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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 Lift The Mask designed this free resource specifically for goalies who are unfamiliar with the process of reaching out and working with a professional. That could include meeting any type of mental skills coach, consultant, mentor, therapist, or sports psychologist.
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 those questions and answer them 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.
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.
Lift the Mask utilizes a simple contact form on the website 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.
To make it easy for goalies to find the right type of help, Lift the Mask suggests three types of people to start with: Providers, Ambassadors, and Mentors.
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.
Mentors are mental skills coaches, goalie coaches with an experienced background in dealing with mental health, and other types of non-licensed advisors that can help you lift the mask.
Providers are state certified and licensed sports psychologists and will charge for their services.
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 directly. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.