New Castle News

Shenango

July 4, 2012

Female Athlete of the Year: Shenango’s Michelle Watson

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — HONING HER SKILLS

One trait that did come a bit easy for Watson was her physical strength, an attribute that aided her in both track and field and softball.

Cooper said it was Watson’s strength and explosion that first alerted him of how good she could be, but to be one of the best throwers in the state, Watson needed the form to go along with it. Cooper said technique is an area stronger athletes often overlook. They try to make up for the art of throwing with power and emotion.

That wasn’t the case with Watson.

“She spent a great deal of time understanding the sport and becoming a student of it — watching film to understand what it takes and watching herself to see what she was doing wrong,” he said. “Then she’d go home and fix it. You could tell the next day because she’d be so much better at it. I’d say, ‘That’s a lot better.’ And she go, ‘I hope so. I did this ...’ and she’d tell me all the things she did the night before. That’s when I think she really understood what it took because she could see the results.”

Watson used a similar approach in softball. She could fire a fastball past most hitters, but she also understood that better hitters would eventually catch up to her heater and hit it a long way. So she developed other pitches, specifically a devastating change-up that kept hitters off balance and wondering what was coming next.

“A lot of times other coaches would tell me after the game how impressive her change-up was and how believable it looked coming in,” Delaney said. “She had a good array of pitches. Her change-up really worked well this year.

“It took a lot of extra time. She usually would come out (to the field) Sunday with her dad. They would hit in the cage or pitch at the field. A lot of times, if they had a track meet, she would come back and take some swings after the meet. She’d either go on her own or call me and ask me to stick around so she could take some swings or throw.”

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