Sports consultant reveals how he gets elite athletes to greatness

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Sports consultant reveals how he gets elite athletes to greatness. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

He watches them with the pride of a father, as if they were his own children.

"Now they've got it, look at them, golly, that's beautiful."

Robert Andrews took off afternoons this week from work at his Institute of Sports Performance so he could stream live, in real-time, the US Women's Gymnastics team take home gold.

The Olympics are the culmination of many years of mental training with his clients Laurie Hernandez and Spring's own Simone Biles.

"I help athletes manage their mental game, strengthen their emotional game and help them maximize what I call the performance side of the equation," Andrews said in between performances from the Americans on uneven bars, vault, floor and balance beam.

What makes him good as a sports performance consultant is that he speaks their language. A star of a young athlete himself, he now knows what it is like to overcome bumps in the road.

"I've separated my shoulders, I've had concussions, I've been torn up, but I know there's a mental and emotional component to it because I've lived it," he said.

Andrews has worked with everyone from college athletes looking for an edge to Houston Texans and Astros hoping to up their game. However, it was his time with swimmers and gymnasts at the Beijing and London Olympics that caught the attention of Simone Biles' father, Ron.

"Gave me a call, 'I have a young athlete, she's an elite athlete with low confidence, too much anxiety and nervousness, can you help her out?'" Andrews recalled of the phone call with Biles.

He started Simone with a plan to get her head in the game. The idea: only put energy into things she could control, allowing her clear mind and body to sync up. The next step of Simone's plan: believe in her abilities.

"The performance side of the equation is your physical talent plus how much you believe in your talent," said Andrews. "I call myself the belief guy, we help strengthen the belief."

For Andrews' other clients, different problems mean different mental plans.

"I've had some that are a train wreck and they have horrible relationships and don't know how to manage their money and they've got an entourage of 50 people pulling at them," Andrews said of some clients. "We've got to pick the pieces up and teach them how to protect their castle, I call it."

Andrews adds a solid circle of friends, families and coaches -- along with good character -- all help take already successful athletes to the next level.

And if there was ever a question about the payoff of the mental game, Andrews says there's research to back it up.

"Countries that encourage their athletes to be passionate and grateful and enjoy the experience to be an Olympic athlete, those countries win more medals."

Andrews says not every athlete needs assistance from a sports consultant, though business has skyrocket over the past few years as more athletes figure out the importance of the mental game. He plans to release a video series after the Olympics are over with tips and tricks to harness the power of the mental game for athletes no matter their level of competition.
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