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Livestream - Applying the Growth Mindset to Sports and Life


Chat amongst coaches about applying the growth mindset to sports and life. Listen in as host Jessy Rodriquez and Sevwins Co-founder Matt French discuss the key elements of intentional habits and the impact they can make on developing success-oriented minds. Learn how Sevwins, the growth mindset app for student-athletes empowers coaches and the athlete support network to inspire growth.

Livestream initially aired on Feb 18, 2021

Host of All Bases Covered, Jessy Rodriguez-Melendez (JRM):
Welcome everyone to this week's All Bases Covered. I am so excited about tonight's show because we have a really cool guest joining us. He is a head high school baseball coach from Loomis, California, and he has developed this amazing sports software app. And I think that it's really gonna make a huge impact on the world of sports and the way we use technology for our athletes.

I want to introduce you guys to this really, really cool coach, Matt French. Matt is going to come on and he's going to talk to us about all these really cool things that athletes are going to be able to do through this fun app that he's developed or has helped develop what we'll talk a little bit about how they came up with the concept and why does he feel like this is really going to be a major impact in the sports world.

Thank you so much for joining us and being on All Bases Covered. I wanted you to first introduce yourself, tell us who you are. Give us a little bit about your background, and then we'll talk a little bit about baseball because I love talking baseball. It's my favorite sport. When we talk about this really cool app that you've created, tell us how I know you and I have discussed it a little bit. I think it's such an amazing, amazing piece of technology that you guys are going to be sharing with the world. Go ahead, tell us who you are and, um, you know, give us a little background on who you are.

Sevwins Cofounder, Matt French (MF):
Thank you, Jessy. It’s awesome to see what you guys do with All Bases Covered and how you work your tail off and you bring in a lot of great content. My background is somewhat interesting. I'm 45 years old and you look back at the decisions you made along the way, and somehow they all worked out. I played college baseball at the University of San Francisco, and after that ended up like most people do in the Bay Area, they go into software. I did that for 20 years, primarily on the marketing and product side of the house. I learned a lot through that experience. I’ve been in almost every phase of growth including big companies and small companies and startups and all that fun stuff.

I got to a point in my life where I started to reflect a little bit more about my impact on this world, and not that enterprise IT and the things that we're doing in the business software world wasn't making a difference, but I just really felt like I had learned a lot through my college career, from some amazing coaches and through some amazing leaders in the corporate world, that it was my time to give back. We learn too much going throughout this life that we're in and it's our job to give back and I'm doing the best I can. I'm still learning along the way, but that’s my quick background. I am a high school coach at the high school that I attended. My family and I moved back from San Diego to Loomis, California, which is in between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Foothills. I just wanted to give back to the community that helped shape me.

JRM:
So you played baseball? And at what age did you get started?

MF:
Oh, wow. That's a good question. I would say probably five or six years old. I started playing baseball in Little League. I remember telling my folks that I was with done with baseball and that I want to focus on gymnastics. There’s nothing wrong with gymnastics, but my folks told me to stick with baseball because I was fairly talented. So I continued to put in the work and made it Division I college baseball.

JRM:
And which position did you play?

MF:
I caught.

JRM:
You caught! Catcher is one of my favorite positions. My husband, Tony Melendez, position was catcher. I know how hard it is to play catcher. It's one of the toughest positions on the field. Tony always says that you really have to know the position, want to play the position, want to train hard for that position and have the right mindset. So if you were a catcher that tells me everything.

MF:
I think it's an amazing position. A lot of people believe the pitcher is who everybody is watching, but the reality is, everybody in the field is watching the catcher. I think your work ethic and your leadership can go a long way. And in a lot of cases, catchers guide them the pitchers and we give them the mental support they need. So I I'm, I'm fond of catchers. Most catchers I've met throughout my life are, are good, hard-nosed people that know the game really well.

JRM:
Tony was hard on himself as an athlete and he's hard on his athletes when he's training them. He loved catching because it put him in the driver's seat. You know, he wanted to be able to call the game. He wanted to be able to sort of guide how the game was going to be played. Tony is a leader and so catchers usually need that type of mindset. You know, you have to have that leadership kind of mindset and he's definitely that. He loved it and he loves it still. And it's one of the positions that he truly loves to teach most. We had a family member that actually caught and played in the Big Leagues, so it's always been something that when I, when someone tells me they're a catcher, I'm like, “Oh, I know what that means.”

