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Jenna Halvorson

Leadership and Character Development Coach


MA in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Previously worked at IMG Academy in Bradenton FL. in their Leadership department. Founder of The Mental Clutch LLC and currently works with teams and coaches on mental training and leadership development.

Interview Questions

1. What book(s) have greatly influenced your life?

-Legacy by James Kerr
-The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford
-Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

2. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

I think that all failures will set you up for later success, whether we see it at the time or not. Every failure is a learning opportunity and I like to teach others to “Fail Forward.” My “favourite failure” was my sophomore year in college at Nationals DIII Track and Field. My 4×4 relay was ranked 3rd and after prelims we ran a time to put us 3rd into finals. We found out later that our relay was disqualified because the starter (being me) actually stepped on the line of the inside lane 3 times in a row; which leads to disqualification. I felt like it was my entire fault and felt beyond guilty. My other relay teammates and I decided to change our mindset and instead of feeling bad for us use it as fuel for next year and were determined to win Nationals. Our 4×4 ended up winning the next 6 national titles in that relay.

3. In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

My mindset and being awake and alert has improved my life the most. In graduate school I learned the value that your mindset has and how important being mindful is. I engage in mindfulness meditation more often and challenge myself to be alert, awake, and aware of where my feet are. I’m more in the present than I use to be and I have tools to change my mindset to use it to my advantage.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring young coach, what would that advice be?

Your athletes will not care how much you know until they know how much you care about them.

5. What bad advice do you hear most from your area of expertise?

Working with coaches, I have had many people tell me that what makes a great coach is being familiar with the sport or have participated in that sport at a high level. Their skill of being former athletes has nothing to do with their ability to coach. The two are not related and there are MANY other important skills to be an effective coach than having skills and athletic ability in that particular sport.

6. Who, in your life, has inspired you most? (and why)

My mother and mentor in graduate school (Cindra Kamphoff). My mother has instilled in me determination, work ethic, value of education, being a lifelong learner, gratitude, and many other skills that have shaped who I am, how I view the world, and the achievements that I have obtained. Cindra has inspired my professional career by being my “sport psychology mom” and leading by example how to be successful in our field. She has taught me everything I know about the sport psychology world and taught me how to lead an engaging session, how to connect with your audience, and how to bring the energy. She also was my main supporter in starting up my own consulting company.

7. How would you best define a coach?

A mentor, leader, and inspiration to the people they work with.

8. What do you do for your own CPD?

I read many books, listen to podcasts, and accept the opportunities that are presented to me to keep learning, growing, and connecting with others.