Softball Drills for 8u (Top 4 highly recommended drills)

Softball Drills for 8u

Softball Drills for 8u
The age of the player plays a very important role where coaching is concern as it takes time to train a young child, so he/she can become an expert by practicing all the fundamentals. It is important to select the right Softball Drills for 8u for teaching critical skills and enhancing the confidence level of players.

Therefore, you must select the drills that have an approach of back to basics that can prove best in reinforcing suitable mechanics among players.

Coaching also includes elimination of bad habits, so the coach must understand to give enough opportunity to the players to build new good habits by practicing following four detailed tutorials softball drills for 8u.

Here are the top 4 highly recommended softball drills for 8u in no particular order:

The Star Drill
 8u softball hitter

The star drill which is one of best Softball Drills for 8u starts by:

  • Positioning five players at different field positions that starts with the first field position of the catcher who throws the ball to the short top.
  • Focusing on perfect throws that must be straight with the glove is important
  • The player must step forward towards the main target for making strong catches.
  • The second position and first base that must be repeated
  • The remaining fields of third, second and throwing home becomes the part of complete drill.

Softball Drills for 8u: Relay Races
8u softball hitter

1) The relay race consists of eight players who line up in two rows where the first row is the base line and the other with pitcher mound.

2) In the first line, the player throws the ball towards the second player, where the second throws the ball to the third player and it continues in sequence from third to fourth.

3) Now the fourth player throw back the ball to the third player and then it comes with a series from third to second and second to home.

4) The main goal of this drill is to make the ball through the right sequence without dropping it.

5) The player who gets back to the first file becomes the winner of the game.

Windmill Pitching for Beginners Drills
group of 8u softball players practicing in field

Windmill pitching drill helps in working on the muscle memory of the player which indicates that the player does not need to think practicing creating circle while practicing in open door position.

It is one of exceptional Softball Drills for 8u where putting the drills in the players’ subconscious mind should be the fundamental step in regards to bringing back the player’s arm and shooting through the ball.

There are total four drills including the wrist snap, focusing muscles, a half circles and then full circle.

  • The pitcher must practice the hitting drills with the glove against the wall for 3-4 weeks, without a catcher.
  • The coach must determine that the player is practicing the drill until she/he got the skill.
  • It is the responsibility of the coach to raise the momentum of the young player and snapping it at his/her hip.

Four Corner Catch & Throw Drill

8u softball player practicing 4 corner drills

One of the youth softball drills is a multi-skill defensive approach of teaching several skills to students by focusing on same drill.

Experts recommend using regular flat mitts for doing the drill. Because the set up starts with setting four players standing 20’ far from each other in square shape.

  • The execution of drill starts by going clockwise through underhand of ball to the next player. So that the player can trap the ball by keeping it between the throwing hand and back mitt.
  • Then the process continues, and the coach puts the ball in the middle, so the player can practice the same drill.
  • There should be no faster performance towards the other box that the players are competing with.
  • You can add a 3rd “outer” box and the coach can let other player do sit-ups and push ups or even practice more drills.

Softball Drills for 8u: Bowl of Soup

8u softball player preparing to pitch

It becomes important for the player to understand and better implementing fielding when they start playing.

The comprehensive Bowl of soup comes fourth in list of Softball Drills for 8u:

  • The player starts the training indoor drills and outdoor drills with being in the athletic position by slightly bending the hips in the leg.
  • Staying in the balanced position for moving left, right and forward while drawing triangle on the ground by focusing on the triangle’s tip.
  • Heading down, glove down and bottom down are the main elements of the drill.
  • The player then gets back and straight with keeping the back rounded shaped and legs straight at a moment when ball comes closer to feet.
  • The body follows the head and pulling up the head means the player has to pull up the glove.
  • Keeping the palm up while facing the ground ball, the player has to receive the ball.
  • Fielding starts from ground up and paying close focus to the players by ensuring that they are not practicing glove flip for catching the ball.
  • Keeping the palms open is necessary while you are bare hand and closing over the top closer on the catch for receiving the ball.
  • After receiving the ball, the player must take the uncovered hand and glove in the throwing position.
  • The player should not bring the bare hand in Bowl of Soup as she/he will be closing off his body’s front side by going in a good position for throwing the ball.

