by Donna Sealy
When Dawn-Marie Layne was a little girl she loved sports.
“I was an athlete since I knew myself. I used to run track at school. I played cricket from the time I was 10 years old. I always loved cricket. I remember just being outside running about in the sun and my father being so mad because he couldn’t understand why his girl child likes to play so much boys’ sports and it went on from there,” she recalled with laughter.
Today, she’s 25 years old and she still loves cricket.
It was while on Facebook that I stumbled across the page DML Sport Psychology and wanted to find out more about the person behind it.
Before you say ‘duh’, I wanted to know what exactly a Sports Psychologist does and what did Layne know about sports namely football and cricket.
“When I was at Combermere we were the first team to have a women’s cricket team. I used to run about at lunch time. Sometimes you used to come to school on mornings and all the other girls were prettying up and I was on the hard courts as soon as I got to school running around playing cricket with the fellas. That went straight through to Sixth Form,” she said.
She made her first national team when she was 14 years old but was unable to travel.
Fast forward a couple of years to the time where she gave up the sport to concentrate on her studies.
“Having come from a school like Combermere I think I had the best opportunity to become the best. So I took a break from cricket, some of the girls from that batch went on to make the West Indies team and some of them are still in the West Indies team but a lot of them haven’t finished school and a lot of them have not set their minds to achieve some of the things that I have.
“On the downside, even though everyone believes that I have or had then the potential to be in the West Indies squad or be playing international cricket, I think I’m quite satisfied with having my two degrees and my small business as difficult as things might be,” she said proudly.
Sitting in the bleachers of the 3Ws Oval, at the Cave Hill Campus which provided much needed shade from the noon sun, a light breezy cooling the heat of the afternoon, as we looked across the well manicured playing field, Layne spoke about her role and her plans.
She is what you call a girlie girl. She is cute, shapely, has her nails painted and loves to laugh so how does she fit into sports and her chosen profession?
“Ideally what I would like is to have access to some athletes where I can do my work, get permission from them to post photos to the page so people can see what I do. People like what they can see. It’s okay to have a card, it’s okay to have a page and a Facebook account, but when people actually see you out there interacting with people then they have a bit more confidence in your skills and your ability and they reach out,” Layne said.
“What we do is assess athletes and we find out what exactly they’re facing, what they’re encountering. We work with teams, we provide mental skills coaching, one on one counselling depending on the needs of the athletes, the needs of the coaches and organisations that hire us to work for them.
“It’s not what people typically think about a shrink and you putting somebody to lie down on a couch. We teach them skills that they could go off and practise on their own so they don’t have to be dependent on persons such as myself. Technically it is not mainstream psychology where you see a person for five to 10 years because you just can’t seem to deal with some of the problems you’re faced with. You come to me and I identify your problem and tell you what you need to do to work with your problem.
“After 10 sessions, I reassess you and then we see where you’ve improved, if you’ve improved. I let you take a break, I let you go off and work on your skills and if you feel the need to come back and see me after a period of time. The process starts all over again. Dependency is not something I stress or is it something I want for a