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From a Dream to Reality: EDIFY

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My business partner, Keri, and I

I’ve finally focused all my experience, education, and passion into one place. I have created a Sport Psychology Consulting company with a classmate of mine. We’ve created a unique approach that goes beyond the common intervention method of coaches and sport psychology consultants. Our company, EDIFY, encompasses and challenges all the skills I have attained as a student-athlete, coach, and teacher. I am so excited to finally be getting out there and doing what I love!! Check out our site! EDIFY – Empowering athletes for life through sport.

Keri, my business partner, has also started her own blog here on Her passion in life is running, as she ran cross-country in college and continues to run competitively today. Her blog focuses on the mental and physiological aspects of running. Her blog is inspirational, motivational, and very educational. She really knows her stuff! Check it out! Run Smart, Have Fun.

Writing for!

healthfitnessI am very excited to announce that I am now a contributor to! I am writing weekly sport psychology articles for their new Health & Fitness section. is an awesome website that is solely focused on youth athletics. They refer to themselves as the ESPN for youth sport!

Click here to check out my first article!

Thank you so much for all of your support! 

Autonomy Breeds Pride

It’s early. The morning dew is still beaded up upon each blade of grass that covers the outfield. If you look off into the distance, you can see the fog still hovering low over the surrounding fields.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA A familiar buzz catches your attention and shifts your gaze to the right field line of the field directly in front of you. It’s the low chatter of a well oiled team preparing for their upcoming competition. They are like a machine, rotating in and out of drills in perfect synchronization. You can almost see the aura of energy radiating around them.

This is one of my favorite scenes from the travel ball world; seeing a team that takes pride in themselves and is anxious to take the field. A team that doesn’t need a coach to get them started in the morning. A team that is accountable and takes responsibility for the necessary actions needed to prepare for competition.

How do you get your team to create that desired morning buzz? Here’s my best suggestion; let them develop their own warm-up routine and pre-game cheer. If you let them be a part of the creative process, they will feel a sense of ownership towards their pre-competition routine. It won’t be something they were merely ordered to do. It will be something they created. Their own masterpiece. Letting athletes make their own decisions gives them the opportunity to be proud of the things they’ve chosen.

Giving them the reins on creating their warm-up will also allow a few other things to emerge. This is a great opportunity to observe who steps up as a leader. softball-warm-upIt’s hard to get 11-20 people to agree on one thing, this will show you which person is comfortable taking charge and facilitating the compromises that will need to occur. It will also allow you to see unique skills your athletes possess; who’s creative, who’s a good listener, who thinks outside the box, who communicates well, who follows, and who’s organized.

Another thing to keep in mind; their warm-up doesn’t have to be uber serious the whole time. When I was playing collegiate ball, Sonoma State University used to begin their warm-ups with a silly human obstacle course relay race. I remember how loud they would get as soon as warm-ups started. We were on the opposite sideline running through our mundane dynamic stretches and they were cheering eachother on, laughing, smiling, and really getting pumped, yet staying loose for game time. I was always secretly jealous that my team didn’t take part in anything like that.

Let your athletes take charge, of course with knowing that you get the final approval on any routine that is developed. Give them a sense of pride and ownership by increasing their autonomy. You never know, they might come up with something that surprises you!

Quote of the day:

“The difference between a good athlete and a top athlete is the top athlete will do the mundane things when nobody’s looking.” – Susan True

A Beautiful Escape

It came to me while I was watching an episode of Greys’ Anatomy. On the episode of Greys, a girl witnessed her grandmother, mom, and father die on her 18th birthday. She then had to take responsibility for her two younger siblings. On this same day, one of the doctors had to operate on an anonymous patient. The surgery isn’t successful, and the doctor loses the patient. Turns out, this patient was her co-workers husband, and she would have to break the news to her. sky dugout

As I was bawling my eyes out watching this episode unfold, I realized something. There are so many terrible, heart-wrenching tragedies that occur in this world on a daily basis, but sports aren’t one of them. What a great carefree way to escape the hardships of our society. We get to go out on the field and hit, pitch, throw, catch, and dive, and the worst thing that could happen to us, is we lose a game. (Except maybe Injury, but in general) That’s it. We just lose, but we get to live and get to play another day.

We all tend to get caught up in the statistics of what team we need to beat, and how many errors the top players make… But if you take a step back and look at the big picture you realize, it’s just a game.prom catcher If you start to look at where softball falls within the demands and events that life can bring, it’s an escape. We get to escape all the stresses, tragedies, and frustrations of the world and just play.

As a coach, I want to harness that. I want to create an atmosphere where players can achieve pure happiness and unchained success. Give them a place to learn and succeed; a place where they can escape the stresses of life and experience success. I want to enhance their abilities and give them a role. I want to give them a chance to feel like they are apart of something, a needed piece of the puzzle. I want to give those kids who may have it rough at home, a place to feel truly important, successful, and accepted. cloudsI strive to teach them life lessons through the game of softball. I want to create a setting where I can give them the tools to face the real world, and a place to escape from it; all at the same time.

