Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What is an athlete?

What is an athlete? That is a very good question and I am sure many people have different viewpoints on it. I am going to explain what I think an athlete is. An athlete is someone who is very dedicated to their self, their team and to the sport they love. An athlete is someone who is a hard worker, committed, tough minded, a competitor. An athlete puts in hours of preparation and sacrifices so much to be the best that they can be. An athlete is disciplined. An athlete is strong willed, passionate, coachable, can accept criticism and strives to improve each and every day. An athlete wants to work on their weaknesses as well as their strengths. An athlete competes to the best of their ability. An athlete is a goal setter. An athlete brings out the best in their teammates. An athlete is a leader and has internal motivation. An athlete is a way of life. An athlete puts their heart and mind to the team first. An athlete practices with the same passion as they do in a game. An athlete does not take a play off. An athlete knows how to face adversity and overcoming it. Dealing with adversity is a true sign of character. An athlete gives 100% all the time and never gives up. Giving up is not imaginable or tolerable for an athlete. An athlete never has excuses. It is not accepted within themselves. They take responsibilities for their own actions or choices. An athlete never blames anyone. They figure out what they can do better to help the team.
How many times have you seen someone who is on a team but is out of shape, their attitude is okay with just being average, they come to practice but never too early and never work on their sport in the off season?  Being an athlete is more than just putting on a uniform and being part of a team. There are so many sacrifices athletes have to make and are you willing to make those.
Desire is something that every athlete has. You should have a burning desire inside of yourself. Any athlete should want to dominate in their sport. Competing is huge for an athlete. Athletes get up after they have been hit with a setback. An athlete should want to win and expect to win each time they go out on a field or court. Who wants the ball in the closing seconds to make that free throw or who wants to try and get the winning hit at the plate when the count is 3 balls and 2 strikes with 2 outs? Athletes want that chance. They don't shy away from it. Athletes have also put the work in to give themselves a chance to win. Athletes refuse to lose.
Everything an athlete does such as setting goals, dedicates, sacrifices, overcoming adversity, determination are all foundations for a successful future in life. Being an athlete opens up opportunities for you and gives you the chance to do something special in your life. You should be really proud to call yourself an athlete if you truly are one because it is a gift.

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013 Season in Review

Hello All,

It is the beginning of August and I have taken some time to reflect about the past softball season. I looked back and thought about what we did accomplish, what we didn't do, etc.

As I have been reflecting and assessing the season, it was very beneficial to me. There were games we played that we simply didn't make enough routine plays and gave the opponents many opportunities to capitalize. There were games where we executed to perfection and came away with a couple of big wins for our program. We made some giant strides this past season. Our record may not have shown that but this young, talented squad put the team before themselves. We had great leadership among the captains and I want to continue to build on this momentum. I am hungry for the fall season to start and to continue where we left off.

This summer has flown by and within the next two weeks, our fall athletes will be arriving on campus. I couldn't imagine any better place to be working. If you look around campus sometime, this is an absolute beautiful place to be. I can't say thanks enough for the support softball gets from the athletic department as well as the fans that show up or follow us online.

Let's continue to build the excitement for our future!!

Until next time . . . . . . . . . GO SQUIRRELS!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Last week of March

Hello All,

We have just finished up the last week of March. Due to the snow and rain we encountered on our trip back from Georgia, our game for Tuesday, March 26 was postponed until March 28. We also had our game for March 27 postponed to the 1st week of April. So that left us with 3 doubleheaders in a row starting on Thursday.
We had to travel on Thursday ( about 45 minutes south ) and we split the doubleheader. The first game we didn't play well at all. I thought maybe we were still in the van and hadn't gotten off of it yet. We regrouped though and played very well the 2nd game. There were lots of positives the 2nd game. We made some really tough plays, hit the ball well and pitched well.
I will have to say that this team really loves music. On the way down, the van was full of athletes singing. At the ballgame, it continued in the dugout. I love to see the smiles on the faces of our athletes. I love to see them have fun because isn't that what softball is all about. Softball isn't just about the way we play. It's about getting to know your teammates. It's about being there for each other. It's about working with people for a common goal.
We had to play Friday and Saturday at home and those games didn't go well at all. We did have great weather compared to some days. We had some people play well but we have yet to reach that point where everyone plays well together. I know it will come some time this season. I just don't know when that will be.
Until next time . . . . . . GO SQUIRRELS!!!!!!!