 Final thoughts: Things to take note.

Speeding up the softball practice drills once every few rounds is necessary to examine the flexibility and speed of the player around the field without making any error during all the four Softball Drills for 8u.

The Star Drill is best for beginning any training with children. There is no set aim for the Windmill Pitching for Beginners Drills, so the player has to remain relax for throwing the ball in any direction.

Instructing the players about the last techniques of Windmill Pitching for Beginners Drills will help the player understand where they lose the technique and what to do when they get in trouble.

Avoiding drops while practicing the four Corner Catch & Throw Drill and shaping the players in lower position without coming up while the player practice back hand flips is necessary. Lower position helps to increase better focus and faster performance.

It becomes important for the player to better understand and implement fielding when they start playing and Bowl of Soup is best drill for gradual progression.

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Softball lovers, be sure to leave a like on this article if you enjoyed and learn something from it. Do us a favor, if you think anyone you know might benefit from our article, be sure to share it with them.

Check out our previous article here, 12u and 14u drills if you haven’t already.

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Softball Stereotypes by Dude Perfect (Reaction Post-Stress Relief)

Softball Stereotypes

This is our post response to a video created by Dude Perfect on Softball Stereotypes. Which ones can you related the most in your team?

Note: This post is created purely for entertainment purpose to relieve stress for our beloved softball lovers, we hope you will love it! If it makes you smile, please give this post a huge thumbs up by liking it!

Dude Perfect – Softball Stereotypes

Click on the video below to start laughing! Enjoy~^^

  1. I Got It Guy      
    • Maybe not our favorite in the list, but certainly able to provide giggles for the team 😝
  2. Always On His Phone Guy  
    • Unless you are using zepp for your training 👍Zepp Softball
  3. Nervous Kelly
  4. The Old Guy    
    • Let’s give credits to the man who pursues his dreams and never give up! Kudos to him and all of you, dream chaser!
    • But seriously, he should check out the basics of softball hitting drills 😂Softball Drills
  5. The Outrageous Umpire  
    • Erm.. He’ll have to try harder… 😩
  6. The Rally Cap Crew  
    • Definitely a unique way to build up teamwork 😅
  7. Sir Slides-A-Lot  
  8. Mr Steel Trap Memory  
    • Has high potential to become a softball coach. 😐
  9. The No-Show  
    • It sux, indeed. ☹
  10. Mr Top Ten
    • If he decides not to play softball, he can definitely consider acting as his career! 🤣Softball Stereotypes-Oscar Award
  11. The Chatter Box  
    • Two edged sword.
    • Could easily be one of the favorite or disliked players in the team depending on his frequency of energy level. 😱
  12. The Borderline Illegal, Semi Frowned Upon, Last Minute Call to your Buddy who may or may not be on an MLB Roster  
    • I hope I got that long description right, and yeah I paused the video for that 😜
    • That’s pretty cool to actually have star players as your buddy. 👊
    • That usually means you are a star too! 👍
    • Josh Donaldson was not there as he was in another post of ours. 👏
  13. Mr Accessories
    • Do you personally know someone like this?? 😱
  14. The Rage Monster  
    • He should be wearing green 🤢Softball Stereotypes-Hulk
  15. The Snack Guy
    • Our favorite, he’s a GEM! 😍😍😍
  16. Team Mom 
    • Our favorite character! Caring, positive and lovely~ They’re what we need and strive to be! 😘😘😘

Which one of the characters do you find most familiar? Do you personally know anyone who has 1 or more of the above 16 characteristic? And did you know of any other softball stereotypes that were not covered in the video?

Share with us and let us know in the comment sections below~ Let us know if you do enjoy this post by liking or commenting in this post so that we will make more of it in the future! Stay awesome and we’ll see you next time! Cheers ^^

Check out our previous article on how to clean softball gloves here. If you wish to learn fun softball drills, check out our post here.

