One game, one pitch at a time
Finally! College softball is finally here. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to be back on the field again and to get this year started.
The Sun Devils have been preparing for the 2014 season not only physically but -- more important -- mentally. Many athletes do not take the time to train their minds like their bodies, but we got to do this as a team this offseason. In the fall, we started to work with sports psychologist Brian Cain. He has worked with elite athletes, so it was awesome that we got to work with him as well.
As a team, we realized how important it is to slow yourself down and breathe, whether that's before getting in the batter’s box or after the umpire makes a bad call on you. Breathing is an awesome way to slow your mind down and to stay in the present.
Staying in the moment is what he could not stress enough to us. Baseball/softball players, in my opinion, deal with failure the most of any athletes. Think about it like this: If you are successful three out of 10 times as a batter, you are considered a “great hitter.” So how do you deal with the seven times you fail?
As a team, we came up with the saying, “So what, next pitch.” It is even in big letters in our dugout as a reminder to always stay in the moment. Of everything we did in the offseason, I think this is what we are going to benefit from the most.
Many people have asked, “What was the transition like from Coach Myers to Coach Nicholson?” Honestly, it was a very easy one. They teach a lot of the same things. Some things we had to get used to, but overall it has been a great fit. He brings that fire and drive that we need to get us going. He is a great coach, and I am so thankful that he is now a part of our Sun Devil family.
I have a lot of people asking me, “How will you do this year after a great season last year?” Being Pac-12 Player of the Year, a first-team All-American, Catcher of the Year and first-team All-Pac-12 was amazing and something I will never forget, but none of that is as sweet as a national championship. My main goal for this year is to be the absolute best teammate I can be and to be selfless. I would trade all the accolades I received for a national championship, and I will do whatever it takes to help this team achieve that goal.
We still remember what it felt like to lose so early in the World Series last year, and we never want that to happen again. We use that as motivation every single day to push us to be better.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to make it back to Oklahoma City and win another championship, but in order to do that, we have to take it one day at a time, one game at a time, one pitch at a time. We are not going to look that far ahead, so right now we are going to focus on the most important game, which is today against Creighton. Thanks for reading, and go Devils!