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College is a difficult time for all students, and as an athlete you are subject to the increased stress associated with sport participation. Not only do you experience pressure to perform athletically, but you are also expected to perform well academically while having less time to allocate to your studies because of practice, competition, and traveling. Having an objective person to talk to in a confidential environment that is outside of your athletic world can be very helpful to deal with the variety of demands placed on student athletes.

See stories of other student-athletes struggles

What services does CCS offer athletes?

All OSU students (athletes and non-athletes) are offered Individual, Couples, and Group Counseling, as well as Psychiatric Services. Athletes are also welcome to attend our Mental Skills Workshops and weekly Qi Gong (an activity that increases balance, flexibility, and mind-body awareness), both of which will help you better regulate your attention and deal effectively with the internal and external distractions while performing.

How can individual counseling help an athlete?

Individual counseling can help you manage stress so you can make the most of your collegiate athletic experience. Counseling provides the opportunity to talk to someone other than your teammates about a variety of issues that might be preventing you from achieving your academic or athletic potential. All counseling sessions are confidential. Information will not be revealed to teammates, coaches, athletic trainers, parents, or professors without written permission from the athlete.

What is group counseling? What groups are offered?

Group counseling involves a small number of people (typically 5-10) who meet once a week, along with one or two staff, to discuss their concerns. The structure of the session varies depending on the specific group. Some focus on a specific topic such as relationships, while others address a number of different concerns. CCS offers a variety of groups each semester. Please see the group section of our website for more information and details about the current groups we are offering.

What are common problems student athletes present with?

Some of the problems student athletes are likely to present with are performance-related anxiety, anger issues, depression, disordered eating, sexual assault, substance abuse, academic concerns, and interpersonal conflicts with teammates or coaches. CCS also sees athletes who are dealing with an injury or who need assistance with career planning.

What are the mental skills workshops?

CCS conducts a series of Mental Skills Workshop throughout the year that focuses on learning to manage stress and improve performance. Please call the counseling center for additional information and/or to sign up for a workshop.

Are there any sport psychologists on staff?

All of our staff are trained to work with a range of performance and clinical concerns. CCS has specialists in areas such as eating disorders and substance abuse issues, as well as staff with specialized interests in the area of performance enhancement and sport psychology. Please see community referrals below for professionals in the Columbus area who also work with athletes. 

Community Resources

If you decide to seek resources outside the counseling center in the community, here is a list of other people who have worked with OSU athletes. Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

Leif Smith, Psy.D.

Dr. Smith is the official provider of counseling and performance services to the athletic department. He also has his own private practice in Hilliard. To contact Dr. Smith by phone, call 614-293-2432 or to find out more information please see the following websites: Personal Best Consulting

Todd Kays, Ph.D.

Dr. Kays also provides sport and performance enhancement-related work with the Buckeyes. He has his own private practice in Dublin. To contact Dr. Kays or find out more information please see his website: Athletic Mind Institute

Jennifer Carter, Ph.D.

Dr. Carter has previously worked with OSU athletes. She is currently working as Lead Sport Psychologist and Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and as a psychologist at The Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute.

Sport Psychology

Tips for athletes dealing with anger during competition

Tips for athletes dealing with sport imagery and goal setting

Tips on dealing with injury & rehabilitation