Picayune softball using offseason to improve strength and speed

Published 7:00 am Friday, November 1, 2019

The Maroon Tide softball team is preparing for the upcoming season by running through a series of lifts with weights.

While there were some normal lifts, like deadlifts and squats, the focus is to work on explosiveness.

Each exercise is meant to improve the players’ strength, while also maintaining the necessary flexibility required of softball players when they are at bat or fielding a ball.

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Head Coach Kristi Mitchell doesn’t have a softball class period during the fall semester because the majority of her players are multi sport athletes.

While the players do work outside of school to maintain their sharpness on the field, Mitchell has her athletes focus on their strength and conditioning when they’re with her.

“The kids that aren’t in other things are 100 percent committed to the workouts, and the attendance and effort has been excellent,” Mitchell said.

A majority of the players from last season’s roster are returning this year.

Mitchell only lost two seniors to graduation and with so many returning players she thinks last year’s experiences will translate to success this season.

“Understanding the game mentally and how to handle ourselves there is just as important as the physical aspect, and they’ve done a great job with that,” Mitchell said.

The stability of the roster means Mitchell isn’t worried about the team’s chemistry.

Players have been stepping up and embracing the leadership roles left by the departing seniors, but Mitchell said a leader could come from any grade.

“The girls are embracing their new roles and everything we’re doing right now as far as workouts. You have to lead by your actions and we teach that,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said her players cheer on their teammates who play in other sports during the fall.

The athletes know how important it is to be an unselfish collective, so they make sure to always be positive with each other no matter the sport.

“They’re rooting for one another to succeed because they know success will carry over to our season,” Mitchell said. There won’t be an official on field practice until Jan. 27 when Mitchell will have her players during a school period.

Until then, it’s expected the athletes work on their game outside school, especially the pitchers.

There’s a large drop off in pitching skill if an athlete takes time off, which means Mitchell’s pitchers are always working on their game.

“It’s a 12-month program, it’s not something you take time off from. That’s from 7th grade all the way up to the senior class,” Mitchell said. Right now Mitchell’s athletes may be spread out among multiple organizations, but come January she expects Maroon Tide softball to become her athletes’ main priority.