The Next Level

The Next Level

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all love for what you are doing or learning to do.”

Getting to the next level is not easy. It is easily said, written down, and talked about, but when your athlete actually starts gaining experience on the field and getting older to the time of recruitment, she will realize that getting to the next level is not going to be simple. It is going to be hard, take lots of time, and challenge them mentally and physically. If they want to get to the next level, they have to stop hoping and wishing, and start working and believing. If your athlete wants to get to the next level in a sport, then they will have to learn how to love the process, study the sport and their position, study their strengths and weaknesses, create a consistent schedule, start training their muscles and endurance, and mentally preparing themselves.

They will miss out on school dances, birthday parties, hanging out with friends, and so forth. They will have to study during their breaks, lunches, and do extra tutoring for their SAT’s. They will be at the gym, going to practice, and strengthening their skills in lessons while their friends are going to movies, dances, and having slumber parties. They will be making sacrifices. But instead of looking at the small picture, it’s important to look at the big picture. They won’t be missing out on every single thing, they won’t be stuck with their head in a book during their free time every day, and they won’t have to sacrifice their other interests outside of the sport forever. They just have to remember WHY they are making sacrifices, taking extra time to study, and doing extra practice time. They are preparing themselves for the next phase in their life that involves the sport they love that leads them into a pristine college that will guide them into their career. It will be really hard for your athlete, but we have to be that person that helps them see life through another perspective and lens that will provide strength, perseverance, determination, and understanding of priorities and values.

Some athletes have a hard time finding time for friendships, school, and softball. It’s hard and it is scary for them to feel like they are missing out, losing friends, and finding time to get all of their school work done. As a coach it is important for us to help our athletes through not only the process of recruitment, but everything they are going through because of their goals and dreams. Provide knowledge, answer questions, address concerns, and help them with scheduling. Provide assistance, help instruct, teach lessons, and guide them into the next stepping stone they need to reach in order to reach their next goal.

Getting to the next level isn’t easy, but it is possible! They just have to be willing to see what they are capable of, so let’s help them see through that lens of empowerment and get them to that dream!

Written by Nikoli Sharp


A Coaching Perspective

A Coaching Perspective

“Be the woman who you needed as a girl.”

Every child, athlete, and person has a different upbringing. We have grown up with different role models, learned different ways and styles of life, and overall we were molded into the person, student, and athlete that we are through what we were taught in the household, in the classroom, on the field, and the life we each grew up in. We were taught different skills, taken on different types of trips, vacations, and events, and grown up in different lines of discipline, respect, and rules. We are all different in many aspects of life, but we also have similarities, common knowledge, agreeable factors, and values. We have opinions and perspectives that we share and find understanding and value from. But most of all, we learn what type of person we want to be, the person we had or wish we had as a young child, student and athlete that can teach our own kids, students, and athletes how to be the best version of themselves.

As a coach, instructor, teacher, and overall person, I will always strive to be the best version of myself for my young ones to look up to, learn from, have support from, and to be the person they can always count on to have their best interest at heart.

As we grow up we have that person, guardian, parent, family member, or coach that taught us the person we wanted to be or maybe even who we didn’t want to be, maybe both! What we went through helped shape us into who we are now, and to be the best version of ourselves so that the young ones who look up to us can learn how to become the best version of themselves with support, care, understanding, respect, discipline, and excitement for the life they can build and the dreams they can reach!

Let’s strive to be our very best so that our young ones can have the very best and they can keep the positive, caring, and supportive ways of life a part of this ever changing world. If there’s one thing we should never allow to change, is the acts of kindness, love, support, and family that we have for the ones we are blessed enough to have in our lives.

Written by Nikoli Sharp


I Have Nothing To Worry About

I Have Nothing To Worry About

“Worrying is a misuse of your imagination.”

