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Athletic Identity: Transition to Transformation Book

Most athletes enjoy an exciting athletic career with little preparation for the road that lies beyond sports. Research indicates it takes college athletes between 18 months and five years to become fully adjusted to life without sports participation. During this transition to transformation (T2T) process, athletes can suffer depression, loneliness, alcohol and drug addiction, lack of confidence, and unrealistic expectations for life without sports.

Over the years through research, I have read countless numbers of articles on athletes and transition.  I have also worked with athletes through this time consuming and delicate process.  The majority of research is specifically geared towards transition as a career ending process.  However, when working with athletes, my approach has been to prepare them for the multilevel platform of transition, which consists of much more than exiting out of a career in sport.

The essence of transition for athletes is centered in the personal, social and professional development of the athlete.   Transitions include but are not limited to: being drafted to play on a team, not making the team, being released from the team, having to play a lesser role on a team, the unexpected injury (short, long and career ending), playing on the junior team to playing on the senior team, management changes, coaching changes, etc.  These are some of but not limited to the transitions that affect athletes competing in sport.

Athletic Identity Transitional Management (AITM) is a component of personal player development.  It has been designed to provide an industry name as well as an explanation of how this process affects athletes and helping professionals.  For athletes to make a smooth transformation (of any kind), they must understand how the athletic environment shapes their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Understanding these environmental elements directs athletes to one of or multiple, athletic identity T2T perspectives, get your copy and learn more about the transition process of athletes.

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Karen Schiferl, Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services at Eastern Michigan University

Karen Schiferl is currently the Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services at Eastern Michigan University.  Before arriving at EMU, she worked as the Associate AD for Academics and SWA at Chicago State, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Academic Support at the University of Mississippi.  As well as Senior Associate Director at the University of Maryland’s, and the Academic Coordinator in the athletic counseling offices for Northern Illinois University.   Karen started in athletics as a graduate intern for Indiana University’s Hoosier Athletic Academic Advising Office.  Karen has served on a multitude of national and regional academic boards and has presented at academic conferences across the country.  Currently, she is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A), the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), and the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS). Schiferl has also received both the N4A’s Professional Promise Award and the Distinguished Service Award. Karen has a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Indiana University, earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Afro-American Studies also from Indiana University.

Dr. Mark: How important has the mental health of the student-athlete become?

Ms. Schiferl: It has changed over the years, right now student athletes mental health is a real Hot Topic.  It wasn’t so much 10, 15 or 20 years ago. University student-athletes are 18 to 20-year-old kids. I know some people might be offended by me calling them kids, but they are in a stage of their life where they are growing and maturing and developing.

I would add if your working with student athletes you have to work to establish a relationship with the student athletes.  Getting to know them as an individual, is a key to developing that trust in a relationship to help them be successful.  The success of the student-athlete doesn’t happen by accident; it takes a lot of effort, it takes a village if you will, and I think that’s been consistent through the years. We just have more people in that community now helping.

Dr. Mark: Is there a direct connection between academic success and the personal development of the student-athlete?

Ms. Schiferl: You were a student-athlete 20 years ago, and at that time it was all about academics and GPA standards and graduation rates.  Now we had a more of a shift to the holistic development of the student-athlete.  Because in twenty years people might not remember your GPA, but they are going to remember if you were involved in community service and outreach or took advantage of personal development. As a student-athlete, those things are going to be more impactful.  It’s not to say that we don’t want to see student-athletes succeed academically because we do, but there is a broader picture that is beyond just academic support, there is a much more holistic view that’s happening beyond the academics.

 

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Dr. Mark: Does a person actually need training in the life skills/student-athlete development profession to work with student athletes?

Ms. Schiferl: Yes, I think so. The evolution of student-athlete development is here, and you are now looking at career development, personal growth, community outreach and leadership all of the other aspects of developing a student-athlete. There are a lot of people that think they can work with student athletes or desire to work with student athletes. There seems to be this romantic notion about working with the student-athlete.  But there is a need for people that are interested in the profession to be able to understand what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it.  So I think there does need to be some training and awareness from a professional.

Dr. Mark: Why are life skills/student-athlete development professionals usually at the bottom of the pay scale in the athletic department?

Ms. Schiferl: You know, I don’t have a good answer for that. Mark, you know obviously in many cases coaches are being paid lots and lots of money.  As well as other people in athletics that are paid at a higher rate than the folks working in the business of developing student-athletes personally.

Honestly, it’s a little bit like teachers in the education field. The value is not the same, but I am not sure why that is. People say it is hard to quantify what we accomplish.  Do you say, we’ve done x amount of hours of community service or we’ve done six presentations on personal development?  Entirely different from a coach, you can say well they won this many games they lost that many games. It’s a little bit harder to say this is what we are doing and this is how we are doing it. Which makes it difficult to put a value on duties and demonstrate the real worth, that would potentially get us paid a little bit more money.

 

Dr. Mark: Should student athletes have a personal development 4-year plan much like the 4-year academic plan?

Ms. Schiferl: Some institutions do better jobs than others, one of my goals at Eastern Michigan is to create a much more robust student development program.  I think our student athletes are doing a lot, but I don’t believe there is not a comprehensive, structured program right now.  It is my job to make sure that we pull together all of the things that they are already doing and make it into a structural program so that not only they’re getting from point A to point B but now they are going from point B to point C and then beyond.

 

Dr. Mark: Is athletic identity real?

Ms. Schiferl: It’s very real and even more so now.  Things have changed in youth sports.  When I was a youngster we might have played multiple sports, it isn’t the same now. Parents are spending a fortune traveling their kids across the country to be involved in one sport. They are investing all kinds of money into recruiting services to get kids a college scholarship.  Athletic identity starts younger now, much younger.    Athletic identity is implanted in the student-athlete, and they have to understand and know its a critical part of their identity. There’s more to an athlete than just being that athlete. And so the more that we can help them to understand that yes you’ve got some great skill that you’ve acquired as an athlete how do you make them transferable to other areas of life, but yes I think the athletic identity is real, definitely real.

 

Dr. Mark: How important is it for student-athletes to focus on the transitions they experience in sports?

Ms. Schiferl:  Oh it’s huge,  I think that’s just absolutely massive it’s imperative that we help them develop those skills so they can transition successfully. Student athletes get so caught up in their athletic identity and being an athlete that they sometimes become unaware of all the other things, the positive things that they are capable of doing. The more we can do to help them understand the skills that they have, and how these skills are transferable to the real world to make sure they know they can have a successful transition.

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Athletes Equal Business and the IPPD Partnership

The Institute for Personal Player Development has partnered with Athletes Equal Business to provide preparation and career services for the Institute. Athletes Equal Business is a company dedicated to coaching, counseling and placing highly talented student-athletes into the corporate world. Working in harmony with educational institutions and America’s top companies, Athletes Equal Business helps student athletes make a smooth transition from the playing field, to their vocational field, and find rewarding employment. The Institute for Personal Player Development provides top quality training and development for athletes and athletic staff, with an emphasis on the personal, social and professional development of athletes. The partnership will merge services and offer athletes and athletic staff assistance with post-collegiate career preparation, Transitional Management Assistance and will provide a high school and community college online program.

Research has clearly shown that making the transition from college athletics to the “real world” is a difficult, frustrating and often painful experience for student-athletes. The reason for this, unlike most traditional students, athletes are focused on practicing and competing in their sport well into their senior year. This significantly reduces the time available to participate in career fairs, campus interviews and other programs designed to help them find gainful employment.

According to Scott Cvetkovski Director of Campus Relations for, Athletes Equal Business, the partnership is going to provide a beautiful, holistic support avenue for athletes everywhere. The Institute and Athletes Equal Business share the same values, and we believe this partnership makes us stronger in our cause to make sure athletes are getting the most education and support to be successful before, during, and after sports.

Dr. Mark Robinson, Sr. Director of the Institute for Personal Player Development believes this partnership is another step in building a full-service personal development institute specifically focusing on the athlete and the global athletic community. The partnership provides our growing list of domestic and international Personal Player Development Specialist an in-house option to assist athletes with career preparation and development. The agreement also allows the Institute to move forward and fully implement our Transitional Management Assistance program in all areas, which I am extremely excited about.

To learn more about Athlete Equals Business or The Institute for Personal Player Development contact:

Dr. Mark Robinson

drmark@ppdmag.com

 

 

 

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International Basketball Scams on the RISE: Don’t fall Prey to the Predator  

Since writing my first article on International Basketball Scams, I have received emails about possible scams and I can tell you the Scammers are still at large looking for Dream Chasers like yourself.  I created the International Basketball Workshop for International basketball Dream Chasers. Please invest in educating yourself on the business of playing International Basketball and how to avoid becoming a victim of the popular international scam.

My workshop contains valuable information and allows athletes an opportunity to use me as a sounding board on issues that directly pertain to International basketball.  If you come across a contact or contract that you don’t think is legit, you need to watch my workshop.  Everything you need to know is covered in the International Basketball Success Workshop of join our Facebook group.

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In the meantime, please review some of the emails I received regarding International Basketball scams over the past few months, the threat is real:

My girlfriend got an offer to play ball overseas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The man sent her an email Sept 23, and she quickly responded. He even said they’ll pay for her ticket just send $110 to whomever. She paid the agent and also went and got her passport.  She is still waiting for a response from him since last week (it’s going on two weeks since she’s communicated with this guy) and she’s been messaging him, and he will not respond. Do you think it’s a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

Hi, I saw your article on overseas basketball scams, and I have a guy who initially wrote me on Facebook asking if I wanted to play basketball in China. Now, when I asked for the agency the man worked for he told me he worked for Ingle Wood basketball agency based out of the UK. I did some research and couldn’t find anything on this agency.

