Join sophomore Marissa Mersch as she talks about her summer plan and how she improved her game in today's Badger Blog.
Having a summer plan
By Marissa Mersch
It was a great first year playing Badger softball. I finished my freshman year playing for one of the most prestigious universities in the country. After my freshmen year I knew that I had to work hard in the off season and get myself ready after coming off one of the team's best seasons in school history.
Everyone has an idea of what they hope their college career to be like, and for me, I knew I could do better after the results of my freshman year. Our team had such great team chemistry, although I knew that we could have done better after losing some close games against some of the best teams in the nation. We have one of the youngest teams in college softball and with hard work and commitment; we can be one of the elite forces to contend within Division I.
Throughout last season the coaching staff really began to emphasize putting in extra time if you wanted to build a legacy program. With that being said, I started off my summer motivated to be the best softball player I can be through conditioning and working on my skills. I trained with a personal trainer four days a week near my home. I knew that would get me in the best shape of my life. I was not disappointed, as he kicked my butt and pushed me to the maximum at each and every training session. Some days consisted of straight cardio circuits such as hill runs with weights, treadmill and bike workouts and long runs around the town. Other days we concentrated on building muscle mass as we pushed it to the limit with power cleans and squats. I also knew that I needed to work on my hitting and fielding, so I concentrated on working out with the best and went to a hitting instructor who teaches some of the top division I softball players.
Throughout the summer I played in games with players who were home for the summer and were also working on being the best they could be. My former travel coach Bill Conroy (Beverly Bandits) put together a team this summer made up of his former players who are playing at the D1 level. We played competitive games that tested all of our skills. I also worked out at an outfield camp with Coach Megan Ciolli who was a tremendous All-American outfielder at the University of Notre Dame. Coach Ciolli taught me everything ranging from diving to proper outfield throwing mechanics.
I am looking forward to my sophomore year and working with an amazing coaching staff and such a great group of young women. This summer I really began to understand why I fell in love with this game. It really hit me when I was working the little kids softball camp hosted at my high school. The little girls were so happy just to be there and run around the bases. That really began to bring back memories of good times I had and the life lessons I learned throughout the years. Having the opportunity to be a Badger, play at a Big Ten school and get an education at an outstanding university is what many dream of.
With this opportunity I have been given, I realize that you cannot take it for granted and with each day you can become better. You will only see results when you take time to improve on your weaknesses and continue to build on your strengths. The combination of hard working teammates with winning attitudes and great coaches is a recipe for great things to happen this upcoming Badger season.