Psychologist offers helping hand to athletes

By Caitlin Langley
October 23, 2003

Dan Salvatore

Supportive and encouraging are two words that best describe the new intern sports psychologist, Joseph Webb. His office is full of supportive elements: a pennant here, a “Go Cavs!” there. The window overlooking the Dixon Center parking lot is filled with words that would make any Cavalier feel the pride. He has a schedule of all the fall sports and is looking forward to the winter and spring sports.

Webb works with athletes to help them with their game, but, “In the process have fun doing it.” He comes to some of the practices of the teams and if the team responds well he will come to the games for moral support. While at the women’s volleyball game, he could be found right next to the head coach chanting supporting words of encouragement and clapping for the players. He often pulled individual players aside and gave them ways to improve their game.

Jen Scapellati, a sophomore English communication major on the volleyball team, said, “He cares about the well being of the team, and is enthusiastic.” Another team member, Kristen Boone, said, “Not only does he care about our physical well being but he motivates us as well.” The women feel that he is a vital element to their team and enjoy his support.

The intern is here on campus two nights a week, Monday and Wednesday for two hours, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. His office is located in the Dixon Center. Webb is taking two classes at Temple Graduate School as part of his masters degree in sports psychology and thinking about Penn State for his doctorate.

Webb was a swimmer in high school and also in his college years. His experience with sports is in swimming but he says he can help everyone, in fact he actually prefers to work with people that are not in the same sport because, “then you tend to give them pointers on how to win the race instead of how to improve their performance.”

Webb’s services include heightening your performance with different techniques. He also emphasizes group or team activities because the better the team is with its inter- team relationships, the better the team. He suggests things that will help one with their sport. Webb offers services to more than just the athletes in that the techniques one learns from Webb can be taken into the professional world as well.

When given an on- the- spot hypothetical situation Webb suggested things to do that might help that player. When on the bench, Webb suggested that a player has three jobs, “One, to challenge the starters, so that they will feel like they need to improve their play as well. Two, to encourage the starters when they are on the field and be very supportive. And three, to be prepared to play at any minute. Don’t just sit there thinking that you won’t get in to the game; be ready.” He also suggested talking to your coach and letting them know that you want to do something to get in the game.

The questions Webb gave to ask your coach go as this, “Ask your coach to name three things that he or she thinks you might be able to improve on, and also rate your performance and then ask your coach to rate your performance. Just so that the two of you are on the same page.”

Webb can talk to anyone who is having a problem, “Everyone needs someone to talk to.” Webb said that if it’s something he can take care of then he will; if he has to recommend you to the counseling program he will, but he won’t just leave you to them. He will follow up.

Webb loves Cabrini; “It’s a great atmosphere.” He hopes to be placed at a similar Division III school. He said, “Students from a Division I school often define themselves as athletes and then students, whereas students from a Division III school tend to define themselves as students first and then athletes.”

Athletic Director Leslie Danehy hired Webb. He called her and suggested his internship and she thought it was a great idea. Webb currently has another internship with the 76ers and is starting another with the Philadelphia Wings in October. He was hinting to some “community group service” for the Wings, which involved them coming here and helping out Cabrini sports teams.

Posted to the web by Stephanie Mangold

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Caitlin Langley

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