In football, disarming your opponent often paves the way to victory.
For Westside High School sports psychology coach Garet Moravec, it was also vital doing top secret government work. He has worked with the secret service, CIA, and the FBI to name a few.
His job was so classified, his wife can’t even know the specifics of his work life. It keeps his players guessing too.
“They ask me a little bit if the aliens are real, and different things like that," Moravec said with a chuckle. "They know they aren’t getting anything out of this steel trap.”
Moravec has degrees in both sports psychology and information and telecommunication systems. He was inspired by his father who had a military background, so he chose a similar line of work. He used psychology to trick enemies into making mistakes and then his technical background to frustrate them.
But Moravec always had a passion for sports.
“During that time, I was always thinking in examples of sports to try to relate what I do to the military or to intelligence communities," Moravec said."
A player in his younger days and a coach in the ‘90s, he decided last year he wanted to coach again.
“It’s so similar in that influencing an adversary, but also lift up and use positive psychology to lift up your team in the people around you," Moravec said. "And I just said it seems like a nice little segway to go back into coaching.”
He was hired at Westside High School. Now, he uses his psychology to help influence opponents in the game plan as well as make a positive impact in the players’ lives.
“Kids reach out to him now because of issues they are having or issues they feel they are having and he’s willing to gravitate to them and help them through that situation,” head coach Brett Froendt said.
He instills values of calmness and techniques for the team to become mentally stronger.
One way is through Einstein Wednesday, a mental component to the Warriors’ preparation for game day.
Moravec also introduced the practice of meditation on game day mornings for the players enrolled in the strength and conditioning class at school.
That has even carried over to the players doing it in their own time.
“The morning I woke up for the ACT I used it cause I kind of get anxiety and stuff for those big tests," player Cade Jochum said. "But meditating really helped me like lower my heart rate and calm down.”
The students appreciate how much their coach has impacted their lives.
“He’s just a morally strong coach and such great person that I know I can always depend on him for his anything and everything," Jochum said. "I just know he’s always going to have my back.”
Moravec has used his background to leverage his athletes on and off the field.
It’s a philosophy this team has bought into, and maybe a big reason why Westside is competing for a Class A State title.