by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant
An exciting event showcasing the field of sport and exercise psychology is coming to MSU this weekend.
The conference, called the Midwest/North Central Regional Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Conference, is student run and has been organized by students in the Sport and Exercise Psychology graduate program with the aid and supervision of their professors. These students will also present on a wide range of topics that have inspired them in their time in this field. The presentations, panels, lectures and symposiums will include topics such as mindfulness, grit, the psychology of injury, anxiety, burnout, internships, future work opportunities and others. The event runs between March 22 and March 23 in the CSU rooms 245, 253 and 256.
“The wealth of knowledge and ideas that will be shared this weekend cannot be highlighted enough,” Ciana Curran, one of the event’s planners, said. “The conference will provide all attendees the opportunity to mingle with other individuals working in the field and those who have just begun their journey.”
While the event is student run, there will be keynote speakers Friday and Saturday. Muna Mohamed will speak Friday, March 23, at 3 p.m., about her involvement in the Girls Involvement in Recreation and Leisurely Sports (G.I.R.L.S) initiative, which worked closely with adolescent girls and families of East African descent in the Minneapolis area. She will share about community-based, participatory action research, her coaching experience and offer suggestions for implementing this approach in varied professional enterprises such as coaching and consulting. Mohamed undertook the initiative at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Thul and with Fatimah Hussein.
Following Mohamed, Jenna Halvorson of “The Mental Clutch” will conduct a workshop focusing on “How to Develop the CLUTCH Mentality”. In this workshop, the audience will be led through six different skills that are crucial to putting on a clutch performance while engaging in a variety of different activities to enhance each skill. The lessons will consist of the importance of communication, learning from mistakes, understanding, trust, control and having fun. Halvorson is the founder of The Mental Clutch sport and exercise consulting company, which provides athletes and performers with tools to gain the upper edge on their competition.
Saturday, March 23, Dr. Adrian Ferrera will speak at 10 a.m. and share his professional journey from graduate school to working with the U.S. Army Special Forces, University of Washington Athletic Department and now leading the Auburn University Counseling and Sport Psychology Services. He will provide information about the mental health and performance needs of each population and his own approach to serving sport and military performers.
At 1:15 p.m. Ken Illdefonso Jr. (Ph.D. student) and Dr. Jana Fogaça, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, will join Halvorson and Mohamed on panel to field questions. This diverse panel will share their insights into navigating as a young professional in the sport and exercise psychology field.
Curran emphasized the conference for those actively in sport and performance.
“If you are a student interested in pursuing sport psychology, this conference will be sure to give you insight into your future path. If you are an athlete or performer, you could use this opportunity to get some tips as to how you can enhance your mental game. If you are a coach who wants to know more about what makes their athletes perform at their best, then this is the place for you,” she said.
She also added that the conference benefits the campus at large as well and encourages students to check it out for their own personal growth.
“It is not just athletes and performers who can benefit from this event – mental training can be the difference between maintaining focus and concentration during crucial exams, can help you strive to your academic goals and even manage your time so you can have a healthy and a fulfilling lifestyle. If you have any interest in excelling in your arena, this event should be a priority for you,” Curran said.
Those seeking additional information or looking to register for the conference, can do so by visiting the event’s webpage.