There is nothing more important in life then mental health. With good, positive mental health comes happiness, passion, success, love, friendship, and inner peace. My internship this summer involved teaching mental strength and mental health techniques to young athletes in order to better themselves on and off the court. One of the focal points of my training was to teach these athletes about next play speed. Next play speed is the measurement of how long it takes you to re-focus and move onto the next play. This skill is now one of the most crucial points in college recruitment; scouts and coaches are interested in how long it takes you to be able to move on from a mistake and be focused and ready for the next play. What I loved about my internship and what I love about sports psychology is that it goes way beyond just basketball, it goes way beyond what happens on the court. Growing up as an athlete, you learn so many life skills and the idea of next play speed can definitely be applied to all aspects of life. You don’t get the job you wanted, how fast can you re-focus your mind and get that application in for the next job? You don’t get a good grade on a test, how fast can you re-focus your mind and figure out ways to do better on the next one? Not focusing on negative outcomes and not living your life outcome based is the single most important and most special piece of advice I gave to the players I trained this summer.
Interning with BTI as a mental health coach, I spent my summer teaching young males how to better themselves. I taught them that it is okay to focus on their own mental health, which reminds me of a quote I love: “Taking care of yourself takes care of more then just yourself,” (Jensen Ackles). I taught them how to be resilient, I taught them how to visualize what they want and then go out and get it. I feel like I really did make an impact on these young men and on these young athletes. So often, young men are taught that they have to be strong, that they have to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and show no weakness. Men are taught to ignore all feelings that may seem weak and I take pride in telling my players that this should not be the case. Ask for help, ask for advice and don’t for a second think that you shouldn’t.
My summer internship also taught me a lot personally. As I was teaching my players about next play speed, not living ones life outcome based, and advising them to never think twice about asking for help, I realized that I need to start focusing more and working harder on living my life this way. Who am I to say do something but then not do it myself? This summer came with a number of challenges for me, both personally and family wise, and while this summer was filled with peaks and valleys of my mental strength and my mental health, having this internship kept encouraging me to fight through it and use these techniques that I’m teaching in my own life. And look at me now, I’m in Walla Walla while Whitman Men’s Basketball is in Costa Rica and I’m focusing on the next play and taking advantage of this time to workout, get into a good routine, get things done that should have already been done… and focus on my own MENTAL HEALTH.
I could not be more appreciative of the opportunity I had this summer to be a mental health coach for BTI, a travel team I love and played for myself, and my opportunity to build on my network and work with one of the greatest sports psychologists to date, Graham Betchart.
Experiences like Jase’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff.