Our story starts with a young sports fan growing up in southern Minnesota. From an early age, Hans was an intent observer of sports. He played team sports in his community growing up, and organized impromptu games with neighborhood kids. He recorded colorful play by play ‘broadcasts’ of fictional football games, celebrating touchdowns that only occurred in his imagination. Despite being raised in an area that was not a hockey mecca of the time, Hans was a keen spectator of the sport, acquiring vast knowledge of the intricacies of the game. His appreciation of the physical skill involved in playing hockey would grow exponentially later when he took on the daunting task of learning to play the game as an adult.
At the same time, 150 miles away, there once was a girl named Jennie. She loved to play sports and was naturally athletic. On a farm in western Wisconsin, with only her three sisters as teammates, the challenge was being creative enough with rules to be able to play a competitive softball or volleyball game. As she matured, her drive to improve her skills, her intensity for competition, and her leadership skills emerged at the high school level. She enjoyed such honors as being named team captain, team MVP, and All-conference selections in two sports.
While Jennie was playing high school sports, Hans was developing the same competitive skills in a different arena. Hans realized he had a natural gift for speech and debate and elected to pursue that talent hoping one day for a career in politics. He became proficient at organizing his thoughts, staying calm and focused, and thinking quickly on his feet. He was elected to showcase his speaking abilities by performing in school drama productions. After a lot of training and research, Hans was able to lead his high school team to the Minnesota state speech and debate tournament and land himself a college scholarship.
Young adulthood took Hans and Jennie on different paths. Hans pursued his dream of a life in politics and spent time in Washington D.C, interning at the White House and United States Capital. Jennie transitioned out of her identity as a competitive athlete, instead focusing her energy on a degree in Psychology and participation in a national community service group. Their paths began to converge when they each completed master’s programs in Marriage and Family Therapy, one in Minneapolis, Minnesota the other in Fargo, North Dakota.
After several years of what seasoned veterans refer to as ‘the trenches’, both Hans and Jennie earned their stripes as licensed professionals. Although separately they worked to hone different skills, neither lost their love of athletics. They began to see the effect of problematic family dynamics and lack of mental skill strength with young athletes. Sport Psychology became another topic of interest to tackle. As they learned more about brain physiology, it became obvious to them that most athletes strengthen their bodies and their skills, but few strengthen their brains. Hans and Jennie partnered to form two businesses: Foundations Counseling and The Center for Sports and the Mind. While opening and developing these businesses, each has also had experience teaching in master’s programs and supervising new clinicians.
Today Hans and Jennie take pride in the ability to evolve, but continue to stay observant. They watch the impact of social and psychological issues on athletes. More personally, they observe from a different perspective: as the parents of a young athlete, whom they hope will learn all of the valuable skills they took from competition.