Spiders Up Close Part 2 - with Delilah Masket
Spiders Up Close Part 2
By Delilah Masket
The Spiders take pride in a great roster of players and staff who all represent the best of Ultimate. In a series of interviews over the course of our 2022 season, we’d like you to meet them and read their stories. As an added bonus, you can meet them again in-person at every game.
In Part 2, meet Jason Gant, Behavioral Wellness Coach for the Spiders. His job: keep everybody’s head in the game.
Behavioral Wellness Coach (BWC)
Delilah: What do you love most about your job?
Jason: Helping athletes to be human.
Delilah: That could be a tall order. Prior to joining the Spiders staff, where did you get the skills to take that challenge?
Jason: I’ve gained many experiences that have allowed me to step into this role and really hit the ground running. I was the meditation coach at Calm, the app, as the only meditation coach for corporate groups within the organization. I also am the lead teacher for the youth and teen mindfulness risk reduction program at Kaiser Permanente. I created the first mindfulness program for youth and teens in the behavioral health education department for Kaiser Permanente, and I am still working at Kaiser. I also work for an organization called Yol (google Yol Team → experienceyol.com). We deliver well-being and learning opportunities to corporate organizations.
So, I really work with the full life development spectrum, from youth and teens all the way to corporate professionals, older adults, and now professional athletes. I have been helping folks reduce stress, and burnout, and eliminate that feeling of languishing through the use of behavioral health skills, tools, and emotional intelligence.
Delilah: How did you become interested in behavioral wellness in sports?
Jason: Through experience coaching and witnessing men have emotional dysregulation which does not allow them to tap into their peak performance and delivers an outcome of a loss when we’re looking to win. So, if coaches and players practice, watch films, and design good practices, all of that goes out the window if we don’t regulate emotion and be in the present moment. If we’re worried about our sick dog at home, but we have to catch the Disc, we might not catch the Disc because we’re so not into the game. So, I am helping folks be in the moment through the use of mental skills and behavioral health in order to put their best foot forward.
Delilah: Have you had any experience coaching Ultimate before? What got you involved in Ultimate specifically?
Jason: I do not have specific experience coaching Ultimate, but I think bringing my fresh eyes is a strength. I have worked with a lot of athletes in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and football; so I have experience working with athletes. I also played basketball, and volleyball, and did track and field, and the high jump in college, so I understand what is needed to be successful. I use my mental skills and emotional intelligence training to apply direct exercises for specific sports. I have a bunch of exercises and programs already designed for basketball programs and things of that nature, so I have examples to apply to Ultimate.
Just the other night I went out to the Spiders' practice so I could hear the terminology. I could see where and how people were breathing, what they were excited or unexcited about, or what they yell about. Understanding them will help me navigate that through-line from my experience to what they’re actually doing. I’ll have a path for how I can support them through behavioral health.
Delilah: What are you most excited about, going into this season?
Jason: A word that comes to mind when I hear that question is curiosity. I am really looking forward to being involved in a new sport, joining the team with impact, and seeing how things unfold. So, I lean in with curiosity and am excited about the opportunity to work with the Spiders.
You can find Jason on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn @myVillageTribeComing up next after the Spiders opening game this weekend, an interview with Coach Dan; getting an inside look on what it takes to coach a professional team, and what he anticipates for this season...