Starting as little kids, we imagine things. Dreams, hopes, fairytales and so forth. We see everything with bright lights, happiness, and excitement. But as we get older, we suddenly learn about this sense of worry…

Worrying about what could go wrong with every choice we make. Worrying about the unknown. Worrying about our possible faults, mistakes, and fears. We worry about the smallest and rarest things every time we start to move towards a goal, a dream, or a new place in our lives.

 Instead of imagining those dreams that are surrounded with positivity and color, we start to envision negative scenarios that are either this way or that way, black or white with no grey area. The grey area is where life is. The unknown, the unexpected, and the unimaginable. The grey area is the place where dreams are worked on tirelessly, where we face our fears, where things go incredibly right and incredibly wrong. The grey area is where life truly is. There is no perfect way of life, no perfect dreams or goals that are set and made for every single person. Everyone has to find their own way. Their own right and their own wrong based on themselves and themselves alone. There is not one right way for everyone in this world, but there is a right way that we can each find for ourselves in order to make and reach our own dreams.

We have to learn to worry less and to trust ourselves. Trust our instincts and strive towards our hopes, dreams, and even fairytales. They may not be exactly what you imagine, but everything will work out exactly as it should as long as you believe in yourself and you believe in what you are capable of. You are not just a person with scenarios going on in your mind, your a playmaker. You are a doer. So don’t let worrying overtake your imagination. Let your imagination fly towards the sky, because you my dear, are a star in the making.

“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”-Walt Disney

Written by Nikoli Sharp




“Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is only for the chosen few-for the superstars. The truth is greatness is for us all. This is not about lowering expectations; it’s about raising them for every last one of us. Greatness is not in one special place, and it’s not in one special person. Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.”

Softball as in many sports like baseball, football, and soccer has become an incredibly big and well-known sport that is watched and talked about, where we see and hear names on T.V., read about them in newspapers, magazines, blogs, and we follow them on social media. Those pro athletes are the “stars” in their sport, as they become the faces we think of when we see or hear about a team name. Those athletes become valuable and more noticeable than the other athletes in the sport who are also incredibly talented, important, and valuable. We don’t think about the unknown, we think about the well-known. We don’t think about their character, but follow their reputation. We jump onto bandwagons and cheer on the “face” of the team rather than the diligence, support, and talent that each player has and puts forth throughout the game. We become so consumed with society’s favorite, that we think that the best athletes are those considered “special” or the teams that are “special”. Even at the young ages and within travel ball, we become consumed with the team names, coaches, and athletes that have been considered and noted as “the best”. We listen to reputation rather than learning, seeing, and experiencing for ourselves what we need in order to be great, not what everyone else says is great.

Because young athletes and parents are chasing the reputation of others, our athletes tend to fall into this idea that they are not capable of greatness if they are not on that “special” team or coached by the “best” coaches. Greatness becomes this disappearing goal and dream that leads to lack in self-confidence, diligence, and determination. They give up on the sport, themselves, and on their dreams. They don’t realize that even though they are not on the team that is considered the best, coached by coaches who are considered the best, or categorized as the best on the team, that doesn’t mean they are not capable of greatness. Greatness doesn’t come from what society says, it comes from rising to the challenges, working hard every chance they get, and never giving up on themselves. It is not about the name on the jersey, it is about the heart in the player and the heart of the team.

Society doesn’t choose who is great, we determine that ourselves.

Written by Nikoli Sharp


Wanting and Doing the Best for your Athletes

Wanting and Doing the Best for your Athletes

“The greatest success we’ll know is helping others succeed and grow.”

Coaching is not always easy, sometimes it can be extremely difficult, but as a coach it is our responsibility to do our absolute best to prepare our athletes for each at-bat, situation, pitch, game, tournament, and level of play. If we are not preparing our athletes and teaching them skills and providing them with knowledge, we are not fulfilling our purpose as a coach. It is up to us to not only want what is best for our athletes, but to do what is best for our athletes.

