MENTAL PERFORMANCE COACH.
Vera Jo Bustos received her BA in Exercise Science (2011), BA in Sports Psychology (2011), and MA in Human Performance (2014) from Adams State University.
Vera Jo founded Mentality Solutions LLC, a sport and performance psychology company focused on achieving optimal performance through mental skills training in 2019.
When asked about the scope of her work with Mentality Solutions, Bustos says, “I truly believe hard work and skill set are important. But without the right mindset to your improvement, discipline, and consistency—your development becomes stagnant. Developing a resilient and optimistic mindset changes you, which then changes your ability to deal with the adverse situations that life throws your way. That’s where the mental game comes in and that’s where we help high-performers gain their edge.”
Prior to founding Mentality Solutions, Vera Jo worked as an assistant basketball coach at Western Colorado University for two years and spent five years on the coaching staff at The University of New Mexico. Since 2012, Vera Jo has implemented her knowledge of sport and performance psychology training the athletes at WCU and UNM on the mental game.
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Since Mentality Solutions kicked off, Vera Jo has broadened her reach beyond high school and college athletes. She has worked with professional athletes, coaches, veterans, surgeons, businesses, and business professionals. A highly sought after speaker, she travels the country inspiring, motivating, and teaching the mental game to athletes, high-performers, teams, and coaches—of all ages, ability levels, and sports—at conferences, conventions, workshops, school assemblies, and 1-on-1 trainings.
Vera Jo became a published author in 2020 with the release of her debut book, A Mindful Journey: An Adventure of Discovery & Transformation. Her book focuses on the mental side of the game during her time as a professional basketball player in the Top Division Euro-League in Greece. The Euro-League attracts some of the most dominant players across Europe and features current and past Olympians.
“Once I got to the collegiate and professional levels, I was never the tallest, the strongest, the fastest, or even the most athletic. I had to figure out a way to separate myself from my competition. I found that separation in my hard work, of course, but I believe my main differentiator was my mental game. It gave me an edge. I love to share my story about how an average athlete from a small town in Northern New Mexico got passed up by numerous Division I schools and still made it to the professional level. Working with thousands of athletes on their mental game, a lot of times they think their role models and heroes are so different than they are. They think they don’t have the “it” factor to be great like the athletes they look up to. The truth is we all face certain adversities in our life. The secret is learning how to stay focused and develop an edge during the tough times. This is where I take pride in teaching athletes how to set themselves apart with hard work and incorporating the mental game. If I can do it, so can they.”
Previously, Bustos had a celebrated basketball career at Adams State University (2007-11). A 3x College All-American, 2x All-Region First Team, 4x All-RMAC First Team, Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year selection, Bustos helped lead ASU to two consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. Her storied career led to a Hall of Fame induction in 2019—making ASU history once again—as one of the youngest inductees in school history at the age of 30.
During her time in Alamosa, Colorado, Bustos not only became the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,859 points, but she also became the school’s all-time leader in minutes played (3,805) and games started (105). In her four years, Bustos averaged 17.5 points per game and set records for most points in a game (36), most 3-pointers in a game (8) and most points in a half (27).
To end her college athletic career, Vera Jo was recruited by the ASU national powerhouse Track & Field team to compete in the high jump at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet. She placed 6th overall and received second team All-RMAC honors in Track & Field.
A stellar player at West Las Vegas High School (New Mexico), Bustos still owns the school record for points (2,098), rebounds (935), assists (536), steals (331) and games started (125).
Vera Jo serves as the vice-chair for the New Mexico Athletics Commission Board and is also a Director for PGC Basketball—one of the most prestigious basketball companies in North America.