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Sport Psychology

Here at K-State, sport psychology is the science of performance excellence. It is about understanding and applying the mind in ways that maximize human potential. This means making good student-athletes and teams great, and helping the great ones become exceptional. Ian Connole, Ph.D., Director of Sport Psychology, heads up performance based sport psychology services for K-State Athletics. He works with Wildcat student-athletes, coaches, and teams to develop a psychological edge in training, competition, and life.

The overall goals of K-State Sport Psychology are to help student-athletes and teams perform to their best, get the most out of their experiences at K-State, and prepare them for lifelong success. Sport psychology takes on a variety of forms that can range from a five-minute discussion in passing, to a brief talk at practice, or a 45-minute session in an office. Sport psychology sessions are generally instructional and solution-focused. However, they are not therapy sessions. There are great resources on campus and in the community for mental health counseling that this office can refer student-athletes to, but the focus of the K-State Athletics Sport Psychology Program is performance based sport psychology training to help all Wildcats compete at their best. These sport psychology topics can be applied by the happiest, healthiest, and most successful student-athletes as well as those who are struggling.


As competitors, once you become aware of the areas of your mental game that can be improved, you can learn, practice, and apply targeted sport psychology skills in real time. These skills can then be evaluated improvement monitored in areas, such as, concentration, confidence, and composure under pressure. This constant striving for mastery of the mental game is central to the ultimate goal of competing at your best. These are some of the many topics or mental skills that can be focused on as part of a sport psychology game plan that is unique to each student-athlete and team.

  • Adopting a Positive Growth Mindset
  • Becoming a Better Teammate
  • Building Mental Toughness
  • Coach-Athlete Relationships
  • Controlling the Controllables
  • Creating Stable Confidence
  • Dealing with Adversity
  • Developing Self-Awareness
  • Effective Communication
  • Establishing Routines to Get Ready and Staying Ready
  • Finding Meaning in the Grind
  • Focused Concentration
  • Getting the Most Out of Practice
  • Handling Roles on a Team
  • Having Fun Competing
  • Increasing Motivation
  • Letting Go of Mistakes
  • Managing Stress/Anxiety
  • Mentally Preparing
  • Overcoming Slumps
  • Quick Decision Making
  • Recovering from Injuries
  • Setting and Achieving Goals
  • Sharpening Imagery/Visualization
  • Team Building and Forming Identity
  • Using Self-Talk to Help Not Hurt Performance


Individual Meetings
Confidential one-on-one meetings with student-athletes to tailor specific strategies to each athlete to help reach the goals he or she wants to achieve.

Team Meetings
Team talks, workshops, presentations, or discussions centered on maximizing team potential.

Consultations with Coaches
Meetings with coaches to understand team culture, plan how sport psychology services can be best integrated, and to provide a fresh set of eyes to discuss team performance.

Coordination of Referrals for Mental Health Related Issue
Referrals for student-athletes to the campus counseling center and other outside agencies to make sure all their mental health needs are being met in a timely and appropriate fashion.

Other Presentations, Think-Tanks, and Consultations
Additional requests, programs, and services are constantly evolving in order to find the best ways to meet the needs of student-athletes, coaches, and the department as a whole.


Student-athletes can schedule individual online here: Sport Psychology Appointment Scheduler

Individual sessions are confidential and can be worked around the student-athlete's schedule.

K-State Athletics Sport Psychology Services are a unique resource to Kansas State University Athletic Department and Sports Medicine. The goal of K-State Sport Psychology is to help K-State student-athletes get the most from their experience, on and off the field, while competing for the Cats.

The Sport Psychology office is located near the door of the entrance to the Bramlage Coliseum tunnel. From the South parking lot (between Bramlage and the Football Indoor Training Facility), turn right to enter a hallway and the office is the first smaller hallway on the right. There are signs directing you to the Sport Psychology office from the tunnel. The office is located- across the tunnel from the stairway and elevator that access the K-State Athletic Department Administrative offices.