The post Softball Stereotypes by Dude Perfect (Reaction Post-Stress Relief) appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

How to Swing a Softball Bat (Common Mistakes and Solutions REVEALED)

How to Swing a Softball Bat

How to Swing a Softball Bat

A lot goes into a successful bat swing. Apart from having a good softball bat, which is very important, players also need to know how to swing a softball bat. This issue affects both teens and preteen softball players. When hitting mechanism flaws are not corrected, they because more ingrained in the player’s game as she or he grows and develops. However, with the help of softball hitting drills and softball training aids, young players will improve their swings in next to no time.

Here are some bad hitting techniques/ problems that need to be dealt with as soon as you as a coach notice them:

1) Chicken Winging Also Known As Front Elbow Up And Out

This problem occurs when the player’s front elbow comes up, and the barrel drops too soon causing the player to pop the ball up. As you can see this is a problem, especially if the player is hitting the inside pitch.

Correcting This Flaw (How to Swing a Softball Bat)

How to Swing a Softball Bat-Chicken Wing

This habit can be corrected by ensuring your elbow stay down, and taking the knob down towards incoming balls. When a player does this, she ensures the barrel is up and the swing is short until the barrels come in contact with the ball, then finally descend down below the hands.

Softball Hitting Drills to Correct Chicken Winging

A great softball drill is to hit off a tee with a baseball-sized whiffle ball or a batting glove with fingers pointing down under the player’s front arm’s armpit. If the whiffle ball or glove drops while the player trying to hit the ball off the tee, then it is likely she is chicken winging.

2) Swinging Too Late

This is one of the more common timing issues and can be frustrating. The best solution to this problem is practice.

Softball Hitting Drills to Correct Swinging Late

How to Swing a Softball Bat-Swinging too late

Improving balance – If the player coils and move back before taking his or her stride, the player should move closer to the center. Next, the player should put his or her weight on the inside of her back foot. This will enable the player to move more freely. If the player coils, then she should minimize the coiling movement and place her weight on the inside back foot. If the player successfully does this, then she can take a stride and swing. With practice, the player should see an improvement in her swings and make contact more often.

Relaxing – Sometimes, a player is tensed up due to the pressure she is under to perform. This causes the player to tense up her muscles thus making it harder to swing fast enough. Relaxing can be difficult to achieve in games. One way a player can remind herself to relax is by lifting her fingers off the bat and putting them back on the bat while instance. As always, practice makes it easier to relax.

Shorter strides – A player may have had a lot of success with long strides but is struggling now. Shorten her stride is a great way to fix this flaw. Widening her stance slightly can help with the shortening of strides.

3) No Pivot on Back Foot

It is important for a player to pivot on the back foot as she swings. This enables them to control the torque on the back knee, maintain power and maintain the balance in the swing.

If a player does not pivot on her back foot, she will not be able to release all the energy from the movement of the hips. In addition, this bad habit places players in an off-balance hitting position.

Softball drills to correct No Pivot on Back Foot (How to Swing a Softball Bat)

How to Swing a Softball Bat-No Pivot

The bat behind the back drill is an excellent way to correct this habit.

There are many more hitting flaws out there. The best way is to identify them and then work on improving them through practice and drills. This is where softball training aids come in handy. If you keep doing the wrong thing over and over, you become better at swinging badly, and bad habits become difficult to stop.

How to Swing a Softball Bat:

All-In-One Solution Highly Recommended by Josh Donaldson and our team 

One of the best softball training aid programs to help you improve your swing to the next level is definitely the Elite Swing Mechanics Book (+ Instructional Videos) by Bobby Tewksbary who’s a renowned private hitting instructor. He had worked with a friend of Josh Donaldson on this program who is also a professional player on this training aid since January 2012. Josh became an MLB All-Star as well as a perennial MVP candidate with the results of this program and his own unwavering passion for the sport.

How to Swing a Softball Bat-Josh

Josh had once said about Tewsbary in an interview “He’s one of the first guys who sort of broke downswings with me before, I guess you could say, I became good.”

He also mentioned, “I think he’s going to be in heaven being out there with these major-league baseball guys because he’s really worked hard the past few years spending time on the evolution of swings, guys who are good and putting it together.”

In addition, when it comes to improving a player’s hitting, video tutorials are important.


