I am a mom, elite athlete, and sports psychologist: Dr. J is my name. A few weeks ago I wrote a comment on Jessica Mendoza’s (first female major league baseball broadcaster) Facebook post.
I decided to make an intentional and deliberate comment illuminating my passionate need to spread my advice and expertise in the world of sports, especially youth development. This is where Beth found me and contacted me.
Here is my story and why I am writing this blog. Beth and I share a similar passion for taking our own experiences, sharing them, to inspire and to help others. It is time for me to break out….
My story begins on the little league baseball field with two older brothers and leads me my current job as a clinical sports psychologist in San Antonio, Texas. I own my own company the Texas Center for Sport Psychology. I had no idea before college that this would my career. The only thing I did know for sure was my love and passion for sports. But as a 5’5” and about 150 lb female, I faced the reality that I would not be playing shortstop for the Yankees even though that would have been my first career choice.
The turning point in my life came my junior year in college in Florida. I was a starting shortstop (primarily) for all four years. And it’s then I realized that my mental game was preventing me from realizing my potential. While sitting on my bed in my off-campus apartment I thought, “Julie, what is wrong with you”?
I had this profound realization that no matter how hard I tried and how “perfect” my technique was I was still going to make mistakes.
“Julie, you are human,” I thought. So why was I trying so hard to prevent mistakes; rather, I should focus on accepting mistakes and learning from them. BOOM…I was playing freer, calmer, and I was having more FUN.
Wow, is there a career in this? Yes, there is. The fire was ignited in March 1995, and I started my doctoral program in clinical psychology on my 23rd birthday, April 28, 1997. I am now forty-three years old and it’s twenty years later. In 1995 I was inspired to be a sports psychologist and my long term goals were to work with youth, college, professional, and Olympic athletes. Mission accomplished!
The story continues. Not only did I did not predict my current career but I never thought I would be living in Texas and parenting three kids, 9-year-old fraternal twin boys, and a 3-year-old girl. And I certainly never thought I would be coaching!
Yes, I am a little league baseball coach! How did that happen? Have you seen our coaches today? Enough said. I have to say coaching 6 to 10-year-old boys has been very rewarding and difficult at the same time and it is especially hard coaching your own children. Even as a knowledgeable sports psychologist, I struggle with the decision to continue to coach them versus others taking over that role.
I hear the joys and sorrows of my athlete’s journeys on a daily basis. I am as scared as you are. The world of youth sport is way too attached with parents and coaches who have psychologically unfinished business from their childhood while lacking psychological awareness and pushing their agenda on our kids. A story way too familiar to all of us.
I will conclude with this. I will be blogging in order to promote greater self-awareness, healthier parenting, and coaching while inspiring and teaching better communication. The number one goal as a parent, coach, and sports psychologist is to help ourselves live a happier more authentic life based on independence, truth, passion, love, and empathy.
It’s about our kids, not us.
Please stay tuned for more to come…
Dr. Julie L. Wiernik
Texas Center for Sport Psychology