Dena Tyson is a Corona Angels head coach at the 18U and 16U levels and has found success as a coach for the last decade after an All-American career at Washington.
The daughter of legendary Corona Angels head coach Marty Tyson, she competed at the University of Washington from 2002 to 2007 and was part of Husky teams that made the Women’s College World Series three times (2003, ’04 and ’07).
As a senior, Dena was a 1st Team All-American and was selected to the WCWS All-Tournament Team.
Read her previous blog on Being A Team Player
Last week she led her Corona Angels 16U team to a 3rd place finish at PGF Nationals and, in her latest blog, she touches upon concepts taught by the legendary coach Sue Enquist of UCLA about where we fit in not just in softball, but in life…
In my opinion, this post is the single most important blog for anyone to read, not just softball players.
Certain things have happened to me during my coaching career that that have caused me to have regrets. Maybe “regret” is to strong of a word, let’s call them “wishes.”
One of them is never having the opportunity to be coached by the great Sue Enquist.
I came across this video of her giving an inspirational speech at a Futures camp and her message is so powerful. She speaks about three places you can rank yourself: Bottom 3rd, Middle 3rd or the Top 1 Percent.
Please give yourself 10 minutes and watch this video:
This video is shown to my teams every year before PGF. I challenge anybody who is watching this to do a quick self-assessment and pick which group you fall into.
I have a bad habit of telling my girls all year that “permanent personality” sets in at 14, unless something drastic happens in your life.
Then I get to the last week of the season and explain to them how I was a Middle 3rd player my whole career and at 21 years old, I became a Top 1 Percenter.
So obviously people can change!
I was never a Bottom 3rd, but I was a Middle 3rd who hung out with “Barfers” all the time! Therefore, I might as well have been a Bottom 3rd.
There was a moment in my career when I felt myself make the shift to the 1 percent that Coach Enquist defines.
It was during my senior season and I can’t remember exactly what caused it, but we had some major barfing going on in the locker room… yes, surprise, surprise: we still barf in college, lol!
Now this wasn’t the first time I had been involved in a barf session, but this time I felt compelled to say something.
I can’t remember exactly what I said but I’m sure I used some choice words and, in short, said, “Bruh, let’s control the controllable and move on.”
Now this was 2007 and Sue presented this in 2009, so I had no clue that I just entered the threshold of the “Top 1 Percent Club,” but something just felt right in my soul after that.
As I move forward on this journey to tell my story, I feel like I owe so many apologies to so many people, for not being this Dena sooner! But there is one group in particular, and I am going to do that now:
To my Husky Teammates and Coaches that had me from 2003-2006, I apologize. I should have given more, pushed harder, and been more present! There were so many underclassmen that could have used my guidance.
But as Coach Enquist explained, as a Middle 3rd I was mediocre in all aspects of being a ball player.
I challenge all my young softball players not to make the same mistakes I did.
I didn’t control what came out of my mouth until my last year of playing softball. Once I kept the poison out, removed the Barfers from my inner circle, and kept it positive, what do you know…
I had my best season!