Benefits Of the Elite Swing Mechanics Book (+ Instructional Videos) By Bobby Tewksbary

How to Swing a Softball Bat-Elite Swing Mechanics

  • This 120 page eBook contains all the information you need to master swing mechanics
  • The 2-hour video instructions teach key points and include drills that will speed up your learning curve and make you the best hitter.
  • The 14-day follow-up email program will allow you to get to grasp the information provided with articles and videos.
  • Comes free with lifetime updates, exclusive offers and bonus offers.
  • Bobby Tewksbary has a lot of experience in improving the swing and hitting of players. He helped Josh Donaldson become an MLB All-Star and perennial MVP. This makes the information contained in this book one you can rely on to improve your game since you are learning from the best.
  • As a coach, you can also improve the game of your players and help them develop.
  • The book comes with a money-back guarantee.
  • You will be able to send your specific questions or videos on hitting Bobby Tewsbary if you encountered any issues after purchasing his ebook!

This book will cover some of the most important yet unrevealed skill such as how to make your swing the shortest possible. This is essential for a professional hitter. You will have the time to make your judgment and get in your position to deliver that amazing shot!

Furthermore, these skills will be made in such easy tutorials where literally anyone can pick that up with a certain amount of practice and dedication.

This book is definitely a MUST READ if you are serious about the sport and taking your skills to a whole new level!

GET your Elite Swing Mechanics Book (+ Instructional Videos) by Bobby Tewksbary at a Discounted Price NOW

The post How to Swing a Softball Bat (Common Mistakes and Solutions REVEALED) appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

Zepp Softball: Your TOP choice of baseball and softball training aid to improve swings

Zepp Softball

The Zepp Softball-Baseful 2, 3D Swing Analyzer

Zepp Softball

For hitters, it is important to improve. For this reason, the Zepp Softball and Baseball Swing Analyzer is an invaluable tool. Its ability to analyze swings provides invaluable real time data. This information will help players improve their form and performance rapidly. You can tell just how well you are doing and even coaches love and recommends them! This makes the Zepp Softball-Baseball Swing Analyzer a tool that can be used for personalized evaluation. It will reduce the sharp learning curve involved when young hitters progress to the next stage.

Players who used to performance well can start lagging behind. As they progress, the pitches become faster and wrong forms that may have worked when the hitters played in the 10u or 12u may no longer work. The  Zepp Softball-Baseball Swing Analyzer is a tool that softball and baseball hitters 8 years and above can use to this tool to massively and quickly improve their swing, bat speed and power. It is just as important a tool for pro ballers as it is for developing players.

Data collected by the Zepp Softball-Baseball Swing Analyzer

Zepp softball-demo

Data collected by the Zepp Softball-Baseball Swing Analyzer includes speed at which hitters get their bat into the hitting zone, the bat speed upon impact, the time it takes for the hitter to strike the ball, and even the angle at which the ball is hit. Here’s a breakdown of what this powerful analyzer can do:

  • Bat Speed At Impact – This differs from maximum bar speed.
  • Hand Speed – This shows the speed of the hands through the entire swing
  • Time To Impact – records the amount of time between when the bat starts moving and when it hits the ball.
  • Bat vertical – This shows the angle the bat uses to pass through the strike zone.
  • Attack Angle – This helps shows if the path of the bat when it strikes the ball matches the angular path of the pitch.

Check out a short video on Zepp softball and baseball 2 3D Swing Analyzer here and navigate to the displayed images section to watch it.

Zepp Baseball-Softball 2 3D Swing Analyzer Review

Zepp softball-illustration

This is one of the best baseball and softball swing analyzer and a valuable softball equipment which is highly recommended by coaches. When used during drills, the swings of the players will improve drastically.

Pros /Reasons to Buy the Zepp Baseball-Softball 2 3D Swing Analyzer Review

  • The Zepp Softball-Baseball Swing Analyzer helps improve swing and batting by measuring and analyzing the important aspects of every swing including the attack angle, bat speed, hand speed, time to impact and more.
  • The real-time instant assessments help players know exactly where they need to improve and focus on.
  • This softball equipment comes with a Smart Coach, which gives the player access to tailored training based on the data collected.
  • This device is not for players alone, coaches love to use it to manage entire team using the Zepp coaching features.
  • The hardware used is topnotch. The sensor is extremely accurate.

