(Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

USWNT star Rose Lavelle is no stranger to showing up in big moments, having scored in the 2019 World Cup Final and in the USWNT’s Olympic match against New Zealand. Her clutch mentality, however, doesn’t come without work.

“I feel like I definitely do feel pressure to perform and live up to expectations, whether that’s expectations I have for myself or other peoples’ expectations,” Lavelle tells Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis on the Snacks podcast. “I definitely feel pressure, and I feel like I use my sports psych and mental training kind of stuff to help deal with it and manage it all.”

Lavelle says that she started seeing her sports psych in 2018 when she was coming back from a hamstring injury.

“I feel like I was really on top of things from a physical standpoint, like nutrition, recovery, strength building, all of that. I feel like I had gotten all of those ducks in a row and I was like, alright, ‘I feel like the final piece of when I step back on the field after being out for almost a year — I want to not just feel 100 percent physically but feel 100 percent mentally,’” said Lavelle.

The 26-year-old, who has dealt with nagging injuries throughout her career, says the physical part of recovery isn’t always the most difficult part of returning to the pitch.

“As hard as it is physically, I feel like it’s ten times harder mentally. It’s just an emotional rollercoaster,” said Lavelle. “I don’t really know how I would’ve gotten through that roller coaster without my sports psych.”

Even after coming back from injury, Lavelle says her mental training has been critical to her sustained success.

“It’s a constant ongoing process and journey, so even after I was recovered from my hamstring and back playing, I still have moments where I don’t feel very confident.

“Talking to a sports psych and doing all this kind of mental training helps you not get too high on your highs or low on your lows.”

Listen to the full conversation with Lavelle on the Snacks podcast.