There is fall season, winter season, and then there's softball season. The springtime is go-time as all of the work during the dark of off-season finally comes to light. Spring days and double plays are on the horizon as softball players begin to dust off the old dirt from their cleats, ready for new clay. With the 2020 season being cut short for softball players, many are eager to attack the 2021 season with new equipment and new perspectives. Some of the best softball players, college and professional, provided how they have been preparing for their 2021 seasons.
Oklahoma All-American Jocelyn Alo has been working this off-season on improving in the outfield. " This off-season, I've really been focusing on my first step. I'll have people hit balls to me while playing in and have people hit it far and jump to go try and catch it and work more on my reads." After the fantastic success that Alo had during her freshman year (tieing the Oklahoma single-season home run record), she struggled with the pressure of trying to repeat that same success. "I had high expectations for myself, and I put a lot of pressure on myself. I've taken time to reflect on who I am as a player, and I had a mental recharge. I will never take softball for granted again, and I'm ready to have fun this season.
USA softball member, UCLA ALL-American, World Series Champion, and Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year pitcher Rachel Garcia has really been focusing on sharpening her mental game this off-season with her UCLA and Team USA Teammates. "We've been doing TED-Talks to help get to know my teammates off the field. Everyone on the team goes up and gives their own little TED TALK, which allows everyone to really get to know people off of the field. I've been focusing on how to eat better. - " I have been journaling lately to write down a couple of sentences about how I feel during the pandemic to self-reflect and hit the reset button to come back for the 2021 season even better.
LSU 4 time All-American and Professional softball player Sahvanna Jaquish has had incredible success throughout her career, but 2020 was a year like no other. Sahvanna worked on developing her confidence even more during this off-season. "I think this off-season and 2020 as a whole was the year of learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. So intentionally putting yourself in positions where you are uncomfortable to learn how to get through it and be victorious is how I inevitably learned to gain confidence. That confidence can be applied during games to get through tough times and failure. That is what 2020 has taught me and inspired me to do more of in order to start the 2021 season as confident as can be.
Every softball season is the perfect time to watch exceptional talent hit the field. However, this 2021 season is very personal for many athletes who had their favorite time of the year come to an abrupt end, and they aren't taking this season for granted. Get ready for the flowers to bloom and the bats to go zoom; it's softball season!