Article originally published on Minnesota FCA's webpage.
Meet Kris (Goody) Goodman, the new mental performance coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, who recently went through FCA’s 3D Coaching program.
Kris grew up playing most sports. In high school, he concentrated on hockey and baseball. Growing up in Minnesota, he actually enjoyed hockey a bit more because, well, it was Minnesota and there was a lot of hype around hockey. But his dream was to one day be a major league baseball player. FCA recently sat down with Kris to see what path his life has taken and how God continues to lead him along the way.
FCA: You mentioned that your dream was to become a major league baseball player. Were you?
Goody: No. I spent four years in the minor leagues playing for the Marlins. At the end of that time, I was trying to figure out if it was time to move on to the next part of life or continue to play minor league baseball with the goal to eventually make it to the MLB. I decided to attend Mankato State University (MSU) to get my Masters in Sports Psychology.
FCA: Why Sports Psychology?
Goody: I was watching ESPN with my dad when I was a junior in high school and saw a sports psychologist who had been working with the Rays. He shared about a player named Evan Longoria. This was my first introduction to sports psychology. After Longoria went three years being unrecruited and undrafted, he went as the third overall pick in the 2006 draft. Longoria attributed much of his success to the mental coaching he had received. I knew I wanted to do that after my professional baseball career.
FCA: What exactly do you do as a mental performance coach?
Goody: I train players to use mental skills to compete at their best no matter the circumstances. It may be by visualization, self-talk, breathing, or other things. It’s not so that they win no matter the circumstance, but I teach them to be all-in in the present moment. It might be that it’s raining, or they just got off an 11-hour bus ride, or their dad will be in the stands. They learn to be consistent no matter what.
FCA: You recently went through FCA’s 3D Coaching program. How did you find out about it?
Goody: When I was getting my undergrad at Iowa, an Athletes in Action person would come and speak to us, so I was looking for something like that at MSU. Bob Spiegler [FCA Area Director for Southwest Minnesota ] had his FCA table set up at MSU. I was walking by and started talking to Bob. Soon, I was going to coaches Bible studies, did some personal Bible studies, and then Bob suggested I complete the 3D Coaching program. Each week, we would watch videos and go through the booklets together.
FCA: What were your greatest takeaways from the 3D Coaching program?
Goody: As coaches we are trying to reach our athletes on a more holistic platform. 3D Coaching is a really good way to do that. The program is beneficial for every coach, whether religious or not, but for me as a Christian, it shows me ways Christ can work through me within what I already do. I learned a lot through reflection with Bob about myself so that I can display Christ-like actions to my players. Topics of faith may come up in conversation when we are working together, and then hopefully conversations will come up as players wonder why I’m the way I am.
FCA: Are you able to look back at coaches you had and see how they did or didn’t apply the 3D Coaching principles?
Goody: Yes. In high school I had a coach named Al Newman who was a former Twins player. He was huge for my development and helped me so much as a person to help me believe in myself. I have never had a coach, besides my dad, who believed in me so much. One day, I wasn’t slated to play much, and I was pouting before the game. Coach Newman came up to me and said, “Goody, what do you typically do before games?” I said, “I’m usually out there with the guys.” He said, “Why aren’t you doing that now? Just because you aren’t playing? Stay consistent and keep doing what you’ve been doing.”
I had another coach who, after a game where I had several errors, said in front of everyone, “If we are going to go far, Goody, you have to get it right.” I already felt bad. I knew I messed up. It would have been helpful if he had pulled me aside and helped me. Those [types of] coaches were really important to my development as a player, coach and person, because it taught me how I don’t want to be.
FCA: How does the 3D Coaching program relate to what you do as a mental performance coach?
Goody: The fundamentals of psychology with heart in 3D Coaching goes hand in hand with what I do daily - identity, character, values, purpose – all of this is within the heart of the sport. For me, it was like, “Wow, I can use sports psychology within my purpose of being here on earth.” There are so many things that align. We talk a lot in the sports psych field about emotional control. I say to players, “It’s not that you can never get frustrated or angry, but how quickly can you bring it back?” It always goes back to identity. Sometimes, athletes get lost in being an athlete.
FCA: Did you have that struggle?
Goody: I did. I felt like I was just a baseball player. When I was done, I was like, “Who am I?” Thankfully, I had good support from family and my relationship with God. It’s not always easy to follow God’s path, but my faith has helped me to trust Him. For example, without baseball, I wouldn’t have this job. At first, I couldn’t see why God would give me some talent but not enough to follow my dream in the major leagues. Looking back, I can see how God opened the door to this job. I can begin to look back and understand the purpose.
FCA: Now that you have moved from Mankato, Minnesota, to Sarasota, Florida, how will you continue to focus on your faith?
Goody: I want my relationship with God to be similar to the one I have with my parents – I talk to them all the time. One of the easiest ways for me to do that is through Bible study. I just want to learn and ask questions. When Bob, who has spent many more hours in the Bible than I have, can give perspective like he did when we went through the 3D Coaching material, that’s valuable. I want to continue that.
FCA: Overall, what has it meant to you to participate in the 3D Coaching program?
Goody: Ultimately, the 3D Coaching and my relationship with Bob has helped me tremendously in my faith and growth as a person.
For those interested in learning more about the 3D Coaching program, click here.
To read the original interview on Minnesota FCA's website and learn about their ministry, click here.