After Storied Career, Kendyl Lindaman Still Wants To Improve
After the 2018 season, Kendyl Lindaman was one of the most talked about softball players in the country. Not only had she just been named the Big Ten Player of the Year for the second season in a row, but the stats for her first two seasons for the Minnesota Gophers were also eye-popping: 40 home runs, 131 RBI, 110 runs scored and 118 walks.
However, that was not the only reason why Lindaman was in the news. Following that season, the All-Big Ten catcher put her name in the transfer portal and decided on playing for the Florida Gators for the remainder of her college softball career.
Fast forward three years, and the fifth-year starter is right at home in Gainesville, Fla. She is a member of a Gators squad that is 16-5 in SEC play, has a 37-8 record overall and has a thriving pitching staff with a 1.68 ERA. Lindaman is also having a solid season herself, batting .309 with six home runs and 28 RBI. Additionally, she ranks fourth among all active NCAA players with 68 career home runs, fourth in RBI with 235 and second in walks with 211.
The decision to come to Florida following her sophomore season came with a checklist noting what her new school had to offer, and after talking with head coach Tim Walton, Lindaman quickly found that Florida would be a good fit.
“Right when I got done with my visit, I knew that I didn’t want to go on any other ones again,” said Lindaman. “Being a junior and having those couple years of experience and knowing what I wanted, it was a different thing for recruiting versus being an 8th grader looking at colleges and not really knowing what I wanted.”
She also came to Florida with plenty of postseason experience already under her belt, and is now using that experience to mentor younger players. This season, the team has five freshmen as well as six sophomores, with all 11 of them playing in the first full season of their collegiate careers.
“It’s such an honor, one of the best honors that I’ve been a part of,” said Lindaman. “With it being my fifth year and having the experiences I’ve had not only at Florida, but also at Minnesota, (I've) just kind of been teaching them the culture of Florida softball and hoping that I’m leaving enough impact on them to continue this culture.”
According to Lindaman, she is also still learning every day, which is a process that does not stop no matter what year in college you are in. She said she owes a lot to Coach Walton and his philosophy to work on your weaknesses, but not to focus on them so much that you forget your strengths.
Lindaman came to Florida with a swing that had already secured her 20 home runs a season for her first two years of college, which was an obvious strength of hers. But she said she continues to have conversations about her swing with Walton, as she is always trying to improve it.
“It’s more him asking me questions because he knows I know the answer, and just having those conversations and being able to be open with him, like, ‘What do you feel, what do you see?’” Lindaman said. “It honestly makes me love the game more and have a better understanding of what I do as a player. It’s really helped me to grow.”
With stands getting crowded once again and young girls coming into the ballpark with eyes locked on Florida's players, Lindaman knows she has a special opportunity to impact those watching her.
“A lot of people want to play at Florida, but there are only 20 some of us that have that opportunity right now,” she said. “So it’s really important to have good character on the field and show that because a lot of girls are looking up to us and we are that example for them.”