Hey there, My name is Christopher Hullaby (Chris). I’m a College Adviser at Washington High School in Kansas City, KS, which happens to be the high school I graduated from in 2014. In May 2019, I graduated with a B.S in Psychology from Kansas State University. I’m currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Psychology with a Specialization in Sport Psychology at Capella University. I feel as though it’s not only my passion, but my purpose to one day become a Mental Performance Consultant, which is why I’m excited about my internship role here at Sterling Sport Mindset.
Growing up, I loved to play basketball (I still do). I played on several youth basketball teams during my elementary years, In middle school, I tried out and made both the 7th and 8th grade basketball teams, I even made the freshman team once I went to high school. If you ask me, I was a pretty decent player. No, I wasn’t ever a “star player” on these teams. In fact, on each team I’ve been on, I definitely was one of the smallest players, if not THE smallest player on the team, but my jump shot was so good that coaches were willing to take a chance on my size… until my sophomore year of high school.
I was devasted when I was cut from the basketball team my sophomore year. But I didn’t pout for too long, I made it a goal to make Junior Varsity next year. I watched motivational videos on Youtube every morning (Eric Thomas’s ‘How Bad do you want it’ still gets me pumped to this day!). I dribbled in my garage every night (drove my parents crazy), and shot hoops in my front yard every day until tryouts came around my Junior year. This time, I made the team. I had a pretty good tryout that led to securing a guard position on Junior Varsity. I accomplished my goal. Not only did I realize that my hard work paid off, but I also learned the importance of mental awareness.
That’s right, failing to make the basketball team my sophomore year introduced me to Sport Psychology. It made me look at myself as a basketball player a little deeper. The reality of it all was that I was never really mentally tough as a player to begin with. Even though I had a pretty nice jump shot, I consistently struggled with imposter syndrome/ negative self-talk, I performed really well in practice, but not so much in games, and often put limits on myself as a player because I was shorter than most of the players on the teams I’ve ever been on. It wasn’t easy discovering exactly how I struggled mentally, but after I did, my mindset shifted and I was committed to growing mentally not only as a basketball player, but as a young man overall.
I didn’t end up playing basketball at the collegiate level. I was a Kauffman scholar, which means I had a full ride academic scholarship to any college institution in Kansas, so instead of trying out for the basketball team my senior year, I focused on preparing to attend Kansas State. However, I feel if I would’ve learned the importance of mental awareness and mental toughness at an earlier age, I would have had a real chance at playing basketball at a higher level. That’s why I feel it’s my purpose to be a Mental Skills Consultant for young athletes, so they can learn how to manage performance anxiety, practice positive self-talk, and learn how to set goals and commit to them at a young age.
Even if the athletes I assist don’t go on to play professionally or even on the college level in their desired sport, I’m confident they will be able to apply the mental skills I introduce to them in ALL facets of their life, which will ultimately make them more confident in their endeavors.
I believe my experience here at Sterling Sport Mindset will prepare me for my purpose and I’m very excited to be a part of this team!
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