Softball players attacking the game

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Softball players attacking the game

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy speaks to the media during softball media day at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes begin the regular season on Feb. 9 against UIC, in Lafayette, LA. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy speaks to the media during softball media day at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes begin the regular season on Feb. 9 against UIC, in Lafayette, LA. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy speaks to the media during softball media day at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes begin the regular season on Feb. 9 against UIC, in Lafayette, LA. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Iowa pitcher Allison Doocy speaks to the media during softball media day at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The Hawkeyes begin the regular season on Feb. 9 against UIC, in Lafayette, LA. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

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It’s no secret that the Iowa softball team has struggled in recent seasons, but with an improved mindset, the Hawkeyes have set themselves up to hunt for success.

Last season, Iowa finished the year with a 19-32 record, 9-14 in the Big Ten.

It’s been five years since the program put up a winning record, but with each season’s beginning comes a new mindset. This season, the focus is to attack in all aspects of the game but especially in the batter’s box.

“We’ve had an attack mindset from Day 1, that’s been a philosophy of ours,” head coach Marla Looper said. “It’s hard, it’s hard when you’re up there wanting your pitch and you’re hunting your pitch, but if you get a good one, you have to attack it.”

Capitalizing on the mistakes of one’s opponent is a big part of softball. With a batter in the box, most pitchers attack the zone. When, or if, a good pitch is thrown, attacking that opportunity is the difference between an offensive advantage and a disadvantage.

“If we’re in an attack mindset, we’re on a positive side of the game,” Looper said. “If we’re playing defense on offense, as we have been the past couple of years, that’s a struggle.”

In the pitching circle, attacking is just as important as it is in the batter’s box.

During the offseason, an emphasis for the pitchers was attacking the zone (and thus the hitter) by throwing consistent first-pitch strikes.

“It is important, when I can get ahead, I have more control over the batter, so that’s a big part of my pitching now,” sophomore pitcher Allison Doocy said. “If I can get ahead, then yeah, I can kind of play with things and get in their heads rather than them getting in mine.”

In every aspect of the game, the aggressive-attack mindset is finally starting to settle in.

“That attack mindset in the box, in the circle, and on the field defensively really will propel us where we want to go, hopefully,” Looper said.

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That attack mindset is key in game, but the attitude both on and off the field is equally important.

Although individual statistics and accomplishments are important, what’s more important is the team working together for the good of the whole.

“I think No. 1 is go out and do your job for your team,” Looper said. “It’s not about you individually, as much as everyone likes a pat on the back, it’s not about them. It’s about what they can do to contribute to their team.”

The team has bought into that mentality.

“We’ve changed our mindset from last year, and we’re all working as a team, getting better each day,” Doocy said. “I love that we’re all willing to work for each other rather than ourselves and want the best thing for the team.”

Despite the goal to improve from past seasons, that isn’t in the front of the players’ minds.

The main focus now is on what this season will hold and what the Hawkeyes can do to be successful all year.

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