Jessica Mendoza, two-time Olympic softball champion and Major League Baseball ESPN anchor, joins Versus , a subscription sports coaching platform that uses AI to bring experts directly into the lives of young players; Along with Mendoza, the list includes Cooperstown shows. ins, among others, MLB's Albert Pujols, Fernando Tatis, Jr., soccer player Ali Krieger and Tim Howard.
Training focuses on physical skills, conditioning and mental foundations that athletes can use in sports and in life.
Mendoza said his message is to balance humility, confidence and a growth mindset. She explains what this means, especially for female athletes and broadcasters in a male-dominated profession, and talks about the future of MLB. Some answers have been edited for clarity and length.
MarketWatch. How can Versus be an effective platform especially for girls? Is it important to train young athletes against men via video or in person?
Jessica Mendoza. I want everyone. I have two little boys. And I understand that our message about inclusion in general has the same effect on men and women as it does on women. And the biggest part was my dad, you know, he was as big and supportive as my mom, my dad was a coach, and he was a big influence on me and my sister. I hope my sons click and listen to female athletes and my daughters click and listen to male athletes.
But there are definitely messages aimed at minority audiences, and a woman in an all-male class is someone who's Hispanic or, frankly, someone who grew up a little different than everyone else. It's about knowing how to find your voice .
But listen, there are no bubbles around women. I hadn't and to be honest, thanks for helping me prepare for the world, not sports.
MarketWatch. Talk about a fine balance between confidence and humility in sports and life…
Mendoza I've seen many people have one or the other. They don't have a proper balance between the two. And I know there was a lot of uncertainty, a lot of uncertainty for me. Humility comes a little naturally to me, and I think it's great for preparation. And I'm so grateful, to be honest, I've lost confidence in a lot of ways. To be honest, I wasn't the best athlete or the best student. But I worked hard because I had that humility. And it allowed me to go to the next level. There is a quote that has always stuck with me. Play your best
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MarketWatch. And to follow up, I've also noticed in my workplace that women are less likely to show vulnerability or disagreement or apologize for asking the same questions as men. And women do it sometimes, even if it's a good atmosphere. why?
Mendoza I actually work on efficiency and confidence. It could be a voice in my head. "You got it right, Jess." But I have to believe. The feeling that I suddenly speak at a meeting, on television, somewhere. why? Because I feel like I'm the right person now to say what I have to say.
MarketWatch. A Deadspin writer published an article earlier this year discussing Pickleball and the Men's Pickleball League's new television coverage. It was his theory that the major sports networks were interested in adding new content but were unable to bring women's sports to television. Do you agree? What difference would it make? Are broadcasters doing enough to keep women's sports in the spotlight?
Mendoza No I'm not. Angela Ruggiero had a lot of fun last year (see her TEDx). Graduate of Harvard University, Olympic hockey player. Her entire career is now data-driven to dispel all misconceptions about how women's sports bring in dollars. I mean Crackle, South Carolina vs. The UConn women blew those distribution numbers out of the water last night. But how many times have you been forced to make a difference by selling out the stadium in the Women's World Cup? It's frustrating for me as a presenter, but also as someone who represents all these girls and women. Now the Olympics are doing a great job. This is the only event that I think attracts more women than men. And this is because it is based on history.
MarketWatch. Summer/Winter type or cross training with a view to developing young athletes who stick with sports year round, join clubs, travel teams etc.
Mendoza Let's start by saying that being a young athlete in a sport is money. Club fees, special training, travel. And that's a problem. And I mean everyone will tell you. We spoke to professional athletes. Chris Paul, Michael Giordano. They will tell you. Right now my son plays baseball but we told this coach and it's great communication my son is in basketball season. We missed baseball practice because we were playing basketball. And he is nine years old.
But there's real pressure to participate, and in sports, in club sports, and the pressure parents feel, there's a lot of money for college scholarship pressure. Therefore, they spend a lot of money to make their children play sports throughout the year.
It's going to be more powerful, not less, because now college kids can get in openly. You will be going to high school very soon. I did the Little League World Series, and we'd see these 11- and 12-year-olds on signs and autographs. Also streaming. ESPN+ has all these new sports on TV. Now you can find all these kids on TV, for example. B 8,9,10 years.
MarketWatch. Will we see "The Ball" again in MLB? Hitting average, stealing bases, moving runners over. They are constantly trying to adapt to changes in league rules. where are you? Let the game grow organically. Is the league on the right track? And how do you handle baseball/softball fundamentals when the game changes so much? Mostly I think about shooting around.
Mendoza , of course, you need a "small ball" and a "long ball" to make a baseball. But listen, you can't have nine-to-nine swings, all high-angle swings, swings where you know it's all or nothing. I understand it's entertainment, but it's true, we're trying to teach the game of baseball.
I love the clock change coming this year. We need to see more baseball, make connections, get more of what we want to see, throw the ball correctly, hit the ball. Well, we have to get back to it.
MarketWatch. At MarketWatch, we're always trying to help people save, invest and retire. Do you remember the first step you got when you realized you could play sports for a living?
Mendoza I had a full [softball] scholarship to Stanford and maybe $20 in cash in my bank. But I remember when I was 22 years old I was sponsored by the Louisville Slugger and all I could think about was going to town with hundreds of dollars and eating whatever I wanted for one meal.
Your first purchase is that big. I first bought a house and rented it out to make money. Instead, I lived with my parents. I quickly learned what an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is. And even though it was boring, I couldn't resist. I was very surprised. And this is my advice to all athletes. Here's an IRA, go for it. Nobody talks to me about money. Let's change
[Author's note: Mendoza works with Invesco and Invesco QQQ QQQ, the official asset manager of the NCAA.
MarketWatch. What about VS, your videos, and what's next?
Mendoza I am a mother and we are probably very involved in our children's sports life. So I want Adam Wainwright to teach my son how to work. This VS. But it is more than health. Mental health Albert Pujols is more than a Hall of Famer. And yes, knowing him, he is really trying in this series. He was so wrong about everything. Children should see.
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