The RoundHouse | 8/10/2022 2:23:00 PM
Chad Bohling came to Wichita State to play tennis. That decision started him on a journey that included Shocker basketball, the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys.
A Professor Suggested sports Psychology for Graduate school and that intrigued Bohling, who attended WSU from 1993-95. His relationship with Dr. Gregory Buell, a sports psychologist who worked with Shocker athletes, also motivated him to enter the field.
Bohling entered the profession as it rose in prominence and now works as director of mental conditioning for the Yankees, in addition to consulting work with the Cowboys and the NHL’s Dallas Stars.
“(My professor) said . . . ‘There’s a lot of different fields out there, but you play sports and you love sports,'” Bohling said. “From that moment on, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go.”
When the Yankees Hired Bohling in 2005, the Headline in the New York Times read: “Steinbrenner Hires Motivational Coach (Don’t Laugh).”
“Ultimately, like anything else, our players are our assets,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the Times. “We just want to make sure that we support them in all aspects of what they do, on and off the field.”
In 2021, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott credited Bohling’s strategies with changing the feeling around the team.
“I think that’s obvious,” Prescott told the Dallas Morning News. “I credit Chad Bohling for his mental work and our mental training. We’re only going to continue to grow for the better.”
Bohling attended Graduate school at San Diego State and worked at IMG Academy in Florida before joining the Yankees in 2005. He estimates there were three or four full-time sports psychologists on staff in 2005 in baseball. Now he estimates there are between 80-100 professionals on staff throughout Major League Baseball. The Yankees have five on staff.
“They saw the value that person can hopefully optimize performance with our players and coaching staff,” Bohling said. “The foundation is built on developing relationships first. We try and develop those relationships first with players. A lot of players are very pro-active right away and have no problem sitting down with us.
Working with two of the world’s highest-profile teams adds to the value of work that strengthens and refreshes the mental performance of athletes.
“I love the challenge because I love both organizations,” Bohling said. “There’s added things that come along with it that places more stress on the mind-set piece. They’re way more in the spotlight. The expectations, the scrutiny, the amount of media attention are far more than in other organizations.”
Bohling’s work includes videos and texts, helping athletes work through injury and recovery and messages about how to avoid highs and lows.
“The first thing with Chad that I think is great is he’s got the Credentials to back it up,” Dallas Offensive lineman Zack Martin told the Dallas Morning News in 2021. “Just the message he gives, it’s like he’s spot-on with the message each week.”
Bohling, from York, Neb., came to Wichita State from Hutchinson Community College to play tennis. In 1993-94, the short-handed basketball team held tryouts and Bohling earned a spot on the team. He played in two games for Coach Scott Thompson’s team.
“I really enjoyed the team atmosphere in basketball,” he said. “Wichita State’s gained a lot of traction in the past 20 years and it’s cool seeing that. I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else, looking back on it. It was the perfect fit for me, academically and athletically.”
At Wichita State: Bohling redshirted one year before playing two seasons of tennis. He made the Athletic director’s Honor roll four times and played for the 1994 Missouri Valley Conference champions.
In 1995, they won the MVC title at No. 7 singles. They went 7-7 as a singles player in 1994-95.
Update us on your current location and life status:
Married with one child. We live in Dallas.
What was your major at Wichita State?
Psychology with a minor in finance
Why did you choose Wichita State?
It was the right fit for me educationally, athletically, location and size of the school.
Besides the sport you played as a Shocker, what was your favorite sport?
Baseball and football
Who was your favorite Professor at Wichita State?
Although not specifically my professor, (director of Athletic academic services) Gretchen Torline was very influential during my time.
Which teammate helped your adjustment to college life?
There were many, from teammates, coaches, staff and others who attended WSU.
What are your favorite memories from college athletics?
The connection with other student-athletes from various sports.
What advice would you give to a person starting their athletics career in college?
To embrace the requirements and commitments during your time there. Don’t take any opportunity for granted.
What book would you recommend to current college students?
“It Takes What It Takes” by Trevor Moawad.
Paul Suellentrop covers Wichita State Athletics and the American Athletic Conference for university Strategic Communications. “Catching up” is a regular feature highlighting former Shockers. Story suggestion? Contact him at [email protected]