Haley Perlus, PhD

58: Haley Perlus, PhD – Sport & Performance Psychology Expert, Speaker, Consultant, and Author Shares Her Unique Journey, Experiences, and Advice

Dr. Haley Perlus is unique. Since she was 12 years old, Dr. Perlus aspired toward a career in sport psychology as a junior world champion athlete. Within one year of earning her PhD at the age of 28, she became a professor, well-known public speaker, consultant to national team and division I scholarship athletes, published author, and appointed industry leader. Together with her personal experience as an elite athlete and coach, and her fitness and nutrition certifications, Dr. Perlus takes a unique 3D approach to helping people achieve their highest standard of performance in sport, business, and wellness. In this podcast, Dr. Perlus shares her unique journey and advice to those interested in the field of sport psychology and those who want to make a difference in their own life and their clients’ lives.

Dr. Perlus is from Toronto, ON Canada and has a unique story to share regarding how she chose her career as a sport psychologist. She states, “I had a fabulous coach when I was 12 years old, who put a lot of pressure on me. In fact, one race he pulled out a $100 bill and put it in front of my face and told me that he had bet on me to win.” She explains that her coach really taught her about preparation from a mental standpoint to help her perform better. She adds, “he also brought a sport psychologist to come and speak to my team…and so putting the two together, how he was coaching me and what the sport psychologist was saying, there was one day when I went home, and I told my parents that I wanted to do sport psychology and I was 12 years old.”

Dr. Perlus received her BA in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario and her MS in Sport Pedagogy from the University of Florida. She attended the University of Northern Colorado for her PhD in Sport Psychology because she always loved Colorado. Although the advisors, curriculum, and research were wonderful, she admits that she chose the school because it was in Colorado, and she loved the changing of the seasons and she could continue skiing. She shares that the number of PhD programs in the field of sport psychology was really “slim pickings” at the time in that area of the country. She recalls Denver University had a combined master’s program and now they have a “fabulous” program thanks to Dr. Mark W. Aoyagi

On her website, YouTube channel, and in her practice, Dr. Perlus shares Mental Toughness Tools and sport psychology tips. She also shares advice with those interested in the field of psychology. Throughout her journey, she surrounded herself with people who could mentor her and share their experiences and advice. She also states, “I really looked outside of academia as well” and “observed and watch what people who were applying the art or science of sport psychology was doing.” She mentions that being a sport psychologist is good and bad. She states, “sport psychology is great because you have this niche. Sport psychology is bad because you have this niche.” Some people may think that you can’t broaden your horizons or apply sport psychology outside of the sports field. However, you can and should. Dr. Perlus mentions one of her mentors, Dr. Jim Loehr, who is a sport and performance psychologist who “completely went into the corporate world” with his sport psychology.

If you are new to the field, you may wonder what is sport psychology or sport and performance psychology? According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “sport psychology is a proficiency that uses psychological knowledge and skills to address optimal performance and well-being of athletes, developmental and social aspects of sports participation, and systemic issues associated with sports settings and organizations.” Sport psychology has been coined the “Science of Success” because it studies how successful people optimize their psychological and emotional states for maximum results.

Dr. Haley Perlus is a disruptor and firmly believes that she can apply her specialized knowledge and experience to help those outside of sports. She shares, “I realized that this mental toughness, the performance of psychology of sport, is not just for athletes. So, in my practice I work with, definitely athletes, but I also work with businesspeople, health enthusiasts. A lot of the businesspeople that I work with bring me to their kinds, you know, so it’s more of an eclectic, holistic approach.” She has worked with various well-known brands worldwide including ESPN, Starbucks, Morgan Stanley, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Marriott, US Ski Team, Ironman, Deloitte, and many others. She has spoken at many events including VISTAGE, Tec Canada, Elite Finess and Performance Summit, and Trilogy Athletes. Her articles have been featured in various publications such as Thrive Magazine, Fitness Magazine, IDEA Fitness Journal, EpicTimes, Telluride Inside, MyVega, and BeachBody.

Dr. Perlus is the author of The 7 Fastest Weight Loss Success Tips & Secrets, The Ultimate Achievement Journal, The Inside Drive, and The Guidebook to Gold Series as well as appointed Industry Leader by IHRSA. Dr. Perlus is currently writing a new book called Personal Podium which is sport psychology based but is applicable to anyone. She states, “it’s really about how to earn your own gold standard of performance in life. So, whether you’re pursuing sport, whether you’re pursuing business, whether you’re pursuing your health and wellness, you know, it’s really understanding how can we have unshakeable confidence.” She summarizes by stating “it’s really about having the desire, having the belief, and having the focus. And I go into really specific action steps.”

