U.S. Women’s National Team Weekly Update for Jan. 24
by Mizuno USA on January 24, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 24, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on Jan. 24 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.
McCUTCHEON HEADLINE SPEAKER AT HP COACHES’ CLINIC: U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand), along with U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.) and Stanford University Head Women’s Volleyball Coach John Dunning, served as headline speakers at the 2011 USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches’ Clinic Jan. 20-22 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. A total of 188 coaches participated in the three-day clinic. Jennifer Bonilla (Reseda, Calif.), a seven-year member of the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline with three international tournament experiences, presented her “Blind Side” story of growing up on Saturday afternoon. Other individuals giving presentations were USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal, U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach and UC Irvine Women’s Head Coach Paula Weishoff, U.S. Women’s National Team Athletic Trainer Jill Wosmek, Saint Mary’s College Head Women’s Coach Rob Browning, Jim Stone, Wingate University Head Women’s Coach Shelton Collier, University of Louisville Head Women’s Coach Anne Kordes, University of Central Florida Head Women’s Coach Todd Dagenais, VolleyballRecruits.net’s Amanda Millard and Spike Summers. Serving as athlete demonstrators for the clinic were Juliann Faucette (San Diego), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Ellie Blankenship (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.), Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) and Sabel Moffett (Temecula, Calif.). For photo galleries of the USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches’ Clinic, click here.
McCUTCHEON, KIRALY, LLOYD TALK VOLLEYBALL TO KIDS IN COLORADO SPRINGS: U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand), U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.) and 2010 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Player of the Year Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) participated in a meet-and-greet at the Big House Sports facility in Colorado Springs the morning of Jan. 22. In addition, the trio discussed volleyball to the group of youngsters and parents, while also giving skill demonstrations. For photos of the event, click here.
BOWN WITH TURKEY’S ECZACIBASI: Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), a three-time Olympic Games middle blocker for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing in Turkey for Eczacibasi during the 2010-11 professional club season. In CEV Champions League action, Eczacibasi has advanced into the Playoff 12 Round and will play France’s RC Cannes in a home-and-home series on Feb. 1 and Feb. 9. In the Turkish League, Eczacibasi defeated Karsiyaka 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 without Bown on the active roster. Eczacibasi is now 10-0 in the league, ahead of Vakifbank (9-1) and Fenerbahce (8-1).
SPICER WITH POLAND’S GCB CENTROSTAL BYDGOSZCZ: Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.), a setter for the U.S. Women’s National Team, is competing in the Polish professional league this winter for GCB Centrostal Bydgoszrcz. Spicer’s squad edged Organika Budowlani 25-22, 20-25, 25-18, 25-20 on Jan. 22. Spicer set her team to a 45 kill percent and added two blocks, two aces and a kill of her own to the stat sheet. She and her teammates return to action on Jan. 26 versus Sandeco EC Wybrzeze TPS Rumia.
MORRISON, SIX AMERICANS ON ONE AUSTRIAN TEAM: U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.) is serving as head coach of the Austrian Post Schwechat team during the 2010-11 season. The team has six American players including Jill Collymore (Seattle), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.), Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii), Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). Post Schwechat competes in the Middle European Volleyball Zonal Association (teams from Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia). The squad improved to 12-1 on the season with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-15 victory over VK Doprastav Bratislava of Slovakia on Jan. 21. Crimes and Pressey scored 15 points apiece in the victory. Crimes scored 11 kills on 13 swings to go with two blocks and two aces. Pressey was credited with 13 kills, a block and ace. Thompson set her team to a 43 kill percent. Post Schwechat faces Czech Republic’s VK Modranska on Jan. 28 in the next league match. In CEV Cup action, Post Schwechat will now face Turkey’s Galatasaray in a home-and-home series in the 4th Final Round of the CEV Cup. The first match will be Feb. 3, while the return match will be played between Feb. 8-10.
HOOKER WITH ITALY’S PESARO: Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), who played her first season with the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2010, is currently competing for Scavolini Pesaro of the Italian Serie A League. Pesaro continues to climb the division standings and is in second place with a 5-3 record and 17 points after rallying to defeat MC Carnaghi Villa Cortese (5-3) 23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-23 on Jan. 23. Hooker scored 16 points with 14 kills on 36 attacks, one ace and one block. She added a 72 percent positive service reception on 18 attempts. Pesaro will look to continue its drive to the top on Jan. 30 as it battles LIU-JO Volley Modena. In CEV Champions League action, Pesaro challenges Russia powerhouse Dinamo Moscow in a home-and-home series on Feb. 3 and Feb. 10.
There is a lot more over on the USAV site and you can read the full article by clicking here.
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
U.S. Women's Update for Feb. 8
by Mizuno USA on February 8, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 8, 2011) – The current U.S. Women's National Team Weekly update released on Feb. 8 includes briefs on U.S. players competing overseas and other team news.
U.S. WOMEN TO HOST JAPAN GIRLS’ YOUTH TEAM: The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team will host the Japanese Girls’ Youth National Team in Anaheim, Calif., from Feb. 25 to March 4. The visiting squad, which includes former U.S. Women’s National Team volunteer assistant coach Gen Kawakita as an assistant coach, will train at the American Sports Centers and scrimmage against local junior clubs and the U.S. Women’s National Training Team at venues in the Southern California Orange County area. A full detailed schedule will be available later this month once all details are determined.
