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Mental performance consultant seeks to help athletes reach new heights

Cindra Kamphoff (center left) works with girls in Farmington High School's hockey, basketball and dance teams to develop mental toughness and improve performance. Kara Hildreth / Contributor

FARMINGTON — Cindra Kamphoff excelled in high school athletics in Iowa, breaking school and state records in cross-country and track. After her meets, her father who would help her debrief.

"He would ask me. 'What do I want to do next?'" Kamphoff recalled.

She gained inspiration from a monthly article in the Future Runner's World magazine.

RELATED: Mental sports performance coach trains Farmington athletes

"This was always the first thing I read and started using these things in my own running, and it always interested me in how our mind contributes to our performance," Kamphoff said.

Today she is passionate about her work as a certified mental performance consultant. She is the author of the newly released non-fiction book "Beyond Grit: Ten Powerful Practices to Gain the High-Performance Edge."

"I wish I would have had this book when I was growing up, and I think my message can translate well to personal relationships or professional careers, but I wrote it for athletes, business leaders or anyone who wants to improve performance because, to me, we all perform every single day," Kamphoff said.

The book aims to offer a roadmap for success in careers, personal relationships and life goals.

"The 10 practices are really how I would describe the best from the rest in regards to mentally or psychologically, and I feel like the book is super practical," Kamphoff said.

She focused on how to build a high-performance mindset, how to get clear on your life's purpose and learn from the best. She included 52 life-altering strategies.

"You may think mastering your mindset is like riding a bike and once you learn it, you got it, but in fact it is something you have to work on it deliberately every day, and it is not something you can work on and forget it," Kamphoff said.

She implements practical strategies to help young athletes with age appropriate messages on how to best conquer mind over matter during competition. She consults with coaches and helps teams reach new heights.

"I talk about how pressure is a privilege and how pressure is experienced through each person's lens, and how we don't want to avoid it because the world's best are good at pressure — they are challenged by it and use it," she added.

She uses deep breathing, imagery and short exercise during sessions to help young athletes.

Last year, she worked with some of Farmington's basketball, hockey and lacrosse teams.

"I am incredibly passionate, and for me, it is about giving back to young athletes because that is something I wished had in high school and I struggled with in college, although I had some success, but I was not very consistent," Kamphoff said.

In recent years, she has worked with the Minnesota Vikings football team and one-on-one with wide receiver Adam Thielen, going back to when he was a high school student and played for the Minnesota State Mavericks. He wrote the forward to her book.

She noted that the Minnesota Vikings have seen growing success.

"Part of it is training the mind and you need to get to the mental side get to next level," she said.

"In Farmington, I will be back next year to work with teams for hockey and basketball and I will be coming back for one more session and I plan to work with the girls' lacrosse team in the spring."