To be successful, you have to believe in yourself. To believe in yourself, you have to free yourself from the bonds of negativity. In this week's "Coach's Corner", UL co-head softball coach Michael Lotief talks about believing in yourself, with his "Remove The Rope From Your Ankle: Get Rid Of The Limiting Beliefs" blog. View the article, which includes a review of the Judi Garman Classic, below.


Have you ever been to a circus?   The elephants are restrained by a small rope that is tied to the ankle of their front leg. No chains, no cages. It is obvious that the elephants could break away at any time.  Why do they just stand there?   Truth be known, when they are very young and much smaller, a small rope is used to tie them up and as they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away as long as that rope is tied around their leg. They believe that the rope is what holds them back; they do not even try to escape.  As they get bigger and stronger instead of realizing their talents and chasing after their potential by using their strength and size, instead they are stuck in the same thought pattern they had when they were babies.  They are held captives by their own limiting beliefs.

How many of us cannot break away from the limiting beliefs of our minds that are like the rope around the leg of the elephant?  Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something?  Or all too often we are satisfied and never challenge ourselves to achieve more.  We are stuck and accept the status quo.  We believe that because we failed at something once before then therefore we must not be good at it? How many of us are being held back by self-limiting beliefs that are not in line with our God-given potential?  IOW, we have the ability and we have the talent and we are willing to put in the hours, yet we refuse to DREAM BIG or take the appropriate risks because we are scared to fail or because we do not SEE ourselves performing at the highest level.  Have you avoided “setting a lofty goal” because of a limiting belief?  How many of us are being held back by someone else's limiting beliefs or somebody’s small rope tied around our ankle?  Sometimes, we are conditioned by friends and family to not take risks.  How many have heard, "You can't do that?" These are “DREAM STEALERS” or “NAYSAYERS”, who due to their own limiting beliefs, attempt to discourage you from DREAMING BIG and chasing your potential.  Remember what we talked about in a previous blog – take out the MENTAL TRASH.

One of my favorite quotes is appropriate here (by Theodore Roosevelt):

“The credit belongs to the man (woman) who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, and spends himself (herself) in a worthy cause, and who, if he (she) fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his (her) place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

To me – the great lessons of Roosevelt are:  (1) give your BEST EFFORT always to a worthy cause, no matter what the outcome, AND (2) be resilient by accepting responsibility (without excuses) and keep at it, each time with the goal of learning and getting better and better.  From every disappointment, we learn.  Every experience, teaches.  If we are resilient then we can redouble our efforts; we can find ways to figure out solutions.  In athletics, we understand that success is NOT the ultimate reward.  There are a lot of people who work incredibly hard and never “make it”.  What is important, above ALL, is being in the arena.  DOING SOMETHING WORTHWHILE.  Softball creates an artificial environment (it’s a game); however, the adversity you face is REAL.  The emotions you experience are incredibly REAL.  The choices you are forced to make and the discipline/devotion you must have are REAL.  Softball is a challenging personal adventure.  It gives our players an opportunity to demonstrate WHO they are.  And the first thing I want them to do is remove the ropes from their ankles and remove all excuses from their vocabulary and realize that they are on a journey to chase after their potential. IOW, DREAM BIG and take risks.  Your capacity to TAKE RISKS is the best measure of your commitment to give your best.

How many times do you hear the same tired excuses of why you cannot achieve?  It has been said that an excuse is nothing more than a “lie” wrapped in the skin of reason.  There are 101 excuses why not to dream big.  “I am not big enough/fast enough/strong enough.”  “I have never won a championship before”.  “There are other things that are more important or I have too many things on my plate”.  “It takes too much time/work/effort to do something extraordinary.”  In reality, we need to understand that these are nothing more than just excuses.  We all have time to do what is important to us. Rather than making excuses, we need to realize that a champion always finds a way.  On a good TEAM, part of our responsibility is to hold each other accountable.  A good teammate or a good coach or a good parent, disallows excuses.  A good teammate does NOT allow herself nor her fellow teammate to have self-limiting beliefs.  We are accountable for the things we do or do not do.  PERIOD.

