PODCAST EPISODE 141: Optimizing Mental Health and Sport Performance in Athletes with Lisa Bonta Sumii


As athletes, we are always pushing our bodies to the limit, trying to see what we are capable of. To compete at the highest levels, it's important to have help with your mindset. You saw a lot of examples of this if you listened to my interviews with Deena Kastor, Nick Symmonds, and Katherine Switzer. In this interview with Lisa Bonta Sumii, LCSW for the Power Up Your Performance Podcast, we talked about mental skills training and how what we learn as athletes can transfer to all the areas of our lives.

Lisa has 21 years experience as a therapist, but started working with athletes over the last two years because her 14 year old daughter began playing softball. In that process, the culture of competition was reintroduced to her. Lisa was a competitive soccer player growing up, so her own identity as an athlete was reignited.

She saw the intensity, the pressure, and the responsibility of being an athlete at a competitive level at such a young age and recalled her own experiences, saying, "I would have loved to have someone like me as a support and didn't know that there was such a thing."

Now she works with student athletes at the high school and collegiate level, Olympians, Olympian-hopefuls, and professional athletes. 

When asked about some of the things she works with athletes on, she said, "We focus on process versus outcome. We talk a little bit about what mental skills could be helpful for them. And we practice them together. We create them. And then we set a plan. So it's very individualized," adding that she treats them as athletes and humans in their environment.

In this episode, we talk about dealing with parental pressure, visualization, focusing on the task at hand, and taking lessons learned about communication, discipline, and focus into all areas of the athlete's life.

 To get the full interview, click the player below, and/or search Power Up Your Performance anywhere you listen to podcasts!





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