September 22, 2005 - by
Fall Softball Q&A With Dr. JoAnne Graf

Sept. 22, 2005

While the first pitch of the 2006 FSU softball season won’t officially be thrown until February 10, the Seminoles have been hard at work during fall practice. Sports Information sat down with head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf to talk about the fall campaign.

Sports Information: What are some of the goals that the coaching staff has for fall practice?
JoAnne Graf: In fall, we are basically trying to get the players in shape. Some play during the summer, and some don’t, so that is our primary goal. We also try to evaluate the freshmen and transfers to see what they have, we know what the returners have, so we try and focus on the newcomers. Also, we try and move everyone around so that we can get everyone some competition for a starting spot. We (the coaching staff) try and get in our minds what we think the starting lineup will look like.

SI: What are some of the challenges of the fall compared with the spring?
JG: You are limited as to the amount of time that you can practice with the kids. We really have a four week window with the kids, so we try and fit a lot into that time. As a coach, I wish that I had more time with the kids, but I tend to agree with the rule because it keeps the playing field level.

SI: Will there be a fall scrimmage this year?
JG: We travel up to Maine on Friday, but on October 7th we’ll hold two scrimmages at 1:00 and 5:00.

SI: What steps do you take to help carry over the skills that are taught in the fall into the spring?
JG: We stop individual practices right before Thanksgiving in order to keep their interest in practicing. Over Christmas break, we give them a conditioning program, and we hope that they keep up with it. We work hard on the fundamentals during the fall and by repetition, try and carry it over to the spring.

SI: What is one of the biggest adjustments that the freshmen have to make since high school?
JG: With the mound being three more feet away from the plate, it changes the feel not only for the pitchers, but also for the hitters. Also, the level of pitching, the hitters will see good pitching throughout their careers, instead of the maybe one good pitcher they could face in high school. Also, the competition is a big change; most of these players were the best player on their high school team. Some of the players will go from being a starter in high school to a backup player here. I see this as an emotional adjustment that they need to learn to handle.

SI: What are some of the roles upperclassmen play in the development of the freshmen?
JG: Their role is leadership. They have to come out and practice hard every day, whether they are sick or had a bad day. The feshmen look to them to see how things should be done, and I think that is a critical role. They teach the newcomers the Florida State way of playing softball.

SI: Going into your 29th Season as a coach, who is your favorite player?
JG: Whew…(laughs)…I can’t pick any one player out, I’m happy about most of my players, they have all been really great people. Most of these kids come here to Florida State because they want to come here to work hard, play hard, win championships, and earn a degree, and as a coach that is all you can ask for.

SI: What are some of your goals for this season?
JG: We have not sat down as a team and discussed this yet, but they are really just the same as they always are. We want to go to the World Series, and win it. We want to win the ACC, and we also want all of our ladies to have a 3.0 GPA.

SI: Are there any new names that we will be hearing a lot about next season?
JG: Yuruby Alicart is a Venezuelan shortstop and she is our first international player since 1984. She has played a lot of baseball with the boys, and she brings with her the Venezuelan style of play, which is a little bit different than normal. I think she will be an exciting player to watch. But all our freshmen are tough players, and I can’t wait to see them out on the field in the spring.

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