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Your Best Life: Mental Coaching helps Young Athletes perform their best

Mental health is a hot topic in the sports world this year. Now one Central Texas coach is helping young athletes develop their mental muscles in and out of the gym.

TEMPLE, Texas — Sports & mental health has been a hot topic this year with Olympians like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka both speaking out about it. But it's not just young athletes hoping to go pro who can benefit from mental coaching.
In this week's Your Best Life, how a Central Texas coach is helping kids succeed on and off the mat.

Young gymnasts at Extreme Cheer & Tumble in Temple are busy learning all the moves they need to conquer their sport. But all the flipping, the jumping, the balancing -- the tumbling - the twisting -- and landing... can be a little scary.

“When you're trying to do a backflip or a cartwheel or a handstand on something that is four inches wide and four feet off the ground, there's a lot of fear that comes into that,” says Competitive Gymnastics Director for Extreme Cheer & Tumble JoElla Reinhardt. “Gymnastics is a scary sport, and it's okay that they're afraid, we just want to give them all the tools to, to deal with that fear so that they can achieve what they want to achieve."

And that's where Bradley Williams comes in. He's the leadership and performance coach behind The Mental Edge. It's a company helping everyone from young athletes to adult professionals learn mindset and mental skills to succeed on the mat -- in the boardroom -- and in everyday life. “A lot of times what separates the winners from everyone else is the mental piece. It's usually the mentally toughest ones who come out on top,” Williams said. “And I really feel like when you make mental skills a part of your everyday training, you're leaving a lot less to chance, could you still perform well, maybe. But you have a way better chance to bring your best."

Coach Brad, as the girls call him, has been working with these young athletes for weeks, helping them develop as leaders, strengthen team dynamics and learn mental toughness. According to Williams, "I teach different skills that help individuals focus on the right things at the right time regardless of what’s going on in the environment regardless of those distractions."

And while these lessons can help on the mat, they're ones these girls can use outside the gym too. Williams says, “we can arm kids at a younger age with this mental skill set, They're going to be more prepared for those challenges both the ones that they're expecting to come and the unexpected."

In just a few short weeks, Reinhardt has already noticed a big difference in the way the girls communicate. “I think Brad just helps them to be smart athletes and teaches them how to coach themselves. Life is a mental game. And he just kind of helps guide, any of these athletes that he works with a gymnast in particular as to how to be the best and smartest."

If you’d like to learn more about The Mental Edge you can contact Williams at 570-295-4937.