Dr. Perlus shares impactful advice throughout our discussion. For example, she states, “it’s really important to understand that you’ve got to look forward and really understand what kind of career you want and make sure that you get the right education to support that.” Also, she states, “there’s this, sometimes, this belief if I have to have the degree, I have to have all the knowledge and then I’ll start. And I’m not a big believer of that. I believe that we learn by doing…go and grab your connections, go, and talk to the people you already know and volunteer. It’s not like I got paid for everything, but just go and volunteer and start, and start implementing immediately.” She explains “I started my consulting practice my first year of my master’s program and I think that’s really important as we are learning the content, to start using the content as well.” She also adds, “so don’t do this if you don’t care. Being in the field of psychology, if you don’t truly care about everyone you’re working with, find something else to do.” 

When asked for any other advice for those interested in the field of sport psychology, Dr. Perlus shares “get your toes wet…just get your toe wet and then another toe and then you know, the next thing you know, you’re in it and it’s amazing. And keep your eyes open. Keep your eyes open for opportunities because they are everywhere…So, just keep your eyes open and create opportunity. Be creative.”

Connect with Dr. Haley Perlus: LinkedIn | Twitter | Youtube | Website
Connect with the Show: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Interests and Specializations

Together with her coaching, fitness, and nutrition certifications, Dr. Haley Perlus takes a 3D approach to helping people achieve their highest standard of performance in three key focus areas: sport, business, and wellness.


Bachelor of Arts (BA), Kinesiology (2002); University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
Master of Science (MS), Sport Pedagogy (2004); University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Sport Psychology (2008); University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.

Other Sources and Links of Interest

Dr. Haley Perlus: Amazon

Podcast Transcript

00:13 Bradley
Welcome to the Master’s in Psychology Podcast, where psychology students can learn from psychologists, educators, and practitioners to better understand what they do, how they got there, and hear the advice they have for those interested in getting a graduate degree in psychology. I’m your host, Brad Schumacher, and today we welcome Dr. Haley Perlus to the show. Since she was a 12-year-old Junior World champion athlete, Dr. Perlus has aspired toward a career in sport and exercise psychology. Within one year of earning her PhD at the age of 28, she became a professor, public speaker, consultant to national team and Division One scholarship athletes, published author and appointed industry leader. Together with her coaching, fitness, and nutrition certifications, Dr. Perlus takes a 3D approach to helping people achieve their highest standard of performance in sport, business, and wellness. Today, we will learn more about her academic and professional journey, more about her practice, and how Dr. Perlus educates, motivates, and inspires people to reach their peak potential. Dr. Perlus, welcome to our podcast.

01:22 Haley
Thank you so much, Brad. I’m happy to be here and answer any questions to help everyone in psychology.

01:28 Bradley
Well, I am glad that you’re on the same page as me. I really enjoyed learning about your journey and usually if you’ve seen our podcast, we quickly go over your academic and professional journey. So, I see that you received your bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario. So, tell me a little bit more about your undergraduate experiences. How did you end up in Ontario?

01:50 Haley
Well, I’m Canadian. So it was that was kind of just the natural thing. There was a there was a school two hours outside of Toronto in London ON. And so, the school was an easy pick close to home. I could still. I was a ski coach, and I was a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, so I could still do all of that while going to school. And there was a kinesiology and psychology program.

02:11 Bradley
Nice and nice fit for you. And I did notice after I wrote up some of these questions that I believe you’re from Toronto ON. Is that right?

02:20 Haley
That’s right. So, I went to school just two hours outside of where I grew up.

02:23 Bradley
That’s always nice, being close enough to home to go back if you need to, but then you attended the University of Florida, so you went far North to far South, for your Master of Science and sport pedagogy. How did you end up in Florida from Canada?

02:39 Haley
So, the move to the United States was at that time what I was told was really the natural move if I wanted to focus on sports and sports psychology. In Canada, we certainly have sport programs, of course. But there’s not a lot of athletic scholarships. There’s not a lot of athletes who are pursuing that. Usually, you know, athletes will move to the United States to go on to sports scholarships. And so, it was just a, I think more opportunity. And then I happened to know someone who was doing their PhD at the University of Florida where I’m from in sports psychology, so, it was again just a connection and and and a natural choice.

03:20 Bradley
Well, then you actually attended. You went to Colorado. And so, I’m going to share my screen here for a second. And I know you attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO for your doctorate. You earned your PhD in sport psychology there. There are many other schools in Colorado that offer graduate degrees in psychology. So, what drew you to UNC?

03:42 Haley
So, at that time, there actually weren’t many sports. It’s really social psychology of sport and exercise science, but there weren’t really many sports psychology programs, and I knew that I’ve always loved Colorado. Florida was a fabulous school. I missed the seasons, so if I’m completely honest, I chose the school. Yes, the advisors were were wonderful and and yes, the research or the application was was something that I was interested in, which was a lot of child development and and social psychology of sport. But I chose the school because it was in Colorado. I cannot lie about that. And at that time, it really was one of the only I know. DU had a combined masters, but it was really slim pickings, with regards to a PhD program.

04:32 Bradley
OK. And DU is Denver University.

