Kansas softball reports for training camp

LAWRENCE, Kan. – With a little over a week remaining in the winter break for University of Kansas students, one group of student-athletes have cut their time away from school short. KU softball returned to campus over the weekend and is gearing up for the 2017 season with the start of preseason camp.

Sunday marked the first team practice for the Jayhawks, while the pitchers and catchers returned to Lawrence earlier and hit the field on Saturday. Kansas will spend the next week shaking off the rust and bonding as a team before the spring semester gets started next week.Head coach Megan Smith at 
team meeting.
“This is always the most exciting time of the year when we are preparing for the season,” said head coach Megan Smith. “Everyone is looking forward to getting back to school, to getting back together and start working as a family for the season. Everyone came back ready to go and has been working really hard the past few days.” 
Although the weather is suitable for softball, KU is taken full advantage of its indoor facilities at Rock Chalk Park. The three-year old venue came equipped with indoor batting cages and infield, allowing the Jayhawks to not skip a beat despite frigid temperatures.  
“Our indoor facility is awesome,” Smith said of being able to practice inside during the winter months. “It allows us to get everything done that we need to regardless of the weather. But, having our own indoor that is just for our team is great for us to work regardless of the conditions outside.”

While the first part of preseason camp focused on Kansas’ battery, the entire team came together for meetings and conditioning assessment on Sunday before jumping right into full days of practice both as a team and in smaller groups.
 Associate head coach John Rittman
leading a hitting session.
“Without them having to worry about classes yet, our only focus is working hard on the field and being great teammates,” said Smith of starting practice prior to the spring semester. “It allows us to have a lot of time to work together, to be around each other and to continue to bond as a team as we prepare for the season. It’s a great time to focus on each other and softball.”

Kansas will spend the week working on offense, defense and team chemistry. The Jayhawks will cover everything from hitting techniques to infield defense, while also discussing team goals and values for the upcoming season.
Prior to the start of camp, Kansas had a month of team practices in October and competed in eight games against various programs in Kansas and Missouri. The fall was the first chance for the Jayhawks and coaching staff to hit the field together at the same time since the start of the school year.

In 2017, KU returns six starters and 13 letterwinners from last season, while welcoming nine newcomers, including a pair of transfers. Among those returning is All-Big 12 Freshman Team member Alexis Reid, who posted a victory in the circle over nationally-ranked Oklahoma on the road last spring.
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