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advancing the field of mental agility in pittsburgh

Center for Integration of Sport, Movement, and Mental Agility (CISMMA) 

Athletes must respond to unpredictable challenges on- and off-sport. As athletes are called to evolve their skills and find balance while advancing through competitive sports and movement, they require access to their mental adaptability and flexibility. An athlete aware of their personal athlete-identity, and how it is supported, will gain mastery of meeting any challenge!

Illustration of two brains working together

About Mental Agility Coaching (MAC) 

Mental agility coaching (MAC) is sports performance optimization through direct development of real relationships in sport and movement. MAC coaches work with athletes to fortify trust in the connections they have built themselves on.

Through MAC, athletes work diligently with a coach to:

  • Map the safety net they already have access to (and may not be taking advantage of)
  • Identify strengths and potential of fortifying the net
  • Understand how their personal identity relates to the net
  • Find sanctuary within the net

Through MAC, athletes will gain a personal understanding of their capacity to brave new challenges in their athletic (and personal) lives. Feeling connected to a personal safety net returns confidence to athletes.

For Athletes

Do you find yourself competing better at practice or in the backyard with friends than in the actual game? Are you new to a team or transitioned to college or professional-level competition and finding it hard to find your athletic identity? 

It is frustrating when performance falls short of expectation and when it seems to matter most. Self-doubt and risk-avoidance limit capacity to perform, and when efforts to combat them fall short, it exacerbates the problem. MAC has the benefit of increasing your understanding of who you are in your sport and therefore increasing your capability. After MAC, problems become challenges with goal-oriented strategies that feel achievable.

  How will Mental Agility Coaching influence your game?

  • Emerge confidence in your athlete-identity 
  • Biofeedback and elite decision-making
  • Authentic communication (on and off the court)
  • Goal achievement, time management
  • Leadership/Captain Training 
  • Flourish mindset
  • Imagery and visualization to increase focus
  • Improve trust in relationships
  • Balance pressures of life off the court 
  • Mental resilience
  • Enjoying sport under pressure
  • Preparation and routine development
  • Self-love and harnessing emotions
  • Team building
  • Career movement (leveling up and retirement)

The Power of Connection

Athletes walk a thin tightrope. They are challenged unlike ever before, and although athletes are expected to be mentally tough, bounce-back, or keep emotions under control, few sport and movement programs have the capacity to teach them how. Traditional sports psychology presumes athletes must take sole responsibility to face adversity with grace to overcome challenges. 

Emerging research in psychology proves that a person’s connections to a web of trusting relationships are at the core of personal achievement and well-being. With each relationship a person has, a rope is tied into a metaphorical safety net that rests underneath them. As a person develops awareness of and trust in this net, suddenly the tightrope doesn’t seem so scary to cross. 

Sports and movement put athletes in unique environments to connect with others to create diverse and empowering relationships. So far, the direct development of these relationships has been neglected. As a result, athletes must walk a tightrope without a resilient safety net. Cognitive Behavior Institute’s CISMMA helps athletes find, build, and feel secure in their safety net. When an athlete believes in the strength of their safety net (support system) under them, they can  walk across any tightrope with confidence.

Feeling Connected

Athletes who feel secure in their safety-net no longer fear failure and their tolerance to risk unlocks and widens. Secure athletes train at the edge of their physical and mental capabilities. They push boundaries and have fun with movement. Mastery returns to the athlete as they learn about their bodies and feel excited at opportunities. 

CISMMA enhances an athlete’s connections with others through pragmatic interventions informed by attachment-science as well as positive and sport psychology. Its programs are dedicated to empowering athletes, coaches, and teams with skills to optimize connections with others and within themselves.

MAC-TEAM for Coaches/Trainers/Family

Do you see your athletes struggling to achieve the potential you know they have within themselves? Do you feel frustrated or limited by your athlete’s resistance to change, lack of focus, or fear of success? 

MAC-TEAM is a service specifically designed for athlete-supports (coaches, trainers, family aka the “TEAM”). Over the course of service, you’ll learn the depth of your potential to encourage and motivate athletes, and how to wield your influence. MAC-TEAM is “athlete-centered” - meaning coaches will help athlete-supporters develop and deepen their understanding of how an athlete’s perception of you has real influence over their ability to work with you. 

Connection is ownership. Develop your skills necessary to assist athletes in taking ownership of their abilities and potential thereby enhancing their overall performance and mental agility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mental agility coaching psychotherapy?

No. MAC focuses on goal-oriented achievement in sports whereas psychotherapy is the medical treatment of a mental health disorder.  

Is Mental agility coaching only good for the "yips"

No, while Mental Agility Coaching can help return the athlete to satisfactory performance, MAC is also effective at prevention and flourishing of performance.

Does my health insurance cover MAC?  

Currently, MAC is not a covered service by health insurance.  It is a cash-pay service at the rate of $200/hour.

How can I begin MAC?

Fill out our New Patient Inquiry form.

About Our Center Lead

Alexandra Varela headshot

Spencer Kilpatrick, LCSW

Center Lead

Spencer Kilpatrick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working with athletes in PA. He is the creator and Clinical Lead of the CBI Center for Integration of Sports, Movement, and Mental Agility (CISMMA). He uses a humanistic approach to work with the individual as a whole person, not simply the “athlete”, which leads to increased mental health wellness.  

Spencer has extensive experience working as a tennis coach across various roles and levels. He has been certified as a professional coach with the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) since 2012 and enjoyed playing tennis in college at the Division II and club levels. A rigorous athletic and academic schedule in college led Spencer to a greater understanding of how athletes benefit from mental health wellness. Spencer values the emergence of a secure self within sport and movement, and he is intentional in assisting athletes to unlock it within themselves.