04:35 Haley
DU is Denver University. So now they have a fabulous program but when I was going, I’m I’m not actually sure it was a PhD. I think it was a PsyD and I think it was just getting started with Dr. Aoyagi.

04:48 Bradley
Well, that sounds like it and and knowing your history, obviously the changing of the seasons, as you said was something that you missed and you actually thrived on and so usually I asked my guests what initially attracted you to your respective field, your sports psychology, and and any advice that you might have for psychology students who are interested in that particular field.

05:10 Haley
Sure, I do believe I have a little bit of a unique story because I don’t think everyone chooses their career at 12 but I I did. I had, a long story short, I had a fabulous coach when I was 12 years old, who put a lot of pressure on me. In fact, one race he pulled out a $100 bill and put it in front of my face and told me that he had bet on me to win. And so, I he had just really taught me about the preparation from a mental standpoint to help you perform. And he would kind of put me through this trial and error and maybe, you know, a Guinea pig to his pressure. He also brought a sport psychologist to come and speak to my team when I was 12 and so putting the two together, how he was coaching me and what the sport psychologist was saying, there was one day when I went home, and I told my parents that I wanted to do sport psychology and I was 12 years old.

05:57 Bradley
And that has stuck with you ever since because you kept going on and focused on that career. And then you actually are utilizing that now in your career today. So, we’ll get to that in a second. But one of the things that always comes to mind is, you know you’re you’re you’re known in your field. Are there any bits of advice that you would have to psychology students who want to improve their skill or qualities or help themselves prepare better for any graduate work in the field of sports psychology.

06:32 Haley
You know, really probably going to your website and doing all of the and just reading all the research that you’ve done, if I could rewind and it’s not that I have regret, but I didn’t know all I could have known as I was researching the schools, researching the different programs, understanding, truly understanding the difference between, you know, being a, becoming a clinical sports psychologist and an educational sports psychologist and what that means as a career, I was fortunate because I really only wanted to work for myself, always wanted to work for myself, but that doesn’t mean that when I knocked on the doors of colleges, they didn’t turn me down because I wasn’t a licensed psychologist, clinical psychologist. So, I still had doors closed on me because of the schooling that I chose. So, when people ask me for advice, it’s really important to understand that you’ve got to look forward and really understand what kind of career you want and make sure that you get the right education to support that.

07:31 Bradley
And find the right supportive team advisors and mentors to surround yourself with instead of feeling all alone because sports psychology and not a lot of people are in that compared to some of the other branches of psychology. So, I’m sure there was some time there where you felt almost alone, but it correct me if I’m wrong, it sounds like you surrounded yourself with the right people and you received the right mentorship to to guide you along your journey.

07:59 Haley
I did, but in my program, I was one of two students in sports psychology and now I believe there’s probably at least a dozen at least. And what I did, just because I always wanted to be more of an entrepreneur and practicing so in those role model, you know those mentors that you talked about, yes, I had advisors, but I really looked outside of academia as well, and and, you know, really, really looked and observed and watched what people who were applying the art or science of sports psychology was doing.

08:32 Bradley
So, I read someplace in my research and I I could probably pull it up if I found it again, but I remember that sports psychology has been coined as the science of success because it studies how successful people optimize their psychological and emotional states for maximum results. In your own words, what do you do as a sport and performance psychology expert?

08:55 Haley
So, it’s interesting that you say that you, you know, coined the term science of of success because I only thought that I would always work with athletes, just athletes. And then when I realized when I went through my education and started building a consulting practice and creating content and becoming a public speaker and living a life as an adult, adulting, I realized that this mental toughness, the performance of psychology of sport, is not just for athletes. So, in my practice I work with, definitely athletes, but I also work with businesspeople, health enthusiasts. A lot of the businesspeople that I work with bring me to their kids, you know, so I it’s more of an eclectic, holistic approach. Anybody who wants to stand on top of their own personal podium, which is the title of my new book, Personal Podium that I’m writing, anyone who stand, wants to stand on top and achieve their gold standard of performance can come to me and I work on helping them realize their true potential.

09:55 Bradley
And I’m glad you brought that up. As you can see, I’m sharing my screen on your website, and it talks about your focus areas and then it talks about you at a glance and what you are an expert in and what you can offer to your clients. And so here are some of the brands and media and publications and what others are saying about you as well. I like this quote you put on here, a good picture of you, “We need inner strength to maximize our outer strength” as well. So, you can download a one age overview which I did to learn more about Haley. Some of the featured content and you already mentioned some of the mental toughness minutes and and a few minutes I was actually listening to one before you got on a few minutes before the podcast talking about mental toughness. And you have a lot of those kind of short, short minutes to actually reflect on how to become mentally tough in in your not only in the sport but in your business, in your professional career as well. And so, I’m glad that you brought that up. And so, one follow up question that I have to that is in your experience, what are some of the unique challenges or considerations that you face when working with not only athletes as you mentioned teams or coaches, but individuals as well as corporations or businesses? So, what are some unique challenges or considerations that you typically encounter being a sports psychologist?

11:21 Haley
Great question, Brad. And in my career, you know definitely doing public speaking and group training but the one-on-one, I only get to work with that one person. And in that person’s world, there’s a lot of uncontrollable factors. There are a lot of different people. So, in the sport, it would be coach and parent and and the whole and opponents. And in business, it would be colleagues and you know, bosses and all these things. But I only get to work with the one individual who’s hiring me. So that’s a challenge because you know, a lot of the times they want to manipulate the entire environment. That’s not something that we can do. We have to again, just going to that quote that you just showed only work on our inner strength, our on our, on our mindset to sometimes sometimes we can manipulate the environment, change a few things. But most often we just have to really change the way we look at the stuff that’s going on in our lives. So, I think a challenge is only being able to work with the one person when you when sometimes you kind of want to get in there and work with the entire world.

12:28 Bradley
And that becomes complicated because each individual has their own unique ways of looking at how to achieve a goal and you have to come come to a commonality between and among everybody that you’re working with and you almost set the tone when you first, you know, especially as a public speaker, you set that tone when you first present yourself because a lot of people, when they hear the word sport psychology or sport psychologist, they automatically, what do they think of, one-on-one with that athlete. And that’s it. But you have expanded that to include other teams, individuals, people that work with the athlete as well, as well as businesses and corporations and applying what you’ve learned in your own personal experience. What you have written about in your in your books, and I’m going to share my screen here too, you have multiple books out there. You already mentioned one that you are working on as well, and so it must be difficult to to work with that, but also a fun challenge for you instead of going one-on-one all the time, don’t you think?

13:32 Haley
It is. It is a fun challenge and you know again, to be honest, sometimes people will come will come to me and they’re interested because it was refer, you know, I was referred to them and they’ll say but you’re only but you’re sports and we’re not sports we’re this type of business.

13:45 Bradley

13:46 Haley
And then other people actually love that aspect because everyone has some relationship to sports, whether they’re a sports fan, whether there used to be an athlete where they had children in sports so it is transferable and it and it is, it is a new way, I shouldn’t say new way because it’s not that new, but it is a different approach to talking about mindset and performance of psychology, bringing sport into business. So, in some ways it’s actually been a very natural flow in my career and then other ways you actually have to have to really help them understand that even though you’re bringing sport principles, the focus will be on whatever industry they’re in.

14:24 Bradley
Exactly, exactly. You do have a YouTube channel and and you have a many different YouTube videos in here. As I said, I was listening to this one before we started talking today and talking about mental toughness and toughness and you were giving a summary of Nadal’s post interview after he won, uh, the championship and and you kind of summarized what he was talking about into two different principles. And so, I I like that the you have these you know 2, 3, 5 [minutes]. This one was a little longer and you laughed about that. Hold on. Hang in there. It’s a little longer than normal, but it actually was very good as well. So, I like these snippets on mental toughness. Tell us a little bit more about your new book that you’re working on.

15:11 Haley
So, the new book is going to be called Personal Podium and it, and again it’s sports psychology based, but it’s applicable to anyone. And it’s really about how to earn your own gold standard of performance in life. So, whether you’re pursuing sport, whether you’re pursuing business, whether you’re pursuing your health and Wellness, you know it’s really understanding how can we have unshakeable confidence? How can we stay focused on what’s relevant? And how can we maintain motivation? So, it’s really about having the desire, having the belief, and having the focus. And I go into really specific action steps. So, I pride myself on cognitive behavioral science. I really focus on both the cognitions and also the behaviors to have healthy behavior change. So it’s really I was reading it this morning, actually working on it and in my mind, as I’m reading it, I’m like could an 8-year-old read this. And the answer I would like to think is yes. And when I have someone look at it and and review it, I want them to say yes and then could an 80-year-old read this? Absolutely. So, I want it to be very global and transferable.

16:22 Bradley
Well, one thing that I noticed with all of your books, and I should mention a couple of the recent books you authored several books including the Ultimate Achievement Journal: Daily Inspiration for Peak Fitness Performance and The Inside Drive: 9 Ways Champion Athletes Achieve Greatness and How You Can Too In Your Business. And this new one, it sounds like I I like this achievement journal because it’s one thing to talk about it and it’s another one to apply it to your real life. And so that journal, when I was looking into it, it allowed you to actually do some reflection and then jot things down in that journal to help you stay focused and figure out what your target is. And it sounds like this new book is similar in that application process, you want people to actually not only learn from it but apply it to their lives.

17:11 Haley
Yeah, absolutely. On each one in the inside the chapters it’s asking questions, yes or no. It’s asking them to journal things down. They’re almost a workbook as opposed to just a a reading book. That’s that’s my focus for my entire career. I want people to to walk away with I can do this, and this is how I can do this.

17:32 Bradley
Well, it sounds great. I try to apply this to our audience and a lot of them are students in, in the field of psychology. So, do you have any practical strategies that psychology students can implement to develop their own mental toughness or mental resilience and well-being while pursuing a career in sports psychology?

