Tag: Simon Almaer

Last weekend’s game against the Boston Bruins would prove to be Yeo’s last with the Wild. After yet another loss for the team, Yeo was let go after five years—though he thought his time would continue since General Manager Chuck Fletcher told him that his job was safe just a week earlier. Even after being told that he was fired, he fought for more time to work with the team, not wanting to leave them during the middle of the season. Yeo was quickly replaced by John Torchetti of the Iowa Wild until a more permanent option is found.

The unexpectedness of Yeo’s removal and the certainty he held in his position make the situation tough to handle as a coach. Last Monday the Wild played for the first time under Torchetti—a win—which brings great anticipation for the rest of the season. “They’ll want to be hungry to come out and prove themselves again,” Torchetti said, “But we just want them feeling good about themselves, and then we’ll make our corrections and adjustments, and keep on improving and getting better.” He is not sure what changes need to happen within the Wild yet, but he will make further assessments as the season continues.

Studies show that this change in the coaching staff will affect the team’s performance. McTeer White, and Persad (1995) assert, “In either case the players are relieved when an unpopular* coach is replaced and develop renewed optimism in the short-term.” The players may be relieved by getting a new coach, hoping that this will be the changing factor in their team’s performance. A new coach may improve performance, but it is usually not for long. Lago-Penas (2011) states the following: “The empirical analysis shows that the shock effect of a turnover has a positive impact on team performance over time. Results reveal no impact of coach turnover in the long term. The favorable short-term impact on team performance of a coach turnover is followed by continued gradual worsening in the half of a term.” This short term fix leads to a vicious cycle of coach turnover within the team, which is common in sports across the board and happens at all levels of performance ranging from high school to professional. Whether it is a livelihood or a scholarship that becomes uncertain, every level of play has its own set of problems when hiring a new coach midseason.

However, the dismissal of a coach could lead to a divided team as players split their loyalties between the old coach and the new coach. Simon Almaer, MA MBA, said that when a new coach is hired midseason it is like “hitting a reset button; hierarchies, positions, playtime, and roles are put into question.” This creates an uncertain and unsettling dynamic within the team, which may cause tension. Almaer’s advice for athletes trying to stay consistent through team changes? Focus on accepting the new situation, being responsible for their own game, and minimizing distractions. Building a relationship with the new coach is also helpful, in order to be more comfortable with the situation. Finally, athletes should keep it simple by trying their best and having a good attitude about the new changes within the team.

*We are not implying that Yeo was unpopular; it is just a direct quote about coaching changes in general.


Lago-Peñas, C. (2011). Coach Mid-Season Replacement and Team Performance in Professional Soccer. Journal of Human Kinetics, 28, 115–122. http://doi.org/10.2478/v10078-011-0028-7

McTeer, W., White, P. G., & Persad, S. (1995). Manager/coach mid-season replacement and team performance in professional team sport. Journal of Sport Behavior, 18(1), 58. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/215868828?accountid=8593


We have an updated page devoted to answering your questions about the field here.

With sport psychology a rapidly expanding field, with scores of professional teams hiring specialists to work with their athletes on their mental game, many are wondering how one makes a career in sport psychology and what it takes. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers to help get you started.

What are sport psychologists and how do they differ from mental game coaches?

Most generally, sport psychologists are licensed psychologists who are trained in psychological skills training, athletes’ mental health, team dynamics in sports settings, psychological factors that influence performance, assessment of psychological and performance variables, and more. Mental game coaches also work with athletes on the performance side of sport, but they do not have specific training in mental health and are not licensed. You know the old saying that every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square? Every sport psychologist is a mental game coach, but not every mental game coach is a sport psychologist. For more information about sport psychology, click here.

Do I need to go to graduate school to become a sport psychologist?

Yes. In order to become a full-fledged licensed psychologist, you’ll need to earn either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. and then complete further requirements for licensure depending on which state you want to practice in.

Is there only one set path to becoming a sport psychologist/mental skills coach?

Absolutely not! Our sport psychologists have all had very unique experiences. Learn more about how they got where they are by clicking below.

Dr. Justin Anderson

Dr. Carlin Anderson

Dr. Alexandra Wagener

As a student, what kind of experience should I be trying to get?

As far as experience goes, working with athletes of any level will help you along the road, as will doing research. Reach out to various sport psychologists and firms for advice and to see if they have any internships—many will post information on their websites. In order to find sport psychologists, quick Google searches will take you a long way, and check out AASP’s (Association for Applied Sport Psychology) website.

I want to open up my own sport psychology practice. Any advice on what I need to know?

Make sure you know how to run a business and who you can reach out to for help. While a doctorate degree will help you become a sport psychologist, it won’t necessarily help you with the day-to-day operations of owning your own company.

I’d like to work with elite athletes—how can I get there?

First, realize that many people want to work with elite and professional athletes, so don’t be upset if it doesn’t happen right away! You need time to prove yourself and get the most experience that you can. Work with colleges and universities: try to get a position on their medical staff and work with athletes there. It may not happen right away, but you can put in the time and the effort!

Good luck to all on your sport psychology journey, and check back for future blogs answering more questions! Again, if you have a question, please let us know via Facebook or Twitter