Hunting Joy & High Performance w/ Dr. Colleen Hacker

Dr. Colleen Hacker is a Professor of Kinesiology at Pacific Lutheran University as well as Mental Skills Coach to numerous professional and Olympic teams and athletes. She worked with the US Women’s National Soccer Team in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when they won multiple Olympic and World Cup gold medals. Since 2011, she’s served at the Mental Skills coach for the US Women’s National Hockey team, helping them achieve Silver in the Sochi Olympics and Gold in PyeongChang.

Dr. Hacker is the author of Catch Them Being Good: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Coach Girls.She has been awarded numerous accolades and awards, including:

  • Named one of “31 women who will change the way sports are played” by ESPNW
  • Presidential Citation from the American Psychology Association
  • Pathfinder Award from the National Association for Girls & Women in Sport
  • Professor of the Year, Presidents Medal, Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award at Pacific Lutheran


Mentioned in this Episode:

Episode Timestamps:

(2:39) – Dr. Hacker’s origin story and how she got into her role as a Mental Skills Coach

(6:45) – Do you find that you still have the same curiousness and tenaciousness in cross-disciplinary areas or is it focused on the one or two passions in your life? 

(9:23) – The unique approach of people who create amazing things that they are passionate about

(12:25) – Having a Beginner’s Mindset & Seeking Experts

(16:26) – Where do you start, what are you looking for, how are you evaluating individuals as a Mental Skills Coach? 

(22:30) – Are there any patterns that you see as ‘easy fixes’ that people commonly fall into?

(26:12) – Can an individual build up their intrinsic motivation and mental toughness? 

(32:21) – Is there a way to reclaim intrinsic motivation if it’s been stolen? 

(35:38) – The importance of Joy

(42:51) – What are the things you see leaders doing that accidentally steal joy?

(50:13) – Separating the good from the great: Attention to Detail

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