Terry Jenkins, founder and owner of I-imagine, began his professional career as a mental health therapist. It was during his 14 years working with children and families that he learned if families could not envision change, they were not likely to make positive changes. Terry began working with individuals and families to first gain a picture, or to visualize change, as a prerequisite to actual change, and began using visualization techniques in his practice. He then moved into a leadership role that focused on nonprofit charitable work with children and families. He has worked as a leader in his community for the past 16 years and has managed cottages in a residential treatment facility, a curriculum-based childcare, and non-credit and workforce development efforts at a local community college. Terry volunteers in his community as a coach, with workforce development initiatives and the local United Way.
For Family and Love of Sports
Terry and his wife grew up playing sports, and although they would have been fine if their two boys became musicians, they introduced their children to several sports early on with the hope that they, too, would fall in love with sports. As one might expect, the passion for sports carried over, and both sons became competitive athletes. As a dad and a coach, Terry taught the fundamental skills needed to succeed in their respective sports. Terry observed every great coach that he could in an effort to increase the effectiveness of his coaching and replicate the best coaching qualities and training techniques. Terry’s teams trained with frequency because he knew that training leads to skill acquisition, which leads to performance on the field. Despite all of Terry’s efforts, it seemed at times that his players would forget what they had learned. Terry would then go back to the drawing board and refocus on the areas that seemed to have been forgotten. At the time, Terry didn’t realize that the players hadn’t forgotten what they had learned but instead had other mental distractions affecting their performance. Players sometimes came to games distracted after waking up on the “wrong side” of the bed or having an argument with their parents or just having a bad day in general. Terry now understands that these distractions take the players’ focus away from the game at hand, which resembles a failure of mechanics. Unfortunately, Terry didn’t understand this until after he stepped away from coaching and began observing his boys’ teams from a greater distance. He began to see the connection between pregame readiness, pressure during games, the mental game and an impact on performance. Terry began to understand that no amount of additional physical training will positively change something going on with the Mental Game. Terry searched for existing products to help, but there was really nothing out there short of going to a sports psychologist. So, after talking to several parents and coaches, Terry made the decision to create something to help not only his own children, but all youth players and coaches.
The creation of I-imagine
Terry’s youngest son has frequently struggled with pre-game nerves and at times has struggled to execute at a high level to start a match. Terry began talking with other parents about this issue and quickly found that many parents also worry about their athlete’s mental approach. He then began asking coaches about specific training for the mental side of the game, and coaches reported that although it is often a significant concern, they did not spend time training for mental performance. When questioned further, it became clear that coaches and parents do not have the tools available to them to train an athlete’s mental approach to soccer. Terry reflected on his career as a mental health therapist and began to think about the application of visualization in sports in general and soccer in particular. He quickly found that elite and professional athletes were using visualization, often taught to them by a sports psychologist for as much as $150 per hour. Terry wanted to provide “mental game” training and make it affordable and available to all competitive athletes. “We have all witnessed players and teams fall apart and not perform to their potential,” Terry says. “It is time to help them get their heads in the game.”