Sports psychologist embraces new position with golf team

Sports psychologist embraces new position with golf team

By Erika Meyer, Sports Writer

Although many people know her as the wife of Eastern’s head football coach Beau Baldwin, Nicole Baldwin is coming to Eastern to build her own identity.

Nicole Baldwin graduated in 2001 from Eastern with her bachelor’s in journalism. She started graduate school in 2002 hoping to get her master’s in sports psychology. Sports psychology is the study of instruction and training of psychological skills for performance improvement.

For two years, she was a graduate assistant for the sports information department where she would meet her husband, Beau Baldwin, but she did not finish her master’s during that time.

For the past eight years, Nicole Baldwin has been a stay at home mom taking care of her two daughters, 8-year-old Mia,  and  6-year-old Macie,  and has been a proud supporter to her husband Beau Baldwin, as the head football coach.

This year, both girls are at school full time, giving Nicole Baldwin the opportunity to go back to work as a sports psychologist coach for EWU’s women’s golf team and possibly give her the time to return and finish her master’s soon.

“My kids are in school full time for the first time, and now that they’re gone at school this is my time to do my own thing apart from the family and apart from other people’s idea of who I am,” said Nicole Baldwin.

She is still working with her advisor and EWU sports psychologist, Dr. Jon Hammermeister, to return and finish her thesis. According to Nicole Baldwin, as she took Dr. Hammermeister’s classes she loved them so much that it clicked to her and she knew it was her calling.

This past summer, Nicole Baldwin started to get golf lessons from golf head coach Brenda Howe. During the lessons, Howe learned more about Nicole Baldwin as time went on.

 “I gave her golf lessons and found out more about her educational background and experience,” said Howe. “Nicole [Baldwin] was looking to get back into the field now that her daughters were in school full time.”

They both had thrown the idea around for her to help with the team, but they were both hesitant about bringing it up to the administration.

“We didn’t know if she’d be viewed as someone with experience of sports psychology background, or Beau Baldwin’s wife,” said Howe.

According to Howe, she finally brought up the idea to Director of Athletics, Bill Chaves, and he was extremely supportive. “Nicole Baldwin is her own person and is a very talented individual,” said Chaves. He also thinks it is a great idea and is very helpful to the team.

“At the beginning of the year, we sat down with the team and explained Nicole [Baldwin]’s purpose of coaching mental toughness,” said Howe. “Nicole [Baldwin] does an amazing job at keeping girl’s in the moment and getting them out of that panic stat.”

Standout golfer Marissa Borja notices the recognizable change along with her coach on how much Nicole Baldwin brought her knowledge and mental toughness to the team.

“With Nicole [Baldwin] coming in, we all tell her that she made such a big difference. Not only with our performance in golf, but our mental state as well,” said Borja. “Coming into each tournament, she has opened our eyes that golf is a lot more mental than we think it is.”

Thanks to a great support system of family and friends, Nicole Baldwin’s eyes have also been opened to her calling in life.

“She has so much to offer in so many different ways for the student-athletes”, said Beau Baldwin. “Going back to the work and to finish school is something she wanted to do a long time, and certain things in life put that a little bit on hold. But absolutely I’m one hundred percent for her.”

Beau and Nicole Baldwin both feel that it is something that Nicole needs to do, since the kids are older, she needs to rediscover her passion. Along with her getting her master’s degree and working its going to be beneficial for her and it will broaden the career opportunities out there.

“It gives you so much confidence to be doing something that you believe in,” said Nicole Baldwin. “I believed in being a stay at home mom for my kids, but it was definitely time for me to come back to work and it feels so good to be back.”