BC41: Cat Osterman – 2x Olympic Medalist Shares Mindset Insight

Brian sits down with Cat Osterman, softball pitcher and one of the greatest athletes of all time. Cat was a 4-time NCAA All-American softball pitcher at The University of Texas and is a 2-time Olympic medalist, having pitched the USA Women’s Softball Team to the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and the silver medal in 2008. Cat is now the assistant coach for the softball team at Texas State University.

 

You will learn…

  • About the breath and why it’s so important.
  • Why routines are key to optimal performance.
  • The questions to ask yourself to recognize your signal lights.

 

Visit Cat’s website www.catosterman.com

Follow Cat on Twitter @catosterman or Instagram @catosterman

 

PODCAST TIMESTAMPS

(00:00-01:20) Cat Osterman Bio

(01:21-02:27) Cat’s Definition of Success

(02:28-03:10) How Does Cat Stay Motivated?

(03:11-04:33) How She Balances All of Her Obligations

(04:34-06:48) The Beginning of Her Mental Game Journey

(06:49-09:43) Where Is She At Now With The Mental Game?

(09:44-11:32) What Is A Shadow Routine?

(11:48-18:16) Recognizing Your Signal Lights

(18:49-21:43) Challenges Cat And Professionals Face On A Daily Basis

(21:44-23:01) What Habits Have Made Cat Into An Olympic Athlete

(23:02-26:58) The Difference In Mindset Between Cat The Pitcher And Cat The Person

(27:13-30:38) Core Values In Professional And College Programs

(31:05-31:59) Cat’s Book Recommendations

(32:16-33:47) The Million Dollar Question

(33:48-34:28) The Seed of Success For Coaches

(34:29-35:44) Contact Cat Osterman!

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Brian: Hi everybody, this is Brian Cain with the Brian Cain Peak Performance Podcast. And, boy, today do we have a special guest! Cat Osterman is a four-time NCAA All-American. She was a left-handed pitcher on the softball team at the University of Texas. The Huston native is also a two-time Olympic medalist having pitched the USA Women’s Softball Team to the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and the silver medal in the 2008 Olympics. She has also graced the cover of Sports Illustrated on not one but two different occasion. Osterman is the all-time leader in the Big 12 Conference and wins ERA strikeouts and shutouts. She is also the NCAA division one record holder for the strike out ratio of 14.3 strikeouts per every one walk. She also holds the record for WHIP, and also holds the record for perfect games with 7. She owns numerous other records for the Longhorns and within the NCAA where she is one of only five pitchers ever to strike out 1000 batters, have 100 wins, and an ERA under 1, with also averaging double-digit strikeouts. Cat, thank you so much for taking time out of your insane schedule to join us on the podcast.

Cat: Thank you for having me.

Brian: Cat, I think our listeners know that you’re one of the greatest athletes of all time. Could you give them some insight though into how you define success for yourself. Everyone sees records, everyone sees the gold medals, sees you’re still dominating in the professional softball circuit, how do you define success for yourself?

Cat: I think success, the definition of it has evolved over time throughout my career. But I think the one staple has always been progress. And not necessarily progressing as in adding new pitches or fine-tuning, but am I just better than yesterday. For the longest time I’ve always lived by that. If you look back at what you did yesterday and think it’s a big deal then you haven’t done anything today philosophy. So for me that is how I define my success is based on if today is better than yesterday. You know, even at this point in my career as a professional athlete, I am trying to one-up myself everyday or try to just have better control or something like that.  So, progress is kind of my biggest definition of success.

Brian: What about from a motivation standpoint, Cat?  How do you stay motivated, having this now for so long at such a high level?  How is it that you stay motivated on a daily basis?

Cat: I think the chase to attain perfection in something that is almost impossible to be perfect in is kind of what keeps me motivated.  I’m a perfectionist in almost everything.  But in this game, you can’t be perfect. It’s almost impossible.  Even a perfect game usually isn’t 100% perfect.  You find something, you missed one pitch here, you might have gotten away with it but you missed it.  So, just being able to continue to try to find ways to be as perfect as possible, it’s fund and that’s kind of what motivates me.

Brian: Now, you’re also not only playing in a high-level but you’re also a division one college softball coach.  Could you talk a little bit about the balance between being a division one college softball coach, having the recruiting that goes with that and then also your practice planning and everything that goes with that responsibility, but also being a professional athlete at the same time?

