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PCA Founder Jim Thompson Interviews Dr. Amy Saltzman on Mindfulness


PCA Founder, Jim Thompson, interviewed Dr. Amy Saltzman on September 16, 2021. Amy is a holistic physician, parent, athlete (was a gymnast and competitive cyclist), author, and occasional poet. She is the author of three books: Still Quiet Place (for Athletes; for Teens; and Mindfulness Program for Children and Adolescents). Jim wrote the forward for the athlete's book.

You can learn more about Dr. Saltzman's work, online training, and resources at

Jim conducted a 50-minute interview with Amy on Zoom, and here are a few key quotes from their session:

  1. What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is paying attention here and now with kindness and curiosity so we can choose our own behavior.  Our best is to be in this moment.

  2. Gentleness with self is the gateway to courage.  One example of gentleness with self is your (PCA's) mistake ritual...which combines elements that can be done in the run of play.

  3. How can a practice of mindfulness benefit youth coaches and youth sports parents? It's a whole environment.  Each responsive moment builds calm, which allows us to be in a state of flow. It also contributes to positive scanning (note:  this refers to seeing the positive and learning in each moment).

  4. How does mindfulness benefit mental health? It enhances performance, athletic and academic performance.  It decreases stress, anxiety, and depression. It increases healing and the speed of rehab.

  5. Anxiety lives in the future.  Depression lives in the past. Possibility lives in the present.

  6. What are 1 or 2 things we can use? 1. Learning to bring kindness and curiosity to your feelings.  2. Responding - choosing our actions wisely. Respond rather than react out of habit.  It is a skill that can be intentionally developed (like lifting weights or running reps).

  7. [Use] Mindfulness out loud (can become a team or family skill). For each action where we respond we take a straw off the camel's back. Also...(in frustrating moments in a game) a coach can use "Narrative modeling" in the moment or after the game, (in which the coach describes his or her frustration with the play, referee call, etc. to kids on the bench, rather than reacting angrily) -- Choosing to honor the game in the moment.