Mental conditioning coach opens own firm

By Michael Smith, Staff Writer

Published May 18, 2015, Page 13

Trevor Moawad, a noted mental and motivational coach who used to work at Exos and IMG Academy, is forming his own company.Moawad Consulting Group will be based in Moawad’s residence of Phoenix and he is opening the doors to his mental coaching firm with three core clients — Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher. With Saban and Fisher, Moawad works with the coaches and their players. That has put Moawad on the sidelines for four of the last six national championship games.

“The next question is whether the sports industry will get behind this kind of mental conditioning,” Moawad said. “This is another business within sports, and my bet is that it’s an area that will grow.”Moawad quietly launched the business in the last few months after parting ways with Exos, formerly Athletes’ Performance, in February. Prior to Exos, Moawad was a director at IMG Academy, where he worked with the agency’s athletes.

Moawad had conversations with venture capitalists and other potential investors about funding the new business, but he opted to go on his own. He will start small with five employees.

“Once I was able to secure some early clients, I decided to start on my own, start small and see where it goes,” Moawad said. Those initial clients have signed deals ranging from one to three years. Financial terms were not available.

While sports psychologists have carved out a growing presence, especially in golf, Moawad said he considers himself more of a mental coach. At Exos, Moawad worked with football players as they prepared for the NFL draft. Exos brought Moawad on board so that his mental conditioning would complement the physical conditioning that it offered.

“Trevor’s been a difference-maker with a number of athletes,” said John Courtright, a baseball agent with Relativity Sports. “He’s a great listener, he processes the issues at hand and then effectively communicates a strategy back to the athlete. … What you’re seeing now is that every athlete and team are seemingly looking at the mental conditioning part of the business.”

While the trainers at Exos gave the football players guidance on how to handle the physical pre-draft testing, Moawad worked with players like Jadeveon Clowney, Odell Beckham Jr. and Blake Bortles on their mindset and their approach to the workouts. Moawad focuses on areas such as dealing with high-pressure situations and building good habits for athletes to help in their planning.

When Moawad works with coaches, he talks about communication skills, body language and how to get messages across to different generations.

“You can’t give the same ‘street fight’ speech before every game,” Moawad said. “So we work on how to bring the message forward.”

Moawad, 41, also has worked with athletes on draft preparation at Exos and IMG for the last 14 years. In addition to football, Moawad has worked with track star Michael Johnson, military special operations teams and corporate groups. His association with Saban goes back nine years, and he’s worked with Fisher for seven years.