17:54 Haley
I think one of the greatest things I did when I was going through school is I actually started my business, however small, I started consulting in my master’s program.

18:03 Bradley

18:04 Haley
Though I I didn’t, there’s this, uhm, there’s this sometimes this belief if I have to have the degree, I have to have all the knowledge and then I’ll start. And I’m not a big believer of that. I believe that we learn by doing so if you are a former athlete, which many people pursuing sports psychology is, go and grab your connections, go, and talk to the people that you already know and volunteer. It’s not like I got paid for everything, but just go and volunteer and start, and start implementing immediately. So again, I was a ski racer and my master’s degree. I let everyone know back home in Canada where I started all the coaches that I was pursuing, and I was ready to work with athletes and so I started. I started my consulting practice my first year of my master’s program and I think that’s really important as we are learning the content, to start using the content as well.

18:59 Bradley
Well, I like that you mentioned that and and of course let me go ahead and instead of looking over here, I’m gonna share my screen again for everybody who’s watching. And of course, we’ll put all of your websites up here as well as the information on your books and social media. But I love going to LinkedIn because they have a section, if you haven’t been to LinkedIn, they have a section on about and then experience and then education. And what I liked here is that, yeah, you you were a graduate assistant both at University of Florida and Northern Colorado. And then you are an adjunct professor. Are you still there, by the way?

19:34 Haley
I’m not. That stopped just about after COVID stopped going there, but yeah, I became a professor while I was still pursuing my my my doctorate.

19:37 Bradley
OK. Yeah, and. And so, it’s nice to see that you have that experience. And to your point, don’t wait until you think that you’re the complete total expert. You become the expert while you put yourself out there and engage in these conversations and engage in this education and help in the training of people in and outside your field as well. And that’s another way of of expanding your network as well. So, it’s nice to hear and it’s refreshing to hear that you don’t feel that you need to be the expert in order to actually put yourself out there. You become the expert through all of this experience as well, so tell me a little bit more about this MSESS in sport pedagogy at the University of Florida.

20:27 Haley
Yeah, that’s just how they did it. Master’s of Science and Exercise and Sports Science.

20:31 Bradley
Yes, yes. One of the longer one of the longer acronyms that I come across. But I wanted you to make sure that I I referred to it, I looked it up and I think it’s this. But I want to hear from the source so.

20:43 Haley
Good thing I remembered it.

20:47 Bradley
But no, it’s it’s fun to see all of your stuff. You had three tips, this is a more recent one a couple months ago, 3 tips to increase your motivation to exercise. You had a bunch of stuff here is that you were featured in this new survey talking about how you can crush their gym anxiety. I know that people who try to get in shape and especially strength training, you have to head to the gym, and it can be intimidating if you see these people that have been there for years and years and you’re just going in for the first time. Oh, my gosh. I turn around and just, you know, walk away. So, I loved reading about this will include this as well, but the other thing that I wanted to highlight here, and I’ll stop share is you know any any tips for people who to get them and stay motivated while exercising and/or strength training? Just general overall tips that you could provide for us because here we are coming out of COVID. We want to exercise more, maybe do a little bit more strength training. Any tips that you can provide for us to keep us motivated?

21:51 Haley
So, I believe motivation is a consistent thing. I I oh, the name. He’s so popular now, I forget. But it was, you know, motivation isn’t is something we have to work for just like showering like we have to bathe every day. We have to motivate every day…

22:04 Bradley
Oh yeah.

22:08 Haley
…and really botched that quote, but we need it. We need it every day and the every day is about building habits and I think where all of us get wrong in exercise is that the recommendation is 3 to five times a week. Well, the recommendation. Is yoyoing you get in for three days, you get out for, you know, for four. You get in for five days, you get out for two. I’m not a big component of the cheerleader of that. I like every day now. Not every day, an hour, every day, 10 minutes, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be high intensity. It can just be doing. You know, relaxation yoga, but carving out the space. The time the moment for exercise, and again, it may not be high intensity exercise, but just we’re going to label it as exercise. And you do this every day. You build the habit, and then you start, you know, using that habit to build your strength, you start using the habit to to build your cardiovascular, and your flexibility.

23:03 Bradley
I’m going to return to your private practice or your business for a second. A lot of people want to start their private practice. Most of them are clinical psychologists and they want to apply what they’ve learned in their degree. But in your case, you’re applying it in a different way, but it’s still a business, and so you have to open and run that business. Can you recall some of the biggest challenges that you experienced while you were opening up your business and how did you overcome them?