U.S. WOMEN’S TRAINING BLOCK ADDS PLAYER: The U.S. Women’s National Team is holding its winter training block from Jan. 17 to mid-April at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif. Cami Croteau (Orange, Calif.), a libero who just finished her collegiate eligibility at California State University-Fullerton, was added to the U.S. Women’s National Training Team roster which now numbers 15 players. The training roster includes setters Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.), Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio), Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) and Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill.); middle blockers Ashley Benson (Bloomington, Ind.), Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.), Naomi Johnson (Bloomington, Minn.) and Dominique Olowolafe (Lansing, Mich.); outside hitters Becky Perry (Austin, Texas), Kari Pestolesi (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Julianne Piggott (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Kaitlin Sather (Santa Rosa, Calif.); opposite Kindra Carlson (Eaton, Colo.); and liberos Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) and Croteau. Pestolesi will also see training time at libero. Additional players may be added to the roster during the course of the training block.
MORRISON, SIX AMERICANS ON ONE AUSTRIAN TEAM: U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.) is serving as head coach of the Austrian Post Schwechat team during the 2010-11 season. The team has six American players including Jill Collymore (Seattle), Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Jessica Jones (Naperville, Ill.), Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii), Angie Pressey (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.). Post Schwechat competes in the Middle European Volleyball Zonal Association (teams from Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia). In CEV Cup action, Post Schwechat edged Turkey’s Galatasaray 15-25, 25-13, 25-16, 23-25, 18-16 in the first match of a home-and-home series in the 4th Final Round. Pressey scored 16 points for Post Schwechat, including 14 kills on 28 swings and two blocks. Jones was unstoppable at the net with 10 blocks, two kills on four swings to four aces. Crimes added nine points with seven kills on 18 swings and two aces. Thompson set Post Schwechat to a 42 kill percent while adding three individual points. Miyashiro was the libero for the match, compiling an 82 positive reception percent on 28 attempts. The teams complete the series on Feb. 9 with Post Schwechat in the driver’s seat to advance to the semifinal round. The match video will be available by clicking here. Post Schwechat was idle in the MEVZA league this past week and next challenge A. Linz-Steg on Feb. 12.
SYKORA, ALISHA GLASS SETTING TABLES FOR VOLEI FUTURO IN BRAZIL: Three-time U.S. Olympian Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and U.S. Women’s National Team setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) are competing for Volei Futuro in the Brazilian Superliga during the 2010-11 professional club season. Volei Futuro defeated Banana Boat/Praia Clube 27-25, 25-18, 19-25, 30-28 on Feb. 5 to open the second half of the Brazilian Superliga. Volei Futuro then captured a 21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Usiminas on Feb. 8. Sykora was the libero for both matches, while Glass was still absent with an injury.
FAWCETT IN BRAZIL WITH USIMINAS MINAS: Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), a U.S. Women’s National Team opposite, is playing the 2010-11 professional club season in Brazil with Usiminas Minas. Fawcett scored a match-high 34 points in helping Usiminas to a 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12 victory over BMG/Mackenzie on Feb. 6 to open the second half of the Brazilian Superliga. She was credited with 29 kills on 66 attacks, three blocks and two aces in the victory. However, Usiminas dropped a 21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 match to Volei Futuro on Feb. 8. Fawcett tallied 11 points in the loss with 10 of her points via kills on 29 attacks.
There is a lot more over on the USAV site and you can read the full article by clicking here.
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Record Attendance Projected for Open Tryouts
by Emily Adams Knight on February 10, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 10, 2011) – USA Volleyball projects a record 215 athletes will participate in open tryouts for the U.S. Women’s National Team, U.S. Women’s National A2 Program and U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. The tryouts are set for Feb. 25-27, 2011, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The tryouts are open to current college-age athletes and older. The U.S. Women’s National Team program is open to athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to train full-time. This program could begin as early as March 2011, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Athletes who will have remaining collegiate eligibility may still participate in the program with participation beginning May 2011 or when their scholastic calendar ends.
Athletes in college with collegiate eligibility remaining for the 2011 season and not selected to the USA Women’s National Team may be invited to participate in the U.S. Women’s National Senior A2 Team. This program is tentatively scheduled to take place in Dallas from May 23 through June 1. A projected 36 athletes will be invited to participate in the program, which will include training and competition in the 2010 USA Volleyball Open National Championships in the Open Division from May 28-31. USA Volleyball considers the event as the National Championship for the sport of volleyball in the United States.
Tryout participants born in either 1992 or 1993 will be also considered for the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team program. The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team will compete in the FIVB Women’s Junior (U-20) World Championship to be held July 21-30 in Peru.
A full roster of tryout participants will be available next week once all tryout participants are confirmed.
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Charles Howell III to Play JPX800 PRO
by Iver Maple on January 19, 2011
Mizuno has signed a multi-year agreement with US PGA player Charles Howell III. Howell, a two-time PGA Tour Winner, and former PGA Rookie of the Year, will be playing with the Mizuno JPX 800 Pro irons, as well as MP T-11 wedges, while wearing Mizuno headwear, and using the staff bag.
