SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Andy Gillham plays the role of performance psychology specialist with Sanford Health. The mind, of course, can train just like any muscle.
“Different squads have different hiccups along the way, right?” Gillham said. “And sometimes it’s, ‘Holy smokes, we really got to be careful with the parents on this group,’ sometimes it’s, ‘Holy smokes, we really got to see, how do we treat those officials.'”
Gillham has a Ph.D. in sports psychology. Dan Houck of Hartford is director of hockey with the Sioux Falls Flyers, whose coaches met with Gillham Wednesday night.
“Being a great coach to me is about having a good open mind, and I think going in and having an open mind and working with somebody who works on the performance side of things really can add value to the players in your program,” Houck said.
“As a coach, working with players, how do we balance athlete development and win right now, where is that line because we can’t do both all the time,” Gillham said. “We have to pick and choose and prioritize, and then how do we communicate that message.”
Gillham highlights the value of exactly what’s happening here: communication.
“If we don’t allow athletes to say, ‘I’m scared, I’m nervous,’ well then it becomes essentially a dirty little secret, and we don’t do well when we’re holding on to dirty little secrets,” Gillham said. “So we have to find and create that environment where it’s okay to say, ‘Hey coach I get really nervous at the end, anything you can help with that?'”
The famous New York Yankee Yogi Berra is credited with saying “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.” Curious math aside, the sentiment rings true, no matter the game.
“Everybody talks about speed, strength, agility and all those things, but like, how, what are we doing to train our minds and understanding how other people’s minds work,” Houck said.