Megan Gossfeld remembers that feeling her senior year at the University of St. Thomas. She had been a member of the cross country and track teams throughout high school and college, what was next when she graduated?
Sports gave her goals. It gave her challenge. It gave her accomplishment.
"I was sad that I wouldn't be competing with my team at a collegiate level anymore. I was going to miss that. I had to accept the reality that no one is a collegiate athlete forever. This is something everyone goes through. Instead, I signed up for a marathon. In college my coaches lovingly told me I would never be able to run a marathon based on my past injuries. I made the choice, I'm going to do this," Gossfeld said. "The summer after I graduated I ran my first marathon. I sort of took the time to adjust my own mentality of what I am capable of. I redefined my definition of success. That's something I would suggest to others if they are managing a struggle."
That run, the Twin Cities Marathon, ironically passes the St. Thomas campus. The homestretch to the finish line.
Gossfeld, a 2014 alumni of Chanhassen High School, recently finished her Masters Degree at Minnesota State University-Mankato in Sport and Exercise Psychology. Now she's helping athletes and musicians through her new business, Headway Mental Performance Consulting.
Gossfeld delivers mental training sessions to athletes wishing to improve their mental game.
"Even in the strangest, most uncertain times, every athlete has the opportunity to make headway in their training! In fact, this period of isolation at home is the perfect time to invest in self-improvement and return to sport better than ever," Gossfeld said.
Many athletes are coping with loss of sport, isolation from a team, or lack of motivation.
Grounded in evidence-based sport psychology practices, Headway and Gossfeld delivers mental training services to high school through adult level athletes. Mental training includes building confidence, enhancing focus, improving motivation, finding positivity, managing setbacks, and working towards one’s athletic goals.
Headway caters one-on-one sessions and team workshops specifically to athletes through a variety of virtual dialogues, visuals, and activities.
“This fall will certainly test athlete’s mentality with unprecedented factors outside our control," Gossfeld adds. "Yet one aspect of training that will forever remain within our power is the will to continue training, to keep trying, and to make headway."
Gossfeld said she was always interested in studying psychology, but after attending a sports leadership conference her senior year at St. Thomas, she was inspired by speaker Cindra Kamphoff, Professor and Certified Mental Performance Consultant at MSU-Mankato.
She packed her bags, eager to learn more, spending two years in the Mankato graduate program.
"It's a great way to combine the two things I love the most, psychology and sports," Gossfeld said.
"I would say that people seek mental training for a variety of reasons. My mission is to clarify and bring about a more accurate understanding of the role of mental training. It's not just for someone who needs to quote-on-quote fix something in their training. It's not just for someone coming back from a setback. It's for someone competing at the top of their game. Someone aspiring to be a Division I athlete. Or someone dealing with not seeing their teammates everyday. Mental training is literally for anyone who wants to get better, and getting better looks differently for everybody. That's the beauty of it, and a reason I really love working with clients. It is different for every person," she added.
With COVID-19 present, an already crazy time in the lives of high school students is that more difficult to manage. That's where Gossfeld wants to come in. Whether it's helping someone in their sport, or in their music -- she was a violinist throughout high school and college -- she believes there is a need to prepare students and athletes for the challenges ahead.
"High school is the first time in our lives where we are balancing sports, studying, a job, searching for colleges or jobs after high school. Really dealing with that stress, having a lot on our plates," Gossfeld said. "I think that in this time high school is already a period of change, but with COVID-19 it's definitely a larger degree of change."
To learn more about Headway Mental Performance Consulting or to receive a free consultation, visit www.headwaymentalperformanceconsulting.com.