Justin Su’a is a mental performance coach with the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Browns, a career that came after an exquisite disappointment.
Su’a, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University, had been a Seminary teacher for several years when he decided to earn a master’s degree in religious education. But he didn’t get into the program. "I remember being embarrassed. I remember being sad. I remember thinking, “What am I going to do now?”
But Su’a felt that the Lord wanted him to make an impact somewhere and in some way. One evening his wife told him that he talked of going after his dreams, about helping people, but that he didn’t take any action. She said he was “all talk,” and recognizing that she was correct was a turning point for him. Soon after he discovered his direction in a sport and performance psychology master’s program at the University of Utah.
After graduating from the University of Utah in 2011, he was a performance expert with SAIC in Texas for two years. For almost two years he was head of the mental conditioning department at IMG Academy in Florida. In January 2015 he became the mental skills coordinator for the Boston Red Sox, and in September 2016, he also became the mental performance coach for the Cleveland Browns. He makes himself available whenever the players need him.
He also travels throughout the country speaking and training various organizations on “how to cultivate metal toughness and create a culture of excellence.”
Su’a is the author of Parent Pep Talks: The 10 Must Have Mental Skills Your Child Must Have to Succeed in Sports, School, and Life and Mentally Tough Teens: Developing the Winning Mindset. He hosts the “increase Your Impact” podcasts on iTunes.
He and his wife, Melissa, are the parents of three children. Su’a played baseball at BYU and served as a full-time missionary in Nicaragua.