LSU's Ciara Briggs Attains Excellence On Both Sides Of Field
Excelling on both defense and offense is no easy feat at the Division I level of college softball. But for LSU outfielder Ciara Briggs, producing on all areas of the field isn’t up for debate. The first-ever collegiate softball player to win the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and 2022 team-high run-scorer at 53 prides herself on being efficient in all roles.
“I think it is important to work on all aspects of your game whether it’s offense, defense or even running bases,” Briggs said. “We all know softball is a very mental sport and it's more failure than being successful. It is really important no matter what you are doing in that game or how you are producing that day, just remember there is always something you can do on the field to help out the team.”
Starting in center field for all 57 games of the 2022 season, Briggs finished with a perfect fielding percentage with 82 putouts and seven assists. The defensive success for Briggs is rooted in the simplicity of perfecting routine fly and ground balls. Reaching the highest peak of her game cannot come without solidifying the fundamentals first.
“People often overlook the first-step stuff,” Briggs said. “I practice the little things pretty much anytime I throw. I like to do small ground ball work and (LSU does) the little detail stuff (in practice) like fielding ground balls and footwork with throws because in the end and in the games, it’s going to matter most.”
Similar to her defensive habits, her offensive skills come from focusing on her mechanics. Last season at the plate, Briggs posted the second highest batting average for the Tigers at .368, with 70 hits and 32 RBIs.
“Just like on defense, (I do the drills) that really break down what tool I am using,” Briggs said. “Whether it's high-chopping, hitting or power-slapping, I do drills that break down a certain feeling I want to feel that day. Whether it’s my legs or my turns, I break it down into smaller steps and do a progression from that. As I work towards it, I can do the whole thing in full motion.”
Now, well into the 2023 college softball season, the chase for more accolades is on and her motivation to keep improving as a player is rooted in knowing she is capable of achieving anything by putting in the work.
“I just try to go by each day, each game,” Briggs said. “I try to do my best with learning when I fail and learning and growing from mistakes. Every day I try to get one percent better. I have been given such an awesome opportunity to come to such a high-level program with such an amazing coaching staff. I try to get better and build off of what I have gathered from the day before.”
Last season, LSU was swept out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The Tigers are working to make sure such an experience does not happen again, and with the encouragement of Briggs in the outfield, she hopes to continue to provide a change of morale to the team.
“I would say I have grown to be a more vocal leader,” Briggs said. “I try to lead by example on and off the field with the outfielders out there. Throughout these past couple years, I have made sure we have effective communication and we are all on the same page. I always try to encourage (my teammates) to go full out, go 100 percent and see what they can get.”