Sport Performance Leadership Team
The Vanderbilt University Sport Performance Leadership Team, through a collaborative effort, is dedicated to maximizing the physical and mental performance of each athlete through an evolving and dynamic individualized approach.
James Dobson: Associate Athletic Director • Sport Performance
Applied Sports Science
Tyler Clarke: Director • Applied Sport Science
Dr. Robert “Warne” Fitch: Vanderbilt Athletics Head Team Physician
Assistant Professor • Department of Orthopedic Surgery
Blair Hitchcock: Director • Sports Nutrition
Justin Wenzel: Assistant Director • Athletic Training • Rehabilitation Coordinator
Strength and Conditioning
Chris Ham: Strength and Conditioning Coach • Baseball
If interested in research or product development collaboration opportunities please contact James Dobson at email@example.com.
Strength and Conditioning (Olympic Sports)
The Vanderbilt Athletics Olympic sports strength and conditioning staff is committed to helping each student-athlete reach their physical potential through a comprehensive approach to developing the complete student-athlete. Through individual assessment and program design, it is our objective to increase the athletic performance of each individual athlete while reducing the risk of injury.
Tyler Clarke: Director • Applied Sport Science
Track and Field, Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Cross Country
Carlos Daniel: Strength and Conditioning Coach
Chris Ham: Strength and Conditioning Coach
Allison Randall: Strength and Conditioning Coach
Darren Edgington: Strength and Conditioning Coach
Bowling, Men’s Golf, Soccer
Walker Grisanti: Strength and Conditioning Coach
Baseball, Men’s Tennis
Josh Willhite: Strength and Conditioning Coach
Lacrosse, Swimming, Women’s Golf, Women’s Tennis
If interested in internship opportunities with Vanderbilt Athletics’ Olympic sports strength and conditioning team, please contact Josh Willhite (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Student-Athlete Mental Health and Performance
The Student-Athlete Mental Health and Performance Team is dedicated to the growth and development of Vanderbilt University student-athletes as individuals, students, and athletes. We teach athletes and teams how to develop, train, and implement mental skills, strategies, and techniques that are used to enhance performance during training and competition. We also help individuals address concerns related to mental health, managing adversity, and developing psychological and emotional awareness and intelligence.
Tim White, Ph.D., CMPC • Sport Performance and Mental Health
Sydnee Collins, Ph.D. • Sport Performance Consultant
What is Sport and Performance Psychology?
Sport and performance psychology trains the mental aspects of sport that influence how well an athlete performs. This often involves the development and implementation of mental skills, strategies, and techniques an athlete can use to enhance their mindset and their athletic performance.
How is sport and performance psychology different from mental health?
Mental health is a term used to describe our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Although mental health influences our ability to use mental skills and strategies during training and competition, it is a broader concept that relates to our overall health and wellbeing. Sport and performance psychology is more specific to athletics and the ability to manage our mindset. When an athlete uses the skills and strategies they learn through sport and performance psychology, they are able to enhance their athletic performance and achieve greater levels of success.
How do sport and performance psychology and mental health relate to each other?
There is a lot of overlap between sport and performance psychology and mental health. Many of the skills used to enhance sport performance can be used in everyday life (i.e. academics, relationships, work, communicating with others, etc.). In addition, when an athlete has a positive (or negative) experience within their sport, it influences their sense of mental health and wellbeing. Similarly, a student-athlete’s mental health influences how well they are able to use the mental skills they have developed. Thus, these two areas regularly interact and influence each other. This adds to the importance of addressing both an athlete’s mental skills and strategies as well as their mental, emotional, and social wellbeing.
A note on confidentiality and privacy
The Mental Health and Performance team collaborates with Sports Medicine as part of an integrated healthcare team. As such, there are some instances in which it is appropriate to consult and collaborate with the Sports Medicine staff. When this occurs, only pertinent information is disclosed (e.g. attending appointments, safety of student, etc.). Information is NOT shared with coaches, strength and conditioning staff, administrators, teammates, or family members, however, if a student-athlete wants these individuals to be aware of their concerns, they may give the Mental Health and Performance team permission to consult with them via verbal consent or a signed release of information. Outside of the instances outlined above, information shared by a student-athlete during Mental Health and Performance appointments is treated as confidential for those 18 years of age or older except in instances where disclosure is required by law (i.e., threat of harm to self/others; court order; abuse or neglect of a child).
Services offered to Vanderbilt Student-Athletes
- Sport and Performance Psychology
- Building confidence and trusting your abilities
- Managing expectations and pressure
- Staying focused and concentrating
- Letting go of mistakes
- Managing energy levels (relaxing / hyping up)
- Taking risks (too many or not enough)
- Performance slumps
- Maintaining motivation and joy in your sport
- Recovering from injury
- Team leadership
- Team culture
- Team cohesion / “team chemistry”
- Communicating with coaches and teammates
- Mental Health
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy / focus groups
- Anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns
- Adjusting to college and life away from home
- Isolation, loneliness, home-sickness
- Family concerns
- Relationship issues
- Academic concerns
- Identity development
- Matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Trauma / abuse
- Alcohol and other drug abuse or misuse
- Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating
- ADHD/LD Assessments
If you need immediate assistance for a mental health crisis / emergency
- Call 911
- Go to the closest emergency room/ hospital
- UCC Urgent Care: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/ucc/services/urgent-care-counseling/
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: call 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741-741 –OR –text CONNECT to 85511
- Trevor Project/Lifeline (LGBTQI+): call 1-866-488-7386 or visit https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Making an appointment
Student-athletes can schedule an appointment via the UCC Student Portal, their team athletic trainer, or contacting our staff directly. When using the UCC Student Portal, please confirm that you are scheduling an athletics appointment with one of the providers dedicated to the athletic department.
Coaches / Teams
Vanderbilt athletics coaches and staff are welcome to consult with the Mental Health and Performance Team. We can provide support around a variety of concerns, including: building team culture, managing discord within a team, communication between coaches and athletes, ongoing team-wide performance enhancement sessions, etc.
Applied Sports Science
The Vanderbilt University Applied Sports Science department acts in pursuit to provide a dynamic and continuously evolving competitive advantage to all Vanderbilt student athletes and coaches through aggressively evaluating, examining, communicating, and improving all aspects of performance data collection, analysis, and decision making.
The Vanderbilt University Applied Sports Science Department was created in 2021. The daily operations of the department, directed by Tyler Clarke, center around the goal of increasing the athletic performance and decreasing the risk of injury for all Vanderbilt student athletes. In pursuit of this goal, the department focuses on the following functions:
- Research and Development
- Staff and Athlete Education
- Data Collection
- Data Management and Analysis
- Athlete Functional Evaluation
- Training Technology Vetting and Implementation
- Performance Community Outreach
If interested in research or product development collaboration opportunities please contact Tyler Clarke at email@example.com.
If interested in internship opportunities with the Vanderbilt University Applied Sports Science Department, please contact Tyler Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vanderbilt Sports Nutrition staff is committed to fueling and educating student athletes on an individual basis for optimal performance both on the field and in the classroom. We are founded based on a food-first philosophy backed by sound scientific research. We strive to provide our athletes with the knowledge to increase athletic performance, decrease illness and injury, and achieve optimal long-term health.
To develop a sound nutrition department that is the benchmark for success providing our student athletes research-based resources needed to excel both on the field and in the classroom.
Students interested in volunteer opportunities in the Nutrition Department, please contact Blair Hitchcock at email@example.com.
Follow Vanderbilt Sports Nutrition on Instagram.