Howell joins a Mizuno stable including Luke Donald – all on multi-year equipment agreements.
Mizuno believes they can help Howell maximize a talent that has generated over $20 million in tour earnings over his career. Andy Kikidas, Tour Operations Manager: “Charles is likely to be Mizuno’s last signing for the 2011 season. Charles is a proven talent and if our equipment can help him just a fraction then he will be in contention for a win this season."
by Mizuno USA on February 9, 2011
Mizuno has launched a new slow pitch bat series, the Craze. This revolutionary new bat from Mizuno provides the slow pitch athlete with one of the most powerful, durable, and affordable bats on the market. The Craze slow pitch bat is available in both ASA and USSSA models. Both the Craze and Craze Xtreme (USSSA model) bats have a 13 inch barrel.
Craze bats are uniquely made with Black Array Carbon, a state of the art carbon fiber. Black Array Carbon provides the perfect balance of durability and feel, while offering explosive distance and ultimate control. All Craze bats are hand rolled in their initial development stage, before they are machine rolled in order for a smooth finish. A new angled seaming process eliminates any edge inconsistencies in the bat, which will considerably reduce any soft spots or cracks, denying ultimate performance.
During the research and development process of the Craze durability tests were conducted at Mizuno's revolutionary Sozo™ Studios. Craze bats were repeatedly tested, simulating the most extreme game-like conditions. The durability of the Craze proved to be extremely high, as the Craze bats show dramatic improvement from previous Mizuno models before any signs of damage occurred.
Mizuno has set the suggested retail price of the new Craze at $150.00, making it one of the best values on the slow pitch bat market. All Craze bats are non-warranty. Craze and Craze Xtreme slow pitch bats are 34 inches in length, and are available in four different weights (26oz., 27oz., 28oz., and 29oz.). The Craze ASA model is red and black, and the Craze Xtreme is yellow and black.
What makes a Mizuno Volleyball Shoe unique?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
We take great pride in the design of our volleyball shoes. Patented Wave technology combined with supportiveness for lateral movement are examples of features within our shoes that give your game an extra edge.
Are your bats used at the collegiate level?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
Yes! Mizuno has an impressive roster of NCAA FastPitch teams using our gear. In fact, the 2009 Washington Huskies used our Frenzy bat to propel them to a Women’s College World Series victory and National Championship.
Does Mizuno test its Fastpitch equipment with real athletes before it goes into the market?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
We test our products with some of the best athletes in the game. The insights and continuous feedback from Team USA superstars Jennie Finch and Natasha Watley are invaluable to us!
What is a Glove Steamer?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
Developed in Japan, Mizuno’s glove steamer device breaks in brand new leather ball gloves into game-read condition within a matter of minutes! Gloves are steamed and pocket shaped to your desired preference. Check out our Events page to find a Glove Steamer event near you!
Is it important to match my ball glove to the position I play?
by Mizuno USA on January 22, 2011
Yes! Each position requires different glove attributes. While it really comes down to personal preference, traditionally, the length of the glove’s webbing matches to a position (typically longer webs are for outfielder gloves while short lengths are for infield positions).
Hanging Up My Cleats
by Jennie Finch on August 26, 2010
Notice I didn’t use the word “Retire!” Retiring at 29 years old doesn’t really go. I am however hanging up my cleats. I hung up my red cleats with USA after the World Cup in July, and now its time for the pink and black to be hung up after this weekend. They will just be hung up, I am sure/hope I will un-hang them many times… for appearances, camps, clinics, Alumni games, and etc! Hopefully for next years MLB Celebrity All-Star game too!
I am overflowing with such gratitude! I am so incredibly thankful and blessed. My career has been more than I could of possibly dreamed of or even imagined! It has so super exceeded any and all expectations. It would be great however to go out with a NPF Championship this weekend, I’m not gonna lie! No, seriously… Thank you to all who have helped, encouraged, prayed, supported, cheered, loved, and more. I am so grateful and you the teammates, fans, competitors, Coaches, trainers, field crew, so many people have made it what it has been… Completely Amazing!
A lot of people have asked Why? Why now? Well my answer is I just feel it is time. My love of the game is still alive and well-Trust Me. Each summer has gotten harder and harder on us as a family though. Traveling 3-4 times a week can get a little crazy! Ace is 4 years old now and we would like to have more kids, Lord Willing. I want to thank Casey my husband for his constant support through out it all. He has encouraged me from day 1, never once not allowing me to do what I love! I look forward to the future and being there for him and supporting him in his career and life in general. Our families, my parents and the Daigles have been our backbones enabling us to do what we love and have helped us remain our sanity as a family from state to state and to country to country. They have done so very much we could never thank them enough.
These last few weeks playing have been pretty emotional knowing this is it… I have done this for 24 years. Softball is all I know and has been my life. It hasn’t been easy and it won’t be easy to hang them up. However, I look forward to the future and what God has in store for our family. I look forward to hopefully doing more within the sport with camps, clinics, and continuing the growth of this great game-NPF and all over the world. I am hanging up the cleats but will be grabbing them every now and then, I am hopeful it will be pretty often!
