Mind Over Matter for Athletes and Performing Artists

Jacquelyn Hoover, a 2016 School of Business and Leadership graduate, did more than earn her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) with honors at Nyack College. The research results of her thesis, “Getting in the Zone: How Mental Preparation Affects High Performance in Athletes,” motivated her to pursue a Doctor of Education in Sport and Performance Psychology at a health sciences university in Portland, Oregon dedicated to advocacy for integrated, patient-centered care. On track to graduate in December 2021 with an Ed.D., she will become a Certified Mental Performance Coach (CMPC) through the Association of Applied Sports Psychology by the fall of this year.

Passionate about exploring how performance is impacted by mindset, Jacquelyn explains, “Our thoughts control behavior and actions. Therefore, performance is 90% mental ability and 10% physical ability. Most athletes and performers will physically train from sunrise to sunsest, but what they neglect is training the strongest muscle in the body—the brain. When athletes and performers understand how to control their thoughts, their ability to reach performance excellence increases.”

A former Assistant Coach for Women’s Lacrosse while studying at Nyack, Jacquelyn is currently offering free mental skills training for athletes and for actors, musicians, singers, and dancers. The program is called “Developing a Motivated Mindset!” One-on-one and group sessions—in person and virtually—include coaching techniques that reduce anxiety and stress, increase visualization and imagery as well as establishing SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).

“What I have come to learn and love even more about these mental skills techniques is their ability to be transferred to increasing daily well-being and our spiritual walk with Christ,” she points out.

Having already served as a sport psychologist with the Salvation Army and one-on-one with a Major League Baseball player and college athletes, Jacquelyn’s long-term goals are to open a private practice that offers workshops and individual sessions for teams, coaches, athletes/performers and parents. The Pennsylvania native wants to travel across the U.S. and internationally to provide onsite training for athletes who are novice, Olympic and professional level players. Public speaking and writing are also in her plans to champion the cause of mental preparedness that leads to performance excellence.

Learn more about Nyack’s MSOL program that helped Jacquelyn “get in the zone.”