Hey, Hey :)
So, who cares? Why does anyone want to read my story or even believe that I am worth instructing your athletes about mental strength? My only answer is I experienced it first hand from the age of 8. I was that kid that loved sports more than words can describe, and tried learning every single aspect of the game, I became a student of the game before I even started playing and thus I have finished my career with 18 years of experience being an athlete. This experience has encouraged me to help the younger generation, and if I can impart a little bit of my passion and knowledge then it’s a big win. However, that’s for you to decide :) I will start my story from the beginning of my athletic time.
I wanted to be an athlete since I can remember, I just enjoyed sports plain and simple, all sports. Whenever I could be playing a game particularly when it had a sports ball involved I loved it! I have played soccer, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, and any lawn game or gym class game I could play. When I started playing softball everything changed!
I was throwing a ball around the moment I could walk. As a child I would watch baseball with my dad, and that’s where my passion began. I would watch the Rockies and study each player, I imitated them the best I could as a 4 year old. This continued and it wasn’t until 8 years old that I finally played on my first softball team. My dad despite knowing that I wanted to play baseball made me play softball, so I played softball. I practiced as often as I could as long as I could. I was the first one to arrive at practice and the last one to leave (a not so secret tip to become the best). I studied my teammates during practice and studied other teams on the weekends. I know now that I was taking visual repetitions and those visual reps developed me into the player I became.
I started catching when no one else wanted to catch and I fell in love with the position. I loved the fact that I was involved in every play, I could see the entire field and I felt in charge! This never changed through the 17 years of playing. I could go on for hours (and I will continue the story in later blogs, trust me!) When I committed to being a catcher I was committing to much more than I thought. Being a catcher is much more than just learning the technical skills, and that’s where I began to learn and understand the mental side of sports, teammate relationships and leadership. I began to develop my self-talk and leadership skills as I continued to develop myself as an athlete.
I earned a scholarship to attend and play for Lehigh University in 2009 and that’s when the college madness began :) an enormous perk of Lehigh is that it has an amazing athletic leadership development coordinator who has had such a profound impact on me and has been a catalyst for my “Toughness Academy”. The leadership development program I was a part of all 4 years has given me the language and skill set to be able to mentor young female athletes. Many of my examples are about softball because that’s the sport I played longest however, the ideas that I present are applicable across most specialties.
Message of the week: Become a student of whatever thing you want to excel at.
Photos taken from my childhood scrapbook made by my grandmother. Playing sports since I could walk