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Sport Psychology

SLU Sport Psychology Services provides athletic performance optimization for individual athletes and teams at Saint Louis University's Department of Athletics and to athletes and teams across the St. Louis region.

A successful sports program is reflected by athletes, coaches and teams performing at their highest potential. The SLU Sport Psychology team provides evidence-based sport psychological services to individual athletes and teams to achieve optimal performance in their sport. Our team comprises doctoral students in clinical psychology with an emphasis on sport psychology who serve as sport psychology consultants (SPCs) and are provided to athletes and teams from all sports within the greater St. Louis region. The primary focus of the SPCs is to understand and improve the mental aspects of an athlete's and a team’s performance by enhancing mental toughness, optimizing arousal and emotional regulation, improving concentration and attention, sustaining motivation, assisting with injury rehabilitation, and managing sports-related stressors. Professor of Psychology Michael J. Ross, Ph.D., serves as the director of SLU Sport Psychology Services and supervises all sport psychology consultants.

Services are provided to athletes aged 16 and up.

Individual Services

Individual services involve one-on-one meetings between an athlete and a sport psychology consultant (SPC). The length of time in sport psychological training varies and largely depends on the athlete’s goals. The Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) protocol consists of about seven sessions of broad mental-skills training and is typically used for most athletes seeking to improve their mental performance in sport. However, athletes may choose to schedule one to two sessions that focus on specific skill development (e.g., confidence, relaxation, developing a mental warm-up). Student-athletes seek these services with a variety of goals and/or areas of development in mind. Some simply want to increase their mental toughness during sport, decrease the effect of negative self-talk, and improve their ability to reach a flow state (“Get into the Zone”). Other athletes may be experiencing barriers to performance such as anxiety, difficulties adjusting to a new team, a lack of confidence, concerns regarding motivation, or difficulties related to injury. These services are available to all SLU student-athletes.

Biofeedback Training

Biofeedback is a technique incorporated into the individual training. During biofeedback, athletes learn how to maintain control over physiological processes that enhance the likelihood of achieving a flow state. SPCs will introduce and train a variety of mental skills that help regulate these processes.

Team Services

SPCs are often requested to work with teams in a variety of capacities. Options for this training include one-day workshops, multisession team trainings, and team assessments. Team workshops typically focus on one or two skills or topics, while multisession team trainings include the introduction and application of a variety of mental skills. Team assessments are often requested by the coaching staff and include the evaluation of a variety of mental aspects using questionnaires and biofeedback techniques. Following a team assessment, coaches receive team and individual data and recommendations. Recommendations strive to enhance the mental aspects of the team during practice and games to enhance athletic performance. Additionally, individual athletes receive their own data and recommendations for mental performance skills training. 

Specialty Groups

The Sport Psychology team also provides specialty services to student-athletes experiencing unique stressors or transitions. Examples include injured athletes (e.g., increasing coping and rehabilitation adherence), freshmen athletes (e.g., supporting the transition to a new team, coach, and/or role), and senior athletes (e.g., helping with the transition out of sport). These services often occur in a workshop format and are requested on an as-needed basis by the athletic department staff and/or student-athletes.

Diversity and Anti-Racist Statement

SLU Sport Psychology is committed to embracing the unique identities and characteristics of all ethnicities, faiths, orientations, abilities and life experiences. Athletes can expect that our consultants will work with them in a safe and nonjudgmental fashion by creating an environment of support and acceptance.

SLU Sport Psych recognizes the destructive impact that stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination have on one’s ability to function optimally in sport, in the classroom, and in daily life. Therefore, we strive to confront, dismantle, and eradicate the inequities caused by racism, xenophobia, transphobia and other harmful oppressive conditions and systems.

SLU Sport Psych also understands that Black, Indigenous and People of Color are often subjected to maltreatment, marginalization, Sand silencing, especially within sport and mental health systems of care. Our team responds by making a commitment to ongoing training and education, amplifying the voices of the BIPOC community, engaging in advocacy at individual and institutional levels, and unconditionally rejecting all forms of racism both in and outside of sport to promote radical healing of the SLU and St. Louis community at large

Meet the Team

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Director Michael J. Ross, Ph.D.

Michael J. Ross, Ph.D., ABPP, has been a professor of psychology at Saint Louis University for over three decades. Ross, along with his former graduate student, Joanne Perry, Ph.D., founded the Saint Louis University Sport Psychological Sciences and Consultation Lab in 2015. He is a board-certified clinical psychologist, fellow of the Academy of Clinical Psychology, and member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. He has served as the university’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative since 1990 and provides consultant and oversight of academic integrity, NCAA rules compliance, and student-athlete welfare for SLU Billiken Athletics. Ross’ areas of research and scholarship include flow state, biofeedback and heart rate variability, adjustment to athletic injury, coping, athletic values, motivation, and mental health. His scholarly works include over fifty peer reviewed publications and over one hundred professional conference presentations. Ross enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and students, and enjoys all of SLU’s Billiken sport teams, coaches, and student-athletes.

