Dear Warrior - The Game Never Changes
For the longest time, I have used the game of softball as my escape from reality. It taught me how to be in the moment, something that I have always struggled with. Growing up, my family faced challenges such as divorce, addiction, neglect, unemployment and uncertainty. These hardships throughout my adolescence made for a very dark time. My favorite thing to do in those tough times was to get dropped off at the field, lace up my cleats, throw my hair back into a ponytail, and just go play the game I know and love.
I knew I wanted to play college softball when I was 12 years old watching the World Series. UCLA had just beaten Arizona and I got to watch the game live at the stadium while traveling to play. To this day, it is still one of the most magical moments I can recall. Not only did I want to play in college, I wanted to go big or go home. I aimed to play in the Pac 12.
My recruiting process wasn’t easy. It was a time where my self worth and my confidence were tested in every way. With many coaches and my own family doubtful of my success and pushing me to my breaking point, I constantly was feeling the pressure of not being good enough. With grit, perseverance, and the refusal to give up, I committed to the University of Utah as a recruited walk on. It was in my junior year that I earned a full-ride scholarship. Because I hold dual citizenship, I was also able to try out and play for the Great Britain Women’s National team. At just 20 years old, I would play a season with Utah Softball, then travel the globe to play the best softball players in the world from countries like Japan, Canada, Australia, and Italy. After playing the game of softball on so many different levels, two very simple things stood out to me that I now try to ingrain into my players’ minds as a hitting coach.
Firstly, always remember that the game never changes. Keep it simple. You’re still throwing the same size ball you were playing with when you were 12. The base paths are still 60 feet long. The home plate is still 17 inches wide. The only thing that does change is you, your mindset, and your abilities. Always trust in what you know. Trust those hours of practice you put in, those thousands of reps you took. Trust the mechanics. Trust yourself. The moment you forget to do this is the moment this game will beat you. That is the beauty of softball.
Secondly, always be your own biggest fan. I find it extremely hard to find my self worth at times. I have to see my success to believe it. But I’m also a dreamer. I was always shooting for the stars; trying to reach goals that many coaches didn’t think I had the capability of reaching. When you’re a dreamer, you have to believe in yourself twice as much. Believe in yourself so much that the doubters and haters won’t even phase you. Growing up, my hitting coach always said “Don’t play to prove the haters wrong; play to prove not only yourself, but the ones who believe in you right.”
I wouldn’t change a single thing about my journey and my relationship with softball. It has and always will be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I hope my story has influenced you to always believe in yourself and your abilities and encouraged you to just go play the game, plain and simple.
Always in your Corner,
Based in Salt Lake City, Aubrey is a hitting instructor and head coach of Nation Fastpitch 12U. Aubrey loves to give back the game in any way she can. Her goal is to make her players well rounded by focusing on the physical, emotional, and mental skills of an athlete. She also holds two degrees in Psychology & Human Development and specializes in early childhood development.
"Always be your own biggest fan."