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Danielle on bouncing back after a tough game
I'm going to answer a question from alex_stewartt on instagram. His question is
How did you bounce back from failure in big stage games at the college level?
Great question to answer. It is NEVER easy to fail at any level, especially in college when you put your heart and soul into everything that you do. Honestly what got me through a lot of tough outings was my mental approach to the game. Here is an example. We played Oklahoma my SR year in super regionals. We had played them already in pre season and had won against them, but they still had hit pretty good off of me. They were coming into our house, so I should have been over the moon excited/confident. Once I got out there on the hill, things started to fall apart. I started thinking the game to much, I started to force pitches instead of just snapping them off and trusting my practice and preparation. I remember I had given up three home runs to Amber Flores that game. Never in my life had one player made me look so bad. I had to tip my cap on the first home run, but it was my fault as a pitcher to allow her to do it two more times. Anyways, I had a brutal day out there, I looked intimidated in my own home circle and clearly wasn't the same person I normally am. I remember after the game sitting in the locker room crying, realizing that I just let my team down and myself down, and that tomorrow could be my only game left in a Washington Jersey. I told Coach Tarr I wanted to sit down and watch the whole game over again and put myself through the situations all over again and relive my emotions and how I felt. It was tough watching me get beat down out there and continue to let it happen, but it made me better sitting there and watching myself fail. I went to bed that night thinking of how I could be better and that tomorrow is a new day and I had nothing to lose. I went to breakfast that day with my dad, and a super fan Ashley Aven who was a super UW softball fan was at the same restaurant. She had been battling cancer for a while, and had been a big part of our team that 2010 year. I remember she was so concerned about me, asking if I was ok and if I was going to be alright. I told her that things were going to be different at the next game. After she had left my dad looked at me and said " How can you sit and worry about your game when someone who is battling for her life is more concerned about you and your feelings." Thats when it hit me that life really is to short, I cannot sit here and dwell on last nights game, I have to move forward and be my best self and leave it all out there on the field. We ended up coming back and winning two games. I threw 14 scoreless innings and took the high road and walked Amber Flores so she WOULD not beat me. Sometimes thats what it takes as a player to allow yourself to be vulnerable and know that you cannot always beat EVERYONE, but I'll be dammed if I let them beat me without a fight. It was smart for me to just put her on and attack the other hitters and it worked in our favor. We made it to the World Series that year and I was able to finish my last home game at Husky Stadium. Your mental approach to the game is what is going to take you to the next level. Find a focal point at the ball park, and put all your energy and negative energy into that. Try and have a poker face as much as you can. Even when you struggle, know that you can always wake up tomorrow and play again.
Thank you to everyone that takes the time to read this!! I'm sorry I have been so distant! It has been tough trying to find time with this NPF season and with baby Maddie!!