give guidance to those to those disciplines to those individuals on hey when they come to you regarding this, these are kind of some of the talking points that you can you can speak on or do you guys provide that guidance for any of the coaches or individuals that you work with.

00:46:17.130 –> 00:46:20.460
Uma Dorn [she.her]: So we did a little bit of training on what we call like.

00:46:21.510 –> 00:46:30.900
Uma Dorn [she.her]: kind of like first aid kinds of things, but like really helping to have again I think there’s this like oh it’s a mental health issue i’m not going to touch it.

00:46:31.530 –> 00:46:38.160
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Right and and and there’s this there’s the sensitivity around it, and yet I think it’s as simple as like how are you doing.

00:46:38.820 –> 00:46:46.020
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Is everything Okay, how is your how are you doing outside the field right what’s going on on and off the field and really.

00:46:46.860 –> 00:46:55.320
Uma Dorn [she.her]: it’s those personal relationships that and, in some ways that you might have more so than I might when i’m only touching in with them, maybe one one hour a week.

00:46:55.710 –> 00:47:02.790
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And so, in many ways it’s that relationship that will hopefully bridge some of that, and so it is doing those.

00:47:03.330 –> 00:47:13.020
Uma Dorn [she.her]: check ins in the way that we would do with anyone else, but I think we get get anxious about when it starts to move into that mental health field that maybe we need to shy away from it.

00:47:14.250 –> 00:47:15.540
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I also think that.

00:47:19.860 –> 00:47:24.660
Brian Alexander (He/Him): That shy away from us conversations, it increases the likelihood of the stigma building.

00:47:25.170 –> 00:47:35.280
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Which we’re trying to kind of make it normalize and make it okay to sit talk to talk about this in sort of not like a weakness point of view, but you know, strengthening point of view.

00:47:36.210 –> 00:47:42.300
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But you know, like we’re lucky to have a really good counseling and psychological services department and.

00:47:43.290 –> 00:47:53.190
Brian Alexander (He/Him): i’ve kind of gone through a lot of ethics, training and my you know professional educational path and knowing what are the boundaries of my competencies and knowing how to make referrals and.

00:47:54.030 –> 00:48:09.360
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Knowing kind of what the resources are and having them ready beforehand so even having like a referral list for different needs with you know direct contacts and all that is really useful in terms of being you know professionally ready, I think, to support.

00:48:11.310 –> 00:48:25.770
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And I think Brian what what you’re saying is really right on because I think, but you might be the one points to do that referral or to make that connection to maybe them needing to see a therapist or psychologist because again oftentimes.

00:48:26.880 –> 00:48:32.190
Uma Dorn [she.her]: They may not come to us until they hear someone they trust kind of being the one to encourage them to go.

00:48:35.010 –> 00:48:36.090
Emma Ostermann: So really good points and.

00:48:36.570 –> 00:48:45.540
Emma Ostermann: Sebastian I do want to pose this question that came through and the chat towards you it’s How do you assess an athlete who may use mental health, health as a potential excuse.

00:48:46.530 –> 00:48:53.160
Emma Ostermann: for their safety blanket and at what point do you start to switch it over to mental toughness resiliency within that athlete.

00:48:55.740 –> 00:48:57.330
Sebastian Little (he/him): yeah i’ll take a stab at this.

00:48:57.510 –> 00:49:01.080
Sebastian Little (he/him): I think it’s there’s another question on here, as well as like when you know when to push.

00:49:02.580 –> 00:49:10.980
Sebastian Little (he/him): And I think it’s all at a gradient, which is the classic non answer from a consultant or coach i’ve like i’m not going to answer the question but but on a more serious note, like.

00:49:11.910 –> 00:49:17.310
Sebastian Little (he/him): I do you think that we all we coach to a gradient and you’re not going to coach your freshman the same way to coaches senior.

00:49:17.790 –> 00:49:26.850
Sebastian Little (he/him): So being able to look at what is what is not only what the behaviors showing right now but also what’s this what’s that a symptom of what’s the actual underlying cause.

00:49:27.420 –> 00:49:36.780
Sebastian Little (he/him): If we’re seeing erratic behavior over time, is that because there’s an untreated something, or is there an issue at home is there, we can actually get curious about that.

00:49:37.200 –> 00:49:40.320
Sebastian Little (he/him): But with that actually becomes a partnership conversation with the athlete.

00:49:41.040 –> 00:49:48.270
Sebastian Little (he/him): Because what’s not going to go well as when we approach somebody and we say hey here’s how this is going to happen or you’re doing this or you’re this way.

00:49:48.600 –> 00:49:54.540
Sebastian Little (he/him): When we say your that’s where we start going into our own shame cycles or shame spirals from Bernie browns work.

00:49:55.020 –> 00:50:02.820
Sebastian Little (he/him): And when we’re in that place we’re actually we’re not going to get out of it so as soon as we come with a you as you are this way or your your mental health is holding back the team.

00:50:03.840 –> 00:50:07.740
Sebastian Little (he/him): We now closed off that athlete we actually can’t support to help them.

00:50:08.220 –> 00:50:12.840
Sebastian Little (he/him): Right, so I think the first thing to brian’s point coming with questions he’s talked about a couple times.

00:50:13.110 –> 00:50:26.760
Sebastian Little (he/him): How are you what’s going on in your world even short sweet pointed questions about what’s going on in the world, gives us more access to support, now we can start to look at Well, this is a mental health or, this is a mental toughness thing, and now we can do that when partnership.

00:50:27.810 –> 00:50:32.040
Sebastian Little (he/him): I think we’re seeing that more and more with the generation Z athletes and millennial athletes.

00:50:32.430 –> 00:50:40.890
Sebastian Little (he/him): They want to be involved in their decision making and we can’t go grab a face mask like we used to I was at the very end of that my career grabbing a face mask and yelling into it.

00:50:41.580 –> 00:50:50.370
Sebastian Little (he/him): That doesn’t work anymore right, so we can get mad at that or we can adjust our approach and be more effective in what we do now, I think it looks like partnering with the athletes.

00:50:51.480 –> 00:50:59.250
Emma Ostermann: I love that, and you know from the performance coaching side, it can be tough, especially when you’re in the weight room and or on the on a court or on a field.

00:50:59.790 –> 00:51:05.910
Emma Ostermann: You know it’s will, I will try to build this mental toughness or whatever, where do you want to input there.

00:51:06.510 –> 00:51:15.180
Emma Ostermann: How do I know when to push and what help for me when I was coaching with those athletes was like you said build that level of trust that came through conversation.

00:51:15.960 –> 00:51:22.650
Emma Ostermann: Having an individual conversation with those athletes to one get an understanding of what kind of coaching sale, do you respond to.

00:51:23.640 –> 00:51:33.750
Emma Ostermann: What kind of coaching so i’ll Have you had in the past and it was really trying to dig deeper on how I can get the most out of that athlete you know when things are starting to get hard.

00:51:34.560 –> 00:51:44.310
Emma Ostermann: And the other thing was hey vaughn collecting this data, there is some data i’m going to share with you, so you know know where you are and they’re having a bad day it’s like Oh, this is really hard it’s.

00:51:44.700 –> 00:51:58.500
Emma Ostermann: Well, yes, you are lifting way heavier than you have ever in your life that’s a good thing it’s kind of given that visual stimulus that visual feedback is Oh, I can see that now Those are some of the ways I helped me when I was you know in that coaching role.

00:52:00.300 –> 00:52:12.450
Uma Dorn [she.her]: yeah and I would add to that, I think it is that conversation piece, and I think, maybe even shifting our mindset of this as an excuse me, you know and and maybe it’s also trying to figure out how do we.

00:52:13.530 –> 00:52:21.810
Uma Dorn [she.her]: kind of know like what what is their push points and where do they want to be pushed like you’re saying i’m it’s like having this conversation of like.

00:52:23.100 –> 00:52:33.000
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Not when they’re in the moment having it right beforehand saying you know how do I, how do you want me to challenge you and and what does pushing look like, for you, and when do you know when.

00:52:33.390 –> 00:52:45.270
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Do you know, in your limit is, and if you do, what would that communication be for me like How would I know that for you and and really kind of again going back to like building that relationship I think so.

00:52:46.800 –> 00:52:47.280
Brian Alexander (He/Him): So.

00:52:47.550 –> 00:52:59.490
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I agree, you know and learning about the people asking them how do I support you, but I think we’re just touching the tip of the iceberg on the mental health discussion, which is important right we’re talking about it but.

00:53:00.390 –> 00:53:15.840
Brian Alexander (He/Him): One of the focuses I think when you shift from mental health and mental toughness or just mental training let’s say is how do we get more solution focus rather than problem focus and and so, how do you kind of come up with.

00:53:20.730 –> 00:53:30.390
Brian Alexander (He/Him): hey try this do this right, but actually after you’ve listened come up with ideas or solutions that you can sort of like partner on in a way, where you’re going along with them.

00:53:31.110 –> 00:53:40.080
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Because one of the things that we haven’t really talked about but is here is motivation and as coaches, you know a lot of them think after motivate our our APP.

00:53:40.980 –> 00:53:50.820
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And you can’t necessarily motivate anybody, but what you could do is you can create a climate environment where you support their psychological needs, can you create a climate.

00:53:51.720 –> 00:54:01.920
Brian Alexander (He/Him): that’s you know performance enhancing that’s both task focus, as well as that ego focus component and now we’re really thriving right.

00:54:02.970 –> 00:54:11.550
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And it’s built on some more theory in there to like self determination theory and all those things and even like maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if you want to go that deep stuff but.

00:54:12.420 –> 00:54:19.860
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I think that’s something and that takes education on the coaches part, as well as just constant reinforcement, because the stress the job is so challenging.

00:54:22.320 –> 00:54:25.200
Uma Dorn [she.her]: I think part of that is that it takes time to do that.

00:54:25.650 –> 00:54:41.460
Uma Dorn [she.her]: And oftentimes you know we want those results are those outcomes pretty immediately and knowing that in order for that creating that environment or that space it’s going to take time and really building it to make it happen.

00:54:45.540 –> 00:54:46.980
Emma Ostermann: Those are all really great points and.

00:54:47.280 –> 00:54:54.000
Emma Ostermann: You know, we are getting close on our time here and I do want to pose one more question to the group, because I do find it really interesting in.

00:54:54.390 –> 00:55:02.160
Emma Ostermann: This came through on the chat of how do you how do sports psychologists and mental skills coaches come together and work together.

00:55:03.030 –> 00:55:17.850
Emma Ostermann: Is there a difference between, say, you know, on the sports psychology side on what you’re going to touch on when working with an athlete versus on the middle school side what you’re going to work on when working with athletes, do you have anything Brian or fashion regarding that.

00:55:22.380 –> 00:55:30.000
Uma Dorn [she.her]: i’m happy that was gonna say collaboratively I mean, I think we are you know we have to be in communication with each other and really kind of.

00:55:31.410 –> 00:55:43.830
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Meeting meeting, where the athletes are and knowing that you know, sometimes I might be moving into mental skills or performance related and being sure that we’re communicating and similarly.

00:55:44.670 –> 00:55:55.560
Uma Dorn [she.her]: You know, there may be things that come up that that in the mental skill side that it’s important to bring up to, and so I think it’s that constant communication and being in touch because because honestly.

00:55:56.010 –> 00:56:05.970
Uma Dorn [she.her]: Athletes might may not know the difference like what’s the difference between going to psychologists and then mental skills and what’s that difference and where’s that line again beginning in and so really helping.

00:56:06.630 –> 00:56:12.300
Uma Dorn [she.her]: To both delineate for them, but also being in constant communication with with each other.

00:56:13.800 –> 00:56:16.200
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah I agree, and I also I mean.

00:56:16.770 –> 00:56:24.210
Brian Alexander (He/Him): We may have said this, but we didn’t really say somebody can really be challenged, with a mental health need and still be able to perform.

00:56:25.320 –> 00:56:27.960
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Right, so you can be working side by side with.

00:56:30.420 –> 00:56:30.630
Brian Alexander (He/Him): me.

00:56:33.030 –> 00:56:40.380
Brian Alexander (He/Him): As well as a performance related need right and so that’s where my my focus is on the applied sense of okay you’re performing or functioning.

00:56:40.830 –> 00:56:45.930
Brian Alexander (He/Him): On a certain level and that’s make sure if you need help, there we can use the support you need in that presenting issue or concern.

00:56:46.320 –> 00:56:51.390
Brian Alexander (He/Him): But we’re going to focus on how do you become a better performer on the field, or in the gym or wherever right.

00:56:51.750 –> 00:56:57.480
Brian Alexander (He/Him): that’s my role and my scope and as we talk about these things which we can we don’t want to stigmatize them.

00:56:57.930 –> 00:57:03.570
Brian Alexander (He/Him): i’m just going to reinforce like maybe that’s something that you should speak with with your therapist on or your.

00:57:04.290 –> 00:57:09.840
Brian Alexander (He/Him): counselor the person that’s clinically trained because honestly they’re going to probably be able to help you more in that area.

00:57:10.260 –> 00:57:21.000
Brian Alexander (He/Him): And I wouldn’t want to overstep that but chances are and what i’ve seen is we’re still talking about breathing so i’ll tell you about self talk so tell you want imagery and visualization and goal setting and all those.

00:57:22.020 –> 00:57:23.580
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Different different contexts.

00:57:25.410 –> 00:57:30.630
Emma Ostermann: The passion from the private setting do you do you see a difference in that as well with the individuals that you work with.

00:57:32.250 –> 00:57:39.720
Sebastian Little (he/him): yeah so I assume the biggest difference is that the folks that i’m working with are going to be independent contributors versus working within a team or organization.

00:57:40.620 –> 00:57:54.780
Sebastian Little (he/him): what’s awesome about a college or professional sports team is you have people under one roof right which is also looks like usually share confidentiality legal agreements liability, so all those things that start to get messy when you start pairing people.

00:57:55.830 –> 00:58:02.070
Sebastian Little (he/him): Both in my training and my experience there’s been a couple times and working with a therapist through with the client.

00:58:02.640 –> 00:58:06.180
Sebastian Little (he/him): And what what’s important is that the client empowers that relationship.

00:58:07.170 –> 00:58:13.410
Sebastian Little (he/him): And it’s really, really intentional about the client is taking anything that they’re running back and forth they’re the one connecting us they’re the one.

00:58:14.280 –> 00:58:22.830
Sebastian Little (he/him): Facilitating the whole process and in the private sector, they actually almost sit as the middle bridge and we actually get to support them on both sides.

00:58:23.370 –> 00:58:36.210
Sebastian Little (he/him): I think in a more academic or collegiate setting a lot of times Those are all in house, so it ends up being more in the same arena absolutely works, it just requires a little bit more intentionality and setting up the agreement up front.

00:58:39.120 –> 00:58:49.890
Emma Ostermann: they’re all really great points today and, like I said, we were getting close up close on time here and I do want to invite mass adoption Brian do you guys have anything you would like to add, as we, as we start to close out today’s session.

00:58:54.780 –> 00:59:02.190
Sebastian Little (he/him): yeah i’ll okay so say thank you to my fellow panelists is incredible learning from both of you, thank you for facilitating this conversation.

00:59:03.000 –> 00:59:07.800
Sebastian Little (he/him): The questions that came in were incredible so I also want to thank the folks that were there were here and attentive.

00:59:08.340 –> 00:59:12.210
Sebastian Little (he/him): This conversation starts to shift when we start being willing to have it.

00:59:12.960 –> 00:59:17.370
Sebastian Little (he/him): I noticed that particularly even in the diversity equity inclusion realm over the last year and a half.

00:59:17.790 –> 00:59:21.450
Sebastian Little (he/him): we’re willing to come to the table now about it, and all of a sudden we’re starting to see some shifts.

00:59:21.900 –> 00:59:31.470
Sebastian Little (he/him): And I think the same thing happens here with something that’s been historically stigmatized and is now becoming more on the front line so thanks for being here and i’m just grateful to be part of this.

00:59:33.840 –> 00:59:33.990
Uma Dorn [she.her]: and

00:59:36.780 –> 00:59:38.370
Brian Alexander (He/Him): yeah really well said and I.

00:59:38.730 –> 00:59:41.280
Brian Alexander (He/Him): I also think there’s one more piece of this to.

00:59:41.430 –> 00:59:44.310
Brian Alexander (He/Him): To keep educating the general public and.

00:59:44.460 –> 00:59:59.610
Brian Alexander (He/Him): Like Sebastian said, thank you to everybody that attended, because we can always learn so much more together but there’s different specialties within this mental health and mental training area right it’s just similar to the physical side right, you have strength coaches physical therapists.

01:00:00.660 –> 01:00:11.790
Brian Alexander (He/Him): The yoga instructor I mean you got like so many different things right so like we’re we’re coming to realize one there’s a need here but there’s a lot of different areas and pockets of need that have specialty.

01:00:12.750 –> 01:00:18.060
Brian Alexander (He/Him): In this aspect of just you know thriving and well being so, I appreciate the opportunity.

01:00:20.280 –> 01:00:22.140
Emma Ostermann: Thank you to all of you for joining us.

01:00:22.140 –> 01:00:24.960
Emma Ostermann: Today, we are very appreciative.

01:00:25.230 –> 01:00:27.780
Emma Ostermann: to Ms a passionate Ryan, for you guys for hopping on and.

01:00:29.340 –> 01:00:38.340
Emma Ostermann: Like I said a beginning, we do want to hear everyone’s feedback so that qr code that is on your screen right now use your phone and scan that code.

01:00:38.880 –> 01:00:51.570
Emma Ostermann: Just tell us how we did today how would you think of the conversation, do you have any suggestions or anything you would like us to consider in the future, and with that with every survey that we receive, we will be donating $5 two girls who code.

01:00:52.800 –> 01:00:57.870
Emma Ostermann: As for upcoming events, we do have our next round vanguard round table coming up.

01:00:59.100 –> 01:01:06.960
Emma Ostermann: November 17 we will get more information as well that, but once again from fusion sport Thank you so much for joining us today.

01:01:07.380 –> 01:01:20.700
Emma Ostermann: Unless abashed and Brian, thank you for all of your guys’s insight we do appreciate it, and then for everyone who stayed on and listen to the conversation and submitting those questions we do thank you as well we’ll see you guys next time Thank you so much.