The Norman Transcript

Sports

July 10, 2013

Team USA coach faces challenge balancing talented lineup

OKLAHOMA CITY — Team USA coach Ken Eriksen said coaching the national team is unlike anything a typical college coach faces.

While last year’s historic Oklahoma team came close, no squad has as much raw talent on it as a national team. Eriksen said the biggest adjustment is for the battery, which must adjust to facing prolific hitters all the way through the lineup.

“When you play teams like Australia, Japan and Canada, there’s a tremendous amount of athletes,” he said. “You have to learn how to approach great hitters one through nine, not just one through four and then five through are okay.”

That’s one of many differences in international play. The fences are also moved back from where they were during the Women’s College World Series, and that opens up the outfield more and gives short-ball hitters like Destinee Martinez a chance to excel even moreso than in the collegiate game.

Another difference is the lack of distractions. In college, athletes must balance school with softball, but with the national team there is little else to distract from the game.

“We’re asking for a tremendous amount of focus from these players,” Eriksen said. “But they’ve been handpicked because they can handle it.”

Eriksen balancing schedule: While the national team plays a tight schedule filled with softball, Eriksen said he does his best to make sure the players, who are coming off the end of a busy semester of softball and school, have some time off the field as well.

“That’s my job, to find time for rest for them,” he said. “You have to schedule it out weeks in advance to make sure you have enough downtime but also enough practice time.”

After the team wraps up this weekend, they’ll board a plane Monday to travel to Canada, where they’ll compete in another tournament. They’ll also travel to Puerto Rico in August for another big event.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Lorenzana Texas-Arlington wrecks Sooner momentum with double plays

    Oklahoma didn’t arrive at L. Dale Mitchell in a listless state on Tuesday. It knew the meeting with Texas-Arlington was important. Momentum needed to start heading in a positive direction....

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooners continue winning streak on the diamond

    After an up-and-down weekend against Texas that ultimately ended on a high note with the Sooners winning two of three, Oklahoma continued its streak on Tuesday....

    April 23, 2014

  • Sooners blank Mean Green thanks to one-hit shutout from Stevens

    Kelsey Stevens’ impact at Oklahoma continues to grow....

    April 24, 2014

  • Sooners rolling in almost every program

    It doesn’t seem so long ago, yet it’s been almost a decade since I wrote a snarky, though not inaccurate column questioning the head-coach-hiring skills of Sooner athletics director Joe Castiglione....

    April 24, 2014

  • Grizzlies will let Russ shoot

    During the hey day of L.A. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, a new term was added to the lexicon. Anyone who seemingly was able to slow down the prolific scorer was automatically dubbed the Kobe Stopper. Players such as Ruben Patterson, Raja ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Tigers, T-Wolves set for showdown

    For many teams in Norman, the Crosstown Clash is the biggest date on their schedule. It’s the game that can make or break the season. The one that determines bragging rights, and the one that the players are most concerned about....

    April 24, 2014

  • Emmert seeks big changes to NCAA

    INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes — regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them....

    April 24, 2014

  • North playing for big picture, NHS fighting for a better place at the table

    While the focus for the next two days will be on the Crosstown Clash, there's also an important postseason race taking place for Norman High and Norman North's baseball teams....

    April 24, 2014

  • Mets edge Cards

    NEW YORK — With a 360-foot relay in the ninth inning, the New York Mets prevented a hard-fought victory from vanishing in the wind....

    April 24, 2014

  • Seahawks will open against Packers

    NEW YORK — As Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks get to kick off the NFL’s regular season by hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4....

    April 24, 2014

Facebook