MLB Brothers Examine Growth of Mental Training in Pro Athletics

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Demand is growing for specialists in the field of sport and performance psychology as more athletes, performers, and coaches integrate mental training into their preparation for performances.

“Athletes and coaches are talking about mental performance much more these days,” says Dr. Alison-Pope-Rhodius, Program Director of Dominican University of California’s Applied Sport and Performance Psychology (ASPP) program.

“Trained sport and performance psychology professionals are increasingly critical to helping athletes and performers reduce performance anxiety, improve concentration and communication, build confidence, and set goals,” Pope-Rhodius says.

To highlight the growth of mental training in athletics, Dominican is sponsoring a masterclass with brothers Korey Lee, a catcher with the Chicago White Sox, and Dr. Kellen Lee, a mental skills coach with the Seattle Mariners and adjunct professor in Dominican’s ASPP program.

The Lee brothers will provide unique insight into the mental training mindset of elite athletes. Open to the public, “Elite Mindsets in Baseball: A Conversation with a Practitioner & MLB Player,” will be held online on January 20 from 10 a.m. until noon Pacific time.

Korey will discuss how he uses mental training for his baseball performances, including his first World Series title with the Houston Astros. Kellen will touch on baseball mental game foundations, the common challenges of professional baseball players, and coaching the coaches so they can support the players on the mental side of their game.

Kellen, who previously worked for the San Francisco Giants, also will  provide an overview of a career in the growing field of sport and performance psychology. At Dominican he teaches Advanced Mental Skills Training. Kellen also supervises students at Dominican for their applied work in the field and prepares them to apply for their Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) credential upon graduation.

Dominican’s master’s level ASPP program trains students to work with performers in a variety of domains: from sporting arenas and businesses to performing arts and health care. Coursework is grounded in the theory and research of sport and performance psychology while incorporating hands-on training that allows practitioners to apply this education in the workplace – be it on the field, on the stage, or in the boardroom. The focus is on training students to do the work in the field with athletes, coaches and other performers.

Dominican also offers a certificate in sport and performance psychology for those who want to further their education and expertise in mental skills training and/or are working toward their CMPC certification.

The Association of Applied Sport Psychology recently reported an increase in professionals earning CMPC certification. Certification was up about 26% in 2022 compared to 2021 and up almost 74% since 2020. There currently are about 750 certified practitioners across various industries. 

The ASPP program is also offering a free webinar on January 26 from noon-1 p.m. Pacific time specifically for coaches titled “Winning the Mental Game.” Coaches will learn about best practices in mental performance coaching for athletes while gaining practical skills in
creating a task-focused mastery environment. The workshop will provide you with tools to help your team stay focused on the present moment, as opposed to past mistakes or future outcomes.

MEDIA: Both Dr. Alison Pope-Rhodius and Dr. Kellen Lee are available to talk about the growth of and trends in sport and performance psychology. Please contact to arrange an interview.

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