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The Value of a Guide!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #95 - Watch or listen HERE

I spend a lot of time looking back at my softball coaching career.

Sometimes I look back to remind myself of how lucky I am to have worked with so many amazing young women.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of several of my former players throughout the day (believe it or not, Jauert and Stephanie, it isn’t always you 😊).

Sometimes I think about all the people I worked with and how lucky I am to have had them guide me, work alongside me and follow me – even through the craziest of times.

I think about big wins…on and off the field. I think about tough losses…on and off the field.

At times, I look back and think about how I would do things differently if I knew then what I know now.

The truth is, I knew a lot of what I know now then, but just because we know something doesn’t mean we do anything about it.

Looking back won’t change a thing. But it can help us use our experience to change the future. It can also help us help others change theirs!

As it relates to mental training, I did a much better job of utilizing what I knew then when I was at Cleveland State. The reason isn’t too hard to figure out!

I had a guide! I had someone to keep me on track! I had someone to help me ask the right questions! I had someone to hold a mirror in front of my face and show me how my thoughts, emotions and actions were affecting the bottom line.

I had my mentor, Dr. Susan Ziegler!

At 26 years old, I was the youngest DI softball coach in the country when I got my big break at Cleveland State. To say I didn’t know what I didn’t know was an understatement.

I may not have known much, but I did know that I needed Dr. Ziegler. I needed her to teach me how to manage the mental game, not only for my team but more importantly, for me!

I had passion. I was excitable. I had high expectations. I wore my emotions on my sleeve. All these things can be good. But as I always told my players, what makes you great can also be your biggest weakness!

I remember Dr. Ziegler telling me very directly after we got our butts handed to us in a handbasket, that the losses were on me.

I immediately went into defensive mode.

“Did you not see the ball get thrown all over the field, or the balls we were swinging at that were crap?” I thought.

Then I stepped back for a minute. I realized that what she was giving me was priceless. She was showing me how my actions and reactions were affecting the team and serving as a distraction.

I have thought about that interaction from more than 25 years ago a million times.

That does not mean I didn’t do what she accused me of again. I am certain I did!

But what it does make me realize is that we all need someone to hold a mirror up in front of us sometimes. We need that person who is willing to help us get a good picture of how our thoughts and actions (or reactions) affect our performance and those around us.

Because ultimately, we are in competition with ourselves.

To say it even more directly, we are in competition with our choices. I chose to take my disappointment from one game to another and yet I expected our players not to do so.

Our choices determine our focus.

Our choices determine our actions.

Our choices determine our feelings.

Our choices do not determine our thoughts, but they do determine what we continue to think about.

Our choices determine our direction.

Our choices determine our destiny.

And here is the cool part….WE MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES.

I wanted to blame my team's lackluster play for my actions. Although their play was unacceptable at the time, it was not they who determined how I was acting. IT WAS ME!

If I can teach anything to the teams I work with, this is it…WE CHOOSE. We choose to allow negative emotions to lead us, or we choose to move forward with productive thoughts and actions.

We may not choose what happens, but we choose how we react to everything…and that changes what happens next!

Let’s go back a minute to a statement I made earlier. I expected my team to move on, but I chose not to!

How can we expect those we lead to move when we can’t even do it ourselves?

This is where training comes in…having a guide or a plan.

Here is where I come in. One of my favorite parts of doing what I do is the time I spend with the coaches of the programs I train. I LOVE being a part of their work. I love going back and forth on what they need for their teams.

I love when they participate or pick up something that will help them manage moments more effectively.

We all know that having a plan and an accountability partner helps us grow and achieve more.

If I needed it as a head coach, I am certain our athletes need it, too and I can help!

I would love to provide both to your athletes this summer. Please encourage them to take advantage of my FREE short seminar to help athletes add a few mental training tools to their daily/weekly routines this summer. They can register HERE for the virtual workshop.

To really move the needle, please share with them my SSB College Athlete Summer Training Program. There are two options, one during the day and one in the evening.

We will spend time in four virtual sessions where we will build personal mental game plans intended to help them understand how their thoughts, feelings and choices affect their performance.

I promise it will be worth the time and investment for each of them. Groups are small and each athlete will be set up with an accountability partner. They will also get individual feedback from me on how their plans can be implemented and improved to enhance their game!

I can’t wait to get this program started.

Then how about you, Coach?

Could you use a plan as you think about stepping up your team’s mental game? Reading my tips and all the other amazing content out there is a start, but going it alone goes by the wayside when things get busy. And leaders are ALWAYS busy!

We know that the execution of strategy leads to results. So, what strategies can we put together for your team? What systems can we implement to help you get the most out of the talent on your roster?

Take some action today to change your program. Share information with your athletes and those coming into your program and get them some extra work in this summer!

Then keep your eyes open to register for a free virtual workshop focused on implementing mental tools into your training coming up in June. Registration will open next week. More details to follow!

In the meantime, if you are still in the hunt for a championship, BEST OF LUCK. For the rest of us, let’s enjoy all of the spring championships that are flooding ESPN and think of ways we can up our game as we watch the thrill of victory and the lessons of losses!

Please reach out with questions about the upcoming college athlete training programs and programs available for your teams!

Manage the moments and have a great week!


P.S. See registration links below.

College athlete FREE workshop – Click HERE

SSB College Athlete Summer Virtual Mental Performance Program – Daytime – Click HERE

SSB College Athlete Summer Virtual Mental Performance Program – Daytime – Click HERE

Julie Jones

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946

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