Performance Psychology

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WIU Athletics has a #TraditionofTOUGH. The LEAP members are dedicated to helping student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff uphold that #TraditionofTOUGH by helping them develop personal and performance excellence. This includes helping all Leathernecks perform at their best, have an exception experience here at WIU, and prepare for lifelong success. All services are 100% free to WIU student-athletes, coaches, and staff.

LEAP offers services in three areas of excellence: mental training, personal development, and nutrition. Leathernecks can use these services in a variety of ways—it could range from a five-minute chat in passing, a 30-minute session in an office, a team session, or a large group workshop. However, this is not a therapy session. The focus of LEAP is to provide performance-based resources. The skills, strategies, and information can be applied by Leathernecks wanting to refine and enhance their performance as well as those struggling perform.

LEAP partners with the University Counseling Center and Beu Health Center. Therefore, if you are in need of performance or personal assistance that is beyond what LEAP can provide, you will still get help by contacting LEAP.

Mental Training

  • Building and recovering motivation
  • Having fun in sport
  • Loving competition and practice
  • Using productive self-talk
  • Developing mindfulness
  • Overcoming slumps
  • Improving decision-making
  • Developing self-awareness
  • Building mental toughness
  • Enhancing coach-athlete relationships
  • Develop and enhance communication skills
  • Establish team roles
  • Forming a team identity
  • Learning to relax
  • Overcoming performance anxiety
  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Controlling the controllables
  • Minimizing distractions
  • Enhancing Concentration
  • Directing and staying focused
  • Dealing with adversity
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Developing imagery skills
  • Building self-confidence
  • Overcoming choking
  • Improving team cohesion
  • Dealing with pressure
  • Recovering from injuries
  • Letting go of mistakes
  • Dealing with perfectionism
  • Developing performance routines to
    • Build confidence
    • Direct and maintain focus
  • Direct and maintain focus
  • Overcoming fear
  • Mental training through injury

Personal Development

  • Learning time management skills
  • Being successful as a
    • Freshman student-athlete
    • Sophomore student-athlete
    • Junior student-athlete
    • Senior student-athlete
  • Developing a post-athletics plan
  • Balancing sport and school
  • Improving relationships with peers (teammates, friends)
  • Improving relationships with coaches, professors, etc.


  • Assess an athlete’s health needs
  • Developing a nutrition plan
  • Developing a hydration plan
  • Eating for specific performance goals

Meet the LEAP Team

E. Earlynn Lauer (LEAP Director)

Mental Training

E. Earlynn Lauer is an assistant professor of Sport Psychology and Wellness in the Department of Kinesiology. She played tennis for Drake University (Division I) for four years. After her collegiate experience, she was a member of the club tennis teams at the University of North Texas (2012-2014) and the University of Tennessee (2014-2017). She helped those teams reach the national tournament in 2014, 2015, and 2017. Dr. Lauer believes that training the mental side of sport (including performing and coaching) is equally important to training physical, technical, and tactical sport skills. She is highly collaborative in her approach to mental training and loves working with coaches and athletes to teach new strategies, develop new approaches, and solve problems. 

Steve Radlo

Mental Training

Steve Radlo is an associate professor of Sport Psychology and Stress Management in the Department of Kinesiology. He graduated with a Ph. D. in Sport Psychology from the University of Florida and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the same university. Steve has been a professor at WIU for over 20 years and has consulted with olympic, professional, university, high school and youth athletes for over 25 years. 

Tom Cody

Personal Development

Tom Cody is a professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies and the NCAA faculty athletics representative. Previously an assistant football coach at Morningside College, Tom now serves as the color analyst for the Leatherneck Sports Network.

Lorri Kanauss


Lorri Kanauss is a professor of Nutrition in the Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising, and Hospitality. A graduate of WIU, Lorri currently serves as the Dietetic Program Director and Director of the Bella Hearst Diabetes Institute on campus. 

LEAP Graduate Students

Kylie Gerhardt

Mental Training Graduate Assistant

Kylie Gerhardt is a second-year graduate student in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Psychology and a Graduate/Teaching Assistant in the Kinesiology Department. Kylie played volleyball at Monmouth College (Division III) and earned a B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology. She is currently a member of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology and working towards becoming a Certified Mental Performance Consultant. Kylie has been working with athletes since May 2019 to help improve their mental performance.

Todd Hall

Mental Training Intern

Todd Hall is a second-year graduate student in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Psychology and a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer within the Sports Medicine department. He works with the Men’s Soccer and Men’s and Women’s Swim and Dive teams. Todd played soccer at Aquinas College (NAIA) and earned a B.S. in Athletic Training. He also completed a semester-long internship at the University of Denver with the sports medicine department. While at WIU, Todd has been helping athletes recover from injuries by providing them with therapeutic rehabilitation and mental health strategies.

Viktoria Ramkvist

Mental Training Graduate Assistant

Viktoria Ramkvist is a first-year graduate student in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Psychology and a Graduate/Teaching Assistant in the Kinesiology Department. She swam Old Dominion University (Division I at) for 3 years and earned a B.A. in Marketing with a minor in Exercise Science.

Our Partners

LEAP partners with the University Counseling Center and Beu Health Center. When an athlete, coach, or staff member contacts LEAP, they may be referred to the University Counseling Center or Beu Health Center if the performance or personal issue is beyond the expertise of LEAP members.

Cara Cerullo is a licensed clinical social worker in the University Counseling Center. Cara has been with the University Counseling Center since March 2013; she previously worked in the Alcohol and Other Drug Resource Center at WIU. Cara was a University of Iowa cheerleader and previously coached the Western Illinois University Cheerleading team.

Dr. Mike Waters is the team physician for WIU Athletics and the Chief of Staff at Beu Health Center. He has been with Beu Health Center for 6 years. Dr. Waters enjoys working with student-athletes to help them return to sport quickly and safely. 

Our Allies

LEAP allies assist in the development of LEAP programming and maintenance. In addition, they can direct athletes, coaches, and staff to LEAP services.

  • Danielle Surprenant, Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator
  • Holly Van Vlymen, Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services
  • Chad Cerullo, M.S. LAT, ATC Director of Sports Medicine
  • Josée Primeau, Assistant Women's Soccer Coach