Olympian Haylie McCleney Launches Softball Tour For Girls
The Halo Effect Softball Tour hosted by Team USA Olympian and professional softball star Haylie McCleney teaches girls plenty about hitting, throwing and fielding. But that isn't all McCleney's unique brand of softball clinic entails.
"I have always lived out my life and my softball career that if I was a better human being and a more well-rounded human being, I would be better on the field," she says. "I want to develop you as a leader, make you mentally stronger, give you the ability to deal with failure."
Through McCleney's approach to softball, her Halo Effect clinic tailors content to fit the two age groups of girls 9-12 and 13-18, working through "everything you need to be a successful athlete." That includes the on-field fundamentals, but also strength and conditioning, the mental game and nutrition. "I think you will become a better human being," McCleney says. "It is not just about what I can do on the field. At some point that is going to end, so it is about finding your identity beyond softball."
The first clinic hosted by the four-time All-American, 2020 Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion was held in February in Ohio and McCleney says it was amazing to get messages and screenshots from parents in the weeks to follow. She recounted hearing from parents showing how their daughters were excited to eat vegetables, for example, because of what they learned about nutrition at the clinic.
During the mental game aspect of the clinic, McCleney teaches girls to write out their mottos, what they want to tell themselves when they are in high-pressure situations. "A girl sent me a picture of her working through that in her own time," McCleney says. "One of her mottos was, 'I am enough.' That is the whole point of the camp right there. Getting these kids to believe in themselves, have confidence and play the game in an empowered way is something they can own and be proud of. It is really, really cool."
With the first event wrapped up, McCleney says she's taking feedback and working to improve the experience as she heads toward a Rhode Island visit at the end of April and a Maryland stop in early May. While still an active softball player herself, McCleney plans to add more clinics in fall 2022 and continue to expand into 2023.
Softball gear maker Easton has signed on as the title sponsor of the clinic. "Easton has been my ride or die throughout my entire professional career," she says, noting she also went to an Easton school at the University of Alabama. "I have always loved their products but loved the way they market to young women. It is a powerful image, confidence building."
McCleney says Easton isn't just a baseball brand that added softball, but truly supports softball and is "doing it for the right reasons." She says that having girls come to the clinics, swing an Easton Ghost bat and feel confident in their swing is an "awesome" thing to watch.
"We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Haylie McCleney and become the official partner of the Halo Effect Softball Tour," says Julie Tobyansen, Easton's sports marketing manager. "Haylie has been an integral part of our sponsored and ambassador team, and we look forward to watching her tour grow, touching the lives of the next generation and continuing her success on the field representing Easton."
McCleney wants the same. "I think this is a really cool opportunity for young women to get tools they need to develop," she says. "It is something I'm pouring my heart and soul into, the content, the programming. I am passionate about it, and I think it is going to take off and go a long way."
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Softball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.