Cat: Yeah, it takes a lot to balance it all out.  Obviously, in the fall, there’s of my recruiting since I’m playing during the summer.  But I think the hardest part of it is turning off the coaching hat and taking the player role.  Usually, it takes a couple of weeks to be able to do that and kind of sit back and play and not want to coach the game and over-analyze what we should do in certain situations.  For me, the balance part of it isn’t terrible.  I was able to work out when our girls left.  I conditioned usually before practice and then once spring time rolled around, I benefit that my catcher and a couple of my other teammates are there, close by in Austin and they would drive down to St. Marcus and we’d have BP and then my catcher would catch my bullpen and I’d get to throw a little bit of live.  So, we fit it all in, it’s not easy but it is fun to still be able to use my playing experience to relate with my college kids.  I think, when they can see that we still play, it helps them really grasp what we’re saying a little bit easier.

Brian: I couldn’t agree more.  You know, Cat, we’ve had numerous discussions about the importance of the mental game and sports psychology in your work with Ken Ravizza and how you also coach the mental game and use the mental game.  Could you take our listeners kind of on your journey into the mental game and when you got started and how it’s been important for you in your career as a player?

Cat: You know, I think the mental part of my game…it started growing up a little bit.  My dad was just very adamant about not showing too much emotion and taking it only one pitch at a time way back before I ever knew anything about really what the mental game was so we were kind of focused on that already and I felt like, for a young age, I had a pretty strong mental game even though it wasn’t something I was practicing.  I got into college and coach Clark had played softball at Fullerton so she obviously knew Ken Ravizza as you mentioned, and we worked with Ken a couple of times when we came out to California.  I think he came to Austin once and I had the fortune to be able to talk to him.  Aside from college when I was with the national team, sometimes, we were I places that he was and he’d always want to meet up and talk about things.  So, I got to learn from him which was really fun and I wanted to follow Ken in the footsteps, go get my masters in sports psych under him.  But obviously, coaching took me in a little bit different direction.  But I think the biggest thing is learning from him is that you don’t have to be perfect.  You don’t need every pitch to go your way.  Once I kind of accepted those, I think I was able to relax a little bit and play even better.  So, for me, a lot of times, being present is the biggest thing because, obviously, as a pitcher, you have the ball in your hand every single pitch of the game.  And so, if you’re not present, you’re not really going to do your job.  But after that, it was just more of realizing that you don’t need every call to go your way.  You don’t need to throw a no-hitter every time.  So, for me, just being able to accept that, like I said, really helped me loosen up a little bit.

Brian: And is something that you feel like with the mental game, Cat, that you kind of have it mastered now with all the success that you’ve had and your experience you’ve had at Texas and with the national team or do you still catch yourself at this point, even maybe falling back into thinking about previous pitches or future pitches and having to remind yourself, “Hey, get back in the present moment here and just win this one pitch.”

Cat: You know, I think I’m pretty good about it about 90% of the time.  There’s still a couple of occasions where I either look back at a pitch or, if anything, I’m letting an error just t he fact that something is not feeling good affects my overall performance.  And I have to remember that I don’t have to, again, don’t have to be perfect every day.  And so, for me, it’s almost mastered but I think we all still slip from time to time.  

Brian: Cat, one of the things you talked about was, you know, you were exposed to the mental game early in your career, your dad talking about not showing any emotion and going one pitch at a time but you said you didn’t really practice it.  Are there ways that you practice the mental game now yourself or are there ways that you get your pitchers to practice the mental game at Texas State?

