Basketball is my first love. It is in my blood... my parents met playing in a men's league, my mom coached while pregnant with me, and some of my first memories are in a gym. I lived and breathed basketball.
I started pee wee basketball at 5 and competitive AAU at 9. Towards the end of AAU, my coach had a daughter 1 year older than me and we were going to the same high school. Looking back I know now he felt threatened. So at the age of 12, my own AAU coach tried to make me quit basketball. The mental and emotional abuse that followed ate away at me. The girl who lived for the game became scared of practice and feared messing up. My confidence deteriorated and my parents had me see a counselor; but the counselor just did not understand sport or the competitive dynamic at all. I knew in that moment what profession I needed to do after basketball.
I began to learn the mental side of sport that I could control and my parents had me switch to a boys AAU team that had a very supportive coach. My confidence and game got stronger than ever. I made varsity as a freshman in high school and set California state 3-pt records by my junior year. I excelled in the classroom as well and got a 5 on the AP psychology exam. Psychology became my second love, partly because of the subject matter but mainly because it helped me in my game.
When I say that basketball and psychology were two passions and professions I could never choose between, so I did both, I really mean it. I went to college on a ½ athletic ½ academic scholarship, where I played basketball and obtained my bachelor's in psychology. I had my best season my junior year of college and headed into my senior year at my best... until I tore my ACL in a pre-season game. Psychology once again got me through my red-shirt senior year and was a main reason I was able to fight and get my starting spot back returning after post-ACL for my super senior year. I graduated summa cum laude, top psychology student, and top female student athlete at the university.
I still wasn't ready to give up either basketball or studying. I went overseas and played in England while obtaining two masters degrees (MSc Public Policy & Global Health & MSc Developmental Psychopathology) and finally my PhD in Sport Psychology. I played and studied abroad for 6 years, where I also presented my research at the international level, began my career as psychology professor and started my new found love of mental performance consulting for other professional athletes.
I retired at 29, ready to come home and start the next game. I've studied sport as both an elite athlete and researcher. I've navigated the roads of returning from mental and emotional abuse and regaining confidence, of being a top performing student athlete, of returning from a season-ending injury and on to an overseas career. I now seek to bring all the advantages of sport psychology to athletes who want to strengthen their game and have unstoppable, persevering mental toughness. I call next on joining your team - in helping you take your game anywhere you want to go.