It all starts with a vision. At the age of four years old, the vision for Lisa was a dark one with her innocence being stripped in a flash.
On October 28th, Lisa, her mom, brother, and sister were arriving home from a trip to the airport to pick-up a relative. They opened the door and found her dad, Alex, unresponsive on the couch. This vision was engraved in her head from that day forward. This vision was also the vision that changed her life forever.
Two weeks after her father’s death, Lisa’s mom started cleaning houses to provide for her kids. Although Lisa’s dad was the one who passed, at times it felt as if Lisa had lost both parents, considering her mother’s work hours. Yet, as much as mom was gone, she instilled two very important traits in Lisa from four years old and on, goals and grit… no matter the obstacles.
While living in low-income housing, it was difficult to see the other side of life… until it wasn’t. By the age of six, Lisa was going with her mom to her cleaning jobs. Here she was exposed to the other side of life, a new vision, as she sat in closets the size of her living room and began to day dream of another life for herself. Those trips with mom to work became joyful escapes to Lisa as she was, unknowingly, setting visions and goals for herself at five years old.
At the age of six years old, Lisa had found another escape through the game of baseball. She would spend endless hours outside throwing a tennis ball against her apartment complex wall. During these tennis ball showdowns, Lisa would envision herself in high stakes games, making game winning plays, and creating challenges for herself to conquer. Her imagination was free when she was playing ball and that was something that no one could take from her.
This feeling of freedom led Lisa to pursue baseball. No other sport compared and no other sport lasted. It was baseball from the moment she could play, all day, every day; baseball. Her passion, love, and confidence that she felt when she played the game was displayed through her skills. And by the age of eleven years old, she was already breaking down barriers as a top baseball pitcher in the county. She turned heads, broke records, and won championships until she made the switch to softball in high school.
Throughout her high school years, Lisa was a natural athlete and turned heads in every game that she played as a, now, standout catcher. Whether it was with a bat in her hand or loaded down in catcher’s gear, her talent would never waiver, making headlines in the local newspapers and winning many awards.
But for Lisa, her athletic notoriety wasn’t a big deal compared to her everyday home life struggles having a single mother, two siblings, and living in low income housing. Yet, it was when Lisa was asked about her college plans for softball, that she had to stop and take a deep breath. The idea of going to college to play ball was never a vision painted on her canvas of life. Rather, Lisa’s plan was to finish high school and get a job since that is all she had ever known. At the same time, Lisa knew that she was more than capable to play college softball and be one of the best in the game to top.
By her junior year, multiple colleges had approached Lisa to play at their program. Overwhelmed by the offers and giddy with excitement, Lisa went to college doing what she loved… playing softball. Throughout her college years, Lisa became a standout NCAA collegiate athlete, made it to the World Series, was a four-year starter, and was team captain both junior and senior year. Moreover, Lisa would break the mold, being the first in her family to go away to school as well as play in the NCAA, making her biggest cheerleader, her mother, so incredibly proud.
You see, it was Lisa's mother (Lisa Sr.) that was her main motivator and role model. Lisa's mother never made her three kids feel poor or less than, worked to provide the best life for them, and always made them feel that they could do and become anything that they wanted to in life. For instance, Lisa watched as her mother set a goal for herself to buy a family home and get out of the situation they were in. Sure enough, her mother made it happen. And, by the age of 16, Lisa got her own room in the home that her mom got for her family.
Watching her mom set goals and achieve them is exactly what Lisa learned to do herself.
The moment that Lisa graduated from college is the moment “GRIT” became her middle name. Her mother had moved into her stepfather’s house and it was time for Lisa to find work, get an apartment, and be an adult. This urgency triggered the traits that were instilled in her from when she was four years old, grit, goals, and perseverance.
Lisa ended up working tons of jobs to make rent from the age of 22 and on. She did landscaping, babysitting, dog-walking, was a Verizon sales rep, got her real estate license, managed an acupuncture office, was a group home counselor, and the list goes on. Whatever it took to make rent and persevere, she did.
But there is one thing that Lisa never wavered from, the game. Along with her various jobs, she became an assistant college softball coach at Farleigh Dickinson University, Drew University, and gave private one on one hitting and catching lessons throughout the tri-state. She had quickly learned that her new freedom and fun was not playing the game, but teaching the game. And just like visions that she had set to be the best player in the state, she now had set visions to be instructor in the state.
She became just that.
As her name spread in private softball lessons, she had a moment one day sitting in the DMV waiting for her name to be called. Her mind started to wander…
“Why can’t I only do this for a living? The money makes sense. I love how I feel. I am good at it. Am I holding back because it isn’t considered a ‘real career’?…”
As she started to question all of societies norms of “careers”, she came to a conclusion and wrote it down at that moment.