Hurry and grab yours from Amazon at a DISCOUNTED price today~

Using the Zepp Softball and Baseball 2 3D Swing Analyzer

The core of this device is the Zepp baseball sensor. This goes into a rubber grip, which goes over the knob of the bat. The sensor acts as both an accelerometer and a gyroscope. It measure both the orientation of the bat and the speed and direction in which the bat moves.

When the player takes a swing at the ball, the sensor instantly sends the swing data via Bluetooth to your smart device. The Zepp app is available for both Android and iOS devices. This app analyzes and displays the process data as information that is easy to analyze. All aspects of the swing as discussed already are analyzed. You can also use the Zepp Auto-Video Capture feature to video record your swing for comparison with the data collected from the swing. Evaluation is instant.

The smart coach feature of this swing analyzer allows you customize your training based on the analyzed data. This makes this device excellent for softball hitting drills, and softball drills in general. Therefore this product is definitely worth investing in if you wish to seek improvements consistently and effectively!

Video on how it works

If you wish to check out a short video on the Zepp softball and baseball 2 3D Swing Analyzer, click here and you will find it at the displayed images section.

Check out our previous article here if you haven’t already~

Please give our articles a huge THUMBS UP if you enjoy reading them and comment which are your favorite parts of the articles!

The post Zepp Softball: Your TOP choice of baseball and softball training aid to improve swings appeared first on Awesome Softball Drills.

Journey for Jana’s House Part 1

Team Jana is ready to take off from Houston.

Team Jana is ready to take off from Houston.

Well we have been back from Africa for over a week. While I was there, I wanted to blog about each day’s happening, but the wifi wasn’t the best, so I didn’t get online via my computer. I simply posted some photos and updates from my phone when I could.

On the way home, I was so anxious to type up a blog, and a number of times I have started to script it out in my head, but I always stall. Why? Because I don’t know if words can really describe everything that went on during this trip. One blog won’t simply cover it either, so this will be multi-pieces. I’ll also do my best to try and convey as much as I can, but there are some things that I think only the 24 of us will be able to understand.

December 26th, 24 of us met at the airport to begin our trek. Our 24 included Jana's husband and sons, their closet friends, Round Rock Express employees and myself. We checked in our bags, bags with baseball/softball equipment, as well as bags with clothes and items for the kids in Lusaka. However, for the first time ever, carry on bags were weighed. Apparently my rolling carry on weighed a lot empty, so after I took out quite a bit of stuff (and put it in my backpack which means that weight was still coming with me), I was finally allowed to go on. Note, this will not be the last of carry-on luggage problems. 

Out of the 24 in our travel party, only 2 of us were flying solo: myself and the Round Rock Express VP of communications Jill Cacic. Thankfully I semi-knew Jill as I have been involved in things with Round Rock Express before, but after this trip, she got a new friend, whether she wanted it or not! ;)  Jill and I buddied up to make sure we weren’t left behind, and good thing we did… we are HDR! (More on that later)

We left Houston around 6:40 and had 14+ hours to Dubai. A few movies, some sleep and a little reading made time go by at a decent pace. Emirates airline takes the cake with Wifi! For $1 (yes you read that right) you get 500MB of data. For the entire flight I could check social media, text with my husband, friends and family, and as we landed Joey even FaceTimed me. AND it worked!!! When my phone was ringing I looked at Chase, who was in the seat next to me, and said “will this work on here?” I almost missed the call because I was in shock.

Solo travelers at the Burj Khalifa

Solo travelers at the Burj Khalifa

We had a 14 hour layover in Dubai! Dubai was 2 hours ahead of Lusaka still, so we’d be going back in time on our next flight, so we tried to stay awake by making a trip to the Dubai Mall as well as the Burj Khalifa. There was slight scare after we ate dinner, my passport was missing. Thankfully, I went back to our table and it was under my chair. Fell right out of my pocket without me knowing.