Each athlete is different. In the sport of softball, we have all kinds of athletes on the spectrum of strengths and weaknesses. It is up to us to use the strengths as a whole, and to work on the weaknesses purposefully and sufficiently in order for the athletes to get better as individuals and as a team. If we only focus on their strengths and ignore their weaknesses, we are not helping them, challenging them, or preparing them. If that is what you are doing as a coach, you are ignoring or covering the weaknesses, and that is disrespectful to your athlete. If you are a coach, do not push the weaknesses to the side, make sure you are including drills, knowledge, and questions that help them see, understand, and apply the new to start getting rid of the old.

We should be creating practice plans that not only keep their strengths tuned and progressing, but a plan that starts and keeps pushing their weaknesses further up the spectrum in becoming strengths. I have seen and heard a lot of negativity about coaches, practices, and games that is extremely upsetting. As a coach, we have to realize how much of a role model we are and how much of an impact we have on each athlete, parent, and fellow coaches. If you take the position of a coach, it should not be because you want to be in charge, because you want the title, or because you want your kid to play. Taking the position of a coach should be to help, teach, instruct, prepare and do everything you can to get each of your athletes to progress consistently, to compete successfully, and to reach and play at the next level sufficiently. It is and should always be about the athletes on your team.

Parents and athletes are putting trust into their coaches. Parents and athletes care about the practices, team bonding, games, and what the coach says and believes in regards to softball. Not everyone has played softball or been around sports, so parents are also learning, asking questions, and putting trust and time into their athletes sport. If you are wasting that time, you are taking away from an athletes ability to learn and progress each minute they spend on the field and with the team. If you are not coaching for the right reasons, that trust will not be present within the team, you will lose players, and you will lose respect not only as a coach, but as a person.

Be there for your athletes! Be purposeful when you are making practice plans, be their cheerleader, but also their challenger to keep them progressing, learning, and growing. Be their role model they can trust and learn from. Be their COACH. A coach who cares. supports, and does everything they possibly can to help their athletes be learners and competitors of the game.

 Are you wanting and doing the best for your athletes?

Written by Nikoli Sharp


The Heart of a Champion

The Heart of a Champion

 “Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”

Champions are not just made in the gym, on the field, or in the classroom. A champion comes from within. It is a part of your heart that cannot be simply defined. It is a part of the heart that holds a deep desire, undeniable determination, goal oriented visions, and an overall dream that lights a fire in the hearts of those who can’t shake the feeling of never giving up. It is a part of a champion that has the will to succeed and the will to fight through the pain. A champion is not measured by the wins, but by the passion within. A champion does not fall, but rises every time they are faced with a challenge. A champion does not break or fold under pressure, but pushes back when the sport gets hard. A champion is more than just an athlete. It is so, so much more than that.

Many athletes, coaches, and parents seek winning and only winning. They measure level and skill by the amount of wins their team or athlete has, by the stats they see on the computer, and by comparison to other athletes and teams. They chase the name of “champion” with the thought of it being easily defined by a single notion of winning and winning only. It is easy to ignore, not acknowledge, and misunderstand that a champion is not what is formed and obviously seen on the outside, but it is created, formed, and built from the inside. A champion is so much more than a record. It is so much more than statistics. It is so much more than a winner.

Winning records may give you the title of being a champion for that day, for that weekend, and for that moment, but what makes an athlete a champion every day? It is not all of the trophies sitting on the windowsill, medals hanging, game balls and home run balls sitting on their dresser, or plaques plastered on the walls. A champion is the athlete who has the heart and the will to consistently create and work to reach new goals, to practice without being told, to go the extra mile when their mind tells them no, to fight through the obstacles, always finds time for honing in on their skills, and to keep working hard to get better on every aspect of the game and their position on the field. A true champion is not just given that title for the day; they hold the meaning of that word within their heart every single day.

