Skip to main content


Sports psychologist helping Nipmuc athletes

Mental coaching ranges from performance to teamwork

By Chris Villani

The Nipmuc athletic program has numerous talented coaches to help athletes sharpen their physical skills, and this year the program added Matt Ludensky to help with the mental side of the games.

A licensed mental health counselor, Ludensky primarily works with first responders and the military with a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder. He is back in school with the goal of earning a degree in sports and exercise psychology and started working with the program this spring.

“It’s going really well,” Ludensky said. “The school is extremely supportive. [Athletic director] Chris Schmidt made the athletes readily available to work with me, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Schmidt and Ludensky put out a message to coaches at the start of the year to make them aware of Ludensky’s services. Some coaches reached out to him to have him work directly with their teams, and other times Ludensky said he would meet individually with athletes.

“I work on team dynamics and various other aspects of working with the athletes on their team approach,” he said. “If someone is feeling upset, how can we implement strategies to help them calm down? If they are feeling burnt out, can we implement some things that are more fun? If the team is not communicating well, how can we improve those team dynamics?”

Ludensky also works with athletes to improve leadership skills and motivation.

“If someone is not getting the playing time we want, what can we do to show that they want to play and are willing to do whatever it takes?” He said, “It’s a broad spectrum, but we try to hit all the aspects for the athletes so they can perform their best.”

Ludensky said there was initial awkwardness until the athletes got to know him. He made himself available and became a frequent presence at games and practices to help break the ice.

“You could see a turn in acceptance of me being there and a little more excitement,” he said. 

After working with the athletic teams this spring, Ludensky said he is eager to spend the entire 2024-2025 school year with Nipmuc and spending time with sports from all three seasons.

“This spring was a great learning experience, but I am really looking forward to the fall to take those lessons I learned and provide my services for the other teams,” he said. “I am feeling more excited about it, and I am hopeful the athletes are too."