Cat: I think, for me, I don’t necessarily practice it on daily basis.  I mean, I do, actually, I have my routines.  My entire pitching warm-up is the same routine, not necessarily the same number of pitches but the same order just to keep me in a good…give myself a good feel. And in between pitches, it’s the same routine.  I don’t necessarily have to practice it as much anymore just because it’s almost like a nature now.  So, I’m also big on breathing, so anytime there is a tough situation, I try to make sure I take a little bit deeper of a breath or that I make sure to breathe because sometimes, I kind of get in a rush and I forget to do that.  So, for me, it’s not as much practice daily basis but everything that I do has been done for 21 years now, almost.  So, I think it’s one of those…I know I have it and I know I have it to fall back on when I know I need to be conscious about it.  My pitchers at Texas State, we developed a routine. I make them do it every day whether we’re throwing just pitches in the bullpen or for if we’re throwing live on the field, we’re going through our in between pitch routine, whether that’s grabbing dirt, taking deep breaths.  We do the shadow pitching, obviously, that you came in and taught us this year.  I made them all…they do all that.  Right after you left, we did it almost every day for about a month, and then once we got into spring, depending on what type of workout they have that day, if they’re throwing full pitches, they do at least one of each pitch, if not more, and just try in their routine because I feel like pitching is almost just purely routine-oriented.  And the more we can make it second nature, the easier it becomes.

Brian: Cat, let’s drill down a little bit on routine.  You’ve mentioned shadow pitching routine.  I think, for the baseball and softball players and coaches listening to this, maybe they’ve seen, if they watch the college world series, they’ve seen TCU pitchers in the bullpen doing shadow routines.  While the game is going on, the guys in the bullpen going pitch for pitch with pitchers in the game.  What exactly is a shadow routine and what are you looking for as a coach from the players while they’re doing that?

Cat: The shadow routine, obviously, we take a ball and we pit-…without a ball.  We have our catchers pretend that they’re catching a real ball as well.  They’re pretending that they’re catching, framing, throwing back, but my pitchers are without a ball, getting on the mound like they would in a game situation.  They are getting set, going through their breath, their final words and actually throwing a pitch.  My catchers actually call a pitch.  So, if I were watching them, I should be able to tell what they’re throwing.  The wrist snap should snap like a curve or snap like a drop.  Then, we go through and a lot of times, I’ll tell them what the pitch was, if it was a strike, if it was a ball, if it was a hit, so they can gauge how their motions feel. Because even when it’s a shadow pitch, they can still get frustrated sometimes when you say they gave up a hit.  So, we go through that and then, for me, I watch to see how they react when I do say they gave up a hit.  I also watched to see, to make sure I can see what their pitches are doing or what their arms are doing because a lot of times, if they’re making it skid off, then I can see it shadow pitching.  But more than anything, it’s a way to mentally kid of play the game without playing the game.

Brian: Love that.  You know, Cat, one of the things you talked about is even if you say they gave up a hit in the shadow bullpen, you can still kind of see them, their emotions kick in and we talk about the analogy of signal lights that comes right out of Ken Ravizza’s book, Heads Up Baseball where green lights is things are going good, red lights, the game is starting to speed up on you a little bit.  Could you kind of explain for our listeners signal lights and then how you recognize them yourself as an athlete.

Cat: The signal lights are huge and actually, that’s probably one of the biggest things I learned when I was in college.  I feel like when I did give up a hit, I got to red really fast just because, as I mentioned earlier, I’m a perfectionist.  So, signal lights are nothing different than a traffic light with red, yellow and green and if you’re in green, you’re good to go, you’re ready to roll and nothing is really bothering you.  It’s easy to stay in green if you’re performing well.  Yellow is where we kind of start to tense up a little bit.  Maybe we’ve gotten ourselves in a pressure situation but we’re not quite freaking out yet.  And then red, we shouldn’t be on the mound anymore.  If we’re seeing red, then we’ve kind of got out of our element, we’re out of ourselves, I like to say, we need to reel it back in and figure out how to get focused as fast as possible because red usually is the beginning of t  he downward spiral.  And so, for me, as a player, when I was first in college and expecting to pitch really well, I would get to red pretty quick if I gave up a hit or two.  And actually, Coach Clark did a really good job of expressing how to get back to green and that’s part of a routine scheme.  And for me, that’s where breathing comes in.  If I can get a deep breath and let it all go, then I can usually get through yellow and back to green pretty quickly.  And with our kids, we talk about it all the time.  We talk to them before game situations, like in practice and stuff about, “What do you feel when you’re in yellow?  What do you feel when you’re in red?”  Or vice versa.  We ask them just kind of put a situation out that was in a game.  “What did you feel?  Okay, those are the feelings of what you’re like when you’re in yellow.  So, what do we need to do to get you back to green to where you don’t spiral on your next [00:13:46] you’re seeing red.”  So, it’s the signal light is actually a very simple way to keep them conscious of their thoughts and how their body is feeling.

