Anthony Cinelli, M.ED
Hometown: Wall Township, NJ
Class: Quinnipiac University '12,
Boston University '15
Team: Wall Intermediate School
Position: School Counselor
Welcome! I'm Anthony one of the co-founders of What's Next and the teammate of other co-founders Neil and Kevin at Quinnipiac University. Growing up on the Jersey Shore I spent my childhood playing basketball, baseball and riding my bike in and around the beach towns of N.J. In high school I excelled in baseball as the team's co-captain, earning All-Conference and All-Division honors as a pitcher and infielder on my state championship runner-up varsity team. Life was pretty awesome at this point. After high school I went to Quinnipiac University with the hopes of making the baseball team as a walk-on. I was the first walk-on selected in the last four seasons. As a freshman I assumed a role as a relief pitcher landing on the mound in most conference match ups. Eventually I made my way into the starting rotation. It was a wild time for me going from walk-on to starter, earning a scholarship. I'll never forget pitching against current Toronto Blue Jay, Marcus Stroman and Houston Astro George Springer while they played for Duke and UConn at the time. When I turn on an MLB game now and see them playing I still have to pinch myself.
During college I was academically a pretty strong student in my psychology major and eventually earned university recognition by winning the senior thesis competition for my capstone thesis titled "My Lucky Routine", research that explored alleviating choking under pressure through the benefits of pre-performance routines in elite sport performance. Things were starting to blend for me in terms of sports and career but I still had no idea what was next. This look into the mental side of the game actually went hand in hand with how I saw myself as an athlete, priding myself on work ethic and preparation over raw ability. Upon graduation I was accepted to Boston University's Mental Health Counseling Program to pursue my Master's degree. This was scary in that I had no idea what to expect but comforting in knowing that there was still something next. I worked in many different areas of mental health which was so valuable because it is just as important to know what you don't like as it is to find what you do like. I worked with collegiate athletes at Lesley University on mental skills training. I spent a year counseling addicted youth at Northshore Recovery High School and counseling at-risk children in Boston Public Schools. My graduate cohort and I ran a school-based sport youth development program teaching personal and social responsibility through sport to combat the high rate of school dropout in the area. All these experiences were so rich and I am grateful for every single one. I eventually graduated from the program in 2015 and now work as a school counselor in Wall, NJ. My current work consists of working with students in groups and individually on conflict resolution, building self-esteem, leadership, decision making, family issues, peer relationships and more. I advise the school's gay-straight alliance club and publish a monthly school newsletter featuring trending mental health topics in the field.
The idea of What's Next is to help settle the anxiety of student athletes who see the sport they love slipping from their career trajectory. It is a way to give young people an idea about where they can go from here. As an athlete you're always told what to do, how to do it and how much of it you have to do to be successful. Other things in life aren't as quantifiable as sport and that's a struggle in this transition. It hard to be patient and hard to operate without an "off-season training program" telling you exactly what you need to do to be ready for what's next. I hope you enjoy What's Next as much as Neil, Kevin, Gary and I enjoyed creating this platform!