Some say its “ironic” my last weekend is in Sulphur, LA, the home of my husband but I believe its all in His plans! I am filled with gratitude and peace playing this weekend at the field that Casey’s uniform number and name are posted up high! I am looking forward to enjoying this weekend competing as hard as I ever have with my teammates- Go Bandits! Bringin’ it to the Bayou!
With a heart filled with gratitude, appreciation, & many thanks!
Continuing to Dream & Believe!
Day #6 & #7 in Caracas & Eating Venezuelan Style
by Jennie Finch on June 28, 2010
We played Australia yesterday, we won 9-2. It was a big victory for us as we are collecting wins for the top seed in our pool. We were happy to make it to our game on time… our bus suddenly was lost for about 20min. We made it and with plenty of warm up time.
Our bus driver put the pedal to the metal! Tasha was in a braced position the entire ride. We were laughing so hard as we were weaving in and out and around corners to the game. Laughing a little scared, but enjoying the entertaining ride! We have been traveling VIP style here. We have a group of motorcycle officers that stop and hold traffic everywhere we go along with military escorts. Needless to say we get where we are going fast and without stopping. We all definitely could get used to this, especially our LA girls!
After our game we came back to the hotel and got ready for our quest outside of our hotel! We have only seen the hotel and softball fields while we have been here. We were excited to head out and eat some authentic Venezuelan food! It was a Venezuelan Folkloric (llanero style, cowboy style) restaurant, it was beautiful! We had traditional food from the Central Plains of Brainas, Apure in Venezuela. We enjoyed Casabe made out of yuca (it was like a potato chip sort of) with Morcilla (blood sausage) topped with cheese, tomatoes, and avocados as an appetizer. Next we had Tequenos, fried cheese wrapped in yuca and corn dough and of course some arepas! We had Tostones, salted fried plantains… so very good! We started with a gorgeous salad with hearts of palms, avocados, 4 different kinds of lettuce, corn, tomotoes, cucumbers topped with a mayo based dressing … it was amazing! For our entrees we chose, steak, chicken, or a local white fish! I picked the right seat and was able to try all three. The fish being my favorite. For our sides they served papas fritas (french fries), fried yuca and boiled yuca topped with cilantro. The yuca was my favorite and I enjoyed it served both ways. Its a root with a texture like a sweet potato, I highly recommend it! And of course we never forget dessert, us USA girls love dessert!We had the smoothest most delicious bocado del cielo, translated it means a slice from heaven. Amazing! It was a rich flan served on toasted coconut, usually covered in Baileys, we got the non alcoholic version. Indeed it was a slice from heaven! We had a fun team dinner with our whole crew and enjoyed doing it Venezuelan style! Very tasty!!! Thank You Venezuela!
Today we played the Dominican Republic, we won 10-1. We have our last game of pool play tomorrow against the Czech Republic @ 3pm. Wednesday we will start the medal rounds!
Dreaming & Believing!
Day #4 & #5 at World's
by Jennie Finch on June 27, 2010
We’ve had a great couple of days here competing for the 2010 World Championships. We started out yesterday with 2 big wins! Our first was against New Zealand, Eileen Canney picked up her first USA victory on the mound! We came back to the hotel and refueled for our game versus the home team of Venezuela.
WOW! Oh my goodness it was packed! Crazy!!! The loudest crowd by far we have ever played in front of. It was loud the minute the Venezuelan team stepped on the field. The horns, whistles, chants, waves, and more never once stopped! There was over 7,000 fans in attendance! It was such an amazing feeling taking the field. We could not even hear one another out there on the field. Our non verbal communication skills were a necessity. We pulled out our second victory of the day! A fun one indeed, it will go down in the books!
The Venezuelan team are Rock Stars here… literally! They have a song written for them and even are in the music video! The song is awesome, hopefully we can hook you up with the link for you to hear yourself. We have been rocking out to it non stop. It is so much fun to see, experience, and to feel the love the Venezuelans have for their team. They too have been very gracious and welcoming to us, we are very grateful for the hospitality here! It makes me so excited knowing we will be in Oklahoma City in a few weeks on our home soil for World Cup!!! U-S-A!!!!!!!
Today we played Botswana, we won 20-0. It is their first time qualifying for World’s, it proves our sports growth all over the World. It has been so fun seeing them compete and getting the chance to have this experience. After the game they were so very sweet. They were telling us, “One Day, One Day, we will be that good.” It made my heart melt… so many lives all over the world have been positively impacted by softball and sports alone! Its so incredible to see the opportunity for women on all continents. We will be leaving our equipment with them and others to help them in their pursuit of sharing and growing this game all over the World!
Yes, we are here to Win… Always! But there is SO much more to it than just winning! We are on our pursuit and mission for both. Enjoying the beautiful country and people of Venezuela, competing one day, one game at a time til the end of our quest and more quests to come. …On & Off the field!
On a side note it was Lauren Lappin’s Birthday today and we had a great celebration for her put on by our sweet hosts! We have the best local Venezuelan crew to help assist us! They are awesome… how awesome? Well let me just tell you this… Opening Ceremonies night our Bus Driver was hit by one of the Fireworks. Yes, hit by one… it was scary! Thank God he is OK and healing… but he didn’t even take a day off. He is still driving us and will be til the end! Greeting us everyday with the sweetest smile on crutches with his poor bandaged up foot. Our friends we have made here have been fabulous and have made our stay so wonderful! They brought Lauren the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, a cake, and even sang to her. It was very very sweet!
