My name is Rachel and this is my story. Around the age of four my parents signed me up to play tee ball at Sharpsburg Little League. Little did I know that this was the start to a big part of my future life. As I continued through my athletic career, I became more serious. By the age fourteen I was getting college interest and I eventually committed to play Division One softball at Liberty University under Head Coach, Dot Richardson, a 2x Gold Olympic Medalist.
A lot of people questioned why I committed so early, but during that time it was very common for girls my age and even younger to commit their future so early, which resulted in us having to grow up a lot faster. The only people who really understood how it felt to continuously show growth as a player every year, and the pressure of wanting to perform your best in front of your college coaches at such a young age, were my teammates. Unfortunately, they didn’t go to school with me. At the time, none of my school friends understood, so I kept how I felt to myself.
Just out of middle school, I was training for college and traveling the country to compete and prepare myself for the biggest stages of the softball world. It was always easy for me to focus on getting stronger and improving my skill level. It wasn’t until college that I truly faced adversity in the sport of softball, which is a story I will share momentarily.
Throughout high school I was able to achieve Hitter of the Year, 1st Team All Conference, 1st Team All County, and Top 100 ranked player in the nation for my class every year. With that comes expectations and judgment, but I love competing and I knew that if I continued to trust the gifts God gave me, that he would lead me to even bigger things.
I felt prepared to go to college, but something that people don't always talk about is that no one cares what you have done up until then. All my accolades, wins, losses, errors, homeruns, diving catches, and stats did not matter. It was a clean slate. The comfort of always having a starting spot was gone and I had more than three girls competing for my position. This competition motivated me. I was in the gym on my off days, pushing myself harder than I ever had.
Once fall games came around, I was not in the starting line up. I tried to accept that I was a freshman and still had to prove myself, but it drove me crazy knowing what I was capable of. The culmination of being so critical of myself, experiencing change, studying pre-med, practicing time management, and working hard everyday to get better, left me mentally exhausted. I tried to ignore it. I kept telling myself that it was too soon to feel that way and that people would not understand because I am” just a freshman”. I felt that society had settled on the fact that “you are just a freshman, you will eventually get your turn.” But I wanted that turn now!
YOU, athlete, are not alone. Rachel, a high-level, uber talented athlete struggles. But more importantly, she took back CONTROL and learned to overcome.
She shares her full story (too long to share in a single blog and it’s better read in context with the corresponding Mindset Hack) in my new book, ATHLETE! I’m Talking to YOU! If you have not yet downloaded your free excerpt and gotten on the pre-order list, do that now.
The rest of her story will INSPIRE your athlete to reach new heights without breaking down mentally along the way. Along with 5 other college athletes, Rachel shares the peaks and the valleys, and ultimately how it all worked out - it started by her learning how to tap into the power of her thoughts.
Take the free quiz- ATHLETE! Are You Mentally Healthy?
Dedicated to your athlete’s success on and off the field,
Coach Andrew J Simpson