Christie Southern has been a serious competitive athlete all her life. By the early age of 8 she was a nationally ranked competitive figure skater. Alone in the middle of the ice, she experienced an epiphany: executing the perfect double axel or flying camel spin was only half the equation to success. “It hit me that you really have to understand where your head is. At that level of competition, all the skaters are great. I knew it wasn’t only my athleticism. What makes an athlete excel is a combination of athletic skill and mental strength and toughness. While it’s important to train your body, it is equally important to train your mind.”
Through personal experience, Christie learned the importance of this balance. Beyond national figure skating, Christie went on to become Captain of her High School Girls Field Hockey Team, a Jr. Girls Tennis Club Champion and an accomplished rower as a member of the Duke University’s Women’s Varsity Crew. The integration of physical and mental strength training became so important to her, she pursued this area as her field of study.
Christie earned her undergraduate degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on Human Performance and Behavior Modification. She is a member of the American Association of Sports Psychologists, certified by the American Council of Sports Medicine and the Mental Games Coaching Professionals, having trained under two of the nations most prominent sports psychologists. Her on-going study of this field allows her to incorporate the latest in Cognitive Neuroscience and proven methods of Sports Performance with the ageless wisdom of the East (UMASS Mind Based Stress Reduction Protocol, meditation, visualization).
For 30 years, Christie has been coaching athletes and others to reach their peak performance. Her client list ranges from recreational to highly competitive athletes and young women to corporate professionals. “Athletes choose to work with me because they have a sense that something may be holding them back from achieving their full potential in their sport or from feeling as confident as they would like under pressure. I help them to address self-limiting thoughts that are obstacles to high-performance. Together we explore the key mental components that will allow them to play and compete at their fullest capacity. Simply put, we bust up the stuff that’s getting in the way!”
Christie’s client list ranges from recreational to highly competitive high school, college, and adult athletes involved in national level competition. The ultimate test of Christie’s approach to instilling mental strength into performance came as she prepared Placido Domingo for his starring role in Franco Zeffirelli’s film production of Othello. “In that role Placido needed to look the part, but also really believe he had the mental fortitude and strength to carry the burdens of the world on his shoulders — that’s the kind of confidence Olympic athletes seek, and the confidence I work to create in my clients.”