The Kansas State University Athletic Department’s Sport Psychology program is directed by Ian Connole, Ph.D. Ian began working for K-State in January, 2014 and coordinates all sport psychology services for Wildcat Athletics. He believes that every student-athlete can achieve a level of personal excellence, overcome obstacles with resilience, and be successful academically, personally, and athletically. His job is to help student-athletes develop the skills to reach their goals and continue their pursuit of excellence with commitment, optimism, flexibility, and an all around positive mindset.

Ian understands the demands of NCAA DI athletics and works with student-athletes to achieve success and reach their personal goals in this world of high expectations. He knows that all student-athletes have the ability to grow and develop personally, athletically, and academically; his job is to help them tap into that capacity and discover more effective ways of thinking, acting, and responding in order to enhance their performance and overall college experience.

Ian has worked with thousands of amateur, collegiate, and professional athletes and teams over the past 10 years. His primary goals are to help athletes take control of their mental game, maximize their potential, and consistently compete at their best. A native of Dixmont, Maine, Ian has always thrived on competition and played a number of sports growing up. Ian discovered his passion for sport psychology while studying and playing basketball at Skidmore College. He has coached, directed sports camps, and taught private lessons in various sports, including basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, softball, flag-football, cross country, and track and field.

Ian attended California State University-Fullerton (CSUF) for his Master’s degree in Sport Psychology / Performance Enhancement. At CSUF, he learned the art of sport psychology consulting from Dr. Ken Ravizza and Dr. Traci Statler, expert consultants to hundreds of collegiate, Olympic and Professional teams. He then completed degrees in Counseling (M.A.) and Sport and Exercise Psychology (Ph.D.) at West Virginia University under a faculty composed of leaders in the field of sport psychology. Ian taught several undergraduate courses in topics such as sport and exercise psychology, sport sociology, professional development, and physical activity and wellness. At each stop along the way, Ian had the opportunity to work extensively with student-athletes and teams what were motivated to focus on the mental game, work hard, challenge comfort zones, and grow on and off the playing fields.

More recently, Ian coordinated sport psychology services at Waynesburg University and the Nate Smith Basketball School then worked at Colgate University as a member of their Counseling & Psychological Services. These experiences allowed him to hone his philosophy and approach to delivering sport psychology content while simultaneously teaching and learning from incredible individuals that were striving to compete at their best.

Ian is a Certified Consultant through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology and Mental Training Registry. His applied sport psychology work was recognized by AASP in 2013 with the Distinguished Student Practice Award. Ian has numerous scholarly publications and presented both sport psychology research and practices at national and international conference.

Ian spends much of his time away from work playing basketball, golfing, traveling, training for various races/competitions, and spending quality time with friends and family. In 2013 he completed his first ultra-marathon, and continues to find ways to challenge his mind and his body to reach new limits.


Social Media

K-State Sport Psychology uses social media to spread messages about being Wildcat Tough. Wildcat Tough is what all K-State athletes strive for: Mental toughness, clarity in purpose, commitment to excellence, and championship performances. Join us in order to get the latest updates, stories, and quotes as we spread mental toughness and the pursuit of excellence one post at a time.

Online Resources

  • Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) -- AASP promotes the ethical practice, science, and advocacy of sport psychology. They are an international, multidisciplinary, professional organization that offers certification to qualified professionals in the field of sport, exercise, and health psychology. They also provide some free resources for athletes and coaches.
  • American Psychological Association (APA Div 47) -- APA’s division for research, teaching and service in Sport & Exercise Psychology
  • Positive Psychology - Understand and build the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive.

Campus Resources

  • Lafene Health Center
              (785) 532-6544
  • Women's Center
              (785) 532-6444
  • Counseling Services
              (785) 532-6927
  • International Student and Scholar Services
              (785) 532-6448
  • Disability Support Services
              (785) 532-6441
  • Family Center
              (785) 532-6984
  • Career & Employment Services
              (785) 532-6506
  • Student Crisis Services (in addition to calling 911)
              (785) 532-6432
  • Police
              (785) 532-6412 (K-State Police)
              (785) 537-2112 (Riley County Police)
  • Wildcat Walk
              (785) 395-7233