360U: Mindset + Mechanics – Training softball and baseball athletes on and off the field

Sisters Maria (Van Abel) Stave, Laura (Van Abel) Beyer and UWO Softball Head Coach Scott Beyer started 360U in 2016, and their success has grown to include a second location and more!

SERVICES USED: Digital Marketing Clinic

Maria, Laura and Scott handled all the tasks when opening their Appleton location, but they now have more than 50 part-time employees. When they were ready to open a second location in Oshkosh in 2022, they came to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance.


Sean Fitzgerald, a consultant at the Oshkosh SBDC, provided help with updating their business plan, strategic business planning and accounting resources. Laura said, “Sean has been such a blessing for us personally and for our business. He asked us questions we never thought about and connected us with several opportunities and resources. For example, we were on a live news broadcast on WFRV with Sean and the Fox Cities Chamber. He also connected us with resources in Oshkosh, one who specifically introduced us to the Main Street Bounceback grant which awarded us $10K and helped us open our Oshkosh facility,” Laura said.

Sean also introduced Maria and Laura to the SBDC’s Digital Marketing Clinic (DMC). “We were paired with an amazing team at the DMC including Kathy Fredrickson and an intern who studied our website, marketing and social media. They knew our business inside and out. The intern gave us an intricate presentation of every suggestion to improve our traffic, flow and just about everything else. After implementing the website and social media recommendations, we feel so much better about our marketing plan moving forward! We even ended up bringing someone on internally to help implement all the suggestions,” Laura said.

“We also worked with Jim Heiting at SCORE, who was our first mentor and really propelled us to take our dream to reality and start the business. SCORE provided great connections, including Sean Fitzgerald at the SBDC. And the SBDC led us to the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp where we worked with Kathy Griese.”

“[Sean] asked us questions we never thought about and connected us with several opportunities and resources.”
Laura Beyer
  • Business plan
  • Strategic planning
  • Resources and opportunities

At 360U, the team of coaches train softball and baseball athletes 7 years old all the way through college level athletes. They train on mechanics of the game and place a major emphasis on mental approach. They teach skills that are useful in life outside of sports like how to respond to adverse situations and failure and what body language signifies. Laura said, “We want to provide curriculum that wasn’t available to us when we were kids.” They use a “Word of the Week” such as “self-confidence” or “self-worth” and prompts like “What kind things would your friends say about you?” in journaling activities to boost self-esteem. The mental focus assists players in dealing with growing pressures of competition and responding to adversity on and off the field.

360U offers one-on-one training, small group sessions, in-house camps, travel camps and coaches’ clinics. They developed coaches’ clinics to help coaches use consistent language and techniques. Laura said, “We are very careful in who we put in front of our athletes. Our staff is passionate about helping every athlete feel confident, strong and ready to compete! Scott Beyer is our content driver. His experience playing collegiate baseball and professional softball as well as coaching UW Oshkosh Softball for 11 years helps us create relevant and reliable content for instructors and athletes.” Their 360U travel camps bring their staff to locations around the state, making it convenient for families to receive top notch training in a two-hour camp format right in their own backyard.


Sean said, “They’ve become good stewards within each of the markets 360U serves. Local youth baseball and softball communities – including coaches, athletes and parents – have come to recognize the team at 360U as the top training resource in the area.”

360U partners with several organizations to develop customized year-round programs. 360U’s use of HitTrax simulators also sets them apart from the competition as the technology allows athletes to see every swing and its metrics. Laura said, “It is so cool seeing athletes’ swings change over the years. HitTrax allows an athlete to look at their swing when they were 10 and again at age 17 (and every swing between) and see their awesome growth!”

360U also gives back to the community that is so supportive of their business. 360U partners every year with the WI Timber Rattlers to donate a camp for 125 athletes called ‘Play like a Girl’ in which they work with young female athletes on all aspects of the game.

Sean said, “The team at 360U has been a joy to work with because they’re ambitious to grow and actively engage all the guidance we provide to them. 360U has really developed a business model that works well for its employees and for its customers. I look forward to helping them achieve the benchmarks in their 3-year strategic plan. I truly believe they can exceed those goals.”

Listen to learn more: Fox Cities SCORE chapter and WHBY hosted 360U on BizTalk in September 2023.