Pitchers succeed under Gault's direction
Monday, March 10, 2008
By Tiffany Sherman
Coaching a sport requires more than just being able to yell at players for mistakes that have been made. Coaches have sacrificed years of their life giving knowledge and training to their players. Oklahoma Christian University softball assistant coach Steve Gault stands as no exception to this.
Gault, a graduate from the University of Central Oklahoma, has been a part of the Lady Eagle softball program for 13 years. He and his wife Diana have four daughters, two of which are former players and graduates from Oklahoma Christian.
Professionally coaching since 1974, Gault has 27 years of experience coaching softball.
"I have coached baseball, football, basketball, track and softball," Gault said. "But softball has always been my favorite."
On top of his vast knowledge of the sport of softball, Gault is one of the top pitching coaches in the state of Oklahoma. Through his coaching, some of the top pitchers in Oklahoma have been developed. Joni Miller, a three time All-Big 12 player for Baylor University, worked with Gault when she was a young player. On top of that, many All-American pitchers have come out of Gault's programs.
Gault uses his skills to help the Lady Eagle softball program. In a sport that puts so much pressure on the pitching position, it is a comfort for players to have a pitching coach who knows what he is doing and is always there.
"Coach Gault is encouraging and always gives us advice when we need it," sophomore pitcher Sophia Johnson said. "But he also knows when to be more serious or when to get on to us if we are struggling."
Like any sport, players are going to fail and mistakes are going to be made. Learning to balance many challenging aspects helps players play at their best.
"As a coach, I am always trying to get my pitchers to be able to balance the mental, physical, moral and emotional part of a game," Gault said. "That's not always easy, but it's what makes great players."
In a sport that has become predominantly coached by females, Gault's talent has shown through and allowed him to stay one of the best at his trade.
"My dad always told me if something is worth doing it is worth doing right," Gault said. "He also said if you're going to do something, be the best you can be at it. I have tried to live and coach with this in the back of my head."
While Gault strives to be the best coach possible for his players, he is not afraid to push his players and his pitchers to be the best that they can be.
"I know when I go out on the field that he is expecting me to give 100 percent of my intensity and focus to the game," Johnson said. "He expects us all to give the necessary time before a game to get mentally prepared for our task at hand."
When things start going wrong in a game or focus is lost, it is up to Gault to bring his pitchers back in the game.
"When I start to struggle, I can hear him in the dugout encouraging me on," junior pitcher Linzi Farris said. "He tells me to attack the zone, be aggressive and helps me to focus on the individual mechanics for every pitch."
When the games are over, Gault still can't get softball off his mind. He devotes so much time and energy into softball and his players they will never forget their time at Oklahoma Christian.
"Coach Gault gives so much of his time and energy to softball and to us girls," Farris said. "We all owe him a lot and are so proud that he is a part of the OC softball team."