Competitive Greatness! ~By: Julie Towers #7

What an exciting first week for UConn softball! We were out of school on Tuesday and most of Thursday due to snow cancellations and we had a great first weekend of practice. You can’t ask for a better week! Players and coaches both seemed eager to get back into the swing of things, and on Saturday morning we were all ready to go.  Coach Mullins began the morning off by telling us about our journey for this season, what is expected of us, and how excited she is for this year.  Afterwards, Coach D introduced a new competition for the 2011 preseason, and if anyone knows me, they know I LOVE competition. So the coaches have split us up in to two teams, blue and white. The object of your team is to get as many points as possible by doing well in your station, winning in a mini competition, or by “Competitive Greatness” points.  Competitive greatness points can be achieved by cheering on a teammate while she is in a drill, being positive and loud throughout practice, or (my favorite) talking smack in the mini games… etc. The teams have already been picked and the white team is definitely going to win.  Why? Because THEY ARE AWESOME and white is the color of PERFECTION!! (I’ll let you guess what team I am on.) We will keep you updated on how bad the Blue team is losing throughout preseason.

As we began practice with hitting, we split into pairs. I was lucky enough to be with sophomore, Jess McDermott. I must say, we did pretty well AND we were the ONLY group to get Competitive Greatness points in Coach D’s station. Later we moved on to fielding in Shenkman, our indoor turf facility.  It was so nice to have so much room to throw. We split up in to infield, outfield, and P/C’s.

P/C’s were working hard as they were going through all of their drills. Catchers were throwing off one leg, and off their knees to get more powerful.  Pitchers getting their cardio pitching workout in and Coach Yama kicked their butt!

The outfield looked like they were busting tail out there as well! When we regrouped as a team, the outies came in with strawberries on their elbows and knees, so you know they were getting down and dirty.

Of course, the infielders were no slouches either.  We were going back to our fundamentals as we worked on our tough hops, genuflects, and back hands.  Afterwards, coach had us working on quick feet.  After our first round through, I challenged KB to compete with me.  She is another very competitive person on this team, and when you challenge her, you better give it your all or she will beat you EVERY TIME.  It doesn’t matter what the competition is. So we raced on quick feet. Of course we tied, but that’s okay, because we pushed each other and that’s what team competition is all about. Pushing each other to get better. The infield ended with Hot Box which is a diving drill. Ahhh.. so nice to dive again.  Before we knew it, our four hour practice was over.

We had so much energy this weekend, and we look like a brand new team.  I expect a lot of success to come out of this team this year as long as we keep working hard and making each other better every day! There are 32 days till our first game.  Keep up the intensity ladies!



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