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How Softball Readied Katie Schroeder For Life After The Game

(Photo courtesy of Katie Schroeder Schmitt)

Katie Schroeder Schmitt graduated from UCLA in 2012 and won a national championship with the Bruins in 2010.

After college, Schroeder Schmitt moved on to become a softball coach, entrepreneur and mother. In this interview with her, we discuss what lessons softball taught her and how the sport prepared her for life after the game.

Softball America: You have been both a softball player and coach. Having grown up in the softball world, what would you say are the best lessons the sport taught you?

Katie Schroeder Schmitt: I can vividly remember my dad telling me a story about two wolves. He related these two wolves to our inner thoughts and told me one wolf was full of anger, sorrow and regret, while the other wolf was full of joy, peace and hope. Both wolves are hungry and you must choose who to feed.

I was putting in all the work I possibly could, but moments before stepping into the box, my mind would drift off and the battle between two wolves would begin. Ultimately, whoever would be fed was completely up to me.

I had to learn to make the joyful wolf’s voice louder and feed the positive thoughts. It wasn’t until becoming a college coach, after my collegiate career was over, that I could clearly see the power of the mind and its potential to sink an athlete.

It all begins and ends in your mind. Developing a tough competitor mindset has continually proven to be one of the most powerful tools and life lessons. I will continue to hold this with me and share it with as many players as I can.

SA: How has softball taught you to deal with adversity off the field?

KSS: It’s never natural to welcome adversity with open arms, but softball gifted me with lots and lots of practice in dealing with it. The only thing you truly have control over is your effort and your attitude.

The quicker you learn to spend your energy on keeping your attitude positive, the more comfortable you get with being outside of your comfort zone. Trusting your preparation when it’s uncomfortable helped me be the best competitor on the field and in the real world. No one reaches their potential by chance. Learning to control the controllables and stay positive is something I have to remind myself of daily in order to stay on track.

SA: You have coached softball at multiple levels. How did your experience as a player influence the kind of coach and mentor you are today?

KSS: The girls I work with could be 12 years old or 21 years old and I always see myself in those players and desire to be in their corner. I feel young enough to remember being their age, but old enough to see the bigger picture and help them keep their focus where it should be.

The most rewarding part of my job is helping players and watching them develop into young women with drive and purpose. I have been blessed to work with people of every age and speak to them about something I wish I would have known if I had the power to go back in time.

SA: You were a founding partner of The Packaged Deal. What was it like to help bring The Packaged Deal to life?

KSS: The Packaged Deal has been an amazing vision turned into a really special reality. It’s been a huge success in growing the game, as well as reaching cities and towns that don’t get as much softball help as they need. Coming together as TPD and working as a team allowed us to help more softball players than we ever could have individually.

SA: You are a mother of two boys. What qualities have you picked up from the game that has helped you in the journey of motherhood?

KSS: I love raising these two crazy boys I’ve got. My goal is to never let them beat me in a race! How long do you think I can hold them off, 16 years?

I can’t wait to share insights and experiences with them one day. Overall, I cannot even imagine where I would be without sports. I feel prepared to accomplish anything I set my mind to, even if I’m a washed-up, old mama, who now dreams of beating my boys in a foot race.

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