So coaches when you’re out on the field, and the going gets tough, take a second to breathe. Remember, you are contributing to their lives. Don’t forget that you have the power to give them an outlet for success. You could be the difference in their future.

Quote of the day:

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou 

Wise Words in The Circle

I’ve been a pitcher since I was eight years old; I played through high school at the varsity level, through travel ball all the way to the 18U Gold level, and four years in college. Needless to say, I’ve struggled on the mound more than a few times. I’ve been approached by coaches in all different manners in an attempt to get me back “in the zone”. Looking back, I have a personal opinion as to what worked for me. However, now I am graduate student of Sport Psychology have a few other perspectives to add to my repertoire.


I think that humor can work, especially in younger athletes. It allows them to breathe for a second without even realizing they are allowing their bodies to relax. With that said, I think you have to know your athletes first. For me, it definitely worked on occasion, but humor was also a prominent part of my disposition. Some players take this game so seriously that humor can come off as an insult. Instead of allowing them to take a load off, you can make them even more tense and anxiety ridden.

I was lucky enough to have the same travel coach for ten years of my playing experience. He knew me well as an athlete, and as a person. When I began to struggle on the mound his words from the dugout were always encouraging. JosephThis is the first piece of the puzzle that helped me “keep it together” when the wheels started to fall off. It helped to calm my thoughts of, “is he going to pull me?”.  If things didn’t improve from there he would come out to the mound. When he arrived he would simplify the situation for me. He wouldn’t mention the runners on base, or the two bombs I had just given up, or the tight score. He would tighten my focus into the things I could control like; trust your mechanics, keep the ball off the plate with two strikes, and keep your change up low in the zone. He would sometimes go the supportive route as well, saying things like, “I put you out here for a reason, and I’m leaving you in for a reason. I believe that you can handle this team and walk away successful. This is your battle and I’m going to let you fight it. Show me what you got.” Depending on the situation humor was used also, which worked at the right time and the right place.


As a sport psychology student I look at my experiences as a pitcher through a new lens. I realized that the biggest reason I began to struggle was focus, self-confidence, and anxiety. Quality thoughts lead to quality actions; my thoughts weren’t always directed where they should have been. Tense muscles perform differently than loose muscles; when athletes experience anxiety, the physiology of their muscles change. They no longer perform the way they were trained under relaxed conditions. A sudden lack in self-confidence can be a producer of anxiety. With this knowledge, I know that there are three things a coach should do when approaching the mound. Coach the pitcher to relax, use deep breathing techniques. It is physiologically impossible for a body to effectively deep breathe and panic at the same time. Deep breathing will help to combat the effects of anxiety. To handle focus, give your pitcher cues to think about that she is in control of, like her mechanics. She can’t control weather the umpire calls a ball a strike or not, she can’t control whether the batter swings or not, and she can’t control the performance of her teammates when a ball is put into play. What she can control is the thoughts in her mind, and the actions of her body. Give her a few things to think about to keep her mind concentrated on the correct area. Self-Confidence is a larger issue than any coach can fully combat with a single trip to the mound. However, knowing that your pitcher has your support is immensely helpful.

Quote of the day:

“Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.”- Robert Frost 

Only Teach What You Trust

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image-1I remember going to softball camps as a kid. Every camp had new techniques and new ways of doing things. Most camps forced their way into your skills and changed how you did things. Countless times I entered a camp with one bunting technique and left at the end of the week with another. Now that I’m a pitching coach, and have been randomly coaching at different practices with multiple kids, I’ve been looking back on my experiences at these camps.

Walking into a practice where you aren’t the head coach, or even associated with the team; you begin to wonder where your boundaries lie. You know you’re there for a reason, and the coaching staff has asked you to help out because they admire your abilities. But, how much should you impose on their players? I found myself wondering; should I just fix the basics? Should I just teach them how to focus on the mound, and go over mental cues? Am I allowed to completely change their motion when they indeed have a pitching coach they’ve been working with?

images-55Here’s the conclusion I came to. My success in softball came form sticking to one coach, and one philosophy my entire career. I was lucky enough to have the same pitching coach from the age of 10 until I ended my career at 22. I did go to camps, and they did temporarily change my mechanics, but as soon I as I went back to a team practice, my coaches put me straight back to our way of doing things. However, with that said, I can only teach what I know and believe in.

Today I gave a pitching lesson to two young pitchers who were having trouble mastering the change-up. I was asked to help them because the change-up was one of my best pitches. The way I see it is; I won’t fix something that isn’t broken.  If they throw their curveball well, even if it’s not the way I would teach it, I’ll leave it alone. If they are struggling with different pitches, I’ll change them to the way I was taught. After all thats why I’m here.

