This week former Olympian Christie Ambrosi answers my 10 questions. Written By Gary Leland
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. I was 8 years old when I started playing softball.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. My Dad taught me the game. He was a HUGE Ernie Banks fan, so he was trying to turn me into the female version of him I think.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I got ready for games by visualization and also listening to pump up music.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. When I am not involved with softball, I love to be with my kids. I have a ten year old son and seven year old daughter. They are both involved in sports so I enjoy watching them play.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. Factors that most influenced me to be the player I became was just pure passion for the game. I LOVE softball! It is my fun place, the place that no matter how bad of a day I was having, as soon as I stepped between the white lines I was happy!
Q. Do you have any routines are superstitions that you implement regularly?
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. I have so many favorite softball memories it is hard to choose just one…I would say there are two…when we won the Olympics, when I got on the medal stand to receive the medal, it took me back to when I was eight years old watching Mary Lou Retton win her gold medal and turning to my parents and saying that I was going to do that some day. And then there I was, fifteen years later receiving a gold medal just like Mary Lou! My other favorite memory was winning a National Championship at UCLA. Our team was really close and we had such a fun year together! I have never been on a team that was so focused and driven, yet so silly at the same time!
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. When I was at UCLA, we were fortunate enough to work with a sports psychologist named Ken Ravizza. He wrote a book called “Heads-Up Baseball” that I incorporate with all of my students to this day. It changed my outlook not just on softball, but on my life. He really gives you tools to deal with failure, and I really think that is crucial to becoming successful in our sport.
Q. If you could do anything else in the world as a profession, what would it be and why?
A. I am lucky enough that I have two professions that I absolutely LOVE! I give softball lessons. But I also am a licensed cosmetologist! I have a very creative side to me and really enjoy doing hair!
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. The greatest obstacle I have had to overcome has actually been after my playing days. I have had three back surgeries as a result of a car accident. Last January I had a decompression/fusion of my lumbar and ended up with a blood clot in my lungs. It was a very scary ordeal, but luckily I was able to pull through. It definitely makes me appreciate how precious life is!
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