I always tell myself you don’t practice until it’s perfect; you practice until you make a mistake because that is what makes you better. -Carly Robinson
R: What is your name and how old are you?
C: Carly Robinson and I am 16 years old.
R: When did you start playing softball?
C: Man, since I can remember. Probably since TBall, which is like 5? But actual softball would be around 8 years old.
R: What got you started playing the sport?
C: Well, my dad has been a softball coach for a really long time at the high school that I go to. He has been a baseball coach and has gone to State many times, so he just wanted the same for me.
R: That’s awesome! Does he coach you in high school right now?
R: Also, I see that you are number 5.
C: Yes, I am number 5 for high school and club ball.
R: Is there any significance to that number?
C: Ummmm, I had number 14 at first because my birthday is June 14th. Then I came to the (St.Louis) Chaos and someone already had number 14, so I switched to 5 because
February 5th is my brother’s birthday. So I have been number 5 since 12U.
R: That is so sweet! How many siblings do you have?
C: One, just my brother. (laughs) He’s 13. We are close on a sports basis, but as far as brother-sister lovey-dovey goes… (shakes head no) Not so much. (laughs)
R: Haha, well it was so much fun watching you pitch earlier today. You did great! What got you into pitching?
C: Ummm, well when I first saw pitching I was like “Wow, this is really cool. This might be something that I want to do.” And then my dad was really all for it, so we just started working together in our basement. We actually had a whole net, pitching mound, and everything set up. So really from looking and seeing people pitch, it just got me really excited and interested in it. My dad took me from there.
R: So he’s the one that taught you?!
R: Wow that is so awesome! Was he a pitcher?
C: No, but he was my pitching coach for a while until I started going to other people. I guess you could say he knows what he’s doing. He helped build my foundation.
R: You are also a great hitter! At your age you start to see pitcher’s make the hard decision to either focus solely on pitching or continue to work on both. Are you working just as hard on your hitting as your pitching?
C: You know, not so much just because in college not many pitchers also hit unless they are very very good hitters. So, I would like to hit in college, but I think pitching is what I really want to do. So I am still working on hitting, but focusing a lot more on pitching.
R: That’s great that you have that figured out already! Now, are you looking at colleges right now since 16 is the prime age for it?
C: Yeah, I mean you gotta start early. I’m a junior and have been sending a lot of letters out like “Hey, I am in this tournament. Come watch me!I would love to come to your school.” I try to talk about things that I really like about someone’s school, while trying to earn their interest in me and my interest in them.
R: Do you have any ideas about what you want to study in college?
C: I’m still kind of deciding between a couple of things. Both of my parents are teachers, so I was originally thinking elementary education, especially because I really love kids. I have also started taking sports management classes, so that may be something that I look into as well, especially since my life is sports. (laughs)
R: That’s very exciting! Now, let’s talk slumps and mentality. We all get into slumps every now and again. In regards to both pitching and hitting, how do you get out of them?
C: With hitting, I just try to focus on contact and not overpowering it too much…focusing on the right-side usually. I think back to when I was little and learning to get into the swing of things, that’s what I focus on when I am in a slump. Just getting back to basics, take it easy, go slow, stuff like that.
With pitching, slumps can happen really quickly, like it could be the next pitch and carry on into other pitches. To help, I take a deep breath and relax because I am quick pitcher. I do best when I am quick. But I notice that sometimes I go too quick and get off balance. So I just take my time, refocus, regroup. Usually I don’t get into a pitching slumps, but when I do, it’s only for a few pitches.
R: Do you ever rely on your catcher, your teammates, or your coach to help you out?
C: I rely heavily on my catcher. She is very, very good. I can always count on her if I miss my spot, she can frame it and maybe get that call. And I rely a lot of my defense. I usually don’t try to pitch around a batter, I go after them and maybe let them hit it because I know my defense can get that out for me.
R: How important is that relationship between a pitcher and catcher?
C: Oh it is very important because you have to trust each other. Like if I throw a ball in the dirt, I have to know that my catcher can block it or if I miss my spot, like I said, be able to frame it. It’s really important, especially to have that friendship off the field.
R: Do you have any goals outside of softball, outside of college that you want to accomplish in your lifetime?
C: I mean, if you are talking bucket list, I have always wanted to go skydiving! A lot of people are scared of heights, but I am really adventurous and it’s something that I think I might want to do.
R: Ahhh! That’s scary! (laughs) Do you think you would ever coach?
C: I hope to! My dad has been coaching for 22 years and I told him he should wait to retire until I am out of college so I can coach with him!
R: That would be so much fun! Your dad has definitely made an impact on your softball game, but tell me a little bit about how your mom has helped.
C: She helps me out a lot sending letters and talking with colleges. She is my backbone when it comes to that sort of stuff. So really, if it wasn’t for her, I would not want to do it. Not that I would call myself a lazy person, but I just don’t like to do things a lot of the time. So if it wasn’t for her, I definitely would not be where I am with college and softball. She really helps me out.
R: Are you going to miss her when you go to college?
C: Probably, yeah (laughs).
R: Are you looking at more local colleges, or across the country?
C: You know, probably not too far. Though, I don’t want to go to a school where I am able to come home on the weekends. I want to go to a school where I can come home on a holiday. Maybe like a 5-6 hour range?
R: Do you have any advice for young girls or any lessons that you’ve learned through softball that you would like to share?
C: I always tell myself you don’t practice until it’s perfect; you practice until you make a mistake because that is what makes you better. Keep working because it will pay off. When I was younger I was like, “You know what, this is too much. I don’t want to do this anymore. This is killing me. I could be doing so many other things.” But if you decide early that softball is something that you want to do, you need to know that you are going to have to put the work in and you just have to keep with it because it is going to pay off.
R: That is some great advice! Now for the last question! How long have you been wearing Ringors and what do you love about them?
C: I have had them for a couple of months and I love them! Well, I am a pitcher and I wear out my toe really fast, so they have a sturdy toe that I feel won’t go out forever. I feel like I can wear these shoes as long as possible, unlike other shoes that get holes in them like three tournaments into the season. That is the main reason why I like these shoes..