Of all the new faces at UCSB this fall, Kristy Schroeder is probably the only two-time MIAA softball coach of the year, and, luckily for the Gauchos, she is also the new head coach of UCSB’s softball team.
“UCSB is one of the best locations for softball,” Schroeder said. “There are good facilities here, and I feel there is a commitment by the Athletic Department to the team. I’m excited.”
Schroeder was the head coach at Truman State University for the past three seasons, where she amassed a 133-34-1 record, two Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Academics were also a key focus for Schroeder at Truman State. Her 2001 team had a cumulative grade point average of 3.40.
“I thought she was awesome when I met her,” senior second baseman Kim Sawyer said. “She seemed hard-nosed, but nice. She’s perfect for this team. I think she’ll be a good leader with all her experience.”
This off-season Schroeder has been actively formulating how to help this year’s squad perform to the fullest of its capabilities. She plans to work extensively with the Gauchos on their hitting, which was a weakness for the team last season. Schroeder also plans to use mental training techniques to help the team with concentration.
“I believe in mental training,” Schroeder said. “We’ll probably work two hours a week on it, doing goal-setting and trying to understand what we can and can’t control. I want the team to focus on the present and realize the past is not a factor. We need to learn from the past and move on.”
Santa Barbara will not begin its regular season until February but will participate in a team scrimmage with Allan Hancock College on Oct. 24. Many of the Gauchos have already noticed how excited the team is to start play. The club feels Schroeder’s arrival will be the spark to a successful campaign this upcoming season.
“Our coach is young and excited,” senior third baseman and shortstop Julia Tamai said. “She’s really brought a new energy to the team. Everybody’s happy to be out there. We’re like a new team, with a new attitude.”
Sawyer has also noticed the team’s change in attitude since Schroeder’s hiring.
“Honestly, I think we’ve always had the talent to be a very successful team,” Sawyer said. “We just haven’t played like we can. [Schroeder] will bring out the best in everybody.”
Schroeder also sees a bright future for softball at UCSB. She believes with hard work and determination, the Gauchos can become one of the top programs in the country.
“We want to be the top team in the conference,” Schroeder said. “And we want the opportunity to win a National Championship.”