I first started to go to DiamondZone when I was a freshman at my high school. We were doing a winter clinic with our team and Brett Bradanini and some of the other DiamondZone staff worked with us. This was all when the facility was new. I also remember how welcoming and friendly everyone was and still is to this day. They gave us helpful tips batting and fielding. My high school team will be going for our fourth winter clinic with DiamondZone. My coaches and teammates have formed a good bond with the staff. They make time for every girl and explain what they are doing wrong or what they are doing really good at.
When my high school team goes to practice at DiamondZone, the staff likes to help and make small adjustments to the way we swing. But they also respect the fact that some girls go to batting lessons with other coaches. That is something that I really liked about the staff, they were completely ok and respectful of what other coaches were teaching the girls, even if they didn’t think it is correct.
Soon after I went to the clinic with my team, I started to go for batting lessons. I mainly went with Brett, we worked very well together and I knew that he would get me to where I wanted to be with my hitting. He not only taught me to swing better, but he taught me the proper way. Over the course of 4-6 months, I saw huge improvements with the mechanics of my swing, my contact with the ball, and most importantly, my confidence at the plate.
Back in 2017 DiamondZone started a softball fall league for high schools in the area. My school and many others took part in it. Throughout the fall, Brett had a few girls and I take notes on how we did with our batting during the games. The next time we went to DiamondZone, we would talk about how we can improve our swing and or get better contact. I think that this helped me think more about things I can improve on, from how wide my step is, to making more flush contact with the ball. During a game, I got a nice hit to right-center gap. When I walked into the dugout, a few of the girls on my team looked at me and told me that my swing was perfect, it was exactly what Brett teaches and it couldn’t have looked more fluid and powerful.
Something that I have really seen improve with softball for me was my confidence. In the fall of 2015, I tore my ACL and meniscus while running for a flyball in the outfield. Although the doctors said that I would be back playing softball in 9-11 months, I knew it was going to be longer. It’s more than just being able to catch and hit balls again. It’s being able to mentally be in the game, to have confidence, and I, at the time, had none of that. My whole freshman year I spent with JV because I had no confidence in myself. I actually went the whole spring season without sliding, all because the fear of getting hurt was in the back of my head. Now, 2019, Brett and the rest of the DiamondZone staff have made an example of me, for being a person with confidence on the field. They also use an example of my swing, a swing that resembles what they teach. When I would go to lessons with Brett, he would always remind me what I was capable of doing. And for that, I will always be grateful for what they have taught me