Brian: And it really helps to build an awareness and I think any athlete and also gives you as a coach an easier way for you to be able to communicate with your athletes about their mindset and about their kind of emotions and how they look and maybe how they feel.  Does the signal light help you improve that communication and just kind of streamline that process?

Cat: Absolutely.  I think, when you’re in a game situation, it’s a lot easier to say where you’re at, green-yellow-red, instead of an in-depth conversation about feeling tensed or overanalyzing.  So, for us, it’s a lot easier, especially when you get players that have worked with the signal light and know their routine.  You can easily strut out whatever their keyword is or remember to breathe or whatever it is and they know exactly what you’re talking about in order to get back to green.

Brian: Cat, you’ve mentioned breathing on numerous occasions here.  Talk a little bit about breathing and how important that is in your routine.

Cat: Breathing is really important.  I think I took it for granted for the longest time, until you realize the effect it really has on you.  So, for me, I always throw my pitch, get it back, walk to the back of the circle, take a second.  I take a breath there but then, I get back on the mound and I actually take a breath right before I get my sign, a deep breath, I should say.  And then, I don’t take one right before I start my windup just because once I get the sign, I’m ready to go.  Now, if we’re in a tough situation or I’m battling with a hitter and starting to either over think my pitches or just get frustrated because I fought off 12 of them, I will take a deep breath right as I get on the mound and it’s usually pretty visible.  But for me, a deep is kind of, “Okay.  Time to focus. Forget everything else.”  And I’m really able to let those kind of thoughts go when I take my breath.

Brian: Excellent.  And then you talked about when you get into yellow lights and red lights, you have a release or something that you go to, to kind of help you flush those negative emotions or negative feelings.  Is there anything that you specifically do as a release to say, “Okay, I just flushed that and now, I’m moving on to the next pitch.”

Cat: Yeah, a lot of times, if I am really frustrated, I won’t turn back to the plate from the back of the circle until I flushed it.  If I absolutely can’t let go of it, usually, I kick some dirt.  Most people to bend down and tossing dirt or something but I’ll just kick the dirt in the back of the circle and let go of those thoughts.  But if I can’t let go of them, I won’t turn around and face my catcher until I am ready to go because I don’t feel like I should approach the plate if I’m not in green and present, ready to throw the next pitch.

Brian: What about mental imagery, Cat?  Is that something that you use as well?

Cat: Yeah, I actually use that a lot and that is something I got from Ken a long time ago.  There was a point in time in my college career where I was having a difficult time of really executing exactly where I wanted mu breaking balls to end and he gave me the trick of, he was like, “Watch yourself pitch it forward and backwards.”  And I was like, “What do you mean?”  And he just wanted me to have the mental imagery of not only throwing it and seeing it end where I want it but watching it, if you hit reverse on a video camera, watching it arc the opposite way and come back to you.  And for a long time thereafter, that’s what I would do in the bullpen when I was practicing.  I would watch it go down and then I watch it come back and then I try to throw it or I’d watch a curve ball break out and then break back and then come back to me before I threw it.  And now, even, I don’t necessarily watch it in reverse so much but I know what my pitches should do that I kind of visualize how sharp I want it to break or how far out I want it to end so I totally visualize it breaking to that point before I throw it.  I think that’s huge because I think people need to know what your pitch is doing instead of just throwing and having a catcher tell you that what you did is good or bad.  You have control over it.

Brian: That’s fabulous.  Love it.  Cat, as a professional athlete and a two-time Olympic medalist, talk about…obviously, you’re very, very talented and very, very skilled physically at what you do.  Having lived in that professional athlete world and the Olympic athlete world, talk about some of the challenges that you face on a daily basis that maybe you’ve been able to overcome where some of the other athletes that maybe aren’t as mentally tough as you are have been consumed by those decision in those situations.  We see it all the time on ESPN or in the news where we look at these athletes, it seemed to have everything going for him and he just makes some poor decisions.  What are some of the most difficult things that you have to deal with on a daily basis throughout your career?

