Coming off of two back-to-back district titles, the softball team is already back to work to three-peat in a new district. With a new look but many returning seniors, the team is hard at work with fielding as well as an intense weight room routine.
The main weight room workout the team is currently completing consists of a rotation of 23 different workouts that the girls will rapidly complete all the way through three times. This means that if one of the girls starts with squats, she will complete every rotation until she gets back to squats, and the cycle will repeat three times. Other stations in the workout include incline push-ups, curls, deadlifts, leg press, and leg curls. While some of the girls view the military press as the workout that drains them the most, Assistant Coach Melendez views the pull-ups as the most challenging station, with the girls currently using bands to hold their feet up and help with the station.
The overall mindset of the intense workout is to make sure that the team has harder practices than games, so by the time the games come around, the team already feels much more prepared than their opponents and even the team’s smallest girls will be bigger, faster, and stronger than opponents’ toughest players. The durability that the workouts create also helps come playoff time, when the team needs to be as durable as possible for multiple-game series and even double-headers.
“You either adapt, or you get out” is head coach Alfaro’s policy throughout the whole organization, and he lets everyone know that the standard is high to stay on the team. Aside from the upperclassmen in the varsity workout, there are also some freshmen that impressed at “Beast Camp” as well as softball camp over the summer. Coach Alfaro thought these freshmen were talented enough on the field that they would be placed in the varsity workout to help develop them for the future.
No other teams in the district are doing workouts like this, especially in the fall, and that’s part of the reason why the program has built itself into one of the best in the area. Coach Alfaro has also mentioned how former all-district pitcher Mady Collins has told him that her weight room workout for the softball team at Tarleton State University is much easier, proving how the program is beneficial for the girls by preparing them to be much stronger than college requires.
The team is also working on improving off the field, and Coach Alfaro believes that this group has a special collection of both talent and chemistry. Every fall, he assigns a book for the team and each player will read a different chapter to share with the team. This fall, he chose “The Champion’s Mind” by Jim Afremow, which is aimed to help teams become better athletes by thinking and training harder. The Coach Popovich-esque tradition is just one of the components of a winning culture such as the one that the program has built.
With the new 5A district the team is playing in and some major team changes over the off-season, the team is sure to have a new look but just as much talent. The competition will be a huge change of pace from what the team is used to when facing schools like Reagan and Johnson, but there are some respectable programs in the new district as well. Edison and Burbank both put up good records last season, with 12-1 and 12-4 district records, as well as 16-9 and 17-9 overall records respectively.
Overall, the softball girls have been making sure they’re putting in more work than their opponents and staying on top of the competition. Despite the season being a ways away, both the team and the school are ready for another amazing season.