Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Maddie O'Brien Steps Into Justin's World

One of the finest players on the field this year, and one of the "surprises" for a lot of people has been Florida State's slugging infielder Maddie O'Brien

A breakout power hitter - she's broken both the single-season and school career home run records this season - O'Brien has proven to be one of the most dangerous hitters in the country. At this point in time, I'd call her one of the top twenty overall prospects for the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch draft (despite one of her answers below).

Not only a great hitter, but also a stellar defender (three errors in more than 120 chances this season) and a team leader, Maddie is the epitome of what a softball player should be - stupendous on the field and a role model for both her peers and younger players.

Topics discussed included... 
- How redshirting her true freshman year may have been a good thing
- How she keeps her focus during a record-breaking year
- Mental preparedness
- Her favorite away stadium to play in
- Her future plans
- Her hilarious accidental text to head coach Lonni Alameda
- The patented Robinson Crusoe question (of course)

Be sure you are connected with Maddie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @MaddieOB7

Justin’s World: Although Im sure its not the way you would have preferred to begin your collegiate career, but did redshirting your true freshman year help you adapt to the college game better and come out of the gates swinging, if you will?
Maddie O’Brien:
Redshirting my freshman year allowed me to see the game from a different side, as well as learn more about the game. I would stand right next to Coach Alameda and she would talk to me about why we were throwing a certain pitch in a certain situation or where our defense should play on a certain hitter and why. It gave me that extra year to push myself to become more knowledgeable about the game at the college level.

Justin’s World: You seem to get better and better as each season goes on; to what do you attribute that progression and growing success?
Maddie O’Brien: As the years go on you learn to appreciate your opportunities and how to capitalize on them. College has flown by and every year I try to remind myself that my time playing at FSU is soon coming to an end and I need to make the best of it.

Justin’s World: Of course, your 2014 season (even just so far) has been your best one yet. Youve broken records and set new ones; already bested your previous season-high in home runs, with most of conference play still to go; and youve made some incredible defensive plays. When youre playing as lights-out as you seem to be, how do you keep yourself focused and on-point at-bat to at-bat and play-to-play?
Maddie O’Brien: First off, THANK
YOU! None of my successes thus far could have been possible without my Seminole Family. When I am feeling good at the plate, I try to stay in the present moment as much as possible. I can't let myself think back and I can't let myself jump ahead. I am constantly reminded that this game is a game of failures and I have to be okay with it. On defense, I also have to stay with the "pitch by pitch" mentality. Having a routine and a release point also make me more relaxed when I'm hitting and playing defense.

Justin’s World: When you get on a hot streakas you have been, does it affect your mental preparation for each at-bat?
Maddie O’Brien: Seeing the ball well at the plate definitely allows me to be more relaxed and confident.

Justin’s World: Like I mentioned above, youve recently etched your name firmly into the FSU record books, and still have a good bit of time to raise the numbers beside your name. How does it feel to know you will be remembered for years to come as one of the best players in Seminole softball history?
Maddie O’Brien: It feels so awesome! I am so grateful got every opportunity Coach Alameda and FSU have given me. Like I said before, I could not have achieved this without my Seminole Family. My teammates have paved the
way for me to break these records and it really goes to show how all of our hard work for each other is paying off. It is really cool to permanently be a part of such an amazing legacy here at FSU.

Justin’s World: What does being a Seminole and representing Florida State University embody for you?

Maddie O’Brien: At Florida State University there is such a rich history of tradition as well as legacy. Being able to represent FSU in a softball jersey has been amazing. Sometimes I feel like I am some kind of celebrity when we get asked to sign autographs or take pictures, but I am soaking it all up now because I know that one day the only thing I'll be signing are my checks when I pay bills. LOL! Being a Seminole has been so special and I really feel like I have a second family up here in Tallahassee, FL. Everyone from my coaches, to my teammates, and even our support staff has made me feel a part of the Seminole Family from day one and that is not something you get everywhere.

Justin’s World: Other than Graf Field, whats your favorite field or stadium to play in?
Maddie O’Brien: Either at Alabama or UF because there is always a huge crowd and it feels like you're in postseason competing at the World Series.

Justin’s World: What are your plans for the future? Is continuing to play softball, either at a professional or international level, something you hope or would like to do, or are you preparing for college to be “it” for your days in cleats?
Maddie O’Brien: I love this game, but AS OF NOW, I am actually looking to start my career after college. I would like to be a part of the MLB Network team as a TV Host/Analyst. I love baseball and think it would be a dream to be able to talk about all day long for my job.

Justin’s World: If you had to set just one goal for the remainder of this season and the rest of your collegiate career, what would you hope to accomplish?
Maddie O’Brien: Become an All-American First Team player after making it to OKC.

Finish this sentence: If not for softball, I would be NOWHERE!

- Funniest practical joke or prank you
ve ever played on someone or had played on you
My sophomore year I accidentally texted Coach Alameda "Good Morning lovey dovey" instead of my boyfriend and so our strength coach, Coach Quinn, made me a shirt for one of our workouts with "Lovey Dovey" written on the back of it. *laughs*

- If you could trade places with anyone in history for a twenty-four hour day, who would it be and why?
I've always wanted to be a model or a fashion designer soooo- Donatello Versace or Vera Wang

- Say youre stranded on a deserted island (Robinson Crusoe-style), but youre allowed to take three individual things with you. Boats and phones are off-limits. What would you carry along?
For survival: Fire starter, knife, and an unlimited supply of Cheez-Its! For fun: My family, my dog Ryder, and my yoga mat.

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