Cat: I think, in the professional ranks, there’s two and they’re kind of opposite.  The first is you get to the professional rinks and a lot of things are on your own.  So, for us, lifting and conditioning…all that is pretty much done on our own.  Every now and then, we’re team conditioning after practice. But once we’re in season, it’s kind of up to you to figure out what works for you.  And a lot of the younger athletes that come in don’t quite get that or they think they can get by without lifting and they don’t really realize how much a season will run down your body if you’re not finding a way to get workouts in in between games and even on game day.  And then, the other thing I think is they don’t realize our schedule.  And so, sometimes, we’re playing three, four, five days and night, at five in the morning and play at seven at night and they think they can still go out the night before and not realize that they need to rest or not realize that it’s so daunting.  So, a lot of our adversity is just figuring out how to fit everything in and still be ready to play.  And I think that sometimes, where poor decisions come in, it’s because they get flustered and they don’t understand why they can’t do it the way they want to do it.  You have to prioritize and a lot of times, that’s hard for younger athletes to really accept and figure out on their own because most kids come for us, all of our kids come out of college and they’re used to being told where to be, when to be there, what weight to lift, how many reps to do and not have to figure things out on their own.

Brian: Do you find it difficult to say no, Cat?  I know there’s many demands on you and your time.  Is that something that you’ve ever had a challenge with?  I now many athletes, that what often leaves them to get into trouble or make some of those poor decisions, it’s just the inability to say no.

Cat: Sometimes, I have the problem with it.  I think I’m pretty good knowing when I pitch and what I need to do before that, that if it’s going to affect my game day, then I’ll be able to say no.  But if I’m in the off-season, a lot of times, it’s hard to say no because you want to try to please everybody.  You want to pass o your message to everybody, you go do a clinic and try to help everybody and just get yourself into all these situations and sometimes, you run yourself down and then, the more tired you get, I feel like the less clear you actually think.  So, it’s hard to please everyone and some athletes can’t say no at all.  I’m pretty good about it.  I think, early on, I tried to say yes as much as possible and I finally just had to realize that you can’t do everything even though you want to.

Brian: Cat, what are some of the habits that you have that you think over the course of your career have made you the success that you are?

Cat: I think the biggest thing is my dad instilled an incredible work ethic in me.  There is not a day that I go out and just go through the motions.  Every practice may not have a written down purpose but I know once I started throwing, as soon as a pitch feels off, I know what my purpose it and how I have to processed in order to make that practice worthwhile.  And then the other thing is I just…the older I got, the more I adapted to eating a little healthier and I really dedicated myself to working out constantly in order to physically be in good shape and ready to play.  So for me, my habits became physical and I guess, lifestyle choices in order to be healthier and be stronger.  But really, I think the biggest habits, so to speak, that I’ve had since a young age is my work ethic and every day, I think my dad’s mantra was, “If you’re going to go out, you’re going to give me a 100% of what you have whether it’s for 10 minutes or an hour.  We’re going to put 100% into it because we’re not going to waste your time or my time.”  And so, it’s kind of how I approached it and I think it paid off.

Brian: Could you talk a little bit about the key elements of your mindset?  And I think we’ll look at it in two ways.  It was interesting, Cat, having the chance to know you now for maybe a little bit over a year plus and having seen you pitch throughout your career, you see the stoic locked in, no emotion, cutthroat and intense competitive pitcher and then, when we meet you off the field, it’s a warm, passionate, fun-loving, high-energy…almost like Clark Kent and then Superman.  I think that’s awesome.  I think that’s one of the things that the best athletes, like George St. Pierre, he used to always talk about, “You have to be Superman in a cage but you have to be Clark Kent out of the cage.”  Or Vitor Belfort, a UFC champion talks about he’s the lion in the cage, he’s the lamb out of the cage.  Could you talk a little bit about your mindset of Cat the Pitcher and also just mindset of Cat the person off the field.

Cat: Yeah, I really try to differentiate the two.  I think, in college, I didn’t differentiate a whole lot and I was a very serious and stoic person even off the field just because I felt like I had to be, in order to stay, in a good mindset once season rolled around.  But I’ve tried to relax a little bit off the field because it makes it more fun.  Obviously, when we get on the field, as soon as you get on the white lines, there’s a job to do and my job is to not only pitch my team to a win, hopefully, but to put on a show.  We’re paid to play this game at a professional level and people want to say it played to the best of its ability.  So, that’s my job every day I go out.  In order to do that, you have to be extremely focused.  So that’s where I’ve always…I’ve always been a competitor and I hate to lose, I hate to fail so that’s where the stoic face and I guess, I have a pretty noticeable game face, everyone always tells me.  So that face gets turned on pretty quick as soon as we get to the field.  But off the field, I feel like, “This game is amazing and I want to share it with as many people as I can.”  And so, when I’m coaching my kids, I want to have fun and I want them to have fun and I want them to learn and I don’t want it to be a hostile or even threatening type of environment.  I don’t want to be so serious that they can’t joke with me or so serious that they feel like they have to not say a word and just abide by rules.  I want it to be a fun atmosphere because I feel like that’s where we get the most out of them.  It’s when they can listen, learn, but at the same time, enjoy it.  And so, I really do differentiate too.  It used to take me a while to get out of softball mode when a game is over.  Now, it’s pretty quick.  I can go take the uniform off and realize that there’s a lot more going on in life in the real world then what happened on the field just now and I can make an impact a little bit differently if I just let that go.  So, there’s definitely two sides to it but I think any elite athlete has to be able to turn on the game-day stuff in order to really focus in and take their game to the next level.

Brian: And is the uniform, in changing into those clothes, is that part of your process of being able to kind of lock in as the athlete and then shut it off when the game is over?

Cat: Yeah, most definitely.  I mean, most of the time if we have…sometimes, we play at places where we don’t have a locker room so if we have to change beforehand, it will be once we arrive at the field.  But as long as we have a locker room, once we get to locker room and I put on either my cleats or my turfs, whatever it is, I’m going to out for a BP [00:26:45] BP.  Once I put those on, it’s pretty much, “It’s game time.”  And it’s ready to go.  So, when my final shoes get put on, I’m good to go and I’m ready to be focused on.

Brian: Cat, let’s have you put your coaching shoes on here for a second and let’s go back to Texas State or your time at Texas, your Time with the Olympic team, maybe most recently, at Texas State as a coach.  We talk about core values in building a championship culture in a program.  Could you talk a little bit about that process and the importance of having core values in championship culture in a softball program?

Cat: I’m actually both at Texas and at Texas State, I’ve been part of…where we have core values that define our culture.  When I was in school at Texas and I think she still holds it to this day, we go by DIRT…Discipline, Integrity, Respect and Teamwork.  And that was the mantra that the team had.  It was every year, we defined what discipline was, what integrity was, respect, teamwork, what was expected of us, that was the first team meeting every single year.  This past year at Texas State, we did the same thing and our core values were relentless, competitive, family and pride.  And same thing, we had our team define those and we have someone on the team explain them every single day in order to instill it in our kids.  It’s huge to have core values and not core values that change every year.  Core values are the same in order for your seniors to pass it on down and when recruits come in, your kids can talk about the culture that your program has.  And I know, I’m pretty sure to this day, Coach Clark still uses DIRT and anytime, as alumni hear it, we can kind of laugh a good laugh just because we can totally relate to that and we know exactly what it means and we know what is expected of that.  It’s there now because it’s expected of us.  And that’s what you want, you want kids to be able to talk about it later on and you want them to be able to share what your culture means and what your culture is to other people.

Brian: And you feel like, you know, as you know, your teammates now in the pro ranks in all the softballs you’ve played and you’re playing with the top players from other programs in the country, do you feel like most college softball programs in the country have written down core values like DIRT or like Relentless, Competitive, Family and Pride or do you feel like most programs just kind of say, “Yeah, we have a culture but if you asked everyone in the organization, they couldn’t tell you the exact character traits that it is.”

Cat: I think the elite level teams, the teams that you see are consistent all the time have some type of written down culture whether it’s four key values or some mantra that they live by.  I’ve heard conversations and I don’t know that anyone else has ever defined what the four values are or something like that but you can hear my teammates talk about when they were in college and what their culture was and that there was one and what was expected.  It was known and it was discussed and it wasn’t just something that came out when someone got in trouble.  So, all of a sudden, it’s like, “We don’t do this because it’s not part of our culture.”  It has to be explained and defined early on and repeatedly put into their brains in order for it to be second nature.  I think the elite level teams do.  I think there are some teams that probably could afford to put that in and really define a culture to live by because if you’re changing it every year or even a couple of years, then your program is going to change every year, every couple of years.  There’s got to be something that’s consistent and you always want that to be the center of your program which is obviously your core, your values.

