Atlanta Braves Zach Sorensen to kick off GSW’s Category Five event

Published 5:32 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – Georgia Southwestern State University Athletics will host its inaugural Category Five event on Thursday evening in the Storm Dome with former Major League Baseball player and current Mental Performance Coach of the Atlanta Braves Zach Sorensen serving as the guest speaker. High school student-athletes from Southwest Georgia are invited to attend the free event.

Category Five is a new comprehensive community program from GSW that addresses five issues impacting young athletes today such as well-being, nutrition, physical, mental, emotional, and various social components. Category Five also tackles issues including childhood obesity, adult obesity, behavioral health & addictive disease prevention, and diabetes prevention and management.

In conjunction with the Category Five program, GSW introduced the Canes Care Initiative. Canes Care helps with student athlete development to local high schools, host educated speakers, foster engagement between GSW athletes and local student athletes, and shows ways to implement Category Five into everyday life.

Category Five connects student-athletes through several community service events throughout the school year. During the 2022 academic year the athletics department finished #1 in the country amongst NCAA DII programs with an overall amount of 6,736 hours.

The Hurricanes want to take community engagement another step forward by connecting GSW student athletes with local youth and high school athletes. The engagement with the community is to provide health and wellness education along with student athlete development education to local surrounding high school student athletes on the five dimensions of well-being.

Research shows that academic success and high school graduation rates are intertwined with high school athletics. Across the country high school graduation rates over the past 10 years have hovered around 98% as those of non-athletes around 94%. The role of athletics in our local schools is crucial to graduation rates. The Category Five program intends to edcucate and engage our local youth and high school athletes as well as coaches to strive for excellence and balance between athletics and everyday life.

Sorensen was a standout, three-time All-American at Wichita State University where he earned All-American and Academic All-American honors. As a member of the 1997 and 2001 United States national baseball teams, he captured a silver medal in the International Cup.

Sorensen was a second round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1998. He made his Major League debut on June 3, 2003. He played for three MLB seasons from 2003-2005 as a role player with the Indians and Los Angeles Angels. During his major league career, Sorensen experienced the power of mental performance coaching and saw first hand in himself and other major league players the advantages of having had mental performance coaching and the disadvantages that came without the coaching. His experience both coaching professional athletes and competing as one gives him unique insight into what mental performance secrets the pros use to compete at the highest level.

Sorensen works closely with Brian Cain who is one of the top sports psychologists/mental performance coaches in the country. Cain’s mental performance training strategies have been used by thousands of elite performers and top athletes worldwide.