My impromptu lessons tend to look like this. I have the pitcher go through all her pitches so I can see how she throws. I then begin to work on the pitch I was asked to help her with, or we work on the pitch I think needs the most attention. I have her throw it her way multiple times.images-56 I then do something unique. I ask the pitcher to teach me how they throw the pitch. They become the coach for a minute and show me the motion, snap, grip, and release of their pitch. After talking through the physical cues, most pitchers begin to throw more effectively. (Ahh secret sport psychology at its finest.) I then go over mental cues for them to recite before executing a pitch. If these two tactics and minor tweaks don’t improve their pitch, I break them down completely and teach them my mechanics.

I empathize with players who are constantly changing their mechanics due to working with multiple coaches; it can become very frustrating. However, as a coach, it’s my duty to teach athletes the methods I truly believe in.  Even if it may frustrate and confuse them for a moment. I have to hope that my mechanics will assist them in experiencing a break through. I now understand why my skills were analyzed and changed throughout my softball camp experiences. As coaches we need to cater to individuals players, as every athlete has different strengths, but we must enforce the methods that we know; and believe in the most.


“You haven’t taught until they have learned.” -John Wooden

Your Thoughts Are Your Destiny

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Thought stopping is a common technique used in sport psychology to help athletes refocus by eliminating negative thoughts, but have you ever considered using this method throughout your everyday life? I hadn’t. It wasn’t until about three years after I initially learned about this technique that I realized it could help me in other situations, like my social, romantic, and educational aspects of life. It all clicked during a lecture on Cognitive Behavior Therapy in my Psychology of Counseling Class this last spring.

In Cognitive Behavior therapy they break down a persons reactions into a thought process following an activating event. It looks something like this.


First a person must encounter an event to activate a response, hence the term “activating event”. Let’s say for example, you are walking through a school or work common area and a friend passes you without acknowledging you. This is the activating event. Most viciouscirclecbtpeoples’s immediate belief, or thought process, would be; “They must not like me, or they are avoiding me.” Then we react due to our belief and we suffer the consequence  of a change in mood or even a physical behavior in some situations.

In order to change the consequence outcome we must stop the original belief thought process and replace it with a new one. This is the disputing intervention. Let’s go through the scenario again using a disputing intervention. This time we pass our friend in the hallway, and again they don’t acknowledge us. First, notice your instinctual thought. (They must not like me, or they are avoiding me.) This is where the thought stopping technique comes in handy. Acknowledge the thought, and then think of a trigger word or action to cease the thoughts. Simply saying “stop” out loud can work, or try swiping your foot acrossimages-52 the ground as if you are brushing away the negative thoughts.

Now start to develop an effective philosophy. Think logically of other reasons that could have caused your friend to pass by without greeting you. Maybe they are distraught over a situation that happened earlier in the day… Maybe they are extremely busy and while running through their “To-Do List” for the day they didn’t even notice you had passed…Maybe they just simply didn’t realize it was you.

Now take these new thoughts and intertwine them into your perception of yourself, relating it not only to the initial situation but your whole persona. In this situation I would think, “I am a good friend. I am caring, loyal, and go out of my way to do things for others.” Now I can let go of the negative belief and dismiss the incident as a misunderstanding and allow myself to relish in my new positive feeling. Worthy of friendship.

images-54As human beings we take in so many incidences and allow them to serve as evidence for reasons why we should diminish our self-worth. We play them over and over in our heads and damage the image we have of ourselves. These thoughts we recite as we re-play the negative evidence become our beliefs.The more we say something to ourselves the more we believe it. Think of all the things in a day that you employ as evidence to your negative thoughts. We ingrain them into our values as we recite them over and over again. Our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our habits, our habits become our character, and our character becomes our destiny.  But thats the beauty in it, we can control our thoughts, and in turn decide our destiny.

Quote of the Day:

396294_313426528697317_186309574742347_939836_170420469_nWatch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. – Frank Outlaw.

Providing Productive Consequences

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Over the weekend I found myself at a 12U traveling softball team practice. I had offered to help coach throughout the season every once in a while, and this particular Sunday I was called upon.  Practice began as the girls went through their warm up routine. A little images-51laughter here, a few giggles there, and suddenly balls were being missed left and right. No one could make a proper throw and the drills were quickly becoming unproductive. The head coach had finally had enough, and instructed the girls to jog a lap around the perimeter of the field because they needed to refocus.

This method of refocusing is common, and I can’t claim that I haven’t used it myself. I’ve seen countless coaches use it in hopes their athletes will come back with a better mindset. My question is, what part of jogging a lap teaches the players to refocus their mind? I can agree that it gives them a physical break from the prior drill, and maybe gives them a moment to take their mind off the skill, but how does this method 420110405140055001_t607transfer over to a game situation? During games athletes can’t call timeout and jog a lap around the field in order to regain focus.