Let’s switch gears. What I love about the internet and technology and all of this fun world that we're living in through with apps and tech platforms like the one we're on, right now. But what I love about all of this is way it brings people together. And I actually met you through a connection with someone that I made on LinkedIn. And it's just so interesting to me, especially in the sports world, right? Like we think it's so big, but really, and truly when you really start getting to know people and you start to learn how, how real niche we are, right? And as an industry you can just start to connect with people. We connected through a gentlemen named Greg Moore. Tell me what's your association or what's your connection to Greg and how that sort of brought us together.

MF:
Again, it's an intertwined world. Greg and I played baseball together at the University of San Francisco. After college, I went off into enterprise software and Greg started coaching baseball at a University of San Francisco. I always looked to Greg as a coach in the bullpen and on the field. He’s an amazing guy. A lot of people ask about Greg. The first thing that I always say is, “sometimes it's hard to believe that someone can literally be that good and be that guy. I've always held Coach Moore in high regard. I've watched his career. We've stayed in contact, obviously, because that's what you do with old teammates. About a year and a half ago, he invited me down to his college St. Mary's in California, in Moraga for a coach's hot stove. Greg pulled me aside and said, Hey, um, I know you've been in software, but I've had this idea that I’m trying to get off the ground. I don't know how to do it, but I know that it really, really works. And so I said, Greg, share it with me. He was running this process with players to try to get passed the surface level with his athletes – to get to know them better and have meaningful conversations. And he was doing it through paper and it was working somewhat. Then they started moving to WhatsApp and text messages to automate the process. It was easier to capture and gather the information.

I told Greg that I think there's something we can do. As a high school coach, I would love to be able to have more detailed information about the athletes so I can better mentor them. If you have 75 kids in your program, most of the conversations are, “Hey, how are you doing today?” “Good coach, thank you.” Great coach, doing fantastic. It's a great answer. I like the positive notion of it, but it's really hard to get past the surface level. Coaches have the desire, but they don’t always have the time to mentor properly.

The app is really pretty straight forward. There are two bookends to it. There's helping athletes start to be more planful throughout the week. So it starts off in setting goals for direction. So where am I heading this week? And we look at it as really that seven day cycle and, and being really focused on what I'm getting done and those micro goals. Then the app helps athletes analyze their mental skills throughout the week. And finally, looking at the end of the week and reflecting back on your experiences and trying to identify opportunities for growth, looking at the challenges, looking at the successes, how do I learn from those and create a plan and learn from them?

And so this is all stuff that coach Moore was doing on paper and later moved to text messaging. Me being in tech for many years, I've met a lot of really good people that were kind of in the same boat that I am, which is, you know, I've kind of run my course with enterprise software. I want to make a difference. And, uh, so we've got a really great team that we brought on. We've gone from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds in a year, and things really taking off.

JRM:
So are you able to share the name yet of the app or not yet? Where are you?

MF:
We're fully live with Sevwins. Have you ever gone through the process of naming a company?

JRM:
I have, I have, you know, so here's, what's interesting coach. So I'm a sports business coach. It's what I teach. And I work with other sports leaders and entrepreneurs that are wanting to launch build, or scale their own business, using their sports expertise, leverage it, and, you know, use their passion to make a paycheck. That's what I, I usually say. And, you know, I, I always attribute one picking the name of your business to creating the logo for your business. It's literally like giving birth to a child. It really is because, you know, that's a baby that you birth, right? You nurture, you have to feed it, you have to grow it. You have to take care of it. You have to protect it. I mean, it, there's a lot of work that goes into this. All of my coaching clients, I'm like, listen, take as much time as you feel you need, because this is literally like you are giving to a child and then you're going to want to protect that baby.

Once you, you know, once you've given birth to the baby, now it's suddenly you have to, you know, you have to grow the baby and you hope that the baby grows enough to come back and take care of you really well. You know? And so that's really how I look at this. Um, so I, I totally get it. I get that, you know, that it can be a challenge. And, and, and now I'm sure that you look at your brand and there's a lot of pride that goes into that, right? It's so much of who you are. It's so much of what you want to offer the world who want to make an impact through your, what you've created and you, you are making an impact. Um, and so that's a question I have for you. How much has obviously sports have, has been a huge part of your life. So how much of this are you hoping now that you've, you know, poured so much of yourself into it? How much of this are you hoping will truly be a legacy that will carry on for hopefully many, many, many generations?

