Hello and welcome!


My name is Melanie Rushing (you can call me Mel), and I’m a softball coach with a passion for the mental game. I earned my Master’s in Sport & Performance Psychology from the University of Denver, and have spent my coaching career focused on blending sport psychology skills & concepts into my practice plans, feedback, and coaching style. I have had great experiences sharing my sport psych knowledge: 8 years running workshops for softball players, 5 years teaching college students, and 3 years incorporating it into my season-long team plan. My goal is to connect softball coaches and players with sport psychology concepts, so they can improve their performance and play the game like they’re 7 again. 🙂

That was a little bit about my qualifications and what I do. Now let me tell you

my why


Let’s start at the beginning. Waaayyy back when I was a softball player myself (gasp!). Growing up in Southern California, softball was huge. I discovered at a young age that I loved this sport and I was pretty darn good at it. I was recognized for my skills, shared the field with some amazing players who went on to big-time DI programs and was recruited to play for a fantastic college team. As much potential as I had, I was always a just short of really breaking through.

I was a classic perfectionist- nothing was ever good enough and every strikeout, botched play or brain fart seemed traumatic to me. My coaches tried to help, but even their persuasive pep talks couldn’t get me out of my own head.

Fortunately, I was able to find my home at an up and coming DIII program where I was able to make an impact right away and be a part of a successful team. I performed pretty well at Redlands, but my real breakthrough came near the end of my junior year when I discovered Mind Gym. I soaked up the lessons in that book and it turned my career completely around. Not only did I play better, but I also enjoyed the game again like I had when I was a kid.

From then on, I was hooked on the mental game and shared it with every team and player I worked with. As I grew as a sport-psych-minded softball coach, I…

  • Mentored student-athletes about things like commitment & positivity 
  • Created an assessment for athletes to discover their mental strengths
  • Got my Master’s in Sport & Performance Psychology
  • Ran mental skills seminars
  • Published and tested a manual for using sport psych w/ softball teams
  • Taught my first college-level sport psych course, and
  • Designed and led mental training sessions with DI softball players

Most recently, I used sport psych as the head coach at Kalamazoo College. I created a year-long plan that included mental training sessions, on-field drills, and one-on-one consultations. I also taught an upper-level sport psychology course, which at such a prestigious institution was intimidating yet so rewarding. Off-campus, I led the mental training station at various recruiting camps. Three years in, things were going pretty well, and the program was on the rise.

Then I decided to step down.

When my loving, generous husband absolutely lit up as he was talking about a new job opportunity, I knew we had to move. He did it for me before, and with a baby on the way, it was a great opportunity. I would finish out the season, have our little guy, tidy things up for the next coach, then figure out starting my own business teaching sport psych for softball. But of course, it wasn’t that simple.

I had had a picture perfect pregnancy, but a few hours into labor, our son Patrick got stuck. The nurses got him out, but something was wrong. The next thing I knew, he was taken by ambulance to the University of Michigan. My husband had to follow the ambulance as I stayed back for the night because I had fainted twice. Patrick was put on a cooling pad to slow his vitals and allow his brain to heal from the injury he had sustained. He just laid there silent for three days, then spent the next 9 getting tests and therapy. It was a rough beginning.

The point of this story wasn’t to make you sad though! Our angels at Mott Children’s Hospital took exceptional care of our little guy and he’s doing great now! What I want to share with you is my answer to the question I kept getting: “How did you deal with all of that and stay positive?” In addition to the love and support of my husband and family,

I got through with Sport Psychology.

I had been preaching mental skills for years: positivity, anxiety management, focusing on the process, etc. I was 100% confident that these things helped with performance, but I didn’t realize how much they would help me get through such a terrible personal situation. Sport psych helped me work through all of the intense feelings I was experiencing, then I used my mental skills to stay positive and keep looking ahead. I truly believe it helped us all get through the ordeal.

And that, folks, is how I knew I had to share this with you!

As I sat pondering my plan during nap time, I decided I wanted to create something that was accessible to as many of my softball people as possible and valuable for both their performance and lives. I wanted coaches to be able to come here and get ideas for their teams, and players to get valuable information to help their performance as well. Either way, the knowledge is being passed on, and that makes me happy!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope you get as much value from the Mental Sweet Spot as I have!




How to incorporate the mental game into your already-packed practice plan

may 27-31
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