Jump Into Teen Athletes Minds

Erika Mueller collegiate student-athlete

I want to introduce you to our new collegiate student-athlete
 Erika Mueller.  She is a Division 1 softball player at Brown 
University. She will be chronicling for us her story about going
 from high school to captain of her team at Brown and the mindset
 she had to develop to get there. 

We thought this would be valuable for you to get insights into 
the teen athletes minds and what it takes to get into a top university and
 excel in playing sports there. I encourage you to pass on to
 your young athlete anything you find valuable from her lessons 
and learnings.

You can also support Erika by commenting on her posts! I am sure
 she would love to hear your feedback.

The Mental Toughness Academy is proud to bring you expertise
 from coaches, other sports parents, student athletes, trainers
 and Craig, of course! We are creating the “go to” resource for
all things related to creating a champion mindset in youth

We encourage you to pass on and share this information with your kid’s coaches, teammates and friends.

Hi, I’m Erika Mueller currently a student and Division 1 softball player at Brown University. I was asked by the Mental Toughness Academy to write this blog to allow readers a window into the mind of a female collegiate student-athlete.

picture of brown universityMy goal is to introduce you to my academic and athletic background, take you through my high school years as I worked tirelessly to market myself to college softball coaches, and then describe to you my first two years as a D1 student-athlete at an Ivy League school over 3,000 miles away from home.

I hope to recount my wavering mindsets and emotional journey throughout my athletic career and permit you to enter my current day experiences. Once we are all caught up, I will be updating you on my junior softball season as I struggle to bounce back from a season ending injury and am privileged with the responsibility of captaining my college team.


Growing up in a small town in the Pacific Northwest taught me the importance building personal relationships and recognizing the richness of tradition. It also fed my hunger to explore the unknown and build a dream of pursuing something outside of my community and outside of my comfort zone.

Once I entered high school, I had developed the dream to attend college on the East Coast and play Division 1 softball. Now, I had no idea whether this was realistic, but I remained fearless with my goals to play collegiate athletics and I truly advise everyone out there to stay the same way.


Wait for the second part of this series as we delve deeper into teen athletes minds

5 thoughts on “Jump Into Teen Athletes Minds

  1. Dave

    Looking forward to more. I realize in high school, sports are becoming year round (training, practice, travel teams, etc). Did you get to play other sports to round out your athletic high school career? Or if you go to a D1 university, it’s pretty much 1 sport focus by than?

    1. Craig

      In high school I was able to play a few sports up until my junior year – then I decided to specialize and just focus on softball. I have many friends and teammates who have done both though – played multiple sports all four years, or just played their one sport their entire time throughout high school. Depending on the athlete, both methods have their benefits. I think it just depends on the person, how they manage their time, and what they get out of each sport. If they enjoy the balance and having a bit of relief from their main sport, then participating on multiple teams can be great. I have been such a competitive person that I wanted to be the best and thought that would be most likely if I channeled my energy into one sport.

      Then in college, even D1, you can see athletes on multiple teams! It is rare, but still possible. Those student-athletes are extremely impressive.

      Hope I answered your question! Again, it just depends on the person, but for me – specializing was the way to go. Looking back, I do wish I had tried out a few other sports just for fun and the experience because you only have high school once.

  2. Peter

    Nice start, hope you stick with it. The best blogs turn inward, and I hope you will gain new insights about yourself as you share your thinking with us.

    I am curious about the relationship between wanting to explore the larger world out there and stepping outside your comfort zone. Did your desire to explore enable you to endure the discomfort, or did you get some smaller benefit along the way from stepping outside your comfort zone? Thanks, and keep plugging away.

  3. Erika

    Thanks for the response! I think – if I understand your question – it may be a bit of a combination or meshing of the two. For instance, wanting to explore the larger world automatically brings some discomfort and a new sense of unfamiliarity. If one is not prepared to respond to this broadening of horizons or experiencing minor setbacks, then it will be a greater challenge to confront the unfamiliar. However, as long as if it truly what the individual wants – to challenge their comfort zone and experience new things, then they can either appreciate their experiences as part of the process, or they may shy away and realize exploring is not exactly what they want to do at that point in time.

    Further, I think there are huge personal gains to be made from new experiences and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. Though I am not always the first one to try new things, I think that having the ambition to attend a different college, move far away from home, and experience the need to establish a brand new friend group and network, I am truly a better person because of it. At the time, I really don’t think I experienced that much discomfort. I think that my mindset was – I want to do this so at any costs I am going to make it work. Whether it was scary moving into the dorm, or saying goodbye to my parents, or meeting my new team, I think I just considered it all to be a part of the process and a means to an end. Any initial discomfort truly did end after at least a couple of weeks, and then you learn to cope with the new challenges of college, athletics, or anything else is throws at you.

    Please let me know if I can expand further upon what you were trying to ask.


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