23:29 Haley
I think the biggest challenge is when they begin. You know, like I, I mean, I did. I I went actually I think that was the biggest challenge. Where do I begin? So, this is what I did for myself. Little bit different than than others may have recommended in the past. I asked myself where can I go where no other sports psychologist is. Because I don’t want to compete with other sports psychologists because they’re already been doing it for years and I’m just starting out. So, for me I was already a fitness instructor and personal trainer, and you know to kinesiology degree. So, I actually went to fitness conferences as a sports psychology expert and I asked to present on, you know, coping with anxiety in the gym and getting motivated in the gym. Nothing to do with sport or fitness, but I wasn’t competing, you know, to present at a sports psychology conference. So, I think that’s one thing. So, I went where no one else was, even for the university. The professorship I you know, in Colorado, there was no sports psychology undergraduate, definitely not a program, not even a course. So, I called up University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and I asked to go down there and meet with the and and meet with the director. And I asked if they would be interested in having a sports psychology course. And they said yes, and then it was sports psychology undergrad. Then I taught graduate health behavior change. So, I literally went where there wasn’t anything already existing.

24:58 Bradley
Well, that’s a good story. That’s a good reminder. Don’t follow everybody else and and find where your niche you could actually create your niche and don’t be afraid to ask. The worst that’s gonna happen is they’re gonna say no, no. Yeah. So. In your experience, what qualities or characteristics do you believe are the most important for a successful sports psychologist to possess?

25:23 Haley
That’s an easy question for me because what I hear most often from the athletes that I work with and also the parents is that I care. And it’s very interesting and we think, well, that’s a given, but it’s not a given. For parents to highlight that for for athletes to highlight, I really like working with you cause you really care about me. They wouldn’t say it if it didn’t stand out.

25:44 Bradley

25:45 Haley
So don’t do this if you don’t care. Being in the field of psychology, if you don’t truly care about everyone you’re working with, find something else to do. So really focus on the focus on letting them know that you care. And the second one is I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all. So, when I’m working one-on-one with anybody, sport, business, wellness. I don’t believe like I know exactly. You know, I just don’t come across well. You have to do this because that’s what everyone does, or that’s what the theory says, or that’s what the model dictates or what, you know, research. Everyone is unique. Obviously, anxiety is anxiety. Fear is fear. But let them and, you know, use their own experiences, use their own life to tailor the way. You teach the tools.

26:33 Bradley
Very good advice I see on your website that you have a number of brands and media publications and corporations, companies that you work with ESPN, Caribou Coffee or is that Starbucks? I’m not a coffee drinker, Starbucks.

26:48 Haley
Starbucks, Starbucks.

26:49 Bradley
Thank you.

26:50 Haley
OK, you’re the.

26:50 Bradley
Yes, the US.

26:51 Haley
Caribou, I’m ready for you, though.

26:52 Bradley
The the the US ski team, of course. Ironman, Morgan Stanley, Bristol, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Marriott and and many others. So, can you identify some of the most challenging? Without revealing your your clients and and keeping that confidential, what were some of the most challenging clients and and problems that you had to address being a sport psychologist?

27:24 Haley
I have to think about that because I’m. I’m I’m fortunate. So, one of my areas of improvement for myself. One of the things that I need to do better, even though you’ve been showing my website and everything and everything like that, that is not my area of expertise. That is not my strength online presence. One of my one of the strengths that I have is I. I’m better selling from the stage, if you will, than selling myself on the phone or from online.

27:53 Bradley

27:53 Haley
So, I have been fortunate in my business too. I mean, I could tell you my first athlete and I could draw the the line of how I get to all the athletes. Same thing with my business corporations. You know, I get up on stage and I speak and then from there it’s referral every every company that you just mentioned there has been from a referral. The one thing that sometimes I don’t necessarily think of it as a challenge, but they do ask me your sport. How can how are you going to be able to talk and connect with my employees?

28:30 Bradley

28:30 Haley
And but I will also tell you that because it’s referral people do that for me. People share it. People tell answer that question for me. So, for me, the biggest challenge is to just become just just to become known. Because I’m not. I don’t have a huge online presence. So that’s my biggest challenge for me.

28:51 Bradley
Well, hopefully being on this podcast, we’re helping you in that challenge.

28:53 Haley
Yes, yes.

28:55 Bradley
So, the other thing that came to mind when I was reading about you is and we already mentioned one of these. So, my question is, what are some common misconceptions about sports psychology and how would you address them for psychology students entering the field?

29:12 Haley
For sports psychology in particular.

29:15 Bradley

29:16 Haley
It’s it’s a great that’s that’s a great question probably maybe thinking that sports unique.

29:21 Bradley

29:22 Haley
Where you can’t do anything else. I don’t think sports psychology is unique, and in fact a lot of the theories came from industrial psychology and then was applied to sport first. So, I I I believe you know it’s it’s it’s a good and bad it’s sports psychology is great because you have this niche. Sports psychology is bad because you have this niche. And then you people think you can’t, you know, broaden your horizons.

29:42 Bradley

29:46 Haley
But I’m not the first to do it. I have, in fact, I have a mentor, Dr. Jim Loehr, who’s a sports psychologist who completely went into the corporate world with his sports. So, it’s been it’s been done long before I started, and it can be done long after. So, I think that might just be the, you know, use it, use sports psychology to make you unique, but then realize that the actual principles and concepts and tools are not unique at all, they’re totally applicable.