Every athlete at some point loses, has a bad day, and has a performance that does not reveal their potential. That is normal and it is inevitable. But the unfortunate part  is when those times trigger the words that slip out of our mouths and into our minds that demean the person, coach, and athlete that we are and are capable of being. We let those hard times define if we are good enough, if we are capable, and if we are a champion. Win or lose, the heart of a champion does not fade. The heart of a champion cannot be taken away. The heart of a champion cannot be defined by their good days and bad days. The heart of the champion remains a piece of them that stays lit and full of desire to keep fighting to get better, to keep positively envisioning themselves, and to keep striving towards their dreams.

“Champions don’t show up to get everything they want; they show up to give everything they have.”

Written by Nikoli Sharp


Resting Time is Valued Time

Resting Time is Valued Time

“Sometimes making progress means taking rest days.”

Many of us athletes, coaches, and parents push our athletes and ourselves to the limit. We keep playing, practicing, and training every single day. We take private lessons, gym sessions, and nutrition to the next level so that we take our performance in our softball positions to the next level as well. We strive for our idea of “perfection”, get disappointed when it is not met and jump for joy when we do.

But we also get sore, tired, and run down. We lose focus, passion for the game, and sight of our goals. We start going through the motions instead of taking on challenges. We start to stay in the same place because our bodies and minds are beat up; we keep going and going, even though we are not improving.

It is okay to work hard every day, but we have to make sure that we are working our minds and bodies in a positive and progressive way so that every once in a while, we REST!

Resting time is valued time. It allows us to restart, refocus, rebuild, and reassess. If we don’t rest, we will not move forward, but completely plateau, sometimes even moving backwards. Playing tired whether it is mentally or physically is not helping your performance, but stopping improvement. Take advantage of REST! We need it! Whether it is for a day or for a week, you have to give yourself a break. So many of us worry that resting and taking a break is going to hurt us and slow us down, but it is actually helping us. We have to learn to listen to our body and to our hearts so that we know when it is time to rest. If we can do that, then we can reach our goals, expectations, and our idea of success without a clouded mind, tired body, and lack of focus.

Rest, rest, rest! Let your body and your mind have a break so that you can focus, find that love for the game again, work hard, rebuild yourself, and start moving in a positive and improving way.

If you push yourself and never allow your body and mind a break, you will be making everything a lot harder on yourself, negativity will arise, and lack of control will reside.

Find your intuition and listen! Allow yourself to rest so that you can move forward and become your very best!

Written by Nikoli Sharp


The Value of Fitnesss and Health

The Value of Fitness and Health

Everyone tends to jump onto the latest fitness fads or they try to do what their favorite athletes, celebrities, trainers, magazine, or website says which doesn’t always hold validity and isn’t necessarily the best choice for every single person. We are all different! As parents and coaches of young athletes in the sports industry, it is important for us to guide our athletes in a positive direction when it comes to health and fitness. Young women, especially as they become teenagers, become more aware of their fitness and health as they are challenged at practices, games, showcases, and constantly competing for it. In order for them to focus on their fitness and health as a tool for heightening their strength, agility, endurance, and athleticism to help them advance to the next level, is extremely important. The words, image, and values that we speak and teach need to be of good nature that values the work and progress that goes into living a healthy lifestyle that will help provide guidance and value to our young athletes who will be able to apply those values into helping themselves on the field and in life.

We are all guilty of having flaws, judgement, and negativity consume us. Comparison slips into our mind when we flip through a magazine, scroll through our news feed, watch a show or movie. Social media tends to tell us what is right and wrong. It becomes the main source that feeds our thoughts into the wishing, hoping, and destructive behavior in order to reach society’s standards. Our idea of acceptance becomes altered, materialistic, and a heavy burden that lay on our shoulders and in our minds. We strive for acceptance from our surrounding peers which reflects if we can accept ourselves.

I never want our young athletes to feel like they are not good enough, to lack confidence in themselves by societal terms, and to lose who they truly are through the eyes of another. Our young athletes still have minds that are being molded into being the wonderful person they are meant to be. They are learning their own values, beliefs, and finding their own voice. We have to teach them the value of individuality-being their own person and loving who they are from the inside out.

