Self-Belief Takes Dejah Mulipola To Athletes Unlimited Crown
Self-belief has played a big role in Dejah Mulipola's career on the softball diamond.
From her days at the University of Arizona to her time on the U.S. Olympic softball team and to present day with Athletes Unlimited, Mulipola has always had a strong sense of who she is and what she can accomplish on the field.
And it was that belief that helped her become the first position-player champion in Athletes Unlimited history. Mulipola concluded the third AU season with the top spot on the leaderboard at 1,782 points, and also became the first player to win the league’s Triple Crown. She batted .432 with nine home runs and 19 RBIs for the five-week season.
“A lot of things were going through my head when I won,” Mulipola told Softball America. “I thought it was unreal at first. I didn’t know what the final point tally was at the end of it. They had named the fourth, third and second place champions, and the only name left to call was mine. It was an amazing moment and my heart was racing when I heard my name.”
In what was the closest race in the three-season history of AU, the leaderboard’s top players were only separated by 288 points. But Mulipola kept her cool, and pulled from past experiences to help her claim the title.
“Obviously, your rookie season is always nerve wracking to come in and play professionally for the first time,” Mulipola said about her first season with Athletes Unlimited last year. “Having that year under my belt had its perks. I now know what these pitchers throw, what they like to throw, what the batters like to hit and I have all of that in my toolbox as I advance.”
Ultimately, the star catcher collected her notes from season two and went back to basics in the offseason. Her preparation came from soft toss and tee work, along with listening to her body.
“It wasn’t always just about getting the reps in, but making sure it was quality, making sure my body felt in sync, and if it didn’t, then I sent video to people I trusted to give me feedback,” Mulipola said.
While taking third place for the AUX season earlier this summer and also playing with Team USA, Mulipola applied all of that preparation to her plan for this AU championship season. Without her focus on the fundamentals, she believes she would have had a different outcome.
“The win means a lot because it was a grind to try and train by myself and with little resources,” Mulipola said. “I trusted my abilities. Everyone here is a great athlete, and you never know when the floor can change in an instant. Anyone can have a standout game and they can jump the leaderboard so fast. I just had to perform my best all the time.”
As a team captain for four out of the five weeks of the season, Mulipola found that not getting too caught up in her placement on the leaderboard throughout the campaign helped her in the long run.
“I just tried not to worry about staying at the top of the leaderboard. If I dropped, I dropped,” Mulipola said. “When you are number one for so long, it gets stressful because you want to maintain it, rather than if you drop a little lower, you can play free. I feel like that’s when I find the most success, personally.”
With the door now closed on season three, Mulipola hopes to give her body a much-needed break and eventually get back to work to prepare for next season of Athletes Unlimited.
“I will be taking just a little bit of time off to let my body recuperate after these six weeks and will be playing with Team USA and AUX before season four,” Mulipola said. “I know there is an upcoming event in November with Team USA, and I am taking that into consideration.”