30:16 Bradley
Nice summary. As the field of sports psychology continues to evolve, what do you feel are the most pressing issues in the field?

30:29 Haley
I think a lot of coaches think that they’re they can do sports psychology. We’re getting better. We’re getting better. But certainly, when I started, I think a lot of coaches, a lot of managers, a lot of parents, a lot of teammates like sports psychology, you only brought in if it was very, you know very necessary. I remember I had an athlete come to see me and it was because they already looked at nutrition, conditioning, coaching. I mean, they went through the entire list, and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. OK, now we’ll go to a sports psychologist. I think we’re getting better, but we still have. We still have a lot to do and to this day I think there are, and I will say coaches because coaches are the ones that are leading the team, often they believe that that they can do the work of a sports psychologist and. There are many reasons why they can’t. All, completely like everything that a sports psychologist does. One, just being sometimes athletes need an external source like they just need to go to go outside and they’re not going to be completely vulnerable with the coach. That’s just one example. So, we need to a sports psychologist. Help help the teams know that we’re not just there to make everyone think more. In fact, my whole philosophy is think less, more strategically. And then also be more of a there’s still to this day coaches who are reluctant to speak to me because they think I’m going to disagree with them or they think I’m going to come in and and throw, you know, turn everything upside down. That’s not what I want to do.

31:54 Bradley

31:54 Haley
I want to compliment. So just. Still, we still have a little bit of work to do. Getting in, you know, making sports psychology a natural part of a sports practice.

32:06 Bradley
So, you might think of it as and and put it to the coaches and teams as bring in your sports psychologist early and often. That way we can complement you and help them improve much faster instead of waiting until you go through your list, and you haven’t figured it out, I’m not a last resort. Bring me in right away.

32:26 Haley
I love it. We’re doing a much better job than you know, from years ago. We really are. And there’s still work to do.

32:32 Bradley
What do you love most about your job?

32:37 Haley
I love when I so the sport is my passion. I do love everything else, but I love when an athlete, to when an athlete texts me. Actually, there are three things that I love about my job. One is when an athlete texts me and saying I am just about to compete and I, I need a reminder, I need or I need you know I’m feeling anxious. And that’s usually someone who’s just started working with me. But I love that because a they feel they feel comfortable reaching out to me. And to me that means everything, because that means I did a good job reaching and developing that relationship. And (B) they trust me and see they see the significance in the mental aspect of it. They’re not going anybody else. They’re going to me to help them with their mind, to help them perform. So, I love that. I also love when an athlete reaches out to me on their own accord to tell me that they did it.

33:31 Bradley

33:32 Haley
And that it worked. And then, you know, really fitting to your to your podcast and and everything that you do with this but with the Master of Psychology is when I was a professor, and still to this day, I have athletes, too, who I’m consulting ask me, or tell me, that they want to do sports psychology as a career. And that just I mean, that’s what happened with me a sports psychologist came and spoke to me at 12. And that’s what I did and it makes it makes it worthwhile when people want to see what I do and then want to do what I do.

34:06 Bradley
I can relate to that last one. I was a teacher for a number of years and and I had some students come up to me and say, Brad, based on all the courses I’ve taken from you, I now want to become an interpersonal communication professor and and I want to teach that. So, it it it just sinks in and it’s more than, hey, you did a good job today or I liked your. Thank you. But those real-life moments sink in a lot. I wish I had a sports psychologist when I was competing in high school. And as a senior, I was ranked number one in at the discus and this is just personal short story. But in the end, it it’s very applicable here so I was ranked number one, which meant that I would be the last person to throw the discus during the final tournament. And so at the end of the year I, if I just had thrown my normal average distance, I would have gotten first place, but what’s screwed up everything in my mind is if you know anything about throwing the discus, you’re you’re facing the bleachers with all of the all of the visitors and then the fence is right there. And so, of all the competitions that my mom decided to go to, she showed up at this one without telling me. Not only not only she showed up, but my previous coach showed up and they were sitting right there. And so, when I got into the ring of, Oh my God. And and I I got off my game right away. I scratched my first throw and then I made a legitimate throw the second one and then I tried to do better the third one and I came in third place. But if I would have just thrown my normal, I would have just won the tournament and and I looked back at that and went ohh. I felt so bad. I even apologized. And the walk back, the walk of shame is what I remember it. Is. Yeah, and I.

35:52 Haley
3rd place.

35:54 Bradley
And I went back to my coach, my previous coach. And I said, I’m really sorry. I screwed up and everything else, but I looked back at that and that was just a mental thing that I could have overcome. And and positioned it in a different way. But you know that’s back in high school. But I as soon as you were talking about that somebody calling you or texting you and said I I wish I had that. At that point. Oh my gosh, my mom’s here. How do I overcome this?