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

I searched the team that was on the form he sent which was called the “Nanjin Army” china- NBL team. So I saw that the team was legit. But I don’t know what this man’s connection is to them. I have tried to speak on the phone with him, but he keeps avoiding the conversation. I think this may be a scam but would like to know for sure?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

This “agent” Raynell Brown has been contacting me for CREFF MADRID women’s basketball team. Today he said I had to fill out a medical form and a copy of my passport.  The insurance emailed me the medical form and he asked me to send him $520 for the tryout to the Western Union.  He called me this morning with an unknown number saying I had to do it today.  I want to play overseas is this a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

Hello, I just got offered to play for CB Salt in Liga Eba in Spain. They said they are paying for the flight, but I have to send them $355 for a Visa. They want me to send it through PayPal to an email address.  The agents that contacted me about this job were Jorge Sanchez and Sergei Fernandez. Does this sound like a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

I was contacted by an agent who claims to work for Leicester Riders can you please let me know if this contract is fake please can you look over it.  Do you think this is a scam?

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

I have recently been in contact with a scout/agent who works with Bizkaia  Bilbao  basketball club in Spain asking me to send $400 through the Western Union for medical insurance so I am just trying to see if it is legit and if I should move forward.  If I could forward you the emails, I received from them so you can verify them that would be great.

Dr. Mark: Yes this is a Scam!

 

Enroll in the Institute for Personal Player Development and watch my International Basketball Success Workshop.

Dr. Mark Robinson competed on the collegiate level for Indiana University and later played international basketball in Europe, Asia and Central America.  He is currently the Sr. Director of The Institute for Personal Player Development and a Personal Player Development expert.  He can be reached on:

Twitter: @drmarkppd

Email: drmark@ppdmag.com

 

 

 

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Community College Student Athlete Conference

Dr. Mark Robinson and The Institute for Personal Player Development partnered with West Los Angeles College to deliver the first annual community college student-athlete conference. This was the first of several events and conferences targeting the community college student-athlete.  Take a moment and watch the highlight video of this historical event.

 

 

If you are interested in hosting a Personal Player Development event contact:

Dr. Mark Robinson
Sr. Director
The Institute for Personal Player Development
415-378-7658
drmark@ppdmag.com

Michael Phelps on Athletic Identity

Michael Phelps is arguably one of the most decorated athletes holding 22 Olympic medals 18 of them gold.  However with that success came a price many athletes have to pay, the complete loss of his identity.  Athletic Identity is an issue many in sports struggle with.  The developmental process of Athletic Identity takes years to build and even longer to manage.   Athletic Identity can produce associated problems such as depression, isolation, negative behaviour, and suicide.

As a pioneer on the subject of Athletic Identity, I often engage with college athletic departments regarding the need to focus more on athletic identity as a way to produce better people, better students, and a much better athlete.  For decades we have pointed blame towards the transition athletes experience after they exit sport and enter into the real world as the reason for associated problems.  However, this has been a long-standing myth.  The deep-rooted problems athletes encounter upon exiting from sport are due to the lack of attention given towards athletic identity while athletes are competing in sport.

Having the ability to assist an athlete in defining who she/he is in-and-outside of sport is the developmental key to life-long success and requires less technology and a carefully structured personal developmental approach.  The essence of this developmental process is the ability to tap into the core of the person and build a foundation from this point.

In an interview with Bob Costas,  Michael Phelps discusses Athletic Identity and the effects it had on his life and what needed to happen to address Athletic Identity.

 

See the complete interview here Michael Phelps chats with Bob Costas

Dr. Mark Robinson is the Sr. Director of the Institute for Personal Player Development and one of the pioneers on Athletic Identity.

Twitter: @drmarkppd

 

 

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Last Chance U is Our First Chance

The latest sport related documentary is Last Chance U.  Although the film is following the Eastern Mississippi Community College (EMCC) football team, the events that take place give us a look at much more than the usual college football drama made for TV.  The show is as real as it gets regarding the pressure, issues and challenges athletes encounter while on their journey of playing on to the D1 level.  More importantly, this is our first chance to see up close, some of the issues academic counselors are faced with and the ever growing need for Personal Player Development.

Each episode provides consistent reminders of the ever mounting need for Personal Player Development, precisely the lack of understanding in the area of my athletic identity stages of growth.  According to Dr. Tommy Shavers, “the absence of Personal Player Development comes down to three things, either they don’t know, don’t care or are not capable of providing athletes with assistance in this developmental space.  I believe we all know and care but being capable of helping student-athletes or even professional athletes in behavioural modification requires training.”

Athletic Identity and the five related stages are front and center in this film, the clip below is an illustration of how a student-athlete is experiencing one of the stages in athletic identity.  However, the academic counselor is not sure about the athletic identity stages and is at a loss in this very teachable moment.  If you work on a college campus specifically with athletes, this is a must see production.

 

Dr. Mark Robinson is the Sr. Director of the Institute for Personal Player Development and one of the pioneers on Athletic Identity.

Twitter: @drmarkppd

Dr. Tommy Shavers is the Chair of the Institute for Personal Player Development and founder of The Atlas Group.

Twitter: @Tommy_Speak

 

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Meet the IPPD Faculty

The Institute for Personal Player Development is pleased to have a unique and energetic group of faculty committed to the personal growth and development of athletes.  The need to assist collegiate athletic departments and athletic organizations, in understanding sports culture as well as athlete behavior has become a high priority.

Our faculty members have built their individual reputations on being experts on the issues and challenges athletes face daily.

 

The IPPD Faculty 2016

The IPPD Faculty 2016

 

Dr. Mark Robinson, area of focus, Athletic Identity

Elaine Pasqua, area of focus, Health and Well-being, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Pasha Cook, area of focus, LGBTQ and the Athlete

DeQawn Mobley, area of focus, Social Responsibility and the Athlete:

Dr. Tommy Shavers, area of focus, Leadership and Personal Player Development

Camila Beek, area of focus, Athlete Branding

Dr. Donald English, area of focus, Mental Health and the Athlete

Malik Wade, area of focus, The Justice System and the Athlete

Dr. Kristina Navarro, area of focus, Career Counseling and Exploration

Dr. Steven N. Waller, area of focus, Spirituality and the Athlete

Annette Lynch,area of focus, Transition Success Beyond Sport

Cynthia Johnson, area of focus, Athlete Branding, Social Media, Marketing

Dr. Stephany Coakley, area of focus, Athlete Transition:

Eric Smith, area of focus, Financial Literacy and the Athlete

Dr. Marcus Amos, area of focus, Substance abuse & Pill Addiction and the Athlete

Susan Salzbrenner, area of focus, The Athlete and Cultural Intelligence

Marvin Burton Cornish, area of focus, The Deterrents of the Athlete

 

The IPPD is  currently seeking additional faculty to ensure our continued growth and desired place in the Personal Player Development industry.  If you are interested in joining the IPPD faculty contact Dr. Mark Robinson.

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Danielle Gleason, and the IPPD Specialist Certificate Experience

Danielle Gleason is a former collegiate swimmer for Colorado State University.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Health Exercise Science and a Master of Education in Higher Education.  Danielle was a graduate assistant in the Student Athlete Development office for Arizona State University, which is where she realized her true passion is working with athletes in the personal development arena.  Since then, Danielle enrolled in the Institute for Personal Player Development (IPPD) and has received her Personal Player Development (PPD) Specialist Certificate.  We wanted to get feedback on her IPPD experience.

 

Dr. Mark: Why did you enroll in the IPPD, PPD Specialist Certificate program?

Ms. Gleason: I was originally referred by Jean Boyd, Sr. Associate Athletic Director at ASU to contact Dr. Robinson and after speaking to him, I decided to enroll in the IPPD, PPD Specialist Certificate program.

I felt that the work that was being done would have of not only benefited me greatly during my time competing, but more importantly after. This program has the endless possibility to help former, present, and future athletes. By enrolling in the program, I was able to gain the proper knowledge to assist athletes live the positive, balanced and healthy lifestyle that the IPPD program so adamantly teaches.

 

Dr. Mark: What did you think about the program curriculum?

Ms. Gleason: I thought that the program was very well researched, it was relevant, and it provides a lot of value to those who are taking the course. The curriculum allowed me to learn from a number of professionals in the field and apply the concepts in multiple ways.

 

Dr. Mark: Would you recommend this program to other people who want to or are working with athletes? 

Ms. Gleason: Definitely! Regardless of the capacity that a helping professional works with athletes, it is always a great opportunity to get professionally trained to help athletes develop as an individual in a positive, balanced, and healthy way.

 

Dr. Mark: What was one of the most important things you learned through the program?

Ms. Gleason: One of the most important things I learned was that, PPD specialists help athletes realize their maximum potential as an individual, not just as an athlete. IPPD has provided the framework to assist would be helping professionals in the best possible way.

 

Dr. Mark: What are your plans moving forward within the PPD industry?

Ms. Gleason: Moving forward, I plan to start my own consulting service as a Personal Player Development Specialist. I also plan on developing workshops and presentations geared towards the female athletic identity and transitional phases.

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