“Players Only” is a special column written by Harding athletes. In this week’s issue: Lady Bisons senior outfielder Peyton Mills discusses her role as a senior leader on the softball team.
I have enjoyed an active role in the Harding softball program these past three years, but now I am taking on a whole new responsibility within the program. I never thought it would get here so soon, but senior year is upon me, and it is my turn to embrace all aspects of it. Reflecting on my past seasons has really made it evident to me how much I have grown and how difficult it would have been without the leaders I have had during my time at Harding.
Each year has brought a new set of seniors and a new strategy for how to lead the team. As a freshman, I had a lot to learn about playing college softball. That season, for me, was crucial in discovering myself as a player and as an instrumental factor on the team. Sophomore year, I was taught how to think at the next level. The seniors helped me embrace the strategy of the game. Junior year, I was able to watch and learn how to lead by example. All these lessons have helped me prepare for this season.
I am, by no means, a master of the game, and I definitely do not have all the answers. But my approach to exemplifying a leader is to use all the lessons I have learned from my past seasons and display them within each day. Coach Berry has a way of coaching that enables us not only to work with him but also to work with and help our teammates at practice so that we grow as a team. Every member of the team is different. Some of the girls need vocal reminders, while others just need to be pushed in the drills. This means that senior pitcher Amanda Berry and I have to be dynamic leaders and understand that uniform leadership is not going to be effective.
Our 2019 roster is very young, meaning there is a lot of information to convey and techniques to demonstrate, but this team is very athletic, coachable and has a great work ethic, so they have all adapted with grace. It feels easy to lead these girls because of how receptive they are. The desire to succeed on this team is high, and that makes my job very simple. Coach Berry, Coach Wearden and our graduate assistants Jess and Madi have prepared us immensely for this season and we are ready to take it on. Overall, I am so thankful that I get to be a senior with Amanda and that this is the team we get to try and leave a lasting impression on.