Next up the Aussies tomorrow at 1pm!
I will tell you what Ace told me tonight on the phone, “Sweet Dreams!”
by Jennie Finch on June 24, 2010
Today we had a big win against China, we won 1-0! It felt good getting our uni’s on and competing! Venezuela has really created an Olympic style atmosphere in Caracas! The stadium is gorgeous and the stands were full of people. Cat pitched a great game for us on the mound.
Ashley Hansen started us off getting on base and stealing 2nd in the top of the 7th. Lappin moved her to third on a ground ball to 2nd and Tasha came up HUGE with a line shot the pitcher barely tipped with her glove to score Hansen! It was the lone run we needed! It was a great game. Lots of action on defense, I played 1st base. It felt good to get the games started and good to get our juices flowing! The crowd was nonstop with cheers, noise makers, and lots of horns. We are so grateful for all of the support here in Caracas!
You can follow the games @ USASoftball.org! There will be live stats and updates throughout World Championships! Lots of pictures are posted too!
Tonight we are resting up getting ready for our two games tomorrow. We play New Zealand at 11am and then come back to play the home team Venezuela at 7pm! We are expecting lots of people and lots of noise for the Venezuelan game!
The food here has been delicious! Lots of fresh vegetables, chicken, salad, fresh fruit, and of course great desserts! We are enjoying the delish coffee here too! Yesterday we had Watermelon juice with lunch that was quite tasty.
by Jennie Finch on June 22, 2010
Hola amigos from Caracas, Venezuela! We are here for World Championships with USA Softball! We landed last night to a warm welcome here in South America! Welcomed with beautiful music, flags, chocolate, lots of smiling faces, and a warm delicious meal of grilled chicken, rice, & plantains! We had an easy drive to the hotel with a police escort and VIP treatment. We are very excited to be here and to start competing.
World Championships now (since the Olympics dropped Softball) is the only event every four years in which the entire world competes. This is our big event. There is 16 teams here competing. We start our games on Thursday we open up against China.
These last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic! The season has begun! We had a wonderful JFSCamp in Colorado Springs over Memorial Day. It was a great group and we had a blast! We even had the wonderful honor of having a camper come all the way from Austrailia! It was a fun weekend all around! Thank You to Widefield High School for hosting such a terrific camp & weekend!
After the weekend we got the exciting news that Casey was called up to the Astros! We are so very proud of him and all he has been through. He has worked so hard and continues to grind it out, knowing the Lord has a special plan for him wherever that may be. I can not put into words his tenacity and drive. I am so proud of him and all he has endured throughout his career. It was so good to see him make it back to the “Bigs”! It’s so much fun seeing him out there doing what he loves! He is an Ace for sure no matter where he is!
I was able to sneak up to San Fran for a Giants game and Softball/Olympic Day Celebration they put on. …And even bobbleheads!
I was honored to share the night with a courageous special girl & friend named Cassidy who is battling cancer. We had such an incredible time together with her sweet family! Big thanks to the SF Giants for all the special treats!
The NPF (Nat’l Pro Fastpitch) Season ProFastpitch.com has begun! We opened up against the USSSA Pride for a tough series in Lubbock, TX. We ended up taking the close series 3-2, it was so much fun being back in a Bandits uni with my teammates! We have a great group of girls and I am looking forward to competing with them the rest of this summer!
From Lubbock we headed to Ohio for a couple of days of training & preparing for World Championships. Nothing greater than wearing the red, white, & blue! We played the USA Futures team in a couple of good double headers. Lots of talent and great competition! Even had a special visit from a dear friend and inspiration Emily! She is purely amazing! She too is battling cancer & doing it with so much fight & grace!
Emily and Cassidy remind us all to live in the moment and never take anything for granted. They are true heroes & inspirations to us all! I am so blessed to know them & be forever changed because of them! Each breath is a gift from above! Keep fighting girls! We are cheering for you!
I will try to be blogging while we are here in Venezuela. Selfishly too, it helps me keep busy while I am away from my Aces for 14 days.
Loving this time with our team trying to soak it all up as our days of competing are unfortunately numbered! Living a dream, playing USA!
Dreaming & Definitely Believing!
A List of 27 for My Mom!
by Jennie Finch on May 11, 2010
Happy 1 day late Mother’s Day to all of the Mom’s out there! I hope you all had a well deserved most fabulous Mother’s Day! I enjoyed my day with my Ace’s at a couple of ball fields, a save, and then topped off with a wonderful dinner with them & ice cream on the couch!
Actual dinners like sitting down at a table as a family is far and few between during the baseball season we can usually count them on one hand. I was very thankful we were able to share a dinner together at a table as a family… a precious gift!
I am so incredibly blessed beyond words regarding my Mom! She is the best! She is my rock! So many laughs, tears, joy, celebrations, losses, lessons, and so many unforgettable memories. She has shown me and taught me so much about life and love! She is always there for me to talk to, always there to shed a tear with, she has always been there…
I decided I would make a list of 27 (of course) things to share about my mom! …I could go on forever but will share 27 with you.