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Assistant Director Becca Steins, M.A.

Becca Steins, M.A., is currently a third-year student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. She is originally from St. Louis and received her B.A. in psychology and exercise science from Drury University, where she also played basketball. She received her M.A. in kinesiology at McGill University in Montréal, Quebec. Her research interests and clinical specialties include psychological implications of injury and rehabilitation, body image and eating disorders in sport, gender and sport, and multi-cultural and feminist practices of sport psychology. In her free time, Becca enjoys cooking for her friends, hiking with her dogs Stevie and Saki, reading, and exploring different restaurants in St. Louis.

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Associate Director Savannah "Savvy" Jefferis-Henriques, M.S.

Savvy is a second-year student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at SLU. She is from Kansas City, Missouri, and received her M.S. from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and her B.A. from Drury University, where she played on the women’s soccer team. Her research interests include the sex-assigned at-birth differences in experienced sports-related concussions, sport injury/rehabilitation, and the effects of hormonal contraception and menstrual cycles on athletic performance and motivation. In her free time, Savvy enjoys playing and watching sports, going to concerts with her friends, reading, and trying new restaurants in the area. 

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Emily Chua, B.A.

Emily Chua, B.A., is a student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. She is originally from Tucson, Arizona and received her B.A. in psychology from the University of San Diego. Her research interests include the psychological implications of injury and rehabilitation, anxiety and related concerns present in athletes, and ecological momentary assessment. In her free time, she enjoys watching her favorite sports teams, biking, cooking, and live music.

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Lauren Olson, M.A.

Lauren is currently a second-year student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. She is from Buffalo, New York and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Dayton and her master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University at Buffalo. Lauren’s clinical and research interests focus broadly on neuropsychological assessment and gerontology, particularly psychometric instrument development, sport-related concussion, and neurodegenerative conditions, and mindfulness. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and spending time with her dogs, Dexter and Harper. 

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Charlotte Payne, B.S.

Charlotte Payne, B.S., is currently a second-year student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. She is from St. Augustine, Florida, and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida. Her research interests include neuropsychological evaluation and outcomes related to brain injuries and diseases. In high school, Charlotte played soccer, lacrosse, and golf. In her free time, she enjoys walks in the park and playing pickleball with friends.

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Emily Wiegers, M.S.

Emily is currently a fourth-year student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. She is from Springfield, Missouri, and received her bachelor's degree from Drury University. Emily's clinical and research interests are broadly focused on child and adolescent psychopathology. She loves hiking, biking, and the occasional puzzle. 

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Monica Grace, M.A.

Monica is a fourth-year student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. She received her B.S. in health science from the University of Missouri. She earned her M.A. in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Her research interests include health behaviors, disordered eating, and panic disorder/anxiety, specifically around adolescence to early adulthood. In her free time, she loves hiking, playing frisbee, and camping.

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Sarah Hanske, B.S.

Sarah is currently a third-year student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. She is from St. Louis and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri. Her research interests broadly include child and adolescent mental health. Growing up, Sarah played a variety of sports including basketball, swimming, volleyball, and golf. In her free time, she enjoys attending St. Louis sporting events (Go Cards), going on walks, and exploring St. Louis with her friends.

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Jacob Arett, B.S.

Jacob is currently a fourth-year student in the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at SLU. He is from Plymouth, Minnesota, and received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include body image in both athletes and non-athletes, as well as anxiety, trauma, and stress related concerns. In his free time, Jacob enjoys playing tennis and soccer, watching basketball (particularly the Timberwolves), and dabbling in pickleball.

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Lauren Borato, B.S.

Lauren is a third-year student in Clinical Psychology at Saint Louis University and a Master of Public Health Candidate at Case Western Reserve University. Her research interests are in the psychosocial and cognitive aspects of disease with a focus on maladaptive coping. She is interested in translating clinical exercise-related interventions to promote healthy behavior in the community. By origin, she is a reluctant but hopeful Cleveland sports fan, and is a budding new St. Louis Blues and Cardinals fan. She enjoys Pilates and playing kickball in her free time. 

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Kellen Blum, B.S.

Kellen is a second-year student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at SLU. He is from Ste. Genevieve, MO and earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Illinois College, where he played on the baseball team. His research interests include addiction, substance use, and sports psychology. In his free time, Kellen enjoys watching the Cardinals, trail running, and playing guitar.



To learn more or to request an appointment with one of SLU’s Sport Psych Consultants, please contact The Sport Psychology Services offices are located in the O’Loughlin Family Champions Center and in the Department of Psychology's Morrissey Hall room 2805.

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