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How To Maintain A Strong Mindset In The Season's Homestretch

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(Photo by Joe Kraus)

As the 2023 season approaches its homestretch and we get nearer to postseason play each day, we are gearing up to see some of the best performances of the year across all divisions of college softball. Pitchers and position players alike are buckling down to help their teams have the best chance to win their respective conferences, regionals and for some, a national championship.

One pitcher who is getting herself ready for the homestretch of the 2023 season is Arcadia University’s junior hurler Juliana Presto. To date in her college softball career, Presto has broken every single career pitching record for the Knights, including having over 500 strikeouts in just her second full collegiate season.

Softball America talked to Presto about her postseason mindset, being a leader from the circle and how to handle the stressors of postseason play.

Softball America: What is something that you do for yourself in your pregame warmup, or in-game, that keeps you composed and focused?

Juliana Presto: Something that helps me stay calm during games is my third baseman, Megan Sooy. She is always in my ear cheering me on, or is there for me when I start to lose focus. It is important to know who you can look at on the field to help you regain composure or to give you that extra support in big moments.

SA: What do you think is the most important part of your position aside from the actual pitching aspect?

JP: I think the most important part of my position is being a leader to the team. At this specific position, the attention is always directed toward you, so you need to know what to do with it. You can have passion and be excited for yourself and your team, but you need to know when to help everyone else reel it back in and get focused as well.

SA: Being a junior, do you think you put more pressure on yourself now as an upperclassman pitcher?

JP: I think that mindset has changed a little from last year because I have more than one pitcher younger than me on our staff. I wouldn’t say the amount of pressure has changed, just because I have always put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best I can be, but being the oldest pitcher on your team, you do feel a lot of eyes on you at all times.

SA: Do you think as a pitcher that your mindset changes from the regular season to postseason play?

JP: My mindset is to be able to stay as healthy as I possibly can and to be efficient with every pitch. My mindset has to change a little going into postseason play because every game can be your last game of the season, and you want to battle when that is on the line.

SA: What is a piece of advice you would give to other pitchers as they enter the end of the regular season and enter postseason play?

JP: I think I would tell them to focus on one pitch at a time. You are in control of the game speed, and can use that to your advantage. Have confidence in yourself and the team behind you, and remember to play for them like they play for you.

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