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Skyward Performance

"Finding focus. Finding flow."

Skyward Performance

two lacrosse players

Skyward Performance is more than a coaching company, it’s a mindset—an orientation toward thinking, being, and living at our highest potential. We help individuals and teams decode and cultivate embodied cognition, revealing ways to leverage the body-mind connection for continued evolution on and off the field.

The world of sports science and exercise physiology has only recently begun to turn its attention to the power of cognitive training in athletic performance, and a number of promising programs and devices to train the brain are now available in scalable formats making it accessible to more than just the pros. But, in order for individual athletes, teams, coaches, and even sports organizations more generally, to benefit from this burgeoning area of development, one’s Executive Function needs to be optimized. Assessing and training EF skills is central to the Skyward approach.

There is a paradigm shift underway in sports science towards understanding the value of cognitive training. Such protocols can boost resilience against mental fatigue and increase decision making and reaction time in competition. Tom Brady famously partnered with Brain HQ to train his brain and is doing much to impel and popularize that shift more generally. However, in order to fully benefit from any cognitive or embodied skill enhancement, our EF skills must be well-honed. Deficiencies in EF are often at the root of an inability to focus, impulsive decisions that can compromise the team, poor skill acquisition, and slow processing speed. That’s where Skyward Performance adds to this new direction, coupling cognitive and athletic training with EF development.

Rebuilding the Connection Between Sport and Robust Mental Health

In recent years, we've lost sight of the connection between mental health benefits and athletics. A generation ago, playing team sports resulted in a ton of wellness benefits, but that was before productivity and achievement culture hit youth sports, along with the commercial ecosystem that grew up around young players and their parents. Today, athletes are as stressed and equally at risk for negative mental health consequnces as their non-athletic peers. Overall youth mental health issues are on the rise. In 2021, 42% of high school students said they'd experienced such persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year it was hard to participate in their regular activities, up from 28% in 2011.[1]

Coaches have seen something else occur in parallel. The lack of genuine play, improvisation, and unstructured game experience in youth, risks creating athlete who, while perhaps great within the club system, are missing the intuition, curiosity and joy that cultivates a growth mindset and makes them coachable. The result is making collegiate coaching harder and team cohesiveness problematic.

Skyward Performance addresses both these issues at once. With science backed testing for executive function, we evaluate, track, and train individual athletes and full teams, with cognitive and perceptual interventions that both improve performance and increase mental and emotional wellness.

We help coaches and athletic departments identify those players most at risk for mental health challenges. Furthermore, we provide the tools to help those athletes develop resilience. Our data-driven approach anables coaches to tap into athletes’ self-perceptions, foster "coachability", and identify and understand where there are gaps in team performance.

In short, Skyward Performance rebuilds the longstanding connection between mental health benefits, wellness, and athletic performance.