Valerie Arioto was on the road with the USA Olympics team when she and her teammates found out that the season had been suspended because of Covid-19. The postponed 2020 Summer Games would have been her first time competing in the Olympics.
Arioto has competed at the professional level for 10 years. Throughout her professional career she’s played for the USA softball team at the Pan American games and in Izumi-ku, Sendai, Japan. With the help of Arioto’s bat — she drove in three runs and had a two-run homer —USA Softball clinched the final game against the Japan All-Star Series.
“It’s just been an overall amazing experience,” Arioto said in an interview with GoodSport. “And I hope to pass that excitement on to the next generation and be able to put on a good show for them in the Olympics.”
During quarantine, Arioto launched her new company, The Integrated Vault. The business focuses on the mental game and self-growth through a 12-week course that includes journaling to reflect on your individual growth and productivity.
Growing up as a multi-sport athlete, Arioto knows the importance of the mental side of athletics. Specifically in softball, the mental game is a huge component of staying ready and being able to play to the best of your abilities. The goal of the 12-week course and journal is to practice on the mental game outside of the sport and “to be able to create a plan and routines and your daily day-to-day life that really sets you up to again be the best version of yourself once you step on the field.”
“Ninety percent of the game is mental, then why aren’t we working on it and practicing it?” Arioto said. “And I really do believe that we can practice it and implement different routines into our daily lives and activities to prepare for when we get onto the field. So I think the mental game is just as kind of a broad term, but it really encompasses every single aspect of our life.”
Arioto understands that journaling can seem daunting. Her mother introduced her to the idea and at first she didn’t understand it; all she had was a blank piece of paper. As she stuck with it, her mother would send her prompts to work on and that’s when it clicked. Now, Arioto writes everything down and sees a lot of benefit in the practice.
“It’s just a good way to get whatever it is on paper and let it go,” Arioto said. “Because I feel like there’s so much in all the categories that I talked about in the journal, or even just in general in our lives that we hold onto it. And we don’t necessarily, we’re not aware or present about, or we’re not letting it go. And just kind of just sitting on our shoulders. So this is a good way to kind of just flush everything out, get your plan and set action to it.”
Arioto developed the prompts based off of her playing experience these past 10 years and through conversations with her teammates. All of the journal questions reflect on the process that brought her to where she is today, competing at the highest level—being an Olympian and having a championship mindset.
Arioto believes everyone has their own championship mindset. She defines the idea as being able to handle pressure in your life and deal with anything that is thrown at you. Her 12-week journal helps her clients define what a championship mindset looks like to them and how to utilize it in their everyday routine.
“I think if you miss any of these aspects of your lives I don’t think that championship mindset can really be achieved in the best way for you, whatever that may look like for you,” Arioto said. “ … but it’s also about your support system, it’s about your bond with your teammates and how that all works in a team atmosphere. So I think there’s so many aspects to it. And the journal really breaks down here are the exact steps and here’s what needs attention in order for you to create that championship mindset for you.”
By Amanda Levine
Photo Credit: Pexel (header); article photos by Adri Guyer and used with permission by Valerie Arioto