The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Wildcats Will

Mr. Woods seeks to elevate mental and physical performance in students
Louie Perry
Seniors Sarah Harvey (center left) and Lily Flader (center right), members of the cross country team, attend Wildcat’s Will in the studio theater to focus on overcoming mental blocks and self doubt.

Wildcats Will is a club that gives athletes the opportunity to hear motivational speaking from Athletic Director Mr. John Woods, who founded the club. With different topics each week, Mr. Woods help athletes from all sports gain confidence, set routines and reach peak performance every Friday morning.

Early Beginnings

The idea started when Mr. Woods was first coaching at Champaign Central High School.

“Through my journey down there, I really studied the mental approach to the game and the impact that the mental has on the physical,” Mr. Woods said. “We started a leadership/peak performance development group in Champaign and saw some incredible results for a little school in central Illinois, much like Libertyville that competed against bigger schools.” 

Physical performance is clearly a major aspect of winning; however, Mr. Woods emphasized the importance of including mental performance. 

“If we can combine the physical and the mental, then we’ve got a chance against anybody,” Mr. Woods said. “We are going to be able to compete at our very best when our very best is needed, which is always and whatever our very best is.” 

Athletic Director Mr. Woods emphasizes that prioritizing time is a huge aspect of the mental struggles students may face. Woods stresses that if students focus on the important aspects that can propel them to be better athletes, they will be more successful overall. (Louie Perry)


With this being said, how does one just simply achieve a mindset ready to perform at best at all times? Why might someone wake up with more positivity some mornings rather than others? 

“You’re excited about today because you’re optimistic about your day,” Mr. Woods said.

By finding things to look forward to each day, a positive mindset will start to develop, and a positive mindset can set the tone for the whole day.

“If you can learn to mentor, it’s a great equalizer and it can give you an advantage,” Mr. Woods said. “That is the why to truly inspire, influence, educate and empower our student athletes to become the best they’re capable of becoming,” 

Mr. Woods himself sets an example of routine and wellness, as he implements a variety of healthy habits into his daily life.

“How we do anything is how we do everything,” Mr. Woods told student-athletes on Friday, Sept. 1.

Athletes are constantly juggling with managing so many different priorities at the same time, including performing at peak performance levels. Mr. Woods explained that the key to a successful day starts with developing a set schedule.

The Importance of Sleep

 “If it’s important, then we need to schedule it,” Woods said, which led him to a question. “If sleep is so important, then why don’t we schedule it?” 

Mr. Woods showed his eight hours of scheduled sleep every night on his calendar. After researching more on the correlation between sleep and athletic performance, a published 2011 study published by Stanford found interesting data. Men’s basketball players who extended their sleep to ten hours a night experienced several positive outcomes. The players ran faster in both half-court and full-court sprints. Their shooting improved by at least 9% for both free throws and three-point shots. The athletes also reported improved physical and mental well-being, according to Alexa Fry and Dr. Anis Rehman from Sleep Foundation.

Student Athletes

Student athletes from a variety of different sports attend weekly in hopes of overcoming challenges like mental blocks and self-doubt. With the help of Wildcats Will, they have developed new strategies to overcome these challenges as they work to perform better as athletes. .

 “I always like to self-talk,” senior Lily Flader, a senior soccer player said. “I use a lot of positive self talk during any of my sports, just keeping present, keep playing my own game or running my own race.” 

Some athletes have developed strategies to help with mental battles during performance, while other  students, like junior Lukas Krzeminski, have developed a better sense of athleticism from being in Wildcats Will.

“Sports are like 90% mental, and Wildcats Will gave me a lot of strategies to develop that 90%,” Kzreminski said.

Mr. Woods agrees. “If the game is 90% mental, why do we only train [the mental] less than 10% of the time?” Confidence while on the field or court is a key aspect that could be detrimental to achieving peak performance,” he said. 

For at least one athlete at LHS, Wildcats Will instilled the confidence they needed.

“About a year ago I wasn’t starting and I got cut from a couple teams,” Krzeminski said.” “So that was also a reason that I started going to Wildcats Will, and it helped me regain that confidence. I would encourage everyone who’s trying to develop their mental game to show up for Wildcats Will, give it a try and see if they like it.” 

Wildcats Will has also taught senior Zoe Joseph effective strategies that she has implemented into her daily life. 

“One strategy I use that [Woods] taught us is using your Google Calendar,” Joseph said. “What you do is you plan out every single minute of the day, and that just really helps me [not to be] anxious about what I’m doing at the moment.” 

Another resource Mr. Woods shared was Habit Share. He tracks all of his habits on the Habit Share app in order to stay on track and organized throughout the week. 

“I really like my Habit Share,” Joseph said.”  “I have Habit Share with a couple of my teammates, and we just log basic habits like making your bed. Honestly, it just really helped me to keep doing those things and to stay organized.”  

Being an athlete isn’t easy, but Wildcats Will has helped students like Zoe Joseph, Lukas Krzeminski, and Lily Flader learn how to use strategies to succeed in athletics and everyday life. 

Members of the JV2 boys soccer team attend the Sept. 1 meeting before school which focuses on scheduling your day in order to prioritize your time. (Louie Perry)


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Drops of Ink intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. Drops of Ink does not allow anonymous comments, and we require a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All Drops of Ink Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *