New adjunct sports psychology professor joins faculty

Devin Markle has a full plate this spring semester directing sports psychology at the Sports Academy training facility and teaching sports and health psychology classes at California Lutheran University. She is connecting with the student-athlete community on campus and is eager about her new teaching position.

As a certified sports psychology consultant, the opportunity to teach the course fascinated Markle because she has been looking to step back into the academic world. Markle thought this teaching position would be a great chance to gather information in her field and educate students on why sports psychology is a great resource for athletes.

“Athletes are expected to focus on the physical aspect in sports and are often not taught how to train the mental side,” Markel said. “When athletes are facing any roadblocks, injury or other challenges, there are preventative tools to fix that. If we want to be the best we can possibly be, we need to use tools like goal-setting and imagery to get there. It’s not about just hoping you’re in the zone; it’s about actually getting there.”

When she was a lacrosse athlete, Markle and her team worked with two influential sports psychologists who were influencial in her life. As the season progressed, her interest in the field grew. From there, Markle was fortunate enough to work with mentors during graduate school.  

Markle is co-teaching the sports psychology class with Kathryn Hopper-Scardino, a fellow colleague at the Sports Academy.

“I’m most excited about linking current events and bringing them into class discussions, relating them to theory and the information we’re talking about in class,” Hopper-Scardino said.

Hopper-Scardino conducted research focusing on high school athlete’s grit and resilience in her undergraduate educational career. In graduate school, she worked with a professor on a research project where she studied the effects of bullying in college.

Daniel Chavez is a senior at Cal Lutheran and graduating with a marketing communication major and double minor in Spanish and sports management. Chavez is taking Markle’s sports psychology class this semester and believes sports psychology plays a huge role in athletes’ lives.

“Athletes go through a lot of heavy training on a daily basis. Whether they’re young athletes in middle school or older athletes in college, having the right attitude and mindset is very important. Learning about sports psychology at an early age can really help out an athlete as they get older,” Chavez said.

Chavez said he thinks that coaches, trainers and parents demand a lot from the athlete and that pressure might have negative effects.

Both Markle and Hopper-Scardino are looking forward to this semester and would love to increase the sports psychology field of study at Cal Lutheran. Markle enjoys the balanced mix of teaching and having private practice in her daily life. Markle often finds herself inspired by student’s ideas and questions. She is able to incorporate this into her private work. In the future, Markle would like to return to clinical psychology work.

Kendra Salo