Softball Notebook: R-E-L-A-X


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It’s no secret that this season hasn’t started out the way that the way the softball Hawkeyes had planned.

After struggling against Florida two weeks ago, Iowa hoped to get on track last weekend in the Rajun’ Cajun Invitational, which didn’t exactly happen. The team dropped all five contests, including three by just 1 run.

It’s especially frustrating for head coach Marla Looper, because she believes her players are physically ready to go, and the losses — especially the close ones — are mostly due to overthinking the situation.

“The lack of execution is not because they don’t want to, or because they can’t, or don’t know how,” Looper said. “They limit themselves by trying too hard, and I think a person who has never been in that situation doesn’t quite understand it — there are drills, there are situations that we practice to execute in those minutes.

“They want it — they want to be in those moments, but they need to allow their body to relax.”

Relaxing in the batter’s box and the other areas of the field are going to be key if the Hawkeyes plan to do something with their season.

That being said, captain Kaitlyn Mullarkey and Company are not anywhere near panic mode.

“I don’t think we need to be at panic mode; we’re all really doing what we’re supposed to be doing — we’re hitting, but we haven’t been able to string them together right now,” Mullarkey said. “We just need to figure out what we need to do to get timely hitting and stuff.

“I think it will fall into place once we do that, so I’m not really worried.”

Looking for trust

The members of the Iowa softball coaching staff certainly believes in their players, but they also feel that it has been something of a challenge to get the players to trust themselves.

With the rash of losses, Looper is trying to get her players to simply believe in themselves more, something she feels will may dividends in close games.

“It’s in preparation, what you do every day,” Looper said. “It’s putting them in drills they’re probably going to fail at sometimes and succeed at sometimes. When they succeed, oh look there it is — when they get to a game situation, it’s something they’ve already done before.”

The team also uses visualization techniques, using any video available to them to scout other teams and then watch it enough to recognize what’s coming.

“Maybe it’s a pitcher they’ve seen and when they get home, they can close their eyes and visualize that pitcher,” Looper said. “When they step in the box, it’s not the first time they’ve seen that pitcher – their body thinks they’ve seen that pitcher over and over.”


Iowa left 29 batters on base over the weekend, which, as they say, is not ideal and has been a major point of emphasis this week in practice.

“We left a lot of runners on base this weekend, that’s one of the major things we need to work on,” Whitney Repole said. “Producing at the plate in key situations is big — we had a lot of hits but just not at the right time.”

Follow @JordyHansen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa softball team.

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