When most people think about sports, and what it takes to get ready for a game, the physical part of the competition is what mostly comes into play. Is the athlete comfortable with the game plan that the coaching staff wants him or her to use? Are they fully healthy from a bodily perspective; are they recovered from that ankle, foot, shoulder or hand ailment? Do they have what it takes to dominate their upcoming matchup from a size, speed, and strength perspective? While all of those questions are valid with regards to athlete performance, Trevor Moawad didn’t dwell on any of those considerations.
Instead, Moawad, a well known mental health coach, focused on the game being played between the ears of an athlete, and helped them find an ideal emotional state to play their sport. A few months ago, Moawad, who was only 48 years old, lost his battle with cancer. The sports world is dealing with the loss of a talented wellness professional who helped many people before they set foot on to the field.
Not only did he help train athletes, Moawad’s value was also felt by some of the country’s premier college football coaches. University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was eternally grateful for some of the lessons the “brain coach” helped instill, and believed in the impact Moawad had.
“What he really became known as: the difference,” Smart professed. “He can be the inches, if you buy in.” Via ESPN.com
University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban was friends with Moawad for years, and the latter taught perhaps the greatest coach in college football history that motivation best comes from within.
“One of the things Trevor always tried to emphasize was you should want to be as good as you can be because that’s the most important thing to you. That’s what you’re striving for. Which you know, is a simple concept, but not always simple to implement,” Saban said. Via ESPN.com
Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker really took Moawad’s messages to light during the difficult times the pandemic has put society and college sports programs through.
“I really leaned into that heavily. Because you know, what can you control? What are the facts? It’s not a ‘woe is me’ or ‘this is not fair’ or anything like that. It’s just, what do you need to do? Keep searching for the truth and getting new information to guide you and being steady with it,” Tucker said. Via ESPN.com
The mental health coach was also a prominent figure in the lives of multiple athletes, but perhaps none more renowned then Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. It makes sense that the two were so closely intertwined, since Wilson is largely known as a glass half full, positive influence around the NFL. Wilson first met Moawad when he was still in college preparing for the NFL Draft.
The seven-time Pro Bowler credits Moawad for a lot of his success, but also recalled how much the latter helped him get back to a positive state of mind after one of the lowest moments of his career. The Seahawks lost Super Bowl XLIX on a Wilson interception to New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler, which could have put the quarterback in a malaise for the rest of his career. Instead, Moawad showered him with uplifting comments.
“You’re a winner. You’re a winner. I believe in Russell Wilson. I believe in number 3. What are we going to do about it,” Wilson recalled Moawad saying. Via Seahawks.com
At the end of the day, Moawad’s death is certainly one that has hit the sports community hard. However, if one were to spin his impact positively during this sad time, which he probably would appreciate, it is that his efforts have shined an important light on mental performance being equally as important as its physical counterpart.