Geneva clinical psychologist helps athletes develop mental game

  • Clinical psychologist Dr. Pete Temple operates Mind's Eye Sports Performance in Geneva, where he helps athletes work on the mental aspects of their games. He's written a book titled "Playing in the Box," in which he shares tips and practices for developing the mental game.

    Clinical psychologist Dr. Pete Temple operates Mind's Eye Sports Performance in Geneva, where he helps athletes work on the mental aspects of their games. He's written a book titled "Playing in the Box," in which he shares tips and practices for developing the mental game. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Updated 5/10/2019 4:10 PM
This column is up to date with Pete Temple's correct job title.

When clinical psychologist Pete Temple of Geneva began formulating how he could bring sports psychology into his counseling practice about 13 years ago, it wasn't too uncommon for someone to come to him hoping he could cure the "yips," or the mental torture of not being able to execute a fairly easy aspect of a sport.

The concept of working on an athlete's mental approach to a sport has since evolved into a full-fledged training regimen. Temple evolved right along, including the Mind's Eye Sports Performance as part of his practice to focus on training athletes for mental strength.


Temple has written a recently published book titled "Playing in the Box," calling it a practical guide for helping athletes to develop their mental game. The book takes a deep dive into sports psychology, but not so deep that no one would understand it.

"It's not a high level book about Zen mindfulness, or really technical about the science of the brain," said Temple, himself a standout athlete at Geneva High School in the late 1970s and early '80s.

"This is meant to be straight forward; basically, the fundamentals of the mental game and how to turn those into mechanics."

Temple believes teens to college age, or even adult, athletes could benefit from the book.

"I would even hope parents read it to help the athletes in their family," Temple said. "And coaches, especially youth coaches who want to develop well-rounded kids, because someone in that role could utilize the concepts."

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The book's chapters have titles like Confidence, Mindset and Emotions for a reason.

"We look at the mental game as something that can be developed, not this mysterious aspect you don't pay attention to," Temple said. "The fundamentals of it, managing your confidence and mindset, handling emotions and resilience, and understanding the mechanics of that."

It has taken some time for people to figure out that an athlete can be trained for mental toughness. It's an advantage all of the great athletes have over those who have talent, but let their emotions get the best of them.

"The main thing is that there is this perception that there is a weakness and that's why you are going to get therapy, and that doesn't make sense," Temple said. "This is just going to see a mental coach, to put in the work to get that part of your game stronger."

Temple has worked with Robert Troutwine, a co-founder and chief psychologist at AthleteTypes, in developing guidelines, rules and standards for athletes to practice. Anyone interested in the book can purchase it on Amazon.


"In the same way the mechanics of a golf swing can make a big difference, the mechanics of your mental game and how you are thinking affects your performance," Temple said.

Athletes have always trained to get bigger, stronger and faster, Temple added. "They now realize the mental game can be approached in the same way and they can develop that third gear."

Another empty bank site: Unless the city has another bank or other suitor lined up, St. Charles will have an empty building at 1 E. Main St. when the BMO Harris Bank closes its doors on July 19.

It won't be difficult for those who used that longtime downtown bank location to find another branch, as BMO Harris has branches at 409 S. First St. and 185 S. Randall Road.

Mostly, it will be strange not to see a bank operating out of the Main Street building. State Bank of St. Charles operated at that site for a few decades before Harris acquired it in 1988.

A fellow named John Moucka was president of State Bank, and his predecessor, Eugene Butler, took over in the early 1970s. Lou Sehring was president of the Harris operations at that site from 1994 to 2005.

The bank sits on what would have to be considered a prime downtown spot, so it will be interesting to see what might come next.

Your chance to help: A lot of things about the violent death of 5-year-old AJ Freund in Crystal Lake at the hands of his parents would make you sad and angry.

It was hard to look at the photo of the smiling young boy with his Cubs hat on and not feel helpless about the circumstances and failures that doomed him.

My feelings were at least somewhat eased in knowing that I tried to help in some way, however small that might be, when I was a member of the Tri-Cities Exchange Club for 20 years.

The club follows the organization's national mission of raising awareness and funds for the prevention of child abuse, while also promoting patriotism within a community.

"We've really been at the forefront of helping organizations that are dealing with tough family situations and, in some cases, abusive situations," said Brian Henry, the club's current president.

"There are many people in our club that are focused on this as their life's work."

The club has members representing or involved with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Embrace a Family, Royal Family Kids Camp, TriCity Family Services, Mutual Ground (domestic violence shelter), Changing Children's Worlds Foundation and Salvation Army.

All of them have a place in helping families overcome problems, as well as giving children a chance to rise above those challenges.

"We're also extremely proud of the fact that Scot Warren, who is the national president of Exchange Club, is a member of our club and lives in St. Charles," Henry added.

"The more people realize what we are all about and it falls into their line of thinking, the more those people get interested in joining," he said.

Tri-Cities Exchange Club alone obviously can't wipe out the plague of child abuse, but it can raise awareness and stifle it in many cases.

You can get mad about AJ's fate and funnel that anger into something good. It's not hard to join this club or donate to it.

You can get the information you need by calling Henry at (630) 513-3162.

With the cowboy hat: I suppose I can picture Ron Onesti in a cowboy hat. He's likely to strike that pose soon enough, as he puts his name on the Wild West Town in Union, about 30 miles northwest of St. Charles, where he spends a fair amount of his time operating the Arcada Theatre.

Onesti has a lot of great ideas on sparking more interest in this museum and Old West attraction by adding good food and music into the mix.

Onesti officially takes over the Wild West Town on Saturday, May 18.

It shows once again that this guy's energy level to provide entertainment to people is off the charts.

We don't know all of the intricate details of his businesses, but a trend seems fairly clear. When he's fully in charge of something, he can make it happen.

His short stints with Grand Victoria Casino entertainment in Elgin and the Main Stage Theater at Pheasant Run didn't have the lasting power of his other projects. He may have found some red tape in his way at times.

His restaurant in the Old Church Inn location (now Nuova Italia) near St. Patrick church in downtown St. Charles was only around a couple of years, but he moved onto bigger and better things with the Club Arcada above the theater and his similar Onesti Entertainment operations in Evanston with a music hall, speak-easy and restaurant.

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