Here you go! 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 Tennessee Volunteer, and former pro player India Chiles answers my 10 questions. Written By Gary LelandQ. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. I started playing when I was 4 years old with recreation tee ball! From there, played every season and progressed through to college and professional.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. My parents both played a huge role! I come from a large family of 7 children, and 5 of us were big in athletics. So my parents allowing me to stick with it in such a busy family dynamic speaks volumes! Also my high school coach, Alan Jones, believed in me more than I believed in myself and was my motivation to pursue on a collegiate level.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. Quiet alone time while I take about an hour to get ready for the game at home. This helps me keep my emotions in check and remind myself of the game plan that day. Then LOUD motivational music to get my adrenaline rush on the way to the park. From there, my focus is on and its game time!
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. I love sharing my knowledge of the game with coaches and players at seminars, practices, banquets,etc. I love traveling the country and world and am blessed to have a career that allows for this! Of course, I love family time with the Chiles Clan!
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. A strong understanding of psychology and how we allow this to fuel or hinder our success. An awesome childhood enjoying softball kept me in the sport. Then getting to become a Lady Vol and learning how to REALLY compete with my teammates.
Q. Do you have any routines are superstitions that you implement regularly?
A. Pre game Snickers bar. Pre game reading of the FCA Competitor's Creed.
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. Coming back from Senior year injuries to play in my final WCWS at what seemed like close to 100%… What a blessing!
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.
Almost all of it. When I train kids today, I focus more on their mental training than their physical. At some point, we all know how to throw hard, run bases, dive after balls, and hit a ball. So what sets the elite athletes apart from the rest? Answer = mental toughness. My advice for others is to understand this principle and run with it! Learn to compete with your best SELF and it's hard to peak as an athlete.
Q. If you could do anything else in the world as a profession, what would it be and why?
A. I would play Major League Baseball, and make lots of $$$ doing what I LOVE!
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. Being able to deal with adversity over and over. I was recruited as a right handed infielder that had no experience in the outfield. Then was thrown the obstacle of switching to hit left handed and play outfield sophomore season. I felt alone, but knew I had to catch up and be as good as my teammates in order to play. Then to have my first ever sports injuries all hit in senior season was tough, but I sucked it up and realized it wasn't time to sulk, but to figure out a way to make it work with what I had. People described me as emotionless in the process, but there's a lot they didn't see.
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