Another in my set of blog posts called 10 questions. On these short posts I send 10 questions to great softball players, and coaches. Then I am post the questions with their answers.
This week former Olympian, and pro player Cat Osterman answers my 10 questions. Written By Gary Leland
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. I started playing when I was 5.
Q. I actually played in first grade, but quit after 1 season. I played almost every sport growing up. When I was 10 I attempted softball again, and started pitching when I was 11.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
My pitching coach Bobby Smith is to be given some credit too. He taught me how to move a ball, how to adjust pitches, and more than anything pushed me to keep learning.
I can’t forget Ken Eriksen, who is the head coach of the USA National Team and at University of South Florida. I met Coach E when I was 13 or 14 at a USF pitching camp. He is now like a second father, but over the course of my career he has been there to help me physically, mentally and emotionally with pitching and life. I constantly learn from him, and don’t imagine I would have matured as well and fast without his help. He is a great mentor.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I don’t have anything really specific. I usually drive to the field with music playing. I like to eat a healthy substantial meal. If we have BP in the cages I will read a book. It’s another day at the office, so I try to just keep it in perspective.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. Well, the amount of time I am not involved in softball is pretty small since I coach as well. When I am away from the game, I like working out. I love to read, and more than anything I love my two puppy dogs. Eventually, I would like to travel more, as that is something I have always wanted to do.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. I would say my work ethic and being a perfectionist. My dad told me I was never to practice less than 100% no matter how long we were going to be practicing. He told me if I did not want to practice, then to tell him because he wasn’t going to force me. I would say my work ethic and being a perfectionist. My dad told me I was never to practice less than 100% no matter how long we were going to be practicing. He told me if I did not want to practice, then to tell him because he wasn’t going to force me
Q. Do you have any routines are superstitions that you implement regularly?
A. I think most of what I do is habit more than superstition. I put my uniform on the same way, socks always last. I warm up my pitches in the same order, but not because if I don’t I won’t throw well. It’s just routine by now. Only real superstition is that I don’t step on the chalk lines.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. There are so many. I remember games with so much detail it’s crazy. I’d have to say that absolute best memory though is winning the Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics. Standing on the podium, listening to our National Anthem, with a group of girls who just spent 11 months working our butts off together to be the best, in front of our families… it’s an indescribable feeling.
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. The mental game is the difference between being good and great. At a young age, it’s not so much mental training as it is having a good mentality. Gaining confidence with each experience or learning from every play.
Once the fundamentals are mastered, and an athlete is maturing some types of mental training can definitely enhance consistency. Sport psychology has always been my number one area of interest. It really can be fascinating.
Q. If you could do anything else in the world as a profession, what would it be and why?
A. I really have no idea. I have always wanted to be a coach, and that is the path I am on. I couldn’t imagine my life without sports. I guess it could be fun to be an event planner or an interior decorator. I’ve never really wished to be something different.
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. I think the biggest obstacle I’ve had to deal with is balancing life with softball. Softball has given me great opportunities, but there have been many times I forget to balance life with it in order to keep happiness and sanity.
Visit Cat's website at CatOsterman.com
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