Sophomore pitcher Brooklin White looks to fix mentality.
MTV reality star and professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek, Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and Owls’ sophomore pitcher Brooklin White have more in common besides being able to call California home. The trio have all visited and been impacted by the same man, George Pratt, Ph.D., a California-based hypnotherapist.
But White didn’t visit Pratt simply for the celebrity connection and proximity to home. Her father made the suggestion after the pitcher struggled in her first season with the team, surrendering 15 home runs in 14 appearances in addition to posting an 8.06 ERA.
White’s biggest problem is the mental aspect of the game, she said.
“[My father] knew that I was frustrated,” White said. “I was trying my hardest and wasn’t getting it. [Pratt] helped me relax and not take everything so seriously.”
With a clear head, White has returned for her sophomore season. She posted a team-leading ERA of 2.44 after her first 10 appearances in addition to surrendering seven homeruns in 57.1 innings pitched.
“She changed so much this year, she is a lot more confident,” senior third baseman Rachel Knable said. “She came in as a freshmen and she did OK, but was very shaky. This year she is definitely our top pitcher.”
However, it was not a complete turnaround for White, who began to show signs of returning to her old ways in the past two weeks.
“She has been a little inconsistent,” coach Joe DiPietro said. “She started off really well but lately she hasn’t been as sharp. She is her own worst enemy and her own worst critic. She wants everything to be perfect and it is just not realistic and it gets her in a little bit of trouble.”
White is second on the team with an ERA of 3.28 and has been given the opportunity to pitch a team-high 102.1 innings, 30 more than fifth-year senior Capri Catalano.
Where White has struggled, has been in homeruns surrendered, a team leading 18.
“You think so much stuff on the mound,” White said. “You can think, ‘I don’t want this to happen’ or, ‘I don’t want that to happen’ or, ‘What is going to happen if I do this?’ I just need to clear my head and take a deep breath and focus on one pitch at a time. If I start thinking about the batter or the inning I lose control.”
White has surrendered six homeruns in her past three appearances, with two coming in each game.
A bright spot for White has been her team-leading 57 strikeouts and her 10 wins are fourth best in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
“I know she worked really hard in the offseason,” DiPietro said. “It was obvious when she came back to school how much time she put in. She is all about making herself better. Her work ethic is very, very good.”
White, a Californian recruit, came to Temple for “something different” and she has already won the respect of her teammates and coaches with her demeanor and attitude.
“All of the girls like [White] because they see how hard she works,” DiPietro said. “She is not an excuse person… she is a people person. The girls tell everybody that she has ‘Cali Swag’ because she has a little swagger about her, which is good. I like that in my players.”
While the total impact of the Pratt is yet to be determined, White desires more out of her season than just a strong start.
“I want to stay strong mentally and work my hardest and hopefully get good results,” White said. “I am going to be confident and hopefully lead the team to A-10’s.”
DiPietro declined to name a No. 1 pitcher in the rotation and said that he needed someone to step up to the task. But DiPietro said he hasn’t given up on one of his top talents yet.
“Even if she knows she isn’t going to pitch, she gets upset when she doesn’t,” DiPietro said. “She is a competitor and I like that about her, I just need results. This is a results driven game. But she is too good of a pitcher and too good of a person to just write her off.”
Ibrahim Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.