By Emily Loof ‘18

The student-athletes of Saint Mary’s recently got a taste of what it is like to be a professional athlete—specifically, what it is like to be a Minnesota Viking.

On April 3, performance coach Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., visited Saint Mary’s to address a crowd of student-athletes, coaches, athletic staff, and other members of the community. Kamphoff, who currently works with the Minnesota Vikings, as well as with other athletes and business leaders, and founded the High Performance Mindset podcast, which was recently named to Yahoo’s “Top Ten Podcasts to Listen to in the Gym.” Kamphoff’s work has been featured in The New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, The Huffington Post, USA Today, and Runner’s World Magazine.

Kamphoff led a high-energy, interactive presentation, guided by her signature “Top 10 Traits of High Performers,” based on her work with elite athletes and research in performance psychology. A frequent marathon runner, Kamphoff was just two blocks away from the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The terror of the experience convinced Kamphoff that she wanted to do more with her life and prompted her to become a speaker.

Using anecdotes of professional athletes such as Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, and Lebron James, Kamphoff focused on five of her 10 traits, emphasizing the importance of grit, controlling only what you can control, mastering one’s thinking, being present in the moment, and, poignantly, forgiving one’s own mistakes.

“The most successful people fail the most often,” Kamphoff assured her audience. “Failure is an event, not a person, and you can learn from it.”

The highlight of the performance was a rock-paper-scissors showdown in which athletes competed against teammates and members of other teams. When a player lost, he or she was instructed to cheer for the person who delivered the defeat in his or her next match. The response was electric; student-athletes celebrated raucously as their teammates advanced to their next opponents.

Attendees could not help but be motivated by Kamphoff’s advice and consider ways they could integrate it into their own lives.

“I was inspired by what Dr. Kamphoff had to say,” said freshman women’s soccer player Gabby Pederson. “I think if we implement what she spoke about into each of our sports, it will be really beneficial to our teams.”

The event was hosted by the Saint Mary’s Leadership Program and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the university’s Division III Week celebration.

 

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