By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– One thing that Jessica Rule picked up during the offseason was how to work on her mental game. Visualization of what’s ahead and executing it before she even steps onto the diamond, visualizing the game before you go out into the contest ahead. It was something that she learned at a Western Oregon University softball camp as she hopes to build off of her first-team All-Oregon West Conference honors last season as a junior.
And with first-year head Coach Ryan Borde, the season coaching veteran has already piggy-backed on that mental side of the game for the now-senior as she hopes to bridge what she learned from that camp, on top of the successes she had last season and over the Summer with Neil Forste and the NM Magic Travel Ball squad into this Spring.
“They focus on the mental side of the game. Everyone talks about ‘you can do the physical side of things, but the mental side is really important and you really need to grow that side of you’, which I think is very important,” Rule starts. “It’s going to be a really big thing for me, Borde has already been challenging me pitching wise. The other day at practice he was like, ‘Alright we have one out’ and put one of our best hitters up there, loaded up the bases and I was like, ‘ah ok, here we go’. So he’s really getting me going with the whole mental side of the game, so that’ll be a really big game changer for us this year.”
Borde was challenging the girls to start practice by thinking through a fly-ball drill and working through their cut-offs and communications with their season-opener against Valley Catholic on the road on March 15. The squad returns seven from their historic Semi-Final team, the first time that the Eagles Softball program had ever reached that far before they fell to eventual State Runner-Up Mairst. Rule, Isabelle Trevino, Christine McCants, Abi Archuleta and Kenzi Hollenbeck are a few of the names returning from that 22-6 squad.
“It was huge for all of us and we’re getting ready to build off of that again. We know that Cascade always brings back great people, and so does Philomath, so we’re ready to battle with those teams,” said Rule. “We have most of our players returning and we have a great coaching staff. Borde is laying a great foundation for our team, so I think this year is going to be a really good year for us.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald