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why

WE STARTED THIS BUSINESS

about us

 

Some of you may be wondering, “Ok this all sounds great, but who are you two to be the ones teaching us?” Here’s a quick overview of our credentials:

Mel has extensive experience in teaching the mental game. She has one Master’s degree in Sport Psychology and another in Leadership and Learning. She’s used that education to create and test a manual specifically for softball teams, teaching college-level courses, running mental game sessions at camps and clinics, and implementing the mental game plan with the teams she’s coached at every level from 16u to DI.

Alicia has her Master’s in Coaching and the on-field experience and success. She has been implementing the mental game with her teams for years, leading them to multiple state championships, runner-up and quarterfinal titles, and multiple accolades for individual student-athletes.

That the what behind Mental Sweet Spot, but what about the why?

 

mel’s why

 

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. But I was a textbook 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. By the time my junior year in college came around, it got to the point where I was being a bad leader and bringing my team down. My coach told me she didn’t know how else to help me, so I was benched.

That was my aha moment. I knew I had to buckle down and do something about my attitude so I bought it and read 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. It was like the weight of a decade was lifted off of my shoulders when I realized I had control over my thoughts and emotions!

From then on, I was hooked on the mental game and shared it with every team and player I worked with. Three years into my first head coaching job, things were going pretty well, and the program was on the rise, but I decided to step down to allow my husband to pursue his dream career. I decided I’d shift my career a bit to follow another passion: the mental game. But I wasn’t as passionate about it as I am now, until we went through a personal challenge.

Our son was born with a brain bruise and was sent immediately to the NICU at Michigan. 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 so 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 is how I knew I had to share this with you! Then this business got MUCH better when I got a text from Alicia Smith. But first, here’s her story.

 

Alicia’s why

 

Alicia’s journey with the mental game, unfortunately didn’t start until about 10 years into her coaching career. She had had success with her high school and travel ball teams. She read the leadership books, shared inspirational quotes, and gave motivational speeches. Things were going pretty well until that game.

They were playing for the regional championship and were up 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th inning with one out and nobody on. In her head, she was already thinking about the upcoming quarterfinals and imagining holding up the regional trophy for a team picture. Then the wheels fell off.

Two of her best players lost focus at just the wrong time and they committed back-to-back mental errors. That allowed two runners on base, and just 9 pitches later, the game was over 3-2. She describes it as the worst game of her career. Have you ever experienced a game like that? Well as fate would have it, that summer she signed up for a sport psychology class at Western Michigan University.

In the first 15 minutes of that first lecture, it hit her like a ton of bricks. This is what had been missing all these years and what she never had as a player – the mental training as an athlete. Her team wasn’t mentally prepared to handle the pressure, or adversity, which was very apparent that day. Her professor had mentioned the book the Winners Manual by Jim Tressel, and from that book, the Notebook was born.

She creates a notebook every year for her team to work on the mental part of the game, every day. They read books, share stories and experiences and have daily discussions as a group. She says with absolute certainty, focusing on developing her players’ mental game has elevated the softball program to a different level. All of those championships we showed you earlier? She credits them to implementing mental training into their every day practice!

 

bringing it all together

 

We’ve both been on this path for a while, and thankfully I tried to recruit one of her players and somehow we got to talking about the mental game. And the rest is history! Alicia called me one day after we had chatted briefly about my business idea and asked if I wanted a partner. It’s a match made in softball coaching heaven, and we can’t wait to share with you what we’ve created!

Almost every coach now will tell you that the mental game is the most important aspect of performance, and most coaches teach the usual concepts:

Softball is a game of failure.
One pitch at a time.
Focus on the process.

These are all excellent concepts, and a fantastic place to start. But a lot of times, players and coaches are still missing the how of implementing them.

How do we deal with the emotions that come with failure?
How do we focus on one pitch at a time when we’re stuck on the past?
How do we focus on the process when we just want to see results and succeed?

The answer to these questions is two-fold. First, you have to have the mental skills to deal with the challenges of the mental game. You need to know how to use positive self-talk to manage your thoughts. You have to be able to use imagery to see what you do want to happen. You have to know how to stay motivated when things get tough.

Second, coaches have to be consistent in teaching these concepts. It sounds simple, but it’s not. There are so many other things on a coach’s plate, the mental game often gets left behind even with the best of intentions. You have to have a plan and build it into your everyday language and plans.

That’s our why- we want to make an impact on players’ lives by teaching them mental toughness skills and developing their mental strengths. To do that, we want to pass on our knowledge and experience to the coaches who see them every day. Together, we can build a culture of mental toughness in the softball world that starts early and helps build strong young women both on and beyond the field!

Thank you for joining us on this journey!

mel & alicia

LET US HELP YOU CRAFT YOUR DREAM SEASON!

How to implement the mental game every day without it feeling like one more thing you have to do!

LET'S DO IT!