Nancy Newell is one of the most high energy, optimistic spirits in the fitness industry. She is the first female strength coach in Cressey Sports Performance history and is helping young athletes stay healthy, get stronger, and elevate their game to the next level.
What were you like as a little girl?
As a little girl, believe it or not, I was pretty shy. In school, I had a hard time making friends with other girls in my class because I didn't find that playing "house" or putting clothes on dolls was fun. I preferred to spend my time hunting and fishing with my dad, riding 4-wheelers and playing little league baseball with the boys! I was a tomboy.
Who were your idols?
My idols growing up were my teachers and coaches throughout my middle and high school years. They always had my best interests at heart, taught me to be resilient, and that being a nerd is freaking awesome. These individuals played a huge role in shaping the outgoing and hardworking individual I am today. Thank You!!
Why did you want to play sports?
I wanted to play sports for a few reasons. I grew up in a poor household where we lived paycheck to paycheck.
Looking back I played sports because it was an all out equalizer. In my mind when I stepped onto that baseball diamond nobody cared about what clothes I was wearing, what my home looked like or even the fact that I was like 4'8 and 100lbs soaking wet.
When it comes down to any sport, the name of the game is fundamentals. I played sports because I loved being the underdog. Sports for me were fun, exciting, and were a place where I met some of my best friends.
Were you a natural or did you have to work for it?
I would have to say it was a little bit of both. I remember my first little league game I was pulled from shortstop to pitch for the first time. I came out of that inning having hit around close to 5 batters and walked pretty much the entire line-up. I was so embarrassed and almost quit that night. However, I chose to take practice more seriously and from that point on, pitching got easier.
I learned that time and consistency are your best friends when learning to master any skill.
Were there any limiting factors that held you back?
Not really. I trusted in myself and knew I had the skill, work ethic, and great people around me to help me be successful.
What was your dream as an athlete?
I wouldn't say I had a specific dream that I was working towards. However, I made it my mission each day to out-work, out-hustle everyone in the room.
What practices/beliefs had to be put into place to work toward your goals?
1. Have a Positive Attitude: I truly believe that having a positive contagious attitude that people admire is a huge key to success.
2. Industriousness: It's not rocket science. To me, being good is average. Anyone can be good. To be one of the best takes focus, continuous effort, and relentless determination.
3. Friendships: Be a genuinely good human and develop mutual respect for your coaches and friends.
4. Appreciation: It's a process. It takes time and you need to embrace the good and the bad.
What was your proudest moment as an athlete?
My entire senior season of high school softball. My whole team had amazing team chemistry backed with some priceless talent that took us to the state final four.
What was it like transitioning from playing sports to working in fitness?
Eye Opening. As an athlete, I thought I knew how to lift, how to train, recover, eat right etc. When I finally left sports and was learning from some of the top leaders in this industry it was pretty humbling, to say the least. That's why I love what I do. For me, it's all about giving back and teaching young women and men how to perform the fundamentals and growing enough confidence to go out and train no matter where they are or who they are with. I want them to be leaders.
What values do you bring from playing sports into your fitness practice?
1) Desire to be the best
2) Being uncomfortable
How has your hard work helped you serve others?
Most of my hard work has been done to address the rising injury rates in youth softball and debunk the statement that softball pitching is a "safe/natural" motion. I believe the combination of my writing, outgoing personality, and unique training philosophy has helped countless female athletes gain strength, confidence, and helped them take steps towards long-term health.
If you could give your 16 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be a great human. Whether you've chosen to recognize it yet or not, you're an example - for you and those around you. Either of how to act or how not to.
Where can people find you?
At Cressey Sports Performance (come visit! )