Team USA Olympian Lauren Lappin answers my 10 Questions.
Written by Gary Leland
Olympic Gold Medalist (2008)
Position: Utility – R/R
Hometown: Anaheim, Calif.
Lauren Lappin Answers My Ten Questions:
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. Softball I started at 8 years old, but baseball I started playing at 5 years old up till then.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. I've been fortunate enough to have many special people in my life, and had the opportunity to be exposed to throughout my softball career. But my Dad had a significant role in my love for the game and my career and my development as a young athlete. He was my travel ball team coach from the time I was 11.
My cousin was also a role model being a catcher as well, playing for Stanford University. I watched her play travel ball growing up. I just tried to emulate her in every way.
Also Coach Mike Candrea, he challenged me alot to be a better player and honest in the areas I needed to improve as a player.
As well as coach John Rittman at Stanford, setting the really strong foundation for the future of my career as an adult.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I'm a big eater, so a meal was always important. I was very religious in my warm up routine and getting to the field early to warm up and get ready to play. Nothing to ritualistic though.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. I live in Chicago so I have the world at my fingertips when it comes to things to do. I am really into yoga since retiring. I love traveling and visiting family as well as photography.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. I think alot of it had to do with opportunity. The family I was born into was very sports driven and being athletic. But I would say the environment to win in. Just to be challenged to continue to better my game and myself as a human being. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by the people I was growing up.
Q. Did you have any routines or superstitions before or in a game?
A. I always at the end of my overhand warm up I would throw an underhand pitch, as well as my pre at bat routine was pretty significant my last 6 to 8 years.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. Well its crazy, cause its been 17 years now, but winning the National Championship when I was on the california cruisers softball team. Playing in the World Series with Stanford was such a cool experience. Its crazy to see since 2004 how much it has grown.
And of course playing on Team USA and going to the Olympics as an alternate, being in the stands when our team won the Gold Medal.
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. I think the mental training aspect has been such an incredible impact on our sport. Its a trickle down effect because of how big our sport has become. Teaching clinics in the sport at such younger ages helps build that mental foundation.
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. Well I think piggy backing off the mental aspect of the game, I think I was a player who was very passionate and emotional player, being vocal and fiery. I think the biggest challenge was figuring out how to channel all that excitable energy into my game. And to allow my teammates to feed off of me in a positive way rather than letting my emotions ride a roller coaster.
Q. What is life after being a softball player for you?
A. Well its officially been over a year since I decided I was done playing, so life after softball is still the same for me. I love the sport and teaching it, and mentoring in softball. The ability to travel and being available for life events and being present for my family.