Confidence. Character. Credibility. Motivation. Mental Toughness. These were just a few topics Dr. Greg Dale addressed during truly inspiring presentations for students, faculty and parents focused on the primary theme of achieving personal success and improving performance in all areas of life.
Dr. Dale is Director of Sport Psychology and Leadership Programs for Duke University Athletics, and he travels the country working with athletes, actors, physicians, attorneys and school groups to help them improve their mental toughness and ultimately achieve to their highest potential. His presentations included “The Art of Teaching” for faculty and staff, “The Fulfilling Ride” for parents of student-athletes, and “It’s a Mental Thing” for Upper School students.
His talk with students centered around setting and achieving performance goals, whether in the classroom, on the athletic field or the theater stage. “Most mentally tough people have the ability to be where their feet are – they are present and focused in the moment at hand,” he said. He encouraged students to articulate their goals, to imagine themselves achieving something and to make healthy choices. “Talent is given to you. Confidence and motivation are ultimately up to you,” he said, encouraging students to believe in themselves and not dwell on mistakes.
Following some high-energy interactive exercises to simulate how people behave differently in pressure-filled, competitive situations, Dr. Dale closed his presentation by emphasizing the necessity of demonstrating positive character, noting that adversity reveals one’s true self. “People won’t remember your stats after a season ends, but they will remember what you were like to be around,” he said. “Everyone has the ability to be a leader, but not everyone has the courage to be a leader.”
Dr. Dale gave parents a roadmap for being positive and meaningful mentors for their children. He emphasized their role in helping their kids become effective self-advocates and more effectively equipping them for the inevitable stressful situations they will experience, whether in athletic competition, artistic opportunities, or life beyond. He explicitly outlined the many striking problems that the current climate around youth sports has given rise to – from the rampant increase in repetitive use injuries to the damage done to communities by avoidable conflicts between parents, student-athletes and coaches. “Not only did Dr. Dale affirm the fundamental value of an educational-based athletic program, he also focused on the profound opportunity for parents and coaches to truly partner for meaningful growth for every student in an athletic program,” said Upper School Head Scott Small.
The presentations earned rave reviews from all audiences. MICDS Athletic Director Don Maurer noted, “Dr. Dale’s message provided each group — faculty, parent and students — with some things to consider as they play out their unique role in our educational environment and beyond. He was able to connect and engage with each group through common themes and interesting examples of real-life situations.”