Halfway Through

Hello All,

We have just finished up the midway point of our season this past week. Our week started out by playing a conference game on Wednesday at home. I thought we were ready for the game based on our practice the day before. We didn't win the game but we did have one of our freshman pitchers go all seven innings. I know to a lot of coaches that is probably not a big deal. However, we finally saw her gain some confidence and fight through some of the harder innings that she may have had before.
We left on March 22 and headed down to Georgia to play some games. We were hoping it would be nice weather but we ended up having rain delays on both days. We played better on Saturday than we did on Sunday. Sometimes I wish I could explain why we play the way we do sometimes. I have seen us make some great plays and then other times I am shaking my head wondering what in the world has just happened. After a rain delay on Sunday, the doubleheader ended with warm weather and 2 losses. On our way home, we encountered snow.
The weather has been like our playing. Some days it looks like sunshine and everything is going well and other games it looks like snow and everything piles up at once. However, we can't control the weather and we can control how we play. I know we have a young team and sometimes I do believe we have to fall apart so better things can fall together.
Until next time. . . . . . . GO SQUIRRELS!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

First Win

Hello All,

This past week has been a busy week for us Fighting Squirrels! We have played in some cold weather and this past Sunday we played in the rain. Where is the 65 degree weather that you think of when you play softball? So far this year, it has been far from softball weather.
We made a couple of road trips to colleges during the week and then Sunday we were home. That brings me to the highlight of the week. We WON!!!! We won our first conference game this year and as a coach I can't tell you how proud I am of these young ladies. We have all talked until we are tired of talking. Finally we put it all together, focused for one whole game, fought back with the intensity that is in each of us, showed the passion for the game, made plays when we needed to, made pitches when we needed to. All of us did our job to get this win! And what an absolute wonderful feeling it is! Stop and think about what it feels like to win! I hope now that they take this win and understand it is possible for us to win. I want us to continue on this journey we have started. We are starting to see lights as we come through this tunnel of darkness that has shadowed us for so many years. I can't begin to tell you how I feel but it's not about me. It's about these young ladies, past and present, that have helped our softball program get to this point. I said from the beginning that this team was special and I didn't know why. I am starting to see why I felt that way.
As we continue climbing, one thing is for sure. These young ladies keep getting better each and every day and they continue to care about each other each and every day. They have taught me to have fun with them. Isn't that what sports is all about-having fun? Well we are and we will continue to see where this season takes us.
Until next time. . . . . . . GO SQUIRRELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two weeks in

Hello All,

Our softball team has been pretty busy with the first 2 weeks of our season. We have played in different weather but the majority seems to be cold and windy.  Around March 6, we got hit with 17-20 inches of snow. It was pretty coming down but it wasn't pretty for our field, much less for practices, etc. We survived and made do with what we had available.
The weekend of March 9-10, we headed to Greensboro, NC and although we lost our games, we played in better weather than we had recently. It was really a gorgeous weekend, weather wise. We have been struggling as of late but I sometimes call them growing pains. Sometimes as coaches you just wonder what your players are thinking at certain times of the game. And you wonder if they even are thinking, about the game.
I have seen us make some terrific plays and then I have seen us miss a fly ball and as coaches we just cringe thinking "what in the world just happened there?" That has happened to us quite a bit lately and maybe these are our growing pains. As a coach though, you know we are much better than we have played. You sit and wait for the game to come that we play up to our potential.
Softball is a game of failure from the beginning. If you bat 3 out of 10, that's a pretty good average. However, you failed 7 times to put the bat on the ball. I believe as a coach we just have to accept that this is part of the game and not use it as punishment but more of acceptance. We have to believe and think about the positives more than the negatives.
I don't know right now where we are headed this season. It is a journey and one that has been full of many different feelings already. But one thing I do know for sure, we have great leadership, we have a team full of softball players that are passionate and love the game, we have played at times excellent and we have played at times horrible. I am having fun coaching this bunch of young ladies and look forward to watching us grow.

Until next time. . . . . . GO SQUIRRELS!!!!!!!!!!!!