Our fitness and health is not a fad, it is a lifestyle. It is the choice to become healthy because YOU want to. It should reflect YOUR goals. It should be based on YOUR abilities, likes, and dislikes. It takes time. Struggling is inevitable. Effort is crucial. Success is reachable!

We are habitual creatures. We fall into habits. We become accustomed to our favorite foods and stick to what we know. We are afraid of embarrassment, judgement, and the unknown. We think we have to cut out all the “bad” that society categorizes. It is up to us to teach our kids that we should be creating ourselves through our own values and beliefs. Becoming the healthy, diligent, and determined person who strives for bettering themselves every single day to become the best version of themselves whether it is on the field and/or in their life. We are not just a coach for softball, we are coach that helps them in their own life whether it is in the present moment or in their future.

We need to make sure they are doing what they need to do to reach their goals in order for them to find self-love, confidence, or whatever it may be! The only thing that matters is how they see themselves. It is up to us to help guide them into that positive direction!

Teaching and coaching our young athletes small, realistic goals that all serve as stepping stones to reach their ultimate goal is going to help them in a multitude of ways. It is not going to be easy all the time, but it is going to be worth it. It takes time, strength, courage, commitment, loyalty, support, understanding, and knowledge.

Knowledge and understanding about health and fitness is crucial. Do research. Learn about the foods you love, haven’t tried, the importance of and the benefits they each possess. Learn how the body works when it is fueled by whole foods, challenged with fitness training, weight training, speed and agility, conditioning, yoga, etc. Try, and try again. Each athlete will find what their health does for them. They will find what works best for them and what doesn’t. The more they learn about fitness, health, and their own body, the more they will be able to create their own goals that reflect on what they love to do for their health and fitness, the more they will enjoy it, and the more likely they will stick to it and keep striving to be the best version of themselves.

Written by Nikoli Sharp


Complain As Much As You Want…

Complain As Much As You Want…

“Be stronger than your strongest excuse.”

Excuses, drama, lack of respect, crossing boundaries, responsibility, and honesty are just a few of the core areas we lack in sports due to many situations and differences in personalities, beliefs, and values. We have parents and players who complain, whine, yell, create drama, and have a demeaning language against coaches and other players when their child isn’t perceived as the “star” like they see. I am not saying all coaches are out in the clear, but I and the coaches I work with and that are a part of our organization do not allow favoring, and we do not crumble under the negative and demeaning behavior and words from parent and player complaints. We stand our ground on what we believe is valuable within the team which is respect, diligence, commitment, and communication. These focal points come with a lot of details and other factors, and I whole heartedly believe that parents and players on our teams who do not respect these points, are not going to reach the next level successfully, and they will deal with the same problems on any team they are on.

As coaches, we will have faults. We will have errors in judgement. We will follow our gut. We will speak our mind. We will make great calls. We will make a plan and see it through. We will make a plan and have to change it when something goes awry. We will make judgements. We will base decisions on attitudes, diligence, and experience. We will base decisions on practice, performance, and commitment. We will laugh, yell, smile, roll our eyes, get angry, get happy, feel disappointed, become frustrated, and become excited. We are human, just like you. We are not perfect, just like you. We are not always right, just like you. We are not always wrong, just like you. But what we do have is a heart for the game. A love for teaching and helping your athletes improve. A passion for guiding your athletes to the next level of play. A diligent attitude to do our BEST in enhancing your athlete’s skill sets. A committed and positive demeanor in getting your athletes to the next level, helping them create new goals, and helping them reach their highest potential along the way. We do not speak words of doubt or negativity, but words that come from the heart that are surrounded by respect and honesty.


“Boundaries are your responsibility. You decide what is and isn’t allowed.”

