Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Interview with Jen Schroeder (Buchan)

The PAC-12 conference has turned out some of the best softball players ever. Jennie Finch. Lisa Fernandez. Natasha Watley. These players and many more went on to highly successful careers for Team USA and playing professional softball. But another thing the PAC-12 is famous for is turning out great coaches.

Jen Schroeder falls into both of those categories. One of four Schroeder sisters to play Division I softball, she followed up her career as the founder and owner of Jen Schro Catching, a softball instructional facility in Southern California. She is widely regarded as one of the top softball instructors in the country, and her clinics have drawn all-star guest instructors, such as Oklahoma's Jessica Shults & Lauren Chamberlain and Florida's Aubree Munro.

When I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen and I read her answers to my questions, I knew immediately that this was one of, if not the absolute best, interview I will do all year. Not only is Jen very knowledgeable about the game, she's also very personable and really sweet, and all of those qualities are obvious in her answers.

If you're not familiar with Jen Schro Catching, I highly suggest you look into it and get to know Jen. She's a great person and an awesome coach, and if you're ever in the Southern Cal area, be sure to look her up for a lesson for your young softball player or players.

Check out Jen on Facebook & Twitter, and be sure to "Like" Jen Schro Catching on FB, as well.

Q: How did the original idea of ‘Jen Schro Catching’ come about, and to what do you attribute your popularity & success?
A-I have been teaching ever since my last year at UCLA.  I never for a second thought I would make teaching softball a lifetime career... and THEN, I fell in LOVE with it.  After my wedding I realized I couldn't fully part with my last name, and alas, "Jen Schro Catching" was born!   I think success is usually contributed to 2 things: passion & hard work.  When those two things meet, something spectacular happens.  Jen Schro Catching isn't JUST about catching.  It's about making you a better person through sports!  Hence, why I think so many people can relate.

Q: Thanks to Facebook, I’ve seen a lot of photos from your “Redneck Royal wedding” last summer [certainly not a bad thing!]. How did you come up with the theme & idea for your big day?
A-First, I am the type of person who always likes to blaze trails that haven't been crossed.  After we got engaged, I had a pretty clear vision of the unique-madness I wanted to create.  After coaxing my husband & mom to go with it, it became so much fun for everyone.  Friends and family spent hours collecting & creating our vision.  The coined phrase "Redneck Royal Wedding" came the morning of the wedding when one of my BEST friends, and former UCLA softball player, Whitney Holum Benjamin Instagrammed it- clearly, it stuck because there are over 200 photos on Instagram, and parts of our wedding were featured on over 20 internet sites including on Martha Stewart's blog, twice!

Q: As a Bruins alum, you probably bleed pastel yellow & blue. After a disappointing early-elimination from the postseason last year, how do you think they’ll fare this year?
A-The BruWINs will always remain one of the most fierce competitors in all of college softball because of their strong tradition. I can't wait to see them in action this year, although, it will be different as it's the first time in 9 years there is not a Schroeder on the roster!

Q: JSC is already off to a torrid start in 2013; what kind of plans do you have as the year goes on?
A-It's SO exciting! First, I'm launching an online store for my "Drop It Like a Squat" shirts within the next couple of weeks! I will be adding other quotes to the line as well that I am SUPER excited about.  Second, online, downloadable videos will be up for purchase on the website later this year.  I also plan to start blogging A LOT more and really be a source where girls and parents can go to learn, laugh, love, and become better.

Q: You played at UCLA and have coached and instructed some of the top talent in college softball today. What is the proudest moment of your career, as both a player & a coach?
A-I am SO fortunate to have SO many "proud" moments every single day. Every time I have a student commit to college I am thrilled.  I am SO fortunate to have a family of so many talented softball players, and this had proved to be some of the most proud moments of my life.  ALL of my sisters either played D1 college softball or are still playing.  My cousin and niece are 2014 high school graduates, who will also play D1 ball.  I have seen my sisters play with USA written across their chests, I have watched them each have game winning hits on huge stages & I have watched them graduate college with double majors.  However, I think my proudest moments have yet to come.  My baby sister opens up her college career here shortly, and I believe her career is going to have LOTS of proud moments in store for our family!

Q: In a few decades, when your softball career is done, what legacy do you hope to leave the game?
A-When it's all said and done I want people to remember me as the most passionate coach they had.  One who always inspired, who always deciphered the difference between right and wrong, and the one who who always pushed them to be greater than I could ever be.  A person who proved the motto hard works pays off, a person who always let her love & passion guide her, and the one who impacted their softball career & life more than any other coach.

Q: Say you were Aladdin and the genie agreed to grant you three wishes. What would you ask for?
A-I am going to be the party-pooper here and say absolutely nothing.  Even though I am a dreamer, I appreciate things SO much more when I work for them and earn them (my parents did a good job of teaching me this lesson).

Q: If a movie were to be made based of your life, who would you cast as Jen?
A- Hmm, this is a tough one! I'm going to have to go with Rachel McAdams (BUT, she would have to have blonde hair, blue contacts, and grow a foot).  I think she is a ball of energy, and I cant help but love her in every movie she plays.  She always makes people smile, and I can really appreciate that!

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