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Braden Bova ‘20 Hits Home Run for Psychology Internship

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Braden Bova ‘20 Hits Home Run for Psychology Internship

Braden Bova ‘20 Hits Home Run for Psychology Internship

Braden Bova ‘20 knew he wanted to be involved in sports even after his playing days were behind him, so when he came to D’Youville and found an opportunity to combine his field of study, psychology, with his passion for sports, he jumped at the chance.  
 
Bova spent this past summer as an intern with Headfirst Sports, a national organization that builds child-centered camps and workshops to create immersive, hands-on learning environments which utilize the power of play to entertain, challenge, and inspire. 
 
As part of Headfirst’s Professional Sports Camp, Bova coached and trained a youth baseball team each of the three weeks he was in Boston, one of the Headfirst’s partner cities. Each of the camps give behind-the-scenes stadium access and meet-and-greets with professional players as well as opportunities for the athletes to build their skills and spark a passion in their lives.
 
Bova says it was the experience of a lifetime. “I was able to meet some really interesting people and hear fascinating stories,” he says “Learning about so many different cultures with the wide variety of ball players [and] with the range of their different mindsets of skills and abilities was such great experience.” 
 
During the week, the teams would play each other, work on their fundamental skills, and discuss how their performances were and how they felt after each game. Bova helped the players build self-confidence, determination, and positive self-esteem. 
 
“My goal was to make each player on my team more confident in their skills in baseball throughout the week by being mentally strong,” he reflects. “I wanted to make sure they had the ability to change how they looked at themselves in the mirror after each day and ask themselves if they gave it their all today, not just physically, but mentally as well.” 
 
Working with this age group, Bova says it helped broaden his skills as he continues to work in the sports psychology field. “I was able to enhance my skills when working with them — it was such a fantastic learning experience,” he says “The ability to improve an athlete’s mental health through positive self-reflection, forming confidence and having a great sense of self-worth improved not only their performance on the field but in life outside of sports as well.” 
 
Bova thought it was important to build a rapport with each of the individual players in a one-on-one session but wanted everyone to have a team-first mentality. “I built strong positive relationships with the players and fused in team activities to make one solid group. That’s one of the main messages I wanted to get to the players — that it’s a team sport for a reason.” 
 
Bova credits the D”Youville faculty for opening the door for him to find his passion in psychology. “They believed and supported me and it caused me to embrace this even more.” 
 
“I cherish the time I was able to spend with these athletes, this was everything I thought it would be,” says Bova. “The athletes I worked with left memories with me that will last forever.”