MF:
I love the question. I want wrap up the question about the name Sevwins if that is OK. When you're, when your naming and a company, and I've done several of them and rebranding activity type stuff, you take a step back, you peel back layers of the onion and you say to yourself, what do you really do? And you can go out with the Googles and Ooyalas, and all those names and be creative. But I like to be more specific about what the technology or the company is doing. And so ours is pretty straightforward, is it, we're trying to get kids seven wins per week. And everything's kind of wrapped around that seven day cadence. So you got the seven and the wins that come together for the name Sevwins. That that's kind of the Genesis of that.

JRM:
And so what do you hope? What do you, what's your big, what's your biggest dream, right? When you close your eyes and you look at Sevwins and you're like, you know, I've poured my heart and soul into this. This is something I want to, obviously it's going to have a huge impact in the world. What kind of legacy do you want to leave with that?

MF:
Yeah, it's, to me, it's not, it's not about legacy. It's, it's about the, um, it's not about me at all. It's the impact on these young adults. You look at what's happening with COVID and just the stress of social media and the pressure to get a scholarship and the pressure to take advanced courses in high school. Um, there's just, they're dealing with things that we never had to deal with. I mean, we had our struggles for sure, but they were dealing with things that, that we never really had to go through. And there's a lot of negativity in some cases out in the world too. And especially with social media is people can be, can be pretty mean. So it's a tough world to be a young adult and just the pressures of going through it. But our goal, it with Sevwins is to impact million lives.

And we've got a good plan to do that. And we're on our way right now. And the reality is that if we can get young adults, just pause and reflect on how they're thinking right now, it's not so much mental exercises, but it's really starting to understand what their “why” is, where are they headed in life? What are they going to do to get to that, to achieve those goals and their “why”. And so you start to create a plan and when you have a plan, it's easier to be focused. It's easier to prioritize and it's easier to be happy. And I think that's the one thing we're really trying to do at the end of the day, is just give athletes, student-athletes and athletes in generals in general tools to be successful and happy in life. And it starts with just really simple habits.

JRM:
Yeah. And I, I love that because I think that that's one of the things, not, not just athletes nowadays, but I think that we all, um, are lacking a little bit of clarity because there's so much happening in our world. And we, we all tend to get unfocused. And so, especially for young athletes, I think that point that you make with giving them clarity and give them, giving them a roadmap, providing them a roadmap. One of the things that you haven't mentioned, that when you spoke to me earlier, you did mention, um, was the part of the app that actually, um, is for the, um, them giving back the athlete, giving back. So tell, tell me a little bit more about that, because I found that to be, that really touched me and I, and I think that that's such a huge component to what you guys created there.

MF:
Yeah. Thank you. You're, you're a good interviewer because you bring up things we forget. A big part of this and what we've seen in life. And even with professional athletes, is just the importance of gratitude. And if you can begin to appreciate the things that you have, then you're where your feet are. You also create what we call groundswell, where others will continue to support you more and more throughout life. And so there's just some simple, we talked about the goals. Uh, so on Monday am with the Monday at 8:00am the athletes receive a notification on their phone that says, go fill out three goals. And the first one is, what am I going to read to sharpen my mind? And it's full open text based on purpose. And that's, what's cool about technologies. We can really start to evaluate the words that these student athletes choose to use.

And so as they start to write their goal about what they're going to do to sharpen their mind, they're being specific, they're being time-bound, they're starting to goal stack and they're, they're looking at things and reading things that are helping expand their mind in areas that they really find interesting to them. Then you have, the next goal is train. So how am I going to improve my body? And it's not the training schedule the coach gives you. It's “I’m going to do 50 sit-ups before school and 50 sit-ups after school. It's more about the habit, or I'm going to do eight minutes of cardio before I go work out, because I know that I can bump up my heart rate and get more out of my workout. So that's what the training piece looks like. And then your question about about the gratitude element and the giving is really a big one.

It's really fun to see the athletes goals written in their own words in the app – especially how they plan to elevate others. And that literally is one of the goals. The third goal on Monday is how will you elevate others? And it's again, time bound and specific. One of the cool things you'll start to see from some of the athletes, even like down to the freshmen level and sophomore level in high school, is I'm going to do dishes three times per week without my parents asking –just funny stuff like that, I'm going to call my grandma and grandpa because in COVID I haven't been able to be around them. I'm going to FaceTime an old friend back home. It's just the stuff that I think they start to realize that they're not in this alone and giving actually really does help spike the mind and help create confidence and happiness.