Boundaries are defied all the time, but if we want to come to a positive conclusion, we need to communicate at the right time. At the Gold level, parents cannot walk into the dugout, talk to their kids, and yell and complain to the coaches. Your athlete is old enough to communicate with their coaches. Due to being at the Gold age, we start inflicting rules that will also be followed and instructed at the college level, so if your athlete needs food, water, Gatorade, or anything you think they need, give it to a coach, and we will give it to them. If you have complaints, your athlete is to speak to the coaches about their issues, opinions, and beliefs. But as we know, this will not always be followed, so if you need to complain or address issues, it is a 24 hour cool down rule. Ignoring this rule is not revealing a respectable demeanor to the athletes, other parents, or team. It is causing tension, negative energy, and blurring the team’s focus, values, expectations, and rules.

There will be words, opinions, and plans that we say and do that you may not like or want to hear, but if it is something you don’t agree with, ask us at the right time, not before, during, or after a game, but at the appropriate time, instead of letting emotions dictate words and cause a negative outcome. Yelling and bashing the coaches and other players is not respectful, it is not helping your situation, and it is not getting your point across. It is wrong and it is unprofessional. It is showing your athletes a behavior that is unacceptable, disrespectful, and hindering.


“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

No matter who you are, you are given what you work for and earn. There will be athletes that are more agile, stronger, faster, have better mechanics, a better attitude, and possess the willingness to play anywhere and learn a new position to get onto the field. So earning a spot will not be easy. Just because an athlete works hard doesn’t mean their opponent isn’t. Many factors play into the coaches decision on the best team and lineup they put into every single game, but complaining and whining about playing time is not going to get you to the next level. Diligence, dedication, determination, communication, and being a great teammate will. If you are willing to work diligently and earn your spot, you will be learning the importance of dedication to the sport. If you are willing to be a great team player and work hard for your TEAM, willing to play a different position, willing to learn a new position, then you will be learning the importance of TEAM, and diminishing selfishness. If you communicate with your coaches and ask questions, you will be learning the importance of accountability while growing in maturity. You have to understand that a coach, especially a college coach wants an ATHLETE; A versatile, agile, determined, positive, communicative, diligent athlete who is willing to put the work in, understand with an honest heart and eyes why they are not starting, and to say “YES coach, I will learn third base for the team”, or “YES coach, I will work harder”, or “YES coach, I understand the plan for the game.” If you want to be the starting pitcher, catcher, third baseman, center fielder, or whichever position you want, you EARN it. You train, you practice, and you work for it.


“There are three things you are always in total control over: Your attitude, your choices, and your effort.”

If you want to be an athlete at the next level, crying will not get you there. You have to be tough, determined, and have a mindset that will not say WHY ME, but TRY ME! If you fail, make a mistake, get injured, hit by a ball, or have a bad game, being dramatic, overbearing, complaining, whining to your parents, and being negative about the situation is not helping you, it is hurting you and your team. It is showing coaches and teammates that you are not willing to work yourself out of the problem, pick yourself up and dust off, be a supportive teammate, and become resilient; you are not a team player who is ready for the next level. You are a softball player who is selfish and lazy. An athlete who wants to improve, earn a spot, and reach their highest potential do not let obstacles stand in their way, and they do not let the behavior, attitudes, or words affect their own attitude, performance, and work ethic. An athlete who has a positive attitude, takes on the challenges, and works constantly to get better, will reach their highest potential.

Honest Eyes, Ears, and Words:

“The truth isn’t always comforting, but it is real.”

Understanding where your athlete’s skill level is compared to their teammates and competition is sometimes very disappointing and hard to look at. Rose colored glasses, sugar coating, and lying is formed and used on your athlete isn’t going to make them better. Telling your kid she is the best is not hyping them up but hurting them; she has to fight and work to be the best she can be, not just complain when she isn’t getting the playing time she wants, but doesn’t deserve. As coaches within our organization, we value honesty. We will tell you the truth, answer your questions, and give you feedback that is honest. It may not always be what you want to hear, but it will most likely be what you need to hear. The truth hurts sometimes, and can be heart breaking, but the truth is not being said to be hurtful, it is said to be helpful.


