Since 2014, Josh Lifrak has served as the director of the Cubs’ mental skills program. The program helps players stay calm and focused on what it takes to succeed in the moment—a vital part of the Cubs’ nail-biting 2016 World Series triumph over the Cleveland Indians.

I can’t quantify the impact the mental skills training had, but considering the team was playing in an extra-inning game seven, even one percent might have made a difference between winning and losing, he says.

"Our players were so focused on winning; it was amazing."

At IC, Josh developed mental training programs for student–athletes as part of an internship; years later, he’d bring some of those same programs to the Cubs to help boost their title chase.

The Cubs are a hands-on, forward-thinking organization, Josh says. In a lot of ways, they’re just like Ithaca College was when I was there—and I suspect that’s why our philosophies meshed so well.