What is the Move Strong Method and where did it come from?

There are two distinct programs in the Move Strong Method. One is the holistic performance coaching system created to help my clients define and design the experiences and outcomes they want in life as well as the path to attain them. The second is the specialized strength and conditioning programs for dancers.  I literally live both programs and created them over the course of my life’s journey. In today’s blog, you’ll learn the story of my path and the origins of Move Strong Mind® Performance Coaching. The story of my conditioning programs for dancers, I’ll save for another day.

In my youth, I lived my life inside a dance studio. I remember dance as my work, my life, my love and my world. Everything revolved around dance, including me. My original profession of dance ended by the time I was 18 years old. Riddled with injuries to my ankles, knees, hips and spine, I suffered from chronic pain and depended on one small bottle of Advil a week and a variety of alternative medicine to keep myself together.  Eventually I had to choose between my health and well being and my ability to dance. When I chose my body and lost dance, I was not prepared to lose the parts of myself that were lost with it.

Despite challenges of depression, thoughts of suicide and grief that plagued me post dance, years of therapy made me aware of the relationship with dance I never knew I had including the way it infused my thoughts, my actions and my identity. With this awareness, I wanted to keep any aspect of dance that I could to maintain my sense of self. When I let go of dancing professionally, I also stopped teaching dance. Since teaching helped connect me to movement without continually getting injured, I turned trauma into triumph with a new career in personal training where I excelled, becoming a master instructor and mentor to incoming fitness professionals.

After 8 years in training, I saw a pattern. People would start personal training with big dreams of accomplishment and then mysteriously lose sight of their dreams when it came time to take action. I wanted a way to facilitate my clients mental emotional capacity (as well as my own) in addition to their physical ability. In 2007, while still training at Equinox in Los Angeles, I began my coaching certification. It was during this period, while discussing my coaching education with a former NFL player and training client, that I first realized I was not the only athlete left injured and unprepared for life beyond sport. Since that time, more and more athletes have shared their story of the loss of identity and depression athletes experience when the one thing they’ve trained their entire life to be good at is over.

Michael Phelps describes a dark and resonant moment towards the former end of his swimming career. In an interview with Tim Layden for Sports Illustrated he said, “For a long time, I saw myself as the athlete that I was but not as a human being” (2015, November 16, p. 60). Like Phelps, I didn’t understand that my sense of self was defined by my sport making life without dance feel anything but human. Without dance, I did not feel alive. The more athletes I worked with, the more I found we had all experienced something similar. As I completed my coaching certification in 2008, I knew I wanted to help athletes find their way beyond sport but I wasn’t sure how.

Fast forward to 2014, when in one year I experienced a devastating divorce that made me a single mom while still pregnant, the near death of my only son at birth, additional injuries from multiple car accidents, and a diagnosis of panic disorder from managing the stress of my daily life. In the face of all this, I was drawn back to the calling to help athletes and I could not be stopped–but I needed more tools to help myself first and then others. That’s when I decided to complete an MA in Transpersonal Psychology (the psychological study of human potential).

By the culmination of my master’s program, I understood what my journey had prepared me for. Virtually everyone, besides the athletes themselves, is blind to the path of pain athletes tread once they stop playing. The dramatic end to my athletic career, the growing list of athletes I met with similar experiences and a deeply felt divine calling to empower athletes beyond sport motivated me to create Move Strong Mind®: a life skills performance coaching system that gives athletes what they need to be successful in any area of life, with or without their sport.

This is one point of confusion for many who think Move Strong Mind® is only for athletes. I do work with athletes and I do work with parents because both of these groups share the experience of being solely focused on a single responsibility while facing transitions and changes that require them to grow and move on beyond their roles. However, the athletes challenge is familiar to anyone who’s spent several years, even decades, in the same role. They find themselves needing to make a change and not knowing where to begin or how to navigate forward into new opportunities and experiences.

At the heart of each human, no matter what they’ve been through, is a light that shines to lead them forward. The Move Strong Method helped me and helps my clients find their light and use it to navigate themselves out of darkness. It is a unique coaching system designed to empower your growth, personal development and your highest level of individual performance. If you have any questions or want to know more about my story or Move Strong, don’t hesitate to send me a message: jen@movestrongmethod.com

With Love,

Coach Jen