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New Center for Sport and Performance Psychology

Center established with “Big Idea” funds.

Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, 1-14-2013

The Minnesota State University Maverick football team had the best season of its career last fall.

Perhaps coincidentally, but per­haps not, the team was working with the university’s sports psychol­ogy department, including Cindra Kamphoff, to help keep the players’ heads clear. Kamphoff called the program a 13-week “systematic mental training program,” and she was thrilled with the results.

Kamphoff — who is exuberant and genuinely excited about help­ing others — felt pretty validated in her work when she could see the football players using the mental tools she taught them from the sidelines. For example, they kept a flushable toilet just off the field that players could go and flush to let go of mistakes.

“What I saw on the sidelines was magic,” said Kamphoff, associate professor of sport and exercise psy­chology. “I could see people brush­ing things off quicker. I could see them rebound.”

The “mental toolbox” she worked to provide the players is exactly what she and others at the new Center for Sport and Performance Psychology plan to also provide the MSU community and the public.

The center — which is one of only four such centers connected to universities in the country — opened its doors Friday in University Square. The MSU Big Ideas Campaign provided $101,000 in seed money to help establish the center.

“You walk in, and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is monumental,’” Kamphoff said of the modern facility, which features a large lobby, various small consulting rooms and a conference room.

The center’s mission is purposefully broad, Kamphoff said.

“Our mission is to help people perform to their best,” she said. “It’s unique. It’s awesome. It’s powerful. It’s magic.”

The center will work with athletes, exercisers, performance artists, professionals and others to help them gain confidence and motivation to overcome barriers and stay focused. Staff, which includes health and wellness coordinator and personal trainer Anika Erickson, will help get people to perform with a purpose and with a goal in mind.

Clients could include anyone from a theater student with stage fright, to a hockey player getting over an injury, to a professional looking to change career paths.

To help launch the center, the first day of a new five-month program, “Resolution Solution: Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick,” was held Friday, and participants outlined their various goals.

The first item on the agenda was to change a key word in the program title in their brains: They would be setting goals, Erickson said, not resolutions, as statistics show only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them.

The program includes workshop sessions and oneon- one consulting sessions, as well as bimonthly phone calls, to provide support in meeting their goals, which ranged from losing weight to getting a jump on a dissertation.

Teresa Stevermer of Easton is a runner, a cyclist and a swimmer. She also has four kids. (In fact, three of the five participants in the room had four or more children.) So her goal is to find the time to be healthy.

“I’m getting older,” she said. “I want to be and continue to be healthy and do it in an efficient way.”

Lisa Kaye of Mankato, also a mother of four, wants to be more organized in general, which includes finding “me time” to keep running.

Kamphoff and Erickson listened as the four women and one man discussed their goals, as well as their expectations from the program, which included positivity, motivation and tools.

Kamphoff was eager to assure them they would receive all of those things and more.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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