Additionally, just like the elephant, too many players have the wrong mindset.  A lot of kids “just want to play (participate in the sport)”.  To me, there is a huge difference between the kid who just wants to play and the player who is committed to accomplishing and achieveing his/her potential AND the TEAM’s potential to be the best.  How do you get players to go from the mindset of “I just want to play” to thinking about “I want to be the best and I want to help my team achieve excellence”?  How do you challenge kids who underperform and always rationalize in their minds that is “o.k.” or who readily say “well, I tried my best”, when in fact it is NO WAY near their best?  They have a rope around their ankles.  They are limiting themselves by their very own small minded vision of their own talents and potential (just like the elephant).  How do you get players to SEE themselves as bigger/stronger/faster?  How do you get players to see the BIG PICTURE of investing their talents into the TEAM?  The first thing that must happen is “removing the rope from their ankles”.

Challenge your own limiting beliefs by questioning them.  Once you begin to question a limiting belief, you automatically start to weaken it.  Put yourself in an environment where there is a support structure in place that challenges you to become the best you can be.  You must want to be “pushed” and “challenged”.  You should crave being in a program that demands your BEST effort; that requires you to go the extra mile and do more than just the ordinary.  You should be around people who are chasing EXCELLENCE rather than who are in their comfort zone and satisfied with mediocrity.  Seek out people who have accomplished what you want to accomplish.  Discover what they did and model their behavior and adopt their MINDSETS. Remember back to times in your past when you were successful and use that experience to propel yourself forward. Do not be like the elephant, and be undermined by your own limiting beliefs.

Visualize your successes. See yourself vividly in your minds eye reaching your goals. Affirm, over and over, that you are succeeding.  Write your affirmations daily. Of course, make sure you take the appropriate action.  Remember that your subconscious mind does not know the difference between real and imaginary.  See and feel the success. You will be pleasantly amazed at the result.  Whatever you believe, with conviction, you can achieve. Don't be like the poor elephant and go through your life stuck because of a limiting belief you were given or developed years ago. Take charge of your life and live it to the fullest.

GENO and MARCH MADNESS:  I love March Madness; so much passion; kids and teams fighting for their dreams and there ONE SHINING MOMENT.  On the plane trip to CA., I read the book GENO (about Geno Auriemma, the women’s basketball coach at UCONN).  I want to give the readers a little flavor of his personality – I think it gives a good perspective on how others can help you remove the “rope from your ankle”; listen to what his best player, Diana Taurasi, said about him in the forward.   “The biggest mistake people make is thinking that we must hate Coach because he was so hard on us.  They figure we couldn’t possibly like someone who yells at us and screams at us as much as he did.  But, early on at Connecticut, you realize he’s on you because he wants to get the most out of you.”  “I would see Coach on campus and he’d be smiling and having fun…but when practice started, it was over.  He was on my case constantly.  He was busting me, big-time.  As soon as we stepped in that gym, boom! He flipped a switch.  He was this completely driven, competitive guy who was never satisfied.”  “When we had our individual end-of-the-year meetings…I’m expecting all these compliments, and he’s telling me, ‘We can’t win with you next year. You took no responsibility for that championship game last year.’”  “One of his biggest things is communication.  He expected us to be talking to one another all the time on the floor.  If you didn’t talk, you didn’t play.  Now I’m in the WNBA and you go to practice and you don’t hear a word.  It’s a different atmosphere.  Players have their own agendas.  They punch in and they punch out when they’re done.  At Connecticut, we were 12 people who were all on the same page.  I MISS THAT.”  “If you can’t take criticism or motivate yourself, go somewhere else.  But if you love basketball, there is no other place for you, especially if you are competitive and you want to be really good.  Here’s the thing: everyone else is going to kiss your butt.  They’re going to spend 4 years telling you how great you are, but you will never find out how great you could have been, because nobody is pushing you.  Coach pushed the pedal for 4 years.  And when I look back on it, I’m not just talking about basketball.  He made me become a better person.”

PRACTICE/GAME NOTES:  I absolutely love going to the Fullerton, CA tournament.  To me, it is the closest environment that resembles the WCWS.  Everywhere you look there is a good team and all the softball personalities are there.  Our players get to be on the “same stage” with the best players in our sport…Of course, we wanted to get a win against one of the Arizona teams.  It takes strength to take responsibility.  It takes character to accept your best was eclipsed by your opponent.  When you accept responsibility, the relevant question is “WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET BETTER?”…In 2002, we played a 3 game series in Arizona with our 1st recruiting class (Brooke Mitchell, Joy Webre, Crystal George, Tiffany Hebert, Jill Robertson, Brittