Confidence. Composure. Concentration. Commitment. These are traits every coach wants their athletes to possess. They are also key personal attributes necessary for any successful career. In these difficult economic times, the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration has reached out to a unique new partner in Icebox Athlete to develop these psychological skills in students and better prepare them for the competitive nature of the sports industry.
As a company specializing in mental toughness training for elite athletes and coaches, Icebox Athlete clients have traditionally been Olympic teams, major college athletic programs and conferences such as the NCAA Final Four. Recognizing that the skills Icebox teaches are just as applicable in the professional realm, OU Center for Sports Administration Director Jim Kahler invited Icebox founder and President Spencer Wood to campus last fall. During his first visit to OU, Wood delivered a powerful lecture to the dual-degree MBA / MSA class of 2009 regarding the continuous mental preparation required in the world of sports business.
In his Mental Skills and Toughness Training seminar, Wood noted that just like athletes, professionals in the sports industry face similar psychological challenges. These include overcoming anxiety in pressure situations, coping with criticism, developing a passion for work and handling internal and external competition. Wood provided his audience practical steps on how to control physiological responses to stress, such as an increased heart rate and rapid breathing, as well as how visualization exercises can assist professionals in preparing for high-pressure situations in the workplace.
Wood’s lecture was extremely well- received by the MBA / MSA classes. As he also does with world-class athletes, Wood challenged the Sports Administration students to begin applying certain practices as part of their daily routines. “Spencer’s presentation was very helpful in terms of teaching students a way to relax when under pressure. I have used his techniques to aid in my performance at interviews and presentations,” said current MBA student Ryan Wood. Added current MSA student Debbie Szalezko, “Spencer Wood’s presentation was direct and honest. He was able to present the material in a way that made you think about your current physiological responses to anxiety. He also detailed unique techniques that allow you to control those responses and excel.”
Much like athletes are asked to self-assess their performance as part of his mental skills and toughness training regimen, Wood advised students to consistently reflect on their academic and professional performance. He instructed students to note successes, as well as areas in which improvement may be needed. Many students have begun applying the skills Wood teaches, corresponding directly with him as they put into practice a mental toughness plan of action. “I have spoken with Spencer on a number of occasions due to my feelings about the lecture and Spencer's product. Spencer has great material and is very passionate about what he does. He has been a tremendous asset,” said MBA student Ryan Holmes.
The OU Center for Sports Administration is excited to partner with Icebox Athlete and provide this resource for the MBA / MSA students. MSA faculty members who attended also noted just how valuable they found the opportunity to work with a mental skills expert like Spencer Wood. “The skills that Spencer brings to the table will assist anyone in personal and professional growth regardless of career path or aspirations” said Dr. David Ridpath. “As a faculty member I find myself now using his practices daily. I certainly wish I would have known some of these things earlier in my professional life. He leaves a profound impression on those who see him speak and I recommend his training sessions to anyone. The presentation was truly an unforgettable experience.”