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Preparing for a Wildcard Season:

A Conversation on Mentally Healthy Habits


Learn how to build healthy habits and practices as student athletes managing a season of unknowns. Whether you are still playing or entering the workforce, create the habits you need to stay motivated and mentally healthy when your routine changes.



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Licensed Psychologist, Premier Sport Psychology

Erin Ayala, PhD, LP, is a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in health and sport psychology. Dr. Ayala works with many adolescent athletes at Premier Sport Psychology (based in Edina) to help them identify goals, increase motivation, and overcome barriers to peak performance. She is an author on nearly 20 empirical research publications and book chapters. Dr. Ayala has completed ten marathons, seven half-distance triathlons (70.3 miles), and one full-distance triathlon (140.6 miles). Currently, she is a member of a women’s cycling team in Minneapolis and competes in road, gravel, and cyclocross races. She claimed a top 10 finish in the Dirty Kanza 100 mile gravel race in 2017, and completed the Dirty Kanza 200 mile endurance race in 2018 and 2019.

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Founder & Executive Director, Alston for Athletes

Former Football Player

Marcus Alston is the Founder & Executive Director of Alston for Athletes! In September 2018, Marcus was diagnosed with several underlying mental illnesses in which he had been dealing with for over a decade. This put Marcus in an extremely dark place in his life, but through that he finally found his purpose and that's providing a better foundation of mental health for the future generation of student athletes.

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Founder, Sykes Serenity

Professional Basketball Player

April Sykes is 29 from Starkville, Mississippi and graduated from Rutgers University. She is the Founder of Sykes Serenity, a mentor to players, and a coach and head skills developer for boys post grad program, Core 4 (Paul Millsaps gym), out of Atlanta. In 2012 April played in the WNBA for the LA Sparks and then continued to play professionally overseas in Australia, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon and Mexico. She is an advocate for athletes versus mental health and helps them overcome career setbacks.


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