Our first real adventure was when we found out we missed the last train back to our hotel! After a lot of laughs and jokes, we found the exit to the train station and hailed 3 cabs. We did our best to explain what hotel we were at, and prayed we made it there! Thankfully, everyone arrived safe and sound. 

The next morning, my lovely roller carry on and I had another fun encounter! Jill shared this encounter too, so we both were battling. Apparently our 2 carryons could only total 7Kg? Or 7 something! My roller bag was a bit over 7, so I took out a book, but the attendant wouldn’t let me through to the gate. I was very flustered… to say the least. I couldn’t understand how we were allowed to travel there with these exact same carry ons but now we couldn’t take them. We were forced to check the bags… mine was free, Jill had to pay for hers. Why? Who knows? I really felt like they just made things up as we went. 

Finally, my backpack, which was never weighed, and I got through, and our group was well on our way to our last flight. However, I didn’t hear the end of my frustration over it for a while. There were bets on if I would end up in Airport jail…. I mean, I may have tried to just walk away from the guy at one point!?

Our second flight was 7.5 hours. We were delayed some because of fog, but I don’t know how long. I think I was asleep before we took off. Around 3:00 PM on Dec 28th, we landed in Lusaka, Zambia to begin what ended up an INCREDIBLE journey!

To Be Continued…


A New Day To Be Thankful

Happy Holidays!!

Welcome to the new edition of!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and is preparing for a loving Christmas (or other respective) holiday. This time of year is so great, as we celebrate what we’re thankful for and the spirit of giving.

My Thanksgiving wasn’t an overt celebration. My parents came up to our house, and my baby brother came into town. During the small 5 person meal, I kept having this thought in my head that no matter what we do in life, what we accomplish, how much we earn, it’s the people in our life that truly make it amazing. People are your life’s best asset.

My wedding day with my amazing family!

My wedding day with my amazing family!

I’m blessed with an amazing family. My parents have supported me every day or my journey, and let me make mistakes to learn. They’ve never stepped in to change my mind, unless it was going to be severely detrimental, and there hasn’t been any of those situations…. yet. I have two amazing brothers, who ultimately probably sacrificed being better athletes, to follow their sister every where. I still remember the youngest telling his first grade class “oh yeah, well my sister’s famous,” not knowing any better. He was the most well traveled elementary student though, having gone all over the US and Greece before 5th grade. Both of them have been my number one fans. The love we share as siblings, it’s amazing. I’d give my life for either of them. I have an amazing husband, who thankfully gave me a second chance. I was cold hearted and broke up with him 10 years prior to our reconnecting. He’s my better half. He’s taught me what love is, and I have loved like I never though possible. People, they are essential.

My circle of friends grows slowly. I’m not the easiest to let people in sometimes, but that’s getting better with age. The few who know me the longest, have taught me patience, acceptance, unconditional love, and honestly. I look back sometimes and wonder how they put up with me, but at the same time, they remind me there are good attributes I possessed. I’m extremely loyal to those I cherish, and at Thanksgiving, as we celebrated and shared a few texts back and forth, I was reminded that my friendships are what fill my heart. People, they are what makes our world.

As an athlete, or a retired one, I am reminded that fans fall right in with the people who add to your life. It’s awesome to hear stories of a game they attended. It’s amazing how many will go out of their way to show appreciation for being able to throw a yellow ball. My Wonder Woman collection is almost solely fan gifts, and I appreciate every single piece! Recently, a letter from a fan left tears in my eyes, because no athlete begins their athletic career foreseeing any of these types of things unfolding. People are amazing. It’s so unbelievable how giving people are. It’s mind-blowing how loving strangers can be. Again, people make my life blessed.

I’m not saying I am perfect. I am far from it. However, upon writing this blog in my head first, I have tried to be the type of person that I am lucky to have in my life. I want to give, to love, to appreciate, to be an asset to someone else in some form. We all should be. If we all realize people are the greatest gift, treat them as such, we would be much better off. A smile is contagious. A hello goes a long way.

Enjoy your Holidays!!


PS. Speaking of people… thank you to Huy Nguyen, who has designed and maintained my website since the beginning! He came up with this new amazing design that I absolutely love! When life gives you good people, do your best to make them feel appreciated, and in return, they will stick around! I am thankful for all you do Huy, and appreciate all you’ve done and continue to do!

