Softball team pushes for success

You thought you knew pain

Mike McQueen, Multimedia Manager

A successful team is not simply born, but rather it must be forged through hard work and perseverance. This seems like a cliche, but any current or former athlete and they will vet the statement’s truth. The Lake Land softball team is an excellent example of the success that comes from pushing the limits of what seems possible. Coach Nic Nelson is a no-nonsense, old-school coach that believes brutal honesty is the only way his players will improve and be the best versions of themselves.
There are no misconceptions when it comes to what these players are getting themselves into. Nelson tells the players he is recruiting that his coaching will be exactly what he thinks of their performance, and they will not always like it, but it will make them better if they stick it out. His players echo this sentiment and say they work harder for Nelson then they ever have before.  Even though the practices are excruciating and so much harder than anything they have ever experienced they are not surprised.  That understanding comes from the message the players receive before they even step onto the practice field.  Do the job on the field or you will pay the price.  
That price can come in the form of colorful verbal tirades which do not take into account anyone’s personal feelings, to punitive drills like ‘fetch.’  ‘Fetch,’ as it was described, is when a player makes an egregious mistake, coach will hit a ball as far as he can and that player will have to run and ‘fetch it.’ Nelson was proud to say he shoots for hitting the road behind the field because then it really rolls.  Britt Remmers recalls having to run over to the gas station to ‘fetch’ one of Nelson’s hits.
These harsh stories of being hit by a ball during practice for messing up may seem more than is necessary, and must drive good players away, but no.  On the contrary, the players who were recalling these stories laughed about the incidents, and the toughness that Coach showed them on the ball field.  In fact they came here for this treatment in order to compete at a high level, and ultimately they could feel results during games.
There have been concerns of young athletes being pushed too hard, and that this can be harmful to their psyche.  Seeing how these players interact with their coach feeling comfortable joking about how rough he is on them, there is no question they feel stronger for his training.
The struggle they go through is fair, and balanced in order to make them the best individual players and bonding them to make an even stronger team together.  While the sophomores enjoy the honor of eating first, which is a bigger deal than it sounds, they are pushed just as fiercely as the freshmen.  Honestly, the only thing the players truly seem to be worried about is if coach stops yelling at them, because that would mean he did not care about them improving.  This hard-ass demeanor fades immediately when they leave the field, and Coach will do everything he can to help his players in all of their pursuits.  After all these players and coach do to play their hardest representing Lake Land College athletics make sure everyone goes to root them on whenever possible.

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