Olympian Dionna Harris answers my 10 questions. Written By Gary Leland
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. I started playing softball when I was 9 years old with Stanton-Newport Little League in Wilmington, DE.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. My greatest influence in my life has always been my Dad…he was not an athlete, but he always believed in me & dreams & always told me to never go through life with regrets.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I used a lot of visualization and meditation techniques when I played. I listened to a tape that helped me get to a comfortable, relaxed place and practiced visualization.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. When I finished w/ softball, I went back and received my masters degree in counseling and I have been counseling students with disabilities for the past 18 yrs. For fun, I do a lot of hiking and camping at National Parks.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. The influences that affected me the most were my ability to set goals, determination to achieve them, and perseverance to overcome any obstacles that may have gotten in the way. I am fortunate to have surrounded myself with positive people who believed in me and pushed me along if I needed a little pushing.
Q. Do you have any routines are superstitions that you implement regularly?
A. When I played, I never touched the field lines. I also used visualization tapes and wore a bear necklace that a friend had given me that symbolized looking within yourself for answers.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. My favorite softball memory by far is standing on the Gold Medal stand and hearing our National Anthem played.
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. I hold mental training in the highest regard. Coaches always stated that hitting was 20% mechanics and 80% mental and I never understood why so many people spend so much time on the 20% lol. I would recommend players learning techniques to control the mental part of hitting and incorporate them into their daily practice routines.
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 had to overcome was growing up in Delaware and being the first one in my family to go to a four year college. I was always putting myself in situations where I would get exposure and learn from the softball greats, and rarely passed up an opportunity to try something or learn something new.
Q. If you could do anything else in the world as a profession, what would it be and why?
A. I have to say that I am doing what I believe I was intended to do…..school counselor for students with disabilities.
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