Brian: Love it.  Cat, just a couple more questions here.  Are there any books, maybe, that you’ve read that our listeners would want to pick up as a recommended book by Cat Osterman that really have had a positive impact on your life.  I know for me, that book was Heads Up Baseball.  One book, one day changed my life.  Is there any books that you’ve read that have had that much of an impact on you that you think are absolute reads for the athletes listening to this podcast?

Cat: I think, when I was younger, I read The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior and I read that in high school and that had a huge effect on me.  So that would be probably the first one I would pick up.  I think, for quick reads, I’ve read Mind Gym and I recommend that to a lot of my kids just because the chapters are so short that you can pick it up and look at it.  Actually, the most recent one, coach Clark actually recommended it to me two years ago and I want to say it’s The ABC’s of Pitching and I grabbed that and it’s another one where chapters are really short but I can take my pitchers and if we’re having problems with confidence, I look at confidence in that book, have them read a couple of pages on it and we’re good to go. Or we can talk about routine, there’s just different words in there that you can go and read a pitcher’s perspective on what it is and why it’s important, how to gain in, how you can lose it…that kind of thing.

Brian: Awesome.  So, it’s The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.  And for the listeners, if you go to YouTube and type in “The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior movie,” you can actually watch the movie that was made about that book on YouTube.  Mind Gym by Gary mack and The Mental ABC’s of Pitching by Harvey Dorfman.  All three, fantastic reads.  Cat, may I ask you the million dollar question.  What is that you know now that you wish you knew when you were just getting started, maybe as a high school or as a college athlete?  What do you know that you wish you knew then?

Cat: Probably two things.  One, I wish I knew healthy eating would help you feel so much better when I was in high school and college, I ate anything and everything and probably could have fuelled my body a little better in order to recover better.  But that two, I really think I just wish I knew that all the hard work would pay off.  I think there are some days that you put in the hard work and you really start to wonder what’s going to come of it or why you struggle even though you’re working really hard.  Not that I ever wanted to quit because that was never the case but there were times where it’s just really hard and you get to a really low point.  And you know, if you could go back to just that low point and know that it’s going to pay off, you probably can relax and get out a little bit faster.  But at the same time, I knew that hard work was going to do something.  So, I never stopped working hard.  I never let those low points affect my practice but just to get out of those low points would have been nice to know that it was all going to pay off.

Brian: Nice.  Cat, if you could remove the skull cap of all the coaches listening to this podcast and plant one seed in their mind about the mental game that would germinate and grow, what would that one seed of success about the mental game be for coaches?

Cat: The biggest seed would be you have to practice it, you have to preach it, you have to expect it out of them almost daily and then more than anything, we have to remember they’re not trying to screw up.  A lot of times, they’re just not equipped with the right tools to mentally get themselves through things.  So it takes us as coaches to really preach it and practice it in order for them to get it.  We can’t just give them a book and then expect them to be able to do it on their own.  Like anything else, they need the guidance and they need the constant coaching.

Brian: I know, many of our listeners, they have coaches’ clinics or they run different events where they’re looking for keynote speakers or people that come in or tell them their story very similar to what you’ve done here on the podcast.  For everyone who’s listening to this that’s going to become a huge fan of Cat Osterman, what’s the best way for them to either follow you on social media or even to contact you if they’re looking for you to come in and maybe do a speaking engagement and is that something that you do?

Cat: Yeah, as long as it fits into the schedule.  When I have to go recruiting and stuff at Texas State, I’m more than willing to do events like that.  I love telling my story and I think, the older I get, the more I realize how my career panned out and I can look back and kind of dissect it a little bit and explain it. So, yeah, to contact me, there’s a contact link on my website which is www.catosterman.com so you can go there to request appearances or speaking engagements.  And to follow me on social media, I have a fan page Facebook.com/catosterman and Twitter is just @catosterman and Instagram is @catosterman as well.  So, all my social media is me, no one else is running it.  So, you get a pretty good insight into who I am.

Brian: Fabulous.  Cat, thank you so much for taking time out of your hectic schedule here and your pace of dominating the day everywhere you go and leaving a legacy behind.  I appreciate you taking the time to sit down with us and this is one of the best podcasts we’ve ever had.  Thank you so much.

Cat: Thank you, Brian.