The Phillies are expanding the team’s Mental Performance department in a continued effort to support players and staff throughout all levels of the organization, Vice President and General Manager Sam Fuld announced today.
The department will be led by Ceci Craft, who has been hired as director of mental performance. Additionally, Hannah Huesman has been elevated to mental performance coordinator. Rounding out the department are returning members Manuel Antuna, Frances Cardenas and Geoff Miller, all of whom will serve as mental performance coaches.
In her new role with the Phillies, Craft will work closely with manager Joe Girardi and his coaching staff to provide mental performance training for major league players. Prior to joining the Phillies, Craft spent six years as the major league mental performance coach for the Cleveland Indians, where she worked with players and staff at the major league and triple-A levels of the organization. Before and after her time with Cleveland, Craft spent a combined seven years as a mental performance coach for the U.S. Army, supporting the Special Operations Soldiers at Fort Bragg. Most recently, she led a team of 14 cognitive performance coaches overseeing mental training design, implementation and measurement for the Army Special Operations population.
“I am honored to join the Phillies. It was clear in my initial conversations with Sam Fuld, Joe Girardi and Dave Dombrowski that this is a club that values the mental performance aspect of the game and their players’ development in this area,” said Craft. “I have seen firsthand the benefits of mental performance training with soldiers and athletes, and I’m excited to work alongside a strong staff that will support the mental performance development of our players at every level.”
“I’m incredibly excited to see the positive influence that Ceci will have on our players, coaches and staff. Her past experiences in baseball and the military make her particularly well-suited to optimize mental performance in high-pressure environments like the one that we compete in,” said Fuld. “Ceci is viewed throughout the industry as a leader in her field, and as we went through the interview process, it became clear why. Her intellect, empathy and enthusiasm immediately stood out to us, and we feel lucky to add her to our team. She and the rest of the department are poised to make a tremendous impact in our organization.”
Craft’s educational background is in applied sport science with a focus in sport psychology from the University of Bangor, Wales. She attended Bates College for her undergraduate studies, majoring in psychology and minoring in Spanish. Craft is also a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC).
Huesman joined the Phillies in January 2018 as the team’s minor league mental skills coach. She brings eight years of mental skills experience to her new position and will work closely with Craft on creating and executing plans with players and the coaching staff. Huesman received a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Tennessee. She is also a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC).
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work closely with Ceci on major and minor league initiatives,” said Huesman. “She has been a mentor of mine from afar for the last five years. Now that we will have the opportunity to work together, I couldn’t be more excited.”
“Hannah has established herself as an invaluable member of the Phillies organization, and we’re thrilled to promote her within the Mental Performance department,” said Fuld. “Hannah brings energy and commitment to her work in a way that raises the bar for everyone around her, and she has shown a strong ability to collaborate and connect with players and staff alike. We’re eager to see Hannah continue to grow her skillset and influence as she takes on this new, well-earned role.”