JRM:
I love that. I think for me, that was one, I mean, I think every mother is going to love that. I think that everybody that comes across that part of the app is going to say, yes, finally thought about something other than, you know, cause we always tend to focus on their training. Their obviously their academics is super important. Um, but we, you know, we oftentimes forget about that component, right? The human component about teaching them how to be women, um, teaching them how to still remain compassionate and have, you know, true care for their fellow human being. Um, and so I love that about when you said that to me, I was like, “Oh my gosh, that's just awesome.” Um, and so how, how does someone get the app? Do they just go to like the app store or how did they get their hands on the app?

MF:
Right now, it is a web based app. So it works on any browser on a mobile phone or even on your desktop. So right now, the way it works is you go to Sevwins.com and you sign up, then it's a really straightforward process. You get launched immediately. The app starts working in the coach, invites their athletes. We are in the process of putting the app in the app store, both in iOS and Android. And that'll give us a lot of unique features from a notification engine standpoint, a lot of just native features that come with those devices. So that's, that's on its way. With early stage companies that we're at right now and trying to grow like crazy and get this framework out to as many coaches as we can. The app will change a lot in a very short period of time. So that's, that's the fun part, you know,

Jessy, one thing I didn't mention too, if I can talk a little bit more about the coach's perspective on this, because it's really pretty cool. There's a lot of goal setting apps that are out there, right. And what we bring to the table, is it specific tech to student athlete growth. The second piece is that the coach sees all the inputs from the athlete in one single location, they get notifications if certain words are used that are positive, certain words that are used that are negative. The coach can actually go in and view all the goal journals for the athletes, whether it's their goals or the reflection journals. And so what that does, it just, it creates a conversation between the athlete and coach and lets the athlete know that the coach cares.

And it's this really kind of unique situation where your coaches are mentors and if given the right tools, they can do some really amazing stuff. That's what we're seeing right now is just the overall visibility. We launched this thing back in March, right about when everything shut down and the app wasn't built for virtual team management and mentoring. We ran a Sevwins Growth Mindset League with the University of the Pacific, Los Medanos College, Taft College, Holy Names University and St. Mary’s College of California and what the coaches were able to do with this app, keeping athletes engaged in college in a very difficult time when some of them weren't even on campus and just keeping a pulse on them and helping direct traffic for these athletes. It was really pretty amazing even though it wasn't really designed to do that.

JRM:
I love that. And so, so now I asked you this question, will there be a connection or maybe there is already within the app where coaches can communicate, let's say on a high school level. I think that it's. So, um, it would be so beneficial for coaches to be able to communicate concerning an athlete or for an athlete to be able to say, Hey, because as we know most boys and, and I don't mean this in any derogatory way, but most boys are lazy. They want to. So I think that wouldn't it be cool if there's that feature where they could say, Hey, coach, follow me. And what, you know, how I communicate with my coach from high school or, or check out, you know, some of the, some of the feedback I've gotten from my high school coach on my training this week, or, you know, whatever, I mean, will there, will there maybe be, or maybe there is already that feature within the app,

MF:
Listeners, I promise you, this is not a softball question. Literally, this is a real question. We haven't talked about this, but we do have something that we think is really promising. It's called MindPrint – the Resume of the Mind. And the idea is that the athletes can subscribe a third-party coach, an athletic trainer, a parent or an uncle. And what they receive when they subscribe to the athlete's profile, they receive a weekly notification and full-blown email that includes the Read, Train, Give goals, their mental skill assessments and shows the trend chart over 30 day moving average, and also shows the reflections that they've submitted for their build on work on. Now, almost every kid has their specialist coach outside of high school or whatever the sport you're in. And it's really to get people on the same page so we can help support this athlete together. Right. And that's really, the goal is just enable and support this athlete by information coming directly from them. And I think one thing that, um, that is really neat, that that I've really been excited to see in the app is because all these responses that the goals and the reflections are text-based, is it, the kids literally learn as they write over time, you mentioned, you know, boys being lazy and we are, you know, we are to a certain degree. Um, but over time the writing gets a lot better. They become less, more specific. And when that occurs, you know, they're becoming much more clear. And we even have seen like in the Build-On work ons, which are the, uh, the reflections at the end of the week, those are typically longer than you would have.

Like the goals are pretty short. It's a one to two liner max, but you're getting the reflections and you can literally see how the mind starts to alter, you know, they've got their canned answer they start with, and then they start diving in a couple of rat holes and they start to expand on really cool areas and start to learn as they write. And, and, and that's the power of, of keeping things open in that way. And then technology and all the amazing stuff we can do with technology these days. And we're working on like artificial intelligence and really looking at how words are chosen. Are there, are there positive words that are being used, um, like, and, and build on work on, is there high emotion around the stuff that are challenges and low emotion around the things that are, that are more success oriented?

