RH: “I was so hard on myself”

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The Round House | 02/04/2022 19:03:00

By Paul Suellentrop

Wichita State Addison Barnard gives himself 10 minutes to reflect on a bad game before forcing himself to move on. That might come as a surprise to a softball player who apparently hasn’t had a bad time in her short career.

While hard times seem almost non-existent for Barnard, the early scrimmages last fall felt that way.

“I was putting so much pressure on myself to do so well in every game,” she said. “I was so hard on myself. It was really hard for me to understand ‘Addie, this isn’t your swing, this is here.'”

Barnard, a sophomore center fielder, got to work on the mental game after meeting with Wichita State coaches earlier this fall. With Barnard frustrated with struggles in the scrums, coaches told him to relax and let his talent do the work.

“That’s what sophomore slump is for — putting pressure on yourself to be able to repeat and do what you did in freshman year,” the Wichita State coach said. Kristi Bredbenner noted. “She puts a lot of pressure on herself. When she fails, she struggles with it a bit.”

Barnard is enjoying a second season every bit as imposing as his debut, though success has come with more difficulty than the stats show. She doubled and homered twice to lead in six runs in Saturday’s 13-4 win over Tulsa in six innings at Wilkins Stadium.

Wichita State (19-10, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) had 14 hits against three Tulsa pitchers. Sydney McKinneywith the end of the game, and Zoe Jones also homered for the Shockers. Launcher erin mcdonald did not allow an earned run and limited the Hurricane (12-21-1, 1-3-1) to six hits.

Barnard doubled to McKinney for Wichita State’s first inning, helped when Tulsa left fielder Imani Edwards lost flyball high in the sun. Barnard gave the Shockers a 9-4 lead in the third inning with a three-run homer. In the fifth, his two-point shot made it 11-4.


For the season, Barnard has 16 home runs and 43 RBIs, while hitting .409 with a .957 hitting percentage and 21 stolen bases (already second on the program’s season list).


Last season, she earned third-team All-American honors after hitting a program-high 22 home runs with a .323 batting average and nine interceptions. Her 38 career home runs rank fourth in Shocker history and she will move up to second with two more.


Opponents are throwing more off-speed throws at her and she no longer has protection in the lineup with experienced bats madison perrigan, Ryleigh Buck and Nickerson Custodian faded away. So far, Barnard is handling the second-year challenges.


“She swings on the right pitches, and when she connects, you know the ball is gone,” the first baseman said. Neleigh Herring noted. “You can see she’s got a little more of that experience and a little more of that composure and she’s ready and she knows what to expect. It helps her see the terrain she wants to swing on and run. .”


The difficulties of last fall, the discussions with the coaches and the sessions with Dr Brianna Ward, the athlete mental health coordinator, led to Barnard’s 10-minute rule. Clearing his mind allows him to have quick hands, hand-eye coordination, and powerful legs to smash soft balls.


“You’re going to have bad games,” Barnard said. “I focused on overtaking. You have 10 minutes to think about it and that’s it.”


Ward helped her with strategies to slow her breathing and slow her body to relax. Later in the fall, Barnard saw results when his thoughts no longer interfered with his physical abilities.


“I was just really hard on myself, because I expected to pick up where I left off,” she said. “You have adversity, and you have to get through it. With the mental part, it took me a while to realize that it’s okay to fail. I worked on these strategies to calm myself down and not not be so anxious.”


The anxiety of last fall seemed a long way off on Saturday afternoon. The sunny weather drew a crowd of 537 fans, and several former Shockers cheered home runs from the new party deck in right field.


No need for the 10 minute rule this kind of day.



Paul Suellentrop covers Wichita State Athletics and the American Athletic Conference for college strategic communications. Suggested story? Contact him at [email protected]


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