My point is, as coaches, we need to teach our athletes how to refocus. Instead of sending them on a jog when the wheels start to fall off at practice. Why not gather them together and take a few cleansing breathes. Then discuss the physical and mental cues that are needed to perform the drill correctly. This teaches your athletes the actual steps they need to take in order to regain focus. It is also a method they can take into a game situation. They can take a breathe between pitches and think about what they need to do in order to be successful on the next pitch.softball-focus

It’s natural in our society to give or receive a consequence when an undesired outcome is reached. However, as coaches, we need to look at ourselves as teachers. Most consequences don’t teach athletes how to avoid similar situations in the future. When things start to go awry, pinpoint what is causing it. Then take the time to teach your athletes how they can counter that cause. Alter your perspective and strive to teach your players solutions rather then resorting to handing out a simple punishment.



“Practice puts brains in your muscles.”

A Well Deserved Thank You

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It has been over six years since I’ve stepped on the field in a Haze jersey with you as my head coach. I can still remember exactly what it 229001_1041540272659_4243_nfelt like to have a coach who fully believed in me. I wanted to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making me not only the player I am today, but the person I am today. Every day I find myself relying on something you instilled in me. You taught me to love this game at the age of eight, and continued to fuel my fire until you created a forever burning lpassion in me, which I am now turning into my career. The tough love you showered me with, at times being my biggest fan and at others my toughest critic, is the perfect essence of a true coach. You have not only taught me how to play, react, fail, and succeed in the game of softball, but in the game of life itself. I only aspire to do for my players what you have done for me. Thank you for the passion, the skills, the talent, the attitude, the character, and the love. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you.

Thank you, so much.

Quote of the day:

“Thank you for believing in my yesterdays, todays, and mostly my tomorrows”

What Percentage of Sports is Mental?

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What percentage of sports is mental and what percent is physical; a question that has been plaguing the sports world for decades. First, I think the answer heavily relies on what level of athletics we are analyzing. As players grow as athletes, I believe the game becomes more mental than physical. For young players who are just learning the basic skills, playing a sport is dependent on their physical ability.  If we confine the parameters to only encompass players at the elite level, and to analyze athletes only during game day performances, I believe that sports are 90% mental and 10% physical. images-45

Let’s start with the basics. Sports are physical competitions that demand physical and mental exertion in order to defeat an opponent. Athletes must be able to physically execute skills like throwing a baseball, sprinting to the end zone, and shooting a free-throw. On the other hand, they also need to employ mental strategies like knowing which pitch to throw on an 0-2 count, executing different defensive plays, and having the ability to detect and exploit your opponents weaknesses during a match. At the elite level most athletes acquire an edge over their opponent by utilizing the right strategies at the right time, like a squeeze bunt, or a Hail Mary.

There’s also the aspect of fluctuating performances to evaluate when analyzing the mental component of sport. I’ve played softball at the elite Division II collegiate level, and I know that everyday out on the field is significantly different than the last. Even the differences in performance between games can be monumental, but why? How is it possible for a pitcher to have full control of her pitches one game, and completely lose it the next? Forget games, this can even happen between innings. Without injury, it is impossible for a pitcher, or any athlete, to drastically decrease in athletic skill from one game to the next. The only component that has the ability to fluctuate so radically in a short amount of time is a mindset. Their mental approach to the game is what causes fluctuation in performances.images-46

Athletes who compete at the elite level posses skills that are autonomic, performed without thought. These skills can be compared to a reaction; their bodies respond to a stimulus without consulting the brain first, they are programed to simply react. If the skills used to compete at the elite level are ingrained into the muscles, why do we see athletes “choke” on routine plays? This phenomenon is usually caused by pressure in intense situations which produces anxiety within an athlete. The anxiety the mind experiences creates a physical change in how the athlete moves, their muscles become tense and hinders them from performing eccentric contractions appropriately.  This physical change is created by a mindset.

Sports Psychologist Dr. Doug Gardner sums it up perfectly, “Our thoughts influence our actions and our actions influence our thoughts… each physical movement has a mental component.” Our physical movements all start with a mental process, and produce a cognitive reaction.  Due to my experiences and attained knowledge within my field, I believe that sports are far more mental than physical. In fact, I think they are almost completely mental, which leads me to my concluding answer to the proposed question; sports are 90% mental and 10% physical.

Quote of the day:

“I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability.”- Bruce Jenner 

Baring it all

My world from my perspective.

One Game, One Love.

Coaching perspectives and life lessons of a Sports Psychology M.A.

Live Love Sport

Improving your mental game

Secret Life of a Startup

Some things you can't complain about at work

M I Initiatives

Belief in Human Potential

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