Because we, we want passion around challenges. That's, we've got to attack those challenge. That's how we get better. And so the app can start to see those words they're choosing to use. Are they choosing, are they using words that describe a time-bound environment? So they're going to be doing, they're going to read, or they're going to read it 15 minutes every night before they go to bed. So now you're starting to talk about like goal stacking. So all this writing it, it really starts to help the athlete be more strategic about their thinking. And it's not just for, for life. I mean, obviously life is, uh, is the main part to it. But if you've got good attention to detail in the small things, you go on a baseball field on a basketball court, on a football field and a pool. And you're going to have that same, that same approach because you look at all the hours that we can practice the mental part of life that gets applied in sport. There's a lot, a lot that athletes can gain from just getting better off the field.

JRM:
And I think that the accountability factor is so wonderful for that, right? So we got to keep them accountable and that keeps them accountable, right? Because if they don't engage on the app, if they don't supply the answers or supply their goals or supply, you know, what, they're there, what they anticipate then you know, that they haven't participated in their goals, that accountability factor. So I think that that's wonderful. I love that.

MF:
Yeah. It's spot on. In fact, in the app, we have something that we call the bell percentage. It's how often are you ringing that bell then for baseball and softball players? It's basically a batting average. So with seven ones, you get, you get 11 at bats during the week. And they're what we call a growth growth reps. You get 11 growth reps throughout the week. And your percentage is the ability is, is directly related to your fulfillment of those, of those growth reps throughout the week. And so, like I mentioned, the, um, the college growth mindset league that we did, it was an 11 week league that we did. Uh, and for a lot of the universities in California and UOP had a 91% bell percentage across all their players, uh, just shows you how, how, and that's, that's a large team. Um, St Mary's was I think a 0.2 percentage points behind them.

And so it is, it is all about accountability. And then the one that was really neat, uh, one of the teams, I won't mention them, but they had a lower overall bell percentage, but their percentage of completion on the reflections, they, the weekly reflections, which is really probably the most important piece throughout the week. They're at 97%. Wow. Just look at these. These are high school kids, college kids. They're just thinking differently than I ever did. I mean, I have always kind of been goal oriented, but never was I, this was I this focused on creating intentional habits.

JRM:
Awesome. Thank you so much. I have been looking forward to our interview because I just knew that this information is, and this app I'm really excited about what you're going to do with this app. Um, I'm actually going to go in there and take a look and peek around a little bit myself. Um, I find it so intriguing. Um, thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world and for marrying your two special, um, you know, your two special, um, you know, the things that have made you, who you are, right? So sports and technology, and of course, you know, you seem like just such a, a wonderful, wonderful coach. You seem very caring and, you know, you really seem like you're putting your whole heart into these youngsters that you're working with. So thank you so much for that. I think that we need more people like you in our world, um, that truly do care, um, because sports as no coach has become a huge, um, you know, uh, I mean, it's always been, but I, I find that now, besides it being very, very, very competitive, especially baseball, right?

And so we did baseball for a long time when we had teams and, um, you know, it's become so competitive and it's also become huge revenue generators around, you know, especially around our country. And so Tony and I would always say, you know, it's, yes, we understand that, you know, there's, there's, you can make a living in the sport, but we can't forget why we got into this. And it was really to serve these youngsters and, um, to, to make an impact in their lives. And so thank you so much for what you're doing. And I look forward to us, definitely staying in contact and sharing more as you develop your app, I'm sure it's going to change. Technology's changing so quickly in our world. I'm sure you will be keeping up with what's happening in our world and, and updates and all that fun stuff.

So I want to make sure that we stay in contact and I'll be sharing all of your information right here on the broadcast guys. So right in the broadcast, I will be putting the link to the website, and I'll also put information on how you can get in contact with coach Matt French, and learn more about what they're doing at [inaudible] com. Thank you so much for being on with me and sharing this time with us. And, um, I'll look forward to seeing you again soon in the future. And hopefully someday, if I'm out in Cali or you're here in New York or wherever we might find each other, maybe we can get together and, um, you know, have a, uh, a coffee or something

MF:
Thank you for having me and thank you for making a difference. One of the things that is really gratifying is meeting people like you. People that really truly do make a difference. And we appreciate it. Thank you.


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