TRUE GRIT: MSU Professor Puts Life’s Work Into New Book

By Jim Rueda
The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Minnesota State professor Condra Kamphoff, has a Ph.D in sport and performance psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kamphoff hopes her new book “Beyond Grit”, helps people to reach their goals and to learn how to handle adversity that crops up along the way.

The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

Sometimes inspiration is born from tragedy.

Minnesota State professor Cindra Kamphoff may not have known it at the time, but back on April 15, 2013, she began following that tenent.

That was the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. She had just completed the race and was back in her hotel room just blocks from the finish line when the bombs went off.

She watched the calamity unfold from her hotel window and realized how close she came to being one of the victims. Soon after began a journey of introspection.

For 20 years she had spent her working life researching, assembling knowledge and putting together tools to help people maximize their abilities. In short, she had become a high-performance coach for both athletes and executives and was in high demand as a keynote speaker at clinics and workshops.

But the bombing in Boston made her rethink what she was doing.

“I began to question what my purpose was,” she said. “Was I maximizing my abilities and knowledge? Was I doing enough with the tools I had acquired?

Dan Kamphoff, Cindra’s husband, who was with her in Boston that day, said he noticed a slight shift in her direction.

“Something like that changes your priorities,” Dan said “I think it gave her a heightened sense of immediacy to do things.”

A short time earlier she had founded and became the director of the Center of Sport & Performance Psychology at MSU. One of the first of its kind in the country.

After Boston she decided to keep moving forward. For years she had thought about writing a book and, during the 2015-16 school year, took a sabbatical to do just that.

The accomplished distance runner, who has run Boston five times and one year won the Omaha Marathon, admits it was a difficult process.

“Just like going for a training run, there are days when you want to write and days when you don’t,” said, Kamphoff, who has had work published in The New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post, among others. “Running a marathon is usually a three- or four-month process. This took more than a year even though I had already gathered a lot of the information.”

Fortunately, because of the subject matter of the book, she had the tools to get her through the hard times. The mission was officially completed Thursday when she unveiled her work entitled “Beyond Grit” at a book launch event at the Verizon Center.

“Some people have ideas but they don’t act on them,” longtime friend Clint Counsellor said during the book launch.
“Cindra is a person with ideas who sees them through. I think it’s a very worthwhile book.”

For Kamphoff, who has a Ph.D in sport and performance psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, it was important not only to spread her knowledge on the mental aspect of achieving high performance, but to do so in an easy-to-read, practical format.

She has worked with the Minnesota Vikings for a few years and the foreword of the book is written by wide receiver Adam Thielen. She first met Thielen when he was a student on the Minnesota State football team.

Many of the anecdotes in the book deal with athletic performance, but there are many that do not. Kamphoff’s target audience includes executives, entrepreneurs and the everyday working person, as much as they are the elite and non-elite athlete.

Her intent is to help people reach their goals and to handle the adversity that crops up along the way.

“In the end it’s about taking control of your future and increasing your happiness,” she said.

To find out more about the author and book, go to or

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