Rhonda Revelle opened Wednesday’s press conference with a nod toward her history as Nebraska’s head softball coach. Revelle—who is also the winningest coach in Nebraska athletic history (both men’s and women’s sports)—is entering her 31st year at the helm of the Huskers softball program.
“Somebody asked me the other day, you know, I’ve been at this for over three decades and does it feel like it’s been that long?” Revelle said in her opening statement. “I said no. It feels like the first year all over again. And as long as we’re feeling that way—and I think our players are feeling that way—then it’s pretty special.”
Nebraska is scheduled to depart for the Houston Invitational on Thursday and is set to play five matchups between Friday and Sunday. That begins with a 10 a.m. CT first pitch against Lamar on Friday. The Huskers will also face South Dakota State, Houston and Virginia through the weekend. The Saturday matchup with Houston will be broadcast by ESPN+ at 3 p.m. CT. All can be heard on Husker Sports Network throughout the invitational.
As the Huskers prepare for the weekend ahead, the team gave a nod to the weather so far through preseason. Temperates in the 40s have allowed the Huskers to get outside, a nice perk for early February in Nebraska.
“We’ve got new field turf and also a padded fence,” Revelle said. “Now the padded fence hasn’t been inducive of the weather, but what the padded fence has done is it’s helped our outfield. There’s no fences in the league (that) are padded so we’re running into that thing and trying to rob home runs and all sorts of things.
“I believe today will be day five outside in some capacity. Now our infield yesterday was the first day we were actually on dirt (because) of the freeze that we had and the ice that we actually had on the tarp. But just the balls in the sky and reading a ball, we’re able to put down a mat so our hitters are hitting off from home plate. For our outfielders to be able to play live with the actual field instead of in the Hawks (Championship Center)? That’s really great.”
Nebraska enters the season having won the 2022 Big Ten Tournament and earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. While the Huskers do return a number of players from the 2022 team, Revelle is quick to note that a common phrase heard within her team is that “comparison is the thief of joy.” Revelle and her team prefer to look ahead instead of back.
With that said, Revelle does understand the interest in how the 2023 team compares to the 2022 team. When asked, she pointed toward the preparation from one to the next.
“The way this team has gone about their preparation from the fall to now is right up there. Top tier. Top level,” Revelle said. “And so I think any time you’re able to coach a group of young women that are doing everything they can to be the best they can be on a daily basis, I think it’s easy for a coach to be at peace. I mean, on game day, your adrenaline’s going to run just like anybody else’s but you just have such peace and joy in trying to help guide them in their mission to be the best they can be and if we keep it in small doses like that on a day-to-day basis, or practice-to-practice basis, I think the sky’s the limit.”
Revelle added that when you are able to keep it day-by-day and focused on the moments as they come, a team will be able to then look back and see that they accomplished something special. That was the case for the 2022 team.
As for 2023, the Huskers have set their goals and have worked with the team’s sports psychologist in doing that. The team goals were then presented to the coaches so they could then assist in creating the processes to make those goals reality.
For Revelle, she joked that her goals aren’t exactly a “quotable answer” for the media to use. She isn’t sure how to define a successful season for Nebraska, mostly because it relies on that day-to-day preparation and focus of her team.
That doesn’t mean Revelle doesn’t have goals for her group, of course.
“My goal for them is that they soar with their strengths,” Revelle said. “They’re able to win the present moment game and that they’re able to be the best version of themselves on a day in and day out basis.
“I think just from my experience and coaching, when athletes are able to do that, good things typically happen with the scoreboard.”