All in: Welcome Passion4Ball

Matthew Dimaandal, Staff Writer

Northwood Basketball partnered with mental performance company Passion4Ball on Jan. 4 to improve their student-athletes’ mentality during games.

Founded in 2019 by certified peak performance and life coach Jeff Becker, Passion4Ball teaches student-athletes how to improve their mental approach in basketball and in life. Varsity Basketball Head Coach Zach Johnson partnered with the company to help Northwood’s boys basketball team achieve their personal goals.

“Coach Becker has helped many players in the past,” Johnson said. “We believe that he can help our guys achieve their goals and provide the mental tools to get us there.”

Passion4Ball improves an athlete’s performance by developing their mindset through self-reflection and developing confidence through positive self-talk, to boost the athletes’ confidence on and off the court. The company has adapted their counseling for Northwood’s boys basketball program by hosting one hour virtual meetings via Zoom, with Becker as the guest speaker focusing on topics like improving mentality and mindset. Becker emphasizes that players are able to work themselves into the flow of the game, with confidence. Additionally, Becker focuses on discipline and focus, while also maintaining that the process of developing as student-athletes precedes the result on the court. His first official meeting was held on Jan. 12, with meetings ongoing two times a month on Tuesdays.

The company utilizes online courses and worksheets, access to workshops on college campuses and informational videos in their membership. They also provide a 1-on-1 coaching that focuses on building a framework consisting of 12 pillars: mental toughness, mental imagery and meditation, time management, goal setting, leadership, culture, identity, present moment focus, process over outcome, accountability, self-talk and servant leadership. Exercises that he uses to “train the mental side” include visualization periods and reframes to help athletes see from different perspectives.  These pillars are taught in 30 minute sessions, with different exercises, once or twice a week.

Mental performance programs like Passion4Ball are the first of its kind at Northwood.

“I think it is a great resource for our student-athletes to work with to prepare mentally while they may have limitations on what they can do physically,” Athletics Director Brandon Emery said.

Other than Northwood, the company has partnered with other teams at the high school level as well as the collegiate level. Their program has worked with teams and players who have won numerous state championships and Player of the Year awards, with endorsement from professional players and coaches, such as NBA veteran Corliss Williamson. Student-athletes have found that the program has helped them in other areas other than basketball.

“Passion4Ball has helped me to focus on what I have to do in order to be successful on the court and in the classroom,” junior Luke Garcia said. “They help us identify our problems through self-reflection, understand why it’s happening and then put us on a path to fixing it so that we become not only better basketball players, but stronger individuals.”