“Being responsible means you do the things you are expected to do, and accept the consequences of your actions.”

It is your responsibility to go to every single practice. It is your responsibility to work 110% at practice and in games. It is your responsibility to understand that if you have an injury and if you miss practice, then you are not going to be given a starting spot right away once you are better. It is your responsibility to understand that just practicing with the team is not going to get you a starting position. It takes an athlete practicing on their own time, an athlete going to private lessons, and it takes fitness training, proper nutrition, and mental preparation. If you want a starting position and you want to get to the next level, it takes a lot more than a couple practices a week. College and professional athletes did not sit around and complain to get what they wanted. They practiced every single day, they trained on their own, they created a healthy and wholesome diet, they prepared their mindset for struggles, obstacles, losing, and winning, and they never gave up or expected anything to be given to them. They took control of their future by working in the present and never stopping whether it got hard or easy. Take responsibility for your actions, your behavior, your demeanor, your work ethic, your health, and your mindset.

Written by Nikoli Sharp


Reset the Mindset

Reset the Mindset

“Over thinking, the art of creating problems that weren’t even there.”

Our biggest competitor is not the team on the other side of the field, but our own mind; our thoughts, emotions, and attitude.

When our athletes make a mistake, many of them are so incredibly competitive that they get overly emotional. This lack of control or their lack of understanding those emotions and how to use them in a more beneficial way for themselves and their team, causes everyone involved to lose focus. They lose their laser focus on what they should be doing every pitch, every situation, or where they will be throwing the ball if they become the play maker. When our athletes lose focus, they lose respect, and if they lose respect for themselves, their teammates, their coaches, and for the game, it becomes a recurring problem every time they are faced with a mistake or struggle, unless we teach them how to use their emotions, how to use their mistakes, and how to RESET their MINDSET.

Resetting the mindset isn’t easy, and it is a constant work in progress. As a coach, athlete, teammate, and parent, it is important to learn how to reset and keep working through every situation we are reckoned with. There may be bobbled ground balls, dropped fly balls, a missed sign, a bad call, an error in judgement, a strikeout in the batter’s box, and so forth, but if we can teach our athletes the value in resetting the mindset, they will be able to move forward in a positive, mature, and stronger mental state within the sport and in life on its own.

Resetting the mindset is simply said, but not easily done. Not understanding how to learn from the situation and move forward with a clean slate, not only allows negative emotions, and demeaning thoughts to take over our performance is disappointing.  It is challenging to say the least, but when we are able to explain the value and importance of resetting their mindset whenever they make an error, they will be able to not only understand how much it will help them improve, progress, reach goals, and keep striving towards their highest potential, they will be able to apply this valuable tactic in life when obstacles are placed in front of them in a multitude of situations and experiences. Curveballs may be a pitch, but life sure knows how to throw them!

As a coach myself, I am not just striving and working diligently to help my athletes thrive in the sport they love, but striving to help them thrive as a person and in life! Softball may be categorized as a sport, but it is much more than that. It is a place you learn how to create friendships, where you learn teamwork, discipline, respect, and honor. It is where you learn how to thrive under pressure, pick yourself and friends up from hard situations, and to face challenges and overcome hardships. It is a place they learn how to get back up after they are knocked down. It is a place they learn how to compete, work diligently, and to find motivation. It is a place that teaches them the importance of health, nutrition, strength and endurance training. It is a sport that teaches them that no matter who they have to face, what they have to go through, and how hard things can get, they are capable of getting past the hardships and they are never alone when doing so; they don’t just have their family at home, they have their softball family that will always be there for them, through the good times and the bad times, they will always have a cheering section that is fighting for their best!

So even though softball and life will be throwing us curve balls, learning how to reset the mindset will make an incredible difference that will keep our athletes, coaches, parents, and team striving for the best in anything and everything they do with a positive demeanor, a courageous heart, and a strong mind.

Remember, your mind is your biggest competitor, but also your strongest encourager.

Written by Nikoli Sharp

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