1. She took off 3 weeks of work to go with me to China for World Championships hauling Ace over seas with me at 3 months old! (If that’s not love…) Oh, we packed for any and every emergency, diapers & food for a year in case we got stuck… it was crazy and we DID it!
2. Getting up at 4 am every morning for work to enable us to do what we loved.
3. Setting up the snack shack throughout High School through 3 seasons a year for 4 years! Volleyball, Basketball, & Softball
4. She is always there to tell me how it is and what I need to hear not what I want to hear.
5. She has put up with a living room table of fan mail for the last 8 years and has gone through every single piece of mail I have received. She helps me answer it all back. Yes, thank her she deserves all of the credit, I just sign.
6. She makes my clean clothes smell like heaven (I cannot figure it out, same soap, same softener… its her magic touch).
7. She makes the best lasagna I have ever tasted.
8. She gives the best hugs & back rubs.
9. She has such a sensitive & caring heart, cries at everything… I am following in her footsteps!
10. She yells during Laker games at the TV! It would scare Ace when he was little, now he yells for Kobe and shouts Go Lakers right with her!
11. She has the most beautiful green eyes I have ever seen!
12. She told me after I pitched a perfect game in HS, if I did another back to back I could get a Guess Watch (which I wanted so very badly), sure enough I did it, she bought it! A fun memory!
13. She is very conservative, my shorts & skirts are never long enough. I appreciate that in her.
14. She adores her grand kids! Seeing her with Ace is the greatest sight!
15. She kept peace (for the most part) in our household with our father/daughter softball world & relationship
16. She’s always up to share a bowl of ice cream with you.
17. She bleeds Dodger Blue & now whatever team Casey is with.
18. She took 2 weeks off of work to be with us as Casey was on the road and Ace was just born! (Such a special time we shared… treasured memories forever.)
19. She went to Taiwan and took my Grandma with her to watch me play for the Jr. USA Team. My first USA experience it was so special having them there & reassuring at the age of 17.
20. She is there to listen everyday when I call her.
21. She laughs so hard she cries & coughs.
22. She doesn’t wear makeup and is naturally beautiful.
23. We have the same toes.
24. She gets competitive when it matters.
25. She is a woman of faith and loves the Lord!
26. I love her hands, always well manicured and so very soft! She has such a gentle touch.
27. She is my Mom and I adore her!!!
She loves the little things in life and is such a simple person full of love! I am completely overwhelmed with such appreciation and gratitude for all she has been, sacrificed, and cont. to be in my life! I love you Mom! I thank the Lord above daily for blessing me with a Mother like you!
She has taught me and enabled me to always Dream & Believe!
MP-53 Named #1 Forged Cavity Back By MyGolfSpy.com
by Iver Maple on December 16, 2010
MyGolfSpy.com, one of the most influential golf equipment blog sites on the web, recently finished up an in depth product review to find out what iron is the BEST forged cavity-back in the game. After months of testing, the results are finally in...The #1 Forged Cavity Back Iron Goes To the Mizuno MP-53!
Mizuno continues its tradition of creating the world's finest irons, as the MP-53 took on, and beat, all competitors that participated in MyGolfSpy.com's "Ultimate Review."
MyGolfSpy recording tons of data on each iron, including distance, spin rate, launch angle, accuracy, and ball speed. When all of the data was collected and the votes were in, the MP-53 golf irons stood alone as #1.
Check out the review, and all of the data at MyGolfSpy.com
On a side note, MyGolfSpy conducted an online poll of their readers/members regarding the brands they are most looking forward to trying in 2011. It's no surprise that with 25% of the total vote, Mizuno was the brand of irons that readers were MOST LOOKING FORWARD to trying in 2011.
Midwest Golfing Recognizes Mizuno's Performance Fitting System
by Iver Maple on November 4, 2010
Word of Mizuno's Performance Fitting System with Shaft Optimizer continues to spread. Midwest Golfing Magazine recently released their Fall issue which contains a nice two-page article on custom fitting, and more specifically the Performance Fitting System from Mizuno. The article gives a first person account of what happens during a fitting with Mizuno's innovative system, and also what sets the Mizuno Performance Fitting System apart from any other experience out there. As part of the article there are images of the Mizuno fitting cart, the Shaft Optimizer, the patented Mizuno lie fit club, and even a screen shot of the results screen from the Shaft Optimizer software. Articles such as this go a long way to maintain, and increase interest in the Mizuno Performance Fitting System while spreading the word about the benefits of custom fitting in general.
Here are a couple of excerpts from Midwest Golfing Magazine:
"Mizuno's patented technology is the greatest technological breakthrough since the titanium head. In the past, the process was arduous and drawn out. You'd pick a head you liked, try a bunch of different shafts, pair them up and hope it worked. It was all trial and error. The dynamic has now shifted."
"The Mizuno system is quite ingenious because with a simple allen wrench, Nick was able to match the heads with the various shafts. I took at most 20-30 swings given the various combinations and nailed it."
How quickly would I receive my custom clubs after being fit?
by Iver Maple on December 6, 2010
Mizuno has one of the quickest turnaround times in the industry. For example, if you get fit on a Saturday, you will have your new irons in your bag by the next weekend!
