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Picayune softball ready for season

The Lady Maroon Tide players have been spending their time in the weight room to improve strength and conditioning as they wait for their teammates to join the team.

The Picayune softball team isn’t quite at full strength since some players are still busy with responsibilities in other organizations.

Some athletes have been attending camps offered by organizations and colleges, but aside from that there hasn’t been much fieldwork for the players.

Recently Head Coach Kristi Mitchell had her players max out, meaning each athlete had to complete one rep of the maximum weight they can lift.

Mitchell said having that information would help her formulate the specific workouts for each athlete once the season begins.

“We were looking to improve strength, speed and explosiveness. We focused a lot on that and core strength,” Mitchell said.

Increasing speed was another goal so the players can move faster between bases.

Mitchell has seen improvement in each area the team has focused on and now it’s just a matter of having those improvements translate to the diamond.

“I saw great strides from that and I’m really hoping it carries over to the field. I’m hoping the strength, speed and explosiveness will carry over to softball,” Mitchell said.

The missing players haven’t lessened the intensity of the workouts, or each player’s desire to get better.

Mitchell said she doesn’t have to worry about the players giving their all, she knows they will.

“They know the dedication it takes to be successful. I’m really excited for this group because they’re committed,” Mitchell said.

Their commitment extends to the athletes who have taken on leadership roles within the program.

Mitchell preaches to her players that a leader doesn’t have to be an upperclassman, but any athlete who steps up in the biggest moments.

Having the athletes spend time together and workout together allows players who may not have been leaders before embrace that role.

Mitchell said she’s liked her athletes’ reactions to the workouts and is hoping to see more leadership when they get on the field.

“I had a few freshman who really responded to the workouts.”

“Across the board I’m pleased with what I’ve seen,” Mitchell said.

Getting back on the field is the next step for the players.

Once the new semester begins Mitchell will have extra time to spend with the athletes because the team will have a designated class period to use for practice.

That extra time will allow the athletes to get fieldwork in every day, which will start with going back to basics.

“We’ll start with fundamentals. One of the things I like to do is go back to the bases and make sure we’re covering all of those things,” Mitchell said.

It’s important the athletes understand what to do in certain defensive scenarios.

Taking the time to focus on hitting the ball and nuances of running the bases is also important.

However, the first task for the athletes when they return to the field will be to get their arms into shape.

“I’ll have practice plan every day, but obviously (also) making sure the girls’ arms are conditioned and ready for the repetition they’ll have to take in games,” Mitchell said.

Picayune will take part in a jamboree on Feb. 15 to start competitive play for the season.