WACO, Texas – Kelsey Cartwright had never been a designated person before this season.
After years of spending time in the field, the redshirt senior has found a way to fill the time between at bats.
“I have been journaling about my at bats,” Kelsey said. “I have to keep myself busy.
“I write what I saw and what I felt. I get it out after each at bat and then I leave it behind and go on to the next at bat.”
Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Ryman has encouraged all of her players to use a notebook to write down notes about at bats, what pitches were a problem, which pitches were good and any other information they might deem pertinent.
“Everyone’s notebook is different,” Ryman said. “Some write down how they felt that day or what their mentality was. Some might write more about mechanics…what they need to improve on and what they did well that day.”
The pitchers write about what is working for them and what is not against certain batters. Players can also write down their thoughts on their defensive play, but the emphasis is on hitting.
Some players are coming back to the dugout after an at bat and immediately writing down their thoughts like Kelsey. Others might wait until after the game or after practice to make notes. The value of the notebooks is determined by how much effort the players are willing to expend.
“We want them to use it…it is tool,” Ryman said. “But how often they write in the notebooks is really up to them.
“However much they put into it is what they are going to get out of it. There are a few that have been a little unsure about what we are looking for since it is the first year we have done it. We have told them it is not what we are looking for as coaches. This is about things that will help them as a hitter or a pitcher.”
The Lady Bisons, 4-0, are sure to find enough information to fill their notebooks this week. Starting Friday morning at 10 a.m. they will face Iowa (2-2) in the first game of the Getterman Classic at host Baylor University. They will close out the day with Drake (0-4) at 12:30 p.m.
Last season the Lady Bisons opened against Iowa at the Houston Hilton Classic, a 4-0 win. The Lady Bisons last faced Drake March 9, 2012, a 5-2 win in the Lady Bison Classic at Lipscomb.
Saturday will be a challenging one as the Lady Bisons start with Missouri, ranked No. 14/18 in the main softball polls at 12:30 p.m. Missouri (0-0) is a last-minute replacement for East Carolina which was unable to fly to Texas due to snow and ice in the region.
At 3 p.m. the Lady Bisons will face host Baylor (4-1), ranked No. 14/16 in the main top 25 polls.
The Lady Bisons received votes this week in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25. UAB (1-3) earned a vote in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25. The two teams will face each other Sunday at 9 a.m. to close out the weekend.
The notebook plan was the result of talking with other coaches at the national softball convention this past year.
“We feel like this is something our hitters can benefit from,” Ryman said. “Hitting is such a mental thing. We felt like we should give them the opportunity to put their thoughts on paper.”
By taking notes the players have reference points they can draw on for various situations during the season.
“Some will just jot down a couple of quick thoughts,” Ryman said. “We also have charts they can use. We chart pitches. We take notes on whether it was a quality at bat and certain situations they faced.
“It is very game-based. It is strategic. It is taking into advantage all of those situations in games that can be hard to simulate in practice. A lot of them will write in their notebooks in the middle of practice, some at the end of practice and some will go back to their rooms to write.”
Ryman has written down that the Getterman Classic is going to be the toughest challenge for the Lady Bisons this season in preconference play.
“I think that this is going to be a very tough weekend for us,” Ryman said. “I don’t think you can get caught up in who you are playing.
“We have to remember that we are going to be considered the underdog against a lot of these teams. I don’t think we can get caught up in a name on a jersey. We have to come out with a chip on our shoulder with something to prove.”