Thursday, March 11, 2010

Conversation with Coach Jana McGinnis, Part 2

Finishing up with our conversation with Coach Jana McGinnis…(2nd part of interview that was started in yesterday's blog)

Q: Another senior is Mary Beth Ledbetter. Tell us about her.

A: Mary Beth is a local player, from Southside High School. She’s majoring in Education. She came to JSU as a walk-on and played in 49 of our 58 games her freshman year. She was awarded a scholarship the following season. She played her first three seasons at shortstop. Mary Beth is a vocal leader on the team.

Q: Now in her senior year, she has changed positions. Why did you do that?

A: Mary Beth did a fantastic job for us at shortstop. This season she is playing rightfield for us. That may sound strange at first, but I’ve seen teams do that before. A shortstop has to cover a lot of ground and have a good arm, much the same as a rightfielder. Mary Beth is doing a great job for us in rightfield, and covers the outfield as well as a centerfielder. It gives us a great advantage.

Q: Nikki Prier is a senior this year. What can you tell us about Nikki?

A: We began watching Nikki in the 9th grade. She’s from the Raleigh, NC area. Nikki is a hard worker. She may be a perfectionist. She tries for perfection in the classroom and on the softball field. She was the OVC Player of the Year last season. She’s on the National Top 50 Player of the Year Watch List this season. She’s very talented.

Q: Coach McGinnis, you’ve seen Nikki play here for 3 years plus a few games this season. What do you see from her that the Gamecock fans may not see from a distance?

A: I’ve seen Nikki improve every year. I mentioned she’s a perfectionist. Her freshman season, I would see her get down if she made an out. A perfectionist never wants to fail, but in hitting, you can be successful 3 times out of 10 and have a very good career. I’ve seen Nikki mature in that area and handle ups & downs a lot better. Nikki leads by example. She doesn’t say a lot, but she has a great work ethic. As a junior, Nikki was the calmest, most in control hitter I’ve seen.

An interesting thing came up during our conversation with Coach McGinnis. We discussed academics, and the success the softball team has seen in the classroom. The team uses “Academic Teams” to build teamwork, leadership, and most of all, to increase the team GPA. Academic Teams are groups of softball players that have a competition for the best GPA. Players study together and help each other. They become a closer team. The winning team gets to schedule practices. After this past weekend’s Buzz Classic, our team felt they played inconsistently. They set up a practice for Monday and got to the field early, and started practicing before the coaches even got there. When the coaches got there, they just sat back and watched the players practice. Coach McGinnis said our team got better that day.
Thank you Coach McGinnis for the job you are doing…and for your time to talk with us.

1 comment:

  1. We need to improve our softball field. Its in a neat location. We need a first class facility to go along with our world class coach.