My career far exceeded anything I ever imagined. In fact, I never imagined I would be a softball player for most of my life. I grew up in a basketball family, and played basketball from third grade all the way through high school. It wasn't until I was 16 that I realized my dreams might not unfold the way I imagined. I won't complain though. Softball has been very good to me (Hope someone reads that and laughs).
As I look back, if I could instill one element in future athletes, it would be work ethic. Most don't understand the definition of work ethic. It's not just working hard sometimes. It's not just playing hard when college coaches are watching. It's constantly working hard to be better because you want to be a better athlete every day. Work ethic is about constantly striving for little goals, with an ultimate goal in your view. It's about finding a way to get even a short workout in when your day is jam packed of things to do. Work ethic is a constant thing, not just a sometimes thing.
My favorite example of this in my pre-college career was my freshman or sophomore year of high school. I had no plans to go to our Homecoming Dance. I wasn't asked to the dance, and I'm not one who actually liked to get dolled up and go. A friend of mine convinced me on the day of the dance, to just go with her and her friends. When the 2:30 bell rang, I called my dad, said “can you meet me at home soon? I want to pitch before I go to the dance.” My dad worked close enough he got home in time for me to pitch, shower, throw my hair up wet, throw on an old dress, and off I went. I guarantee, if he had not been able to get home in time, I would have blown off the dance for pitching. The moral isn't to give everything up for practicing. It's knowing your priorities, and then make time for them.
When you do go out to practice, work ethic is giving 100% of what you got. Some days we have all 100% of our energy. Some days we are tired and worn out, but that is when you have to dig deep and focus more on giving every ounce of you to each throw or swing of the bat.
There were times I would pitch after basketball games, and I would imagine it was my 3rd game of the day and go out there with the idea I have to work hard to get through it.
In college, regardless of the success or failure of the day before, I approached every bullpen or game to get better. I wanted to one up myself in every performance. I couldn't ever settle. An athlete should never quit working to get better. There should be constant hard work.
Work ethic can get you far. It can make you great, but you have to embrace it every moment, and carry it with you forever.
| Cat Osterman’s accomplished career as a softball pitcher precedes her, starting with a record-breaking 4 years at the University of Texas and continuing with her impressive Olympic achievements and professional softball endeavors. In fact, she was the first pitcher to register over 2,000 NCAA strikeouts.
After taking home the gold at the 2004 Olympic games and enjoying years of success playing with the USA Softball Women's National team, Cat began her professional career in 2007 with National Pro Fastpitch. She is an inspiration to countless young softball players all over the world. Visit her website at www.CatOsterman.com
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