We are so proud to introduce the addition of the Mental Skills Development Program into Star Academy FC. Futbol is a complex game of physical skill, speed, strength, coordination, and MENTAL SKILLS. We are so excited to have Dr. Lee Hancock join us to develop the mental part of the game for our kids.

Dr. Lee Hancock has developed a unique program for Star Academy FC after spending much time with Star Academy FC Director of Coaching, Juan Porras, and after getting to know our club and our goals.

The program kicks off in April 2017 and is planned as a year-round program to develop the important part of the game that will give our kids skills that will differentiate them on the field and in life.


Dr. Lee Hancock

Hi, my name is Lee Hancock and I will be creating and implementing the Star Academy MSDP. Here is a little bit about me. If you would like to learn more about me check out my website at DrLeeHancock.com or ask me anything you would like by emailing me at LcHancock@gmail.com

I am a tenured professor and Sport Psychology Coach for Olympic and professional athletes, coaches at all levels, as well as parents and organizations. I help anybody that wants to improve how they approach, think about and ultimately perform in their chosen field. I develop and implement unique discussions; workshops, programs and systems that teach people how to thrive in pressure filled situations and perform at their optimal level - consistently.

I have also been, and continue to be, involved in soccer. I have a USSF 'A' license, have coached for over 25 years, and have had an assistant coaching role in the MLS. I have also developed and implemented complete soccer curricula and coach and parent education programs for MLS and youth soccer clubs throughout the country.

But most importantly - I am a dad of 3 sons that play competitive soccer!! As a result, I understand what it means to be a parent of soccer kids, what they go through, and how they go through it. I have seen highs and lows and I have managed those as a parent well and not so well - and have learned valuable lessons along the way.

Hopefully you enjoy this program. I have spent years and years trying to ensure that my programs and sessions make a positive impact on the participants. Again, if you ever have any questions or feedback, please feel free to email me!


frequently asked questions about the program

What is the Star Academy Mental Skills Development Program (MSDP)?
The Star Academy FC MSDP is a comprehensive set of 3 programs designed to educate Star Academy Athletes, Coaches, and Parents on important performance psychology concepts that successful athletes, students, business people, coaches, parents - and basically anyone that participates in a high performance setting - can use and master in order to thrive under pressure!

There is no magic pill to take in order to attain these skills. Attaining and mastering these skills is a sustained, thoughtful, failure-and-success-laced, grit-filled, joy-and-pain and sunshine-and-rain journey! It is because of this journey, not in spite of it, that kids (and we) become who they become. I truly enjoy engaging people in thought-filled discussions in order to help kids, and those that surround kids, be the best version of themselves that they can be on this journey!


What are Mental Skills?
Mental Skills are cognitive or emotional skills a person can call on when participating in, thinking about, or watching a competitive endeavor. These skills can be anything from how a player responds to a big pressure moment like taking a penalty kick to how a player envisions how he or she will perform when they play that very easy opponent. For coaches a mental skill may be how to help a player focus during a critical situation. For parents a mental skill may be ideas on how to communicate effectively with their child after a tough loss.


What are some examples of what Athletes, Parents and Coaches will be learning in their sessions?
The Star Academy FC MSDP curriculum is based on a set of characteristics important to the goals and culture of the Star Academy. A description of the athlete, parent and coach programs appear below:


Athlete Mental Skills Development Program

Goal: To improve a players understanding and application of mental skills that are critical to being a high performing athlete and person.

The program will teach the following performance psychology concepts:

Foundation skills - These skills lay an important foundation for approaching daily tasks in order to get the maximum out of their performance endeavor - both on the field and off

  • Igniting a passion - and building intrinsic motivation
  • Attitude - Adopting the right approach and attitude - daily (growth mindset)
  • Goal setting - abilities to assess and be flexible
  • Building personal awareness - and generating personal feedback
  • Problem solving/critical thinking
  • Communication - being aware of body language, nonverbal/verbal communication and listening

Performance skills - These skills build on the "foundation" laid (in the afore mentioned foundation skills section) and play a critical role in the pursuit of high level performance - under pressure - consistently. These skills, while sometimes easy to understand, take a lot of work and time to be great at. Examples include:

  • Being competitive - learning to be competitive, In a healthy way, for long term success
  • Playing with and managing stress/pressure (Managing and embracing failures)
  • Being a good teammate - under duress!!
  • Imagery and visualization
  • Building and managing your own confidence
  • Improving and maintaining concentration
  • Building persistence/perseverance (Grit)

The objectives of the sessions are to build the athletes knowledge of the topic, ensure the athletes comprehends the topic, ensure the athletes can begin to successfully apply the topic, and ensure the athletes can begin to analyze/assess their progress on the topic. These objectives are reached through fun and engaging lessons that use discussions, examples, videos, stories, and hands on activities and assignments.



Coach Education Program

Goal: Educate coaches on ways to create an environment in which the athlete develops, learns to enjoy their sport and thrive under pressure.

Examples of session topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Creating a nurturing but competitive environment
  • Helping athletes manage pressure
  • Building good team dynamics
  • Communicating effectively with athletes and parents
  • Building confidence
  • Nurturing "grit"
  • Fostering motivation
  • Building a championship culture
  • Working with different learning styles
  • Managing the hyper-competitive athlete
  • Creating Problem-Solving athletes

The coach education sessions are designed to provide information and ideas to coaches on how to implement these ideas with their athletes and families. Sessions are interactive and designed to utilize the vast experience of the coaching staff in order to implement the topics/concepts with the athletes.



Parent Education Programs

Goal: Educate parents on ways to create an environment in which the athlete develops, learns to enjoy their sport and thrives under pressure.

The parent education sessions are designed to provide information and ideas to parents for how to ensure an environment that allows their student-athlete to reach their full potential. Parents are a fantastic resource and can make the difference in whether or not a child succeeds or fails. These sessions will discuss what the kids are learning in their sessions, what they will be going through in their sport and how parents can assist in this development process.

Examples of session topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Creating a "great" environment - fostering motivation and a growth mindset
  • Helping kids manage pressure
  • Helping kids see failure as an opportunity vs. a catastrophe
  • Effective listening
  • Managing down time
  • Filling emotional tanks
  • Talking with coaches
  • Nurturing Grit



How long are the sessions and how are they taught?

Each "Athlete" session will be approximately 40-45 minutes long and will consist of discussions, activities and collaborative projects.

Each "Parent" session will be approximately 40-45 minutes long and will be discussion based. Usually I have found that I start with a topic in mind, I talk about and explain that topic and then we talk about some real world examples that people can use to help them in their quest to help their children successfully navigate their sport experience.