TAKE 5 with USA Softball's Laura Berg


In sports, there is one given – expect the unexpected.

As fans, this excitement of not knowing what will happen next is a big reason why we attend, watch and talk about sporting events. For athletes, the unexpected, while thrilling, demands proper preparation to be successful.

Laura Berg

Laura is the head coach of the Oregon State Beavers softball team and assistant coach of the Women's National Team. She was a 4-time All-American center fielder when she played for Fresno State. She also competed in four Olympics, earning 3 gold and 1 silver medal before becoming a coach.


1. How do you mentally prepare for a big game?

I mentally prepare for a big game by visualizing the pitchers I might face and what they throw. I also visualize my swing.

2. What do you think is the key to good preparation?

The key to preparation is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Practice should be harder than the game so when it’s game time you can switch to auto pilot and just play. The game should be easy. If you prepare in practice, your confidence level in the game should be through the roof and you should be able to say “bring it”.

3. When you don't feel like you have your "A game", what do you do?

When my team is not on their “A game” I try to be the spark plug to get them on their “A game”. If I can get them fired up with a base hit or a great defensive play than I’m being the spark plug that will help us get on our “A game”.  

4. How do you 'prepare for the unexpected'?

Coach Candrea always told us that there are only two things you can control . . . your attitude and your effort. If I can control those two things and come ready to play I’ll be ready for anything that comes my way.  

5. What is your advice to youth sport parents to help their kids prepare for the unexpected?

First I would tell the parents to teach their kids that you can only control two things . . . attitude and effort. You can’t control what the umpires call, what the weather or field conditions will be like, if the games will be on time or what the ball does once it leaves your hands. You can only control how you react to it and the energy you bring to the field. Second I would have them teach their kids to be at a disadvantage and to get comfortable with that. Lisa Fernandez would find the worst pitching mound at a public park and the worst ball out of the bucket and learn to pitch with it.  Not only would she learn to pitch with a bad mound or ball, she would be the best at it. She would find a way to beat you. She was mentally and physically ready for the unexpected.  

Come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 Interview.

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