March 29, 2012
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By Jenna Marina
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Although its spring season may have wrapped up on the field, the UCF women's soccer team is still hard at work developing its skill set. The Knights were recently visited by Steve Shenbaum, an actor-comedian who now works with both collegiate and professional teams as a motivational speaker.
As founder of game on Nation, LLC, Shenbaum's mission is to help clients improve self-awareness and creativity by using role-playing techniques, humor and improvisation. He has worked with teams such as the New York Yankees, pro athletes like Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders) and Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and NFL No. 1 draft picks Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers) and Eli Manning (Super Bowl Champion New York Giants).
"Our goal is to develop a complete student-athlete who can perform at the highest level and positively impact society, and Steve's unique approach is one more piece to that puzzle," UCF women's soccer head coach Amanda Cromwell said. "We thank Todd Stansbury and David Hansen for their unwavering support in allowing us to create a special environment for our student-athletes. With the resources we have at UCF, we have been fortunate to use the Human Performance Lab in the school of Education for the physical side. Now, with Steve's help, we can develop the mental and emotional components."
Shenbaum started off with games that stressed the importance of supporting one's teammates and often repeated that a teammate's job is to "make your teammate the hero." He also pointed out key elements for successful chemistry like the right eye contact, body language and listening skills.
The players found Shenbaum's methods easy to relate to and took his messages to heart.
"Going into my senior year, I really need to do more of the little things, because even though I may never remember what I said or did to an underclassman, they may never forget it," Nicolette Radovcic said.
Assistant coach Joshua S. Walters, Sr. said that Shenbaum delivered concepts that aren't new to sports, like the importance of trust and honesty, but his unconventional methods are easy to grasp and something that a team can actually apply on the field.
"Some of the comments I heard from our players were, `That was the best speaker we've ever had,' and `I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard, but what he said really moved me,'" Walters said.