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7 July 2022

"They are genuinely a fantastic group of young men who are a real pleasure to work with"

Kevin Mincher, the Club's Performance Coach, says that the first-team group have bought into the process of developing their 'emotional fitness'.

Originally a youth player at Sheffield United before his career was ended prematurely through injury, Kevin founded the company Unstoppable Teen in 1997 with the aim of helping 1,000,000 young people experience a better quality of life.

Partly using his expertise in sports psychology, he has previously worked with clubs including the Blades, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley and more. 

He has now been with the Blues since the beginning of the 2021/22 campaign with the hope of helping the Club's players and staff to perform to the best of their abilities.

"I’ve been operating behind the scenes for around 12 months and it’s a privilege to be here," Kevin told iFollow Ipswich.

"I was delighted when Mark Ashton and Andy Rolls asked me to come into the Club and help develop what I call the emotional fitness of the players. I was also asked to help with the mental health of not just our first-team players, but our wider staff across the Club. 

"In various sports, you will be familiar with the role of sports psychology. I am often put in that category, but I am not a sports psychologist. I do have knowledge and expertise in that area but in my role it is about more than that. 

"Most people don’t have a job where 20,000 people come to their office and express their opinion about how you are or aren’t doing. 

"When you finish the game, sometimes you might get good reviews or you might get slated, be it by fans, opposition or the media. Helping people develop skills not to cave in with that but to thrive, rise and go again is really important."

Kevin has played a leading role during this week's pre-season training camp at Loughborough as Town stepped up preparations for the 2022/23 campaign.

He continued: "There is research being completed all over the world about what it takes for people to be happy, successful and to perform at their highest level of potential. We don’t have to second guess that anymore and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to take evidence-based strategies and apply them. 

"Often, though, they are out of the norm of the traditions of how football used to be done. Sometimes, if you’ve got an old school group, they will not be open to that. 

"There are some mandatory sessions because the boss [Kieran McKenna] wants to get certain principles around personal responsibility, leadership and resilience into everyone. It’s also for people to want to take a lead in their development and career, so there are optional one-to-ones and group workshops. I like to be accessible to whoever wants that help. 

"We’ve been doing some meditation, various goal setting, and we will be doing other types of team building as the season progresses. They’re hungry for it, they’re curious, they ask questions and they join in. They are genuinely a fantastic group of young men who are a real pleasure to work with. 

"It’s a special group and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve worked in many organisations where people say they want to succeed but they have unwritten rules about what they are willing or not willing to do, to make that success happen."

Kevin was first spotted by some supporters at Portman Road and around the training ground, quickly becoming known as 'the man with the yellow shoes'.

"It was something that had happened by accident when I was working in schools," Town's Performance Coach clarified.

"I was wearing yellow shoes and it then sort of became an expectation that I would wear them. If I didn’t wear them, then people would say that they were disappointed! 

"In colour psychology, yellow is a colour of confidence, self-esteem and happiness - which in my role is important. The other connection to me was that I grew up in the Bobby Robson era. 

"The Ipswich Town teams that I watched at that time were winning trophies and their away kit was yellow. So it’s also my little nod to the past to say that we want to work together as a group and bring some of those glories day back."

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