Straight from the Heart

Straight from the heart, here's a little insight into my heart and my journey to find Him again...

“Dear Lord,
Please watch over every athlete that steps on this field today. Please keep us all healthy and safe. We all want to win, and you don’t choose that, but give us the strength and courage to use the talents you blessed us with to the best of our ability. Allow us to see and think clearly as we compete against one another, and be an example for the next generation. We play for the enjoyment of many, but really an audience of one. Please tell Grandma & Grandpa I love them, and let Jay know that I know he had a hand in Joey and I! In your name I pray and play! — Amen”

Some variation of this prayer was said before every single game on my final year of playing to the USSSA Pride. I always wanted everyone to be safe, to have good clean compeition, and to make sure my grandparents knew I was still working to make them proud. You see, my grandma was my biggest fan. I acquired a binder after she passed, in which she kept every email my dad sent while I was growing up detailing my athletic career. Grandpa (from the other side of the family) was watching one of my old games on the night he passed. They both had front row seats as my career came to an end.

Some may ask why that prayer was only said during my last season, and the answer to that is the reason for this post. Up until now, I have been very private with my spiritual life. I believe faith, religion, etc is a personal thing. If you want to share it, by all means we have plenty of avenues to do that. However, I also believe it’s ok to explore it on your own, live by it, and wait until you feel it’s right to share. I’m in the latter group. Although, part of the reason was also the fact I had been wavering in my faith. So the story begins…

I grew up in a Catholic Church. I have been baptized, received communion, made confession, and been confirmed in the Catholic Church. I learned the traditions, attended mass, but I am not sure I ever had a true meaning of everything I was hearing. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the 10 commandments and what was right and wrong, but there’s a bigger picture I see now, that I know I had no concept of when I was younger. Please don't be quick to judge, I was raised right. I just strayed as soon as I could.

As I left for college, I also left the Church. I would attend, sometimes, when I went home. I can remember attending church with teammates a handful of times max. Some teammates would convince me to come to FCA, but again, I was hearing, but not applying. I had questions, but didn’t ask them. I just stayed my course playing ball and going to school. When I was on the National Team, Leah O’Brien Amico would lead discussions about Jesus or parts of the bible. I remember listening, but again, left with questions I was too scared to ask. At this point, I also felt that because I had been gone for so long, that there was really no going back. Boy was I wrong!

In my junior year, I met a young man named Carmine, on his official visit to Texas. He ended up going elsewhere for school, but we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I don’t remember when he started asking or talking to me about religion and God, but he did at some point, without any judgement to the fact I was just "ehh" about it. He was living a life with Christ, and I was watching it from a distance. Slowly, I became inspired by his life, but again doubt crept in because I had been gone for so long. Carmine had a younger brother, Sal, who I had taken to pretty quick after meeting the family. To this day, Sal calls me big sis, so it’s been a strong relationship. I watched Sal transform from a pesky little brat into a strong, faith driven man of God. After watching Sal grow in faith, I was left inspired more than ever. I’d see Sal’s posts on social media, and talk with Carmine every so often. I'm not sure when, but one day I finally told Carmine what my heart was telling me: that I needed to go back. Carmine encouraged me over and over. He gave me books to read, told me what parts of the Bible to start with, and more so told me to go to church… alone. He would check week after week if I went to church. I’m pretty sure a number of times I responded “No, but I’m on chapter 5 of that book and…”

Now enters RBI Austin. I’m approached by my friend Amanda, to meet with Matt Price to hear about what RBI is about and their addition of softball. We have an incredible meeting, and I was so excited about everything Matt said, except faith was the core of RBI, and again, that’s where I lacked. I joined RBI, just focusing on the softball part, but after about a year (and months of Carmine’s encouragement) I decided I needed to dive in to my faith. Matt, Casey and some others had talked about how they want to Austin Stone on Sunday evenings. I went one Sunday morning by myself, to see what the church was all about. It was one of my first non-denominational services. My eyes were opened. The meaning behind what I was hearing was clear, and I am pretty sure I cried more than I ever have over softball or even injuries. We sang, tears came down my face. They were preaching, tears were still coming. I decided I needed to reconnect with God. I went to Church with the RBI group, and they kindly sent me notes from the services I missed due to travel schedules. I felt like a new person when I would leave the church.

It’s been about 4 years since I attended that service by myself, and in those 4 years, my eyes are wide open, and my heart is open even wider. I realized that my talents in the circle were supposed to be used to honor Him and to glorify Him. It may have taken me a while to see that, but I am glad I did before I retired. I truly believe, when you fully trust in his plan, you reap more than you could imagine.

I am pretty sure Joey, my now husband, was shocked when I mentioned church when we were dating. You see, we dated 10 years before, and to paint the picture easily… he went to Easter mass with his parents, while I slept at his apartment. I am pretty sure I saw a look of shock/confusion on his face the first time the word “church” came out of my mouth. However, by the time we started dating again, I had committed to my faith. I knew He has a plan. When my heart was convicted in those beliefs, the Lord laid out the best path I could imagine. He presented me with an amazing job opportunity, where I got to connect with and coach one of God’s most loyal servants in our second baseman, Kelli Baker. To this day, I still love going to work! He presented me with an amazing man, who I passed on before. And finally, he gave me a sense of peace as I decided it was time to hang up the cleats. I don’t think any of that is a coincidence. I think because I came back home, to the Lord, and laid my heart out for him, he allowed things work out.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is adversity God puts us through, and I am sure somewhere on this journey of life, my obstacles are coming. However, I truly believe that when you lay your whole heart in his hands, you gain more than you could ever imagine.

If you feel lost or that you’ve been gone too long, come home! He will welcome you and love you beyond measure. I’m thankful for all of the friends who helped me find my way back home. Carmine & Sal, probably had no idea the impact they had until I asked them if I could write about them. My RBI peers got to see me break down as I shared their part in my walk back during a meeting. I wouldn’t be where I am without any of you, and I know He is watching over all of us. Thank you all, for loving me when I was broken and lost, and thank you for still loving me as I continue to work to ‘walk by faith.’

A Family Legacy

Wow, who knew a late night post could generate so much excitement!?

Well, I always say the universe has put some pretty incredible people in my life, and I will continue to say that until the good Lord takes me away. Granted softball is usually the spoke that connects my wheel of people, and this instance is no different.

In 2010, after being traded to the USSSA Pride, we were to play a series here in Round Rock at Dell Diamond. This was my first encounter with Chris Almendarez, as he was in charge of the event and carted Jennie and I around to different media appearances. The job he did was spectacular, and over the years he has climbed the ladder with the Round Rock Express he is now the President.

Chris' family has open arms to almost everyone! His wife Jana was no different. She was the most lovely woman I have ever met, proud of both her sons and Chris. There was never a time I saw her without a smile on her face. As many of you may remember, last summer Jana was diagnosed with brain cancer. She fought a valiant fight, but passed this past Spring. It is her honor, that I am fortunate to announce this exciting news.

Chris and his family have gone to Family Legacy's DreamCamp in Zambia, Africa, a number of times, and have encouraged me to go. Between surgeries and things already planned, I have never been able to go.

A week ago, Chris gave me the dates, and now I am going!

Two days after Christmas, I will take off to Zambia with the group! My heart has never felt so full as it did the moment I agreed to take this trip with Chris, his family as well as others we mutually know to Zambia, Africa to meet, work with and share about the Lord with children of Zambia. While we are over there, we will also open an orphanage in Jana's Name.

Jana's House will host 12 girls, 10 who have already been identified. It will be fully decorated and ready for move in when we get there.

As any mission trip, funds must be raised. I will be auctioning off some things over the next few months to help with my trip, as well as saving & contributing myself.

However, if you would just like to donate to help with the trip, the link is:

Donations are tax deductible! There's always a way to help donate to Jana's house if you would like. I've never been more excited as I am about this trip. I know most of you wished it was a come back news, but the fact that I am retired and have time, allows me to do even greater things. I'm being called, and I am answering that call.

Let's join forces. Help me, help others!! Zambia, here I come!