Aren’t custom fit clubs only for better players?
by Iver Maple on December 6, 2010
Would you buy a suit that was two sizes two big, or a pair of running shoes that don’t fit your foot or running style? Of course not. Just as a suit can be tailored to any body type, custom fit clubs are adjusted to maximize the results from any swing—whether you’re a 5 handicap or a 25.
It’s quite amazing what you find out when you’re trying to improve your game.
by Chris Wood on December 22, 2010
I’ve recently discovered my left leg is two centimeters longer than my right leg!
I found out about the leg discrepancy when I went to see Steve McGregor, Lee Westwood’s respected fitness trainer. This was because I’ve been trying to sort out a back problem. I suffer from an irritable joint which often slips out of place. Apart from causing quite a lot of pain it feels really weird when it happens, like somebody trying to shove my left leg up into my back. It’s really affected me badly at times. I don’t know where my feet are aiming, my hips, my knees are all wrong – I feel all cockeyed. I have to get on the ground and physically click my back to get the joint into place. It’s not the best if you want to play consistent golf. It’s a problem a lot of tall golfers have, there’s only so much stress your back can take.
I’ve been carrying out Steve’s program since the Singapore Open and I’m seeing some progress now after three intensive weeks. I didn’t have the strength in my back to hold the joint in place. I’ve done the first phase of Steve’s program, building the base. Now I’m working in the gym to add weight to what Steve’s worked on with me, build up that part of the back and almost create a sort of shock-absorber effect with the muscles around the joint.
Steve discovered the leg length difference which could have set all this in motion. Well there’s not much you can do in the gym to reduce the length of one leg or increase the other, so I now have special shoes. The bottom of my right shoe is built up to compensate for the left leg’s extra length. I wore the shoes in Dubai for the World Championship and straight away the difference was amazing. I actually felt normal with my posture for possibly the first time.
It should all help with my swing. I’d been making all these little compensations, not knowing I had this problem. I’m coming through the ball a lot easier, my balance is better. Before, my right leg was sort of almost hanging back, being left behind. It all bodes well for next season. I should be a much more consistent player.
So there were reasons, but for the 2010 season I have to say I’m disappointed. I never really got any momentum going all year. It was an odd year for me because I missed a few more cuts than I thought I would, certainly more than I did last year. In my rookie year I got on a bit of a run from April, not missing a cut until October. But this year it was a case of making two or three cuts, finishing pretty decently, but then missing a couple of cuts.
Apart from the reasons I’ve talked about, I feel it was a lot to do with my scheduling, it wasn’t great, especially at the start of the year. It took me a long time to really get into the season. It’s something I need to have learned from. Next year I have to make sure I play enough early on, rather than playing two events, have three weeks off, two weeks on and two weeks off, that kind of thing. It didn’t work for me. I need to get into a better rhythm.
I also went through a bad patch with my putting and it seemed to spread through my whole game for a while. I had no need to get frustrated with my long game because it was fine, but it’s hard to take when you are otherwise playing so well, setting up loads of birdie chances, but not taking them. I’ve been working hard on the putting from the Open onwards with Phil Kenyon. I’m still doing quite a lot of work with him, now’s the time to be doing so. I drove up to see him just this week. My coach Paul Mitchell came with me and likes everything Phil does. They’re both on the same page, which is great.
I’m very settled with the MP-68 / MP-62 split set I’ve had all year – though I’m testing some new irons with the Mizuno guys next week (their idea not mine). Though i‘ve been really happy with the new JPX fairway wood – the flight is perfect and it sits just the way I like it. I’m absolutely itching to get out on tour again and I’ll be at the African Open, the first event after Christmas. Then I’ll have a week practicing in Dubai with my coach.
Before then, a new car (a BMW M3) - and plenty of turkey and Christmas pudding. I don’t often treat myself. I bought myself a flat but that’s just enabling you to move out of your parents’ house. I felt like giving myself a nice Christmas present and I’m pretty excited about my car, a nice red one.
I’m going to do well for Christmas dinners. I’ll be eating one at lunchtime with my parents and then going over to my girlfriend Bethany Wivell’s parents for another at about four o’clock.
I hope you all enjoy yourselves during the festive period and have a great new year.
Like everyone in golf, the Ryder Cup has dominated my thoughts and attention
by Chris Wood on October 6, 2010
I'm envious of those that made the team.
Especially living in Bristol, only half an hour from Celtic Manor.
When they started I was in the gym when the match was badly disrupted by bad weather. Some of the members said ‘I bet you’re glad you’re not playing’. I’d play the Ryder Cup in snow or a sand-storm. The atmosphere was fantastic, like a football stadium.
Of course I’m envious of those that made it into the team, but I’m young and I’ve got at least 20 years of Ryder Cup chances in me, I hope.
It just didn’t quite happen for me this year. You need to have a couple of wins in really big events and I didn’t quite get over the line on that score. I had a good opportunity at Wentworth in the PGA but I had a bad final day. And I finished third in a couple of events as well. A shot or two going my way in those and I might well have been in with a chance. It was the difference between having a good chance of getting in for Celtic Manor and not getting in.
It would have been a huge achievement for me to get in at the first time of asking. I wasn’t really expecting it, so I’m not really disappointed at all. I think Mizuno did ok without me – Luke Donald was incredible. His ball striking and rhythm under pressure were something else. It’s inspired me to be at the next one – not that I needed any more motivation.
As far as the season has gone then I feel I have made good progress. I started working with Phil Kenyon on my putting the week before the Open. We’ve been working a lot on my basics: the set up, ball position, that sort of thing. I wasn’t rolling the ball very well, getting almost a slicing action. We tried positioning the ball back a couple of inches, so I could strike it better, give it a proper roll. It’s coming off the putter face a bit faster and I’m stroking it much better.
My putting is much better and a lot of that is down to the computer software we have to help us nowadays. The SAM Putt Lab has been a great help. It shows you everything, from your face angle at address, at impact, all sorts of things. From the results you can tell how well you’re stroking the putt.
Ireland, Killarney, was the first time I saw and felt a significant improvement. It was the best putting week I’d had the whole season. It was a consistent putting week, four really solid putting rounds. That was another one of these nearly tournaments. I finished tied third and had a great chance to win. And second place, even third on my own, would have done me a lot more good.
I’m pleased that everything’s going in the right direction.
I’ve been driving the ball really well this year. I’ve spent a lot of time with Mark from Mizuno. He came down to my club. We thought we could get a little bit more launch with my MP-630. I went up a degree with my loft, leaving everything else the same as it was. I got an extra eight yards carry. It’s amazing that you can be that precise with getting the right spec for your clubs; how much it can benefit you. Eight yards is quite a lot.
My MP-68s have been so consistent all year. I don’t really do a lot of tweaking at all with them now.
It was great fun playing with my Dad Richard in the Vivendi Cup. He actually played quite well. He’s a four handicap, a pretty tidy player. The first day he was very solid; not quite so good the second day but still pretty good. He probably practises more than me! He’s golf mad.
Coming up next for me is the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. I think Michael Vaughan’s asked to play with me. He’s with International Sports Management as well. It will be great to play with someone like him.
The following week it’s the Portugal Masters and then two weeks after that a big event on the calendar now, the Andalucia Masters. I’m skipping the tournament in between, the Castello Masters. I only have bad memories of that event last year. I fell down some stairs and tore ligaments in my foot. I’m steering clear of it this year!
I’m pretty secure for my place in the Dubai World Championship but I’m looking for good results in the three big tournaments before Dubai. I want to get myself into the top 30 on the order of merit for starters. That will get me back to the Open next year. It will be a pretty decent achievement for what I feel has been an up-and-down year.
A top 15 would be even better. I need some really good finishes. But it’s definitely a realistic goal.
I thought I was going to put in some dedicated putting practice the week after the Portugese Open
by Chris Wood on July 10, 2010
I thought i was going to put in some dedicated putting practice the week after the Portugese Open but when i got home, a leaking water tank had flooded most of my flat.
I wonder if anyone else noticed my socks.
Three-quarters of my flat floor had to be ripped up. That was very stressful and bang went my putting practice that week, so I decided to take the following week off as well, the BMW International week.
I then got some useful putting practice in. I was still a little frustrated with my stroke in the French Open – 35 putts for level-par on the Saturday, for instance – but then I took only 28 putts in the first round of the Scottish Open. That was good for me.
That can be a bit misleading because you can hit 18 greens and have 33 putts and I didn’t play so well tee-to-green. But I did finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
This week I’ve been working with a computer system that tells you the angle of your putter face at address. If you are aiming square or open or shut it will tell you. It also highlights the putter path and the way you are striking it out of the putter. It’s great information to have because most of that is hard to see with the naked eye.
To start with, I found out I was aiming two degrees shut. Then I found at impact I was point eight of a degree open. So I’m obviously manipulating the stroke somehow through the putt. That won’t produce much consistency. I’m trying to put that right now.
The way I’ve hit the ball all this season, it will be a shame if the putting continues to let me down. But once you hole one or two putts the confidence will come back. All this has happened because my putting expectation levels have gone up with playing so well otherwise.
I’m looking forward to playing St Andrews greens, although you can have some seriously long putts at the Old Course. The fifth green is nearly 100 yards across, for instance. You can’t expect to be hitting close all the time unless it’s quite still, so patience is the key. If it blows you could be in for some horrendous putts. Lag-putting and the ability to hole four to six-footers for par are a must. And you need some accurate shots into the greens to avoid those long, undulating putts.
I read that Phil Mickelson is sharpening up his driving to take the bunkers out of play and I agree with him. You can’t even see half the bunkers, though. Good driving will be important, too. Controlling your flight in a wind can be paramount. With the MP-630 FT I’ve got now I can adjust it. If I want a little bit less spin I can push the weights forward. I’ll definitely be testing that out before the first round. Half shots, keeping the ball under the wind... I’ve got it all worked out beforehand!
Well that’s the plan.
Now, being flippant, I wonder if anyone else has noticed my socks! I was asked about them the other day and whether they might cause me blisters. It’s true they only just cover my feet, they are a sort of gym sock. Generally we play in quite hot conditions and it’s quite nice to feel a bit of air around your feet and ankles. Most of my heel is bare but I don’t get blisters. I think that’s because I suffered badly with them as a youngster and my feet have toughened up.
Anyway, I’ll be pulling my socks up next week. Hopefully I can go two better than I did at Turnberry. I’ve never been to an Open at St Andrews. It will be pretty special.