STRATTON- Stratton Mountain School has named Elle (Ell-ee) Gilbert '12 their Mental Performance Specialist, pioneering a new role within the winter sports academy landscape.
"I am delighted to welcome Elle back to SMS," said Head of School Carson Thurber. "She has proven herself as a dedicated athlete and mentor, and I am thrilled that she will be helping our student-athletes create a strong mind-body connection both on and off the slopes."
Gilbert brings her strong athletic expertise to Stratton Mountain School after obtaining a B.A. in Psychology from Middlebury College and an M.A. in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Denver. As someone who struggled with chronic injury throughout her ski racing career, she is excited to become a new resource for SMS student-athletes.
"I consider myself lucky to have made it through four years of racing [at Middlebury]. It wasn't always easy, and the demons that I battled daily were huge," said Gilbert. "It wasn't just my body that was falling apart, and that was pretty obvious to me, but I didn't know how to communicate that I needed something that wasn't there."
As a fully integrated Mental Performance Specialist, Gilbert will be working across all five disciplines to foster a culture that prioritizes information sharing and open dialogue between athletes, parents, and coaches. Her ultimate goal is to bolster SMS student-athletes' cognitive flexibility, helping them develop the tools and skills necessary to reach their full potential in every sphere of life.
"Acknowledging the current reality of our world, it is more important than ever to prioritize holistic human development and wellbeing. I will honor the commitment each student-athlete has made to the pursuit of excellence by ensuring that our community has the resources and support they need to optimize their potential."
Gilbert will primarily utilize Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), which focuses on values-driven behavior and teaches individuals how to create space between their thoughts or emotions and actions. She hopes to spend as much time with the students as possible to assist with the highs and lows of being a competitive athlete.
"One of the biggest misconceptions about psychological work is that it needs to be retrospective- 'I have a problem now help me fix it.' But my best work in this environment is going to be proactive, especially with athletes this age," continued Gilbert. "I want our student-athletes to learn and practice the best response in any given situation, ultimately giving them power over their decisions."
Gilbert continues to work with Thurber to create programming opportunities for the coaches, teams, and staff at SMS, and our community looks forward to her joining us full-time on August 17th.