“I am going to create a softball training company, have people work for me one day,
and be the best in the game.”
She set the vision, felt the vision as if it were current, and eventually became the vision.
In 2008, she made the move and started an outdoor softball training company, called Mobile Softball Training. The idea for the name came from working in Verizon surrounded by mobile phones. Yet, she had learned quickly that she needed more than a name to be considered legit.
Being constantly driven by her vision, she built MST. She studied how to build a website and built one. She created a logo and ordered business cards. She knew she needed to appear to be a “real company”, so she purchased a pay as you go phone and kept it off the entire time instead leaving a “professional company voicemail”. She made t-shirts, got magnets for her car, and built Mobile Softball Training.
MST was a great success from 2008-2011 until the dirt became turf and she opened her first official location, called Diamond Academy - Elite Baseball and Softball Training. Diamond Academy was a small basement facility under a furniture store, yet in her area the rent was no easy cost averaging $3500.00 per month.
The cost of rent did not outweigh her certainty in her vision of becoming the most successful facility in the country. At the age of 27, she hired a baseball trainer and two additional softball trainers to have on staff. She set the tone of training throughout her business and word spread… Coach Lisa was it.
While at Diamond Academy, Coach knew that she needed to stand out more to become known throughout the country. So, she started making hitting instruction YouTube videos. Whatever it took to send a message that she was the best in the game, is exactly what Lisa did. Years went by and the views got larger. By 2015, her first ever YouTube video had reached over 300,000 views. It was time for the next chapter.
In 2015, as she continually built on previous visualizations and goals that she had set for herself, Coach Lisa was no longer happy with being a baseball and softball facility. In her mind, she was the number one softball facility in the country, not baseball and softball facility.
Her visions and goals did not match up to where she now was so she took another risk. Coach removed baseball from her location, changed the name to Challenge U. Softball, changed the logo, changed the colors to teal, black, and white, and changed history.
From 2015 and on, Challenge U. Softball® began to raise the bar of softball instruction worldwide. Her basement spot turned into a 6k square foot softball only facility with twelve CU softball instructors on staff and an additional twenty-four running outdoor CU clinics. Today, Challenge U. Softball® trains an average of 8K softball athletes per year in private lessons, indoor clinics, and outdoor camps.
Coach Lisa’s vision of her facility had come to life and become known throughout the country. Due to the success of CU and her online presence through her YouTube videos, she was now on the main stage of the softball instruction industry. Coach Lisa has gone on to become a national speaker at baseball and softball conventions alongside MLB hitting coaches and Top D1 NCAA softball head coaches.
Being the person that she is, after conquering vision by vision, goal by goal, Coach Lisa was ready for the next. As she looked back at her journey, she didn’t understand why there were not thousands, if not millions, of people who pursued a passion like she did and turn it into a profession. It made no sense to her. She had a great quality of life, loved what she did for a living, and the child-like joyful feelings that came with playing the game were the same ones that she had when teaching the game. Why weren’t many people doing this for a living?
In true Coach Lisa fashion… it was time for another vision, the next chapter.
In 2016, Coach Lisa embarked on a one year journey to develop a hitting
coach certification program. She met with physical therapists, high level hitters,
personal trainers, and psychologists. Her goal was to create a hitting coach
school that would teach anyone who had a passion for hitting and teaching how
to become the best in their area and turn their passion into a profession.
She knew that this meant learning the exact science beneath the swing, creating
a specific systemic training format for optimum results, and, most importantly,
developing a mental and emotional training system to teach athletes how to set a
vision, feel the vision, and become the vision as she had done her entire life, on
and off the field.
In 2017, The C.U.D.I.T.® Concentric Hitting Coach Certification Program was
born. C.U.D.I.T.®, Challenge U. Drill Interval Training, was the first program in
the country based on hitting eccentric and concentric muscle movement while
training the mental game with Coach Lisa’s C.U.D.I.T.® VBS System (Visualization, Body Language, and Self-Talk).
Today, there are Certified C.U.D.I.T.® Concentric Hitting Coaches in 21 states and throughout Canada. Coach Lisa’s vision of turning her passion into her profession and now her purpose has created the movement for many others to do the same.
“I feel it is my purpose to teach athletes and individuals of any age that they can be anything they want to be. Throughout my life, I was doubted by tons of people. I should have been a statistic. But, I used that doubt as my fire. My fire to continually raise my own standards. In doing so, I realized I inspired others. Now, instead of only inspiring others, I decided to show them HOW to create their own journey.
This is my passion. This is my purpose. Gratefully, this is my profession.”