Hale to the Queen
If you know anything about Auburn Softball, you know the name Haley Fagan.
Lucky for us, Haley was more than happy to give us the inside scoop on Auburn Softball. From off-season practices to her daily routine, keep reading to catch a glimpse of a day in the life of an Auburn Softball player.
Auburn University is home to one of the most prestigious athletic departments in the nation. It all starts with Jay Jacobs, who hires the best coaches. Those coaches find the best athletes. After that, the success of a program is ultimately determined by the mindset of the athletes. I can tell you from personal experience that Auburn University athletes take the meaning of “I believe in work, hard work” to a whole new level.
Nothing beats the feeling of winning with Auburn across your chest, and Auburn Softball has been able to experience that feeling quite a bit their last few seasons. Words can’t describe the glory of winning back-to-back SEC Tournament Championships, regionals, super-regionals and going all the way to Oklahoma in the WCWS to win in a grand-slam walk-off fashion. Nothing can quite match the heart-racing, adrenaline pumping excitement every time we step out on that field during the season.
There is one thing many people don’t see: the off-season training. The road to the success for Auburn Softball is anything but fun. Still, it has become a tradition that begins with hard work that gets us to the top, which then turns into harder work that keeps us there. So, I’m going to give you a first-person perspective of a day in the life of an off-season Auburn Softball player.
My day begins at 5:30 a.m., alarm clock ringing loudly in my ear. I make my way over to the weight room. Most of the team rolls in around 5:45 a.m. (most of us still half asleep). As we stretch and foam roll our muscles, we all make predictions on what workout they will surprise us with and who will throw up first that morning (very gross, I know). We are all on the line to start our warmup by 6:00 a.m.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday— the days we look forward to—are our lifting days. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, on the other hand, aren’t so fun; these are all conditioning days… and yes, we still have to wake up this early on Saturday’s too.
It’s 6:15 a.m. and time to begin. Every day we start by working on our foot speed with ladder drills, cone drills, and short sprints. Then we either go start our lift, or get a sip of water before we start our run.
Next, the dreaded half-gassers. Half-gassers are approximately 53 yards to the opposite sideline and back within 18 seconds… not too bad right? Right, until you realize you have to run five sets of three half gassers, with only one minute to catch your breath between sets. To add on to the already difficult exercise, if ONE person doesn’t make the time, another half-gasser is added on to the end— this is where the puking comes into play.
It’s now only 7:30 a.m. but running is thankfully over, and most of us walk over to the Wellness Kitchen for some breakfast. Everyone else either heads to class or study hall. By 8 a.m., I can finally take a nap or study for my classes. I head to class around 9 a.m., where I bounce from class to class until 11:50 a.m. I have time to grab a quick lunch between class and tutoring which starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 2 p.m.
Our second practice of the day starts at 2:30 p.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. This practice is a mix of hitting, infield and outfield drills, and game-like conditioning. Afterwards, I stick around to take some extra ground balls and swings and then I head back into the locker room to change.
At 7 p.m. I grab dinner to go and head straight to tutoring. Tutoring starts at 7:30 p.m. Similar to class, I ask my tutors questions about assignments, get advice on papers and get tips on how to maximize my study hours. It’s 9:30 p.m. and tutoring is over. Finally, I can rest, and by 10 p.m. I can shower, sleep and repeat.
To say I’m busy is an understatement — from workouts and practice, to studying and keeping up with class assignments. The life of an Auburn Softball player isn’t always easy, but the winning makes it worth it.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Auburn Athletic Department