Justin Su’a is a mental performance coach and faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His job is to help motivate and inspire athletes. And he loves it.
Before Su’a decided to get a master’s in sport and performance psychology, he had worked for several years as a seminary teacher. It seemed to him that getting a master’s degree in religious education would be a breeze, but he didn’t even make it into the program. Confused and heartbroken, he reviewed other options for graduate school and found his destiny. “I read it and my heart started pounding and I just thought, ‘This is me. This is what I want to do’” said Su’a. The University of Utah took him on for the sport and performance psychology program and he soared.
The Boston Red Sox hired Justin as a mental skills coach several years ago. His genuine love for the work he does and more importantly the people he helps has enabled him to change the lives of many athletes in the best ways. He attributes part of his success and qualities to the two-year mission he served for the LDS church in Nicaragua. He understands the individuality and diversity that exists and tries to apply that Christ-like love as he strives to comprehend these individuals, their situations, struggles, dreams, and fears. Su’a listens and asks questions and gets these struggling athletes to recognize their own potential to overcome personal trials.
As of September of last year, Su’a began working with the Cleveland Browns. He continues to work as part of the Boston Red Sox staff, helping coaches and teammates find answers to the most important questions. Every individual is different, he says, and there is no set formula to help them through all the struggles they are going through. He acknowledges that of all the things he learned in school, the most important application in his job is that he lives in harmony with what he knows to be true. Since he’s gone from home so often (15 to 25 days per month!) they have family home evening over the phone. That’s dedication! He said, “My best self is a person who does have the Spirit, who is reading scriptures, who is trying to be the best husband and father that I can possibly be.” The athletes he inspires are grateful for the way their perspective changes and the obvious improvement that they experience.
Su’a lives happily with his wife, Melissa, and their three kids.