36:18 Haley
Yeah, it’s true.

36:21 Bradley
Do you have? Do you have any personal or professional goals that you hope to achieve in the future?

36:29 Haley
So right now, this, this final book, and I should say, final book with this book that I’m reading right now is something that I’m really passionate about taking my time on it because I want it. I want it to. I want it to spread more than than the than the other books. My reasoning for this book is a little is a little bit stronger than the than the others, so that’s definitely a goal of mine. I, I am honored to be on this podcast to be completely honest, it is just, you know, when someone asked me, you know, how do I become a sports psychologist? I mean, that’s essentially what we’re doing here. And so just spreading, spreading the word. And I am not a, my family would would agree with this statement and everyone that knows me, I don’t necessarily go according to go according to the the right path that everyone should take. You know the the should. I’m not a should person. So, I I do tend to think of myself as a little bit of a trailblazer so. I I want to continue on that path. I don’t. I never want to fall into some type of like cookie cutter business. So, my goal is just to do things the way that makes me feel good, because I I once did something that I thought was the right thing to do, but it didn’t make me feel good. If that makes sense. And my goal now is to do the things that truly make me feel like I am contributing in a way that makes me feel comfortable.

38:00 Bradley
I like that summary. Thank you. At the end of all of our podcasts, we usually ask some fun questions, and so the first fun question that I usually ask is tell us something unique about yourself.

38:14 Haley
Well, in addition to, you know, my kinesiology and masters and PhD, I am also a licensed bartender.

38:22 Bradley
Oh wow.

38:25 Haley
Because you never know when at the end of the day, you just need a shot. None of the mental tool toughness tools work. You just you just grab a shot. But that’s something unique that people kind of find funny, even though I hardly drink. And I’ve probably. And I’ve never worked as a bartender. I did go to, I did go to school for it.

38:42 Bradley
So what? What made you do that? Were you originally thinking, oh, I got to make some extra money, and this might be a good way to do that. And then you decided? No, I. Don’t want to do that, but you went through the course anyway.

38:51 Haley
You know in Canada you can drink younger than you can.

38:54 Bradley
Oh, I see.

39:04 Haley
And it’s it’s 19 and 18 in some in some provinces and my high school, there was some, even though it was still underage, but they were doing this course. And so, we’re friends, couple of friends and I did it for two weeks.

39:06 Bradley
Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool. What is your favorite term, principle, or theory and why?

39:15 Haley
You got to want it more than you fear it.

39:17 Bradley

39:18 Haley
And I mean, I just used this yesterday. I am picking up mountain biking. I’m in my second year and it is by far my most feared sport. And yesterday, like every mountain biking ride I go on, there comes a point where there’s this rock or there’s Cliff or something, and I have to cognitively want it more than I fear it. It’s not that I did not afraid. I don’t believe in not being afraid completely, but I have to choose. So, I really focus on that with every aspect of my life, because there’s all things to fear, and I, do I want this more than I fear, and if the answer is yes, then you figure out a way to. You find a way.

39:58 Bradley
And what we were talking about earlier is all of these can be applied outside of the sport, you know, analogy as well. I I want a new career direction. I want to get promoted. I want to do this. I want to start a side business. And, just like you said, you have to want it more than you fear it, and that will help you move forward. So, I love that I love that. Do you have any other advice for those interested in the field of sports psychology?

40:27 Haley
It’s similar to what we talked about before. Get your toes wet. You know, you don’t have to wait until you have all the credentials and all the the confidence, because you’ll never. I still have so much to learn, I still doubt. But you just you just get your toe wet and then another toe and then you know, then next thing you know, you’re in it and it’s amazing. And keep your eyes open. Keep your eyes open for opportunities because they are everywhere, so again, it’s not just a straight line or, you know, this is the next step now that I’ve completed my masters, this is this is now how I go and apply for jobs. I applied for jobs that didn’t exist. So just keep your eyes open and create opportunity. Be creative.

41:10 Bradley
Nice. If you had the time or money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do?

41:20 Haley
Before COVID right before COVID, we went to Australia for we were supposed to go to Australia for for a week and then or we can have in the New Zealand but there were fires in Australia if you remember, so I spent 24 hours in Sydney and then I went to New Zealand from there. I would love to go there and UM, there’s actually some connections to some rugby teams as well, but I really would love to to go to Australia and New Zealand and see how I could see that part of the world and then also contribute.

41:53 Bradley
Haley, is there anything else that you’d like to discuss or bring up in this podcast?

41:58 Haley
I just want to thank you. I really. Now I know when people ask me when parents say, Oh my, my kid is looking at psychology, where do I go? I can, I know, now know that I can direct them to this particular podcast and to your entire website. So, I just think it’s fabulous what you’re doing, and I just want to share that.

42:15 Bradley
I appreciate the support and the encouragement as well. Thanks again for sharing your journey with us and especially some of your bits of advice.

42:24 Haley
Thank you, Brad.

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