Lift The Mask connects the goalie community to mental health resources and providers. Whether you are looking to improve a mental skill like focus and confidence, or you are looking to overcome something that is affecting your personal life, we are the bridge that can lead you to a better version of yourself.
In order to help you take that first step, Corey Lucas at Mentally Charged and Mike Stacey from Mike Stacey Mental Skills created this handy "How-To" guide. We all know it's never easy to open up and lift the mask, especially when you don't know what to expect. That's why this free resource was designed specifically for goalies who are unfamiliar with the process of reaching out and working with a mental skills coach, consultant, or any kind of licensed sports psychologist.
HOW IT WORKS
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT WHEN REACHING OUT TO GET HELP WITH YOUR MENTAL GAME?
Written by: Mike Stacey (MS2) and
Corey Lucas (Mentally Charged)
When searching for help with your mental game, you must first determine what type of services you wish to receive.
Are you looking for a person who can help you with your mental skills and performance as an athlete? Or do you need help with personal challenges that are spilling over into your game? Maybe you're possibly even looking for both?
Before you begin, ask yourself these questions and answer honestly. By doing so, it will help you find the right type of care you need, which will make it that much easier to lift the mask.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Certified Mental Performance Consultants (CMPC) tend to help with mental roadblocks to your performance and training. Sport Psychologists tend to help with challenges that arise in or outside of sport that impact your well-being and health. Some professionals are dual credentialed and skilled at both, so it’s important to read up and ask as many questions as possible.
A great place to start is by using tools like the Association for Applied Sport Psychology’s Find A Consultant page or the ADAA's Find A Therapist locator.
Lift the Mask utilizes a simple "Reach Out" form to help connect you directly to a variety of providers, all of whom can help you find the right resources and care in your area. From there, it's time to find the right type of help.
2. FIND THE RIGHT HELP
To make it easy for goalies to find the right type of help, Lift the Mask breaks down mental health and performance into four categories of people: Ambassadors, Coaches, Consultants, and Providers.
Ambassadors are current pro and high-level goalies that act as friends, mentors, and supporters for any goalie that is looking for another goalie to talk to. Coaches are mental skills coaches, goalie coaches with an experienced background in dealing with mental health, and advisors that can help you lift the mask. Consultants are in the process of becoming Sports Psychologists but can still formally train your mental skills. Providers are state certified and licensed sports psychologists.
Ambassadors are pro goalies and coaches with current or previous playing experience.
Consultants are graduate students training to become licensed sports psychologists.
Coaches are specialized mental skills coaches, goalie mentors, athletic directors, or advisors.
Providers are licensed sports psychologists, therapists, and mental health professionals.
3. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY
With today's technology, it’s easy to reach out and make connections. First, we suggest you go a bit old-school and call a professional care provider. If you like their approach and feel comfortable during the talk, that’s a sign they are a potential good fit! Most times, you’ll be able to make a determination early in the call. Some other things to look for:
• Relevant playing/coaching background • Solid academic training
• Skill-sets you’d like to tap • Good applied experience
Regardless of their experience or background, if a professional provider still seems like a good fit to you, then go for it! They don't always need a lengthy list of awards to have a positive impact on your health and performance.
When you do begin communicating, remember to:
• Explain your sport and provide some background and context
• Find out if they’ve worked in similar sports before
• Ask if they can watch games or review recent video
• Get resources from other professionals in their network
4. BEFORE YOUR MEETING
On the day of your first appointment, you may find yourself in a waiting room with other folks, some of whom may be athletes or coaches doing the same thing. You may have to bring some forms with you, so make sure they’re in a folder or envelope, so they’re secure, together, and kept private while you wait. Most waiting rooms are calm places and people sitting nearby are respectful, quiet, and keep to themselves - just like a dentist’s or doctor’s office. I’ve yet to hear a, “Hi, who are you? What are you here for?” in these situations.
If you’re concerned about being recognized, discuss your needs with your consultant. We can let you in through the back of the office or you can ask what the less-busy times are and schedule an appointment for then. It is preferred to meet in-person for the first time. After that, providers can host a Skype session or phone call if you have concerns about being seen in public.
5. THE FIRST SESSION
The first session is likely an hour in length. This may seem overwhelming, but this is a good thing. It’s an opportunity to have an open dialogue and understand the process. There’s also a lot for your professional to get up-to-speed on, so they can do their best work for you.
Don’t be shy here; ask as many questions as possible!
As with anything, there’s going to be a little bit of paperwork. Part of this is informed consent forms to let you know your rights and that what you talk about is private. Consultants have ethics and codes that are meant to keep you protected and your interactions confidential.
6. LIFTING THE MASK
In the beginning, the consultant may suggest that you complete a diagnostic assessment. Remember, these are in place to help them get up to speed on where you are and what you've been experiencing lately. They help direct your practitioner to a starting place and may be reintroduced midway through your work together as a way to check how things are going.
The consultant may ask about your home or personal life if it’s relevant, but more often than not, conversation is about performance and what’s impacting it. You don’t have to discuss anything you’re not willing or comfortable talking about yet. You’ll do most of the talking, and you'll want to describe what your needs and goals are, your challenges, and how you’ve been handling it thus far.
7. WHAT TO EXPECT
Your consultant may talk a little bit about their approach and ask what you think. If you don’t like what you hear or think that specific practitioner isn’t the best fit, they will help you find someone who is. Your consultant will likely have someone in their professional network or right in-house, so don't feel discouraged if your first meeting isn't a quick fix. If you think the person and their process is a fit, you and your new ally will continue working together. At the end of the hour, you’ll review what was discussed, you may receive a few exercises or suggestions to work on at home, and schedule for next time.
8. THE NEXT STEPS
Sometimes seeking help can feel daunting, but once you find someone you’re comfortable with and can trust, you’ll be one step closer to feeling better - which will ultimately help your performance. Remember, sports psychologists and consultants alike believe their work is worthwhile because their support and guidance can help you attain greatness both on and off the ice.
Good luck on your journey and remember that it's okay to not be okay!