|Myers Park's Whittney Barringer: Elite softball camp ‘really good’|
|Many lessons learned from national showcase|
|Published Thursday, August 15, 2019 1:29 pm|
|COURTESY MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL|
|Myers Park High third baseman Whittney Barringer was among 90 softball players to participate in Major League Baseball’s Girls Softball Elite Development Invitational in Vero Beach, Florida.|
Whittney Barringer got the chance to play softball with some of America’s best young players.
Barringer, who plays third base at Myers Park High, participated in last month’s Softball Elite Development Invitational in Vero Beach, Florida, a showcase of 90 players sponsored by Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program. The camp provided training, instruction, and seminars from former Olympians, USA Softball players, and coaches.
“It went really good for me,” said Barringer, a senior. “It was a great experience and I learned new things every single day, especially with strength and conditioning. It was the best experience I’ve had.”
Barringer, who started playing softball when she was 6, sampled several sports as a youngster. She juggled soccer, softball and basketball, but with some encouragement from her mother, Belonda, decided on softball.
“Soccer and basketball were never my thing,” the younger Barringer said. “Running up and down the field for soccer was a lot. My mom introduced me to softball and I fell in love with it.”
Barringer earned the invitation to the Vero Beach camp after a strong performance in May at the Breakthrough Series, a four-day showcase in Kansas City, Missouri. Both camps helped her learn techniques that she hopes to impart to her Myers Park teammates.
“I got so much information I can take back to my team and my teammates and encourage them to be better athletes, because that’s what everyone did around me,” said Barringer, who batted .396 with a home run and 26 runs batted in for the Mustangs last year. “From the players to the coaches, they encouraged us to be better players with everything we did. If we’d never done half of a drill, everyone encouraged us to do them, so it’ll be like me going back to my teammates and doing certain things and be better athletes and be successful.”
The most important takeaway from Florida was in strength and conditioning, especially the legs, Barringer said. The importance of improving lower body technique helps generate more power at the plate and the field by playing lighter.
“Your bottom half is where everything comes from,” Barringer said, “so the lighter you are on that, the better you are.”
The camp also shed light on a social aspect – namely bringing together athletes from different cultures and parts of the country together to bond beyond softball.
“On the field, we talked about what’s different there – different places and things,” she said. “We didn’t talk much about softball, of course we were there for softball all day. We talked about different things, like they’re not used to different accents and stuff. That’s how we communicated and what was different about each other.”
Another benefit during the camp was the players attended a Miami Marlins game, complete with pregame activities on the field.
“That was the first time ever being on-field before batting practice, meeting the manager,” Barringer said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing that I’ll probably never do again. It was a great experience.”
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