Meet The Face Behind Heads Up Mental Game Coaching
I’m Brenley Shapiro, the proud owner of Heads Up Mental Game Coaching.
I look forward to sharing my story with you. I hope that you will enjoy getting to know me better.
I always had a keen interest in sports, and played soccer at a provincial level before progressing to the Canadian Nationals. I was also a dancer which was what actually brought me to Toronto, so physical activity played an integral role in my formative years.
After completing my formal education, I qualified as a Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapist, where I specialized in working with people’s thinking, emotions, and behaviors. As I advanced in my career, I found the role fulfilling as I was passionate about helping people and it complimented my home life as a mother of two.
Subsequently, after my two wonderful boys started to grow, I decided to enroll them in youth sports. They tried many disciplines, but we finally settled on being a hockey family, and I was enthusiastic as I did not have the opportunity to play the game myself while growing up.
Consequently, after setting out into the world of competitive youth sports and hockey with my children, I could see the high expectations placed on their young shoulders. I witnessed kids getting yelled at from the sidelines along with mounting pressure creating a lack of confidence and fear of making mistakes.
I started to think about how I could empower my kids to gain joy and thrive within this competitive environment. As hockey was a team game, I also wanted to create opportunities to help the others members imbibe embody the many valuable lessons that sport has to offer.
Therefore, I decided to take my expertise as a psychotherapist and apply it to sports and performance. I knew that human beings were capable of achieving great things, but it’s usually the mind that quits first, so I wanted to help influence their thought process.
I began to work hard for many years researching, and furthering my studies in the area of sport and performance psychology. I loved the process so much that I decided to take a leap of faith and leave my traditional counseling practice behind to open up a sports performance coaching clinic.
I opened a small office in a hockey rink, with the opening of Scotiabank Pond in Toronto. I had very few clients to begin with, but began achieving notable results with my athletes. Once the word slowly spread, I started to receive more and more referrals and recommendations, which led to exponential growth.
Over the course of the next decade, I rapidly expanded the business into a 3000 square foot space on the 2nd floor of the building. I also launched a new division called the Heads Up Mind Gym as I felt there was so much potential for what I wanted to accomplish.
The new facility served as a brain training center, enhancing performance by conducting workouts for the eyes, brain, and body. The gym further supplemented the sports psychology work I was already doing.
In fact, my sports psychology practice grew so big that I had a three-month waiting list. It convinced me to bring in more mental performance coaches, and I hired additional coaches and trainers upstairs to conduct the brain training.
Today, I have a team of six professionals along with university students that are doing field placements for counseling, sport psychology, and kinesiology programs. I make sure that they all understand my vision and subscribe to my core values.
As a result, I work with resilience, and as an individual, I am a firm believer in mindset, resilience, and mental toughness. It is not only at the core of what we do at Heads UP, but the underlying contributor of our success. I also attribute our success to working with humility and compassion, which leads to fostering close relationships with the teams and clients we serve.
Therefore, when I can play a key role in helping clients enjoy their sport, attain results, and make their dreams come true, it fills me with immense satisfaction. It’s rewarding to watch them break through barriers, and build confidence.
I’m also incredibly grateful that I’ve been able to achieve my ultimate career goal of working in the NHL, as the mental performance coach with the Arizona Coyotes for the past three seasons, and have been with the Peterborough Petes in the OHL for four seasons.
Over the past decade, I’ve had the proud pleasure of working with clients in the NFL, Olympics, and the PGA Tour, which has broadened my horizons. It’s brought me closer to my mission of changing the culture of sport and spreading a positive message for athletes to reach peak performance.
When I’m not training my athletes and teams, I love spending quality time with family and friends, including going for walks and visiting my cottage.
I have enjoyed sharing my story about the things which matter to me and how they influence the way I do business.
If you or someone you know could benefit from the expertise we provide in sport psychology and sports performance coaching in Toronto, Ontario, or virtual coaching worldwide, I invite you to get in touch. Please visit my website at www.mentalgamecoaching.ca.