Softball Queensland sat down with Tamieka Whitefield and talk about her whirlwind year so far. In January, she represented Queensland Heat and then the Under 19’s. She scored the winning run for Queensland and was named Player of the Final at the Elinor McKenzie Shield, then the following month she debuted for the Aussie Spirit. Whitefield was the youngest Spirit player competing in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) which recently wrapped up, and has just returned from the XVI WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship where the Spirit finished 4th.
- Tell us about how it felt being the youngest Spirit player in the NPF? What did you learn from this?
It was an amazing experience and it felt great being with the girls. There were so many games so close together which is very different from playing in Australia. The quality and times of games was very different from playing weekly games at home. Normally we have a full week to recover from games, but at the NPF often you had a game the next day and you had to turn everything around. I learned that recovery is not only physical but also mental, if you had a bad game one day you had to have a fresh mindset for tomorrow.
- How did being part of the Aussie Spirit team at the XVI Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan compare to playing in domestic games?
Being able to see the quality of players and the competition was a highlight. The grand final between USA and Japan was mind blowing. The quality of these games doesn’t compare to anything I’ve played or experienced before. It just made me hungry to be a part of that high level one day.
- How did you prepare for this experience? How did you feel you went in this tournament?
The best lead-up for the event was playing in the NPF for the months beforehand. This gave all of us experience playing at an international level against strong players and teams. Again, playing games frequently and not just training was a new experience that prepared me for the World Cup.
- What’s next on the calendar for you? What’s your next goal?
The Queensland State Titles are coming up in a couple of weeks so playing my best in these and then making the Heat squad is the closest goal. Then I am hoping to be selected to play in the Japan Cup at the end of the year. The big picture goal is to be part of the Olympic team in Japan. Now that I have had a taste of the Australian team, I want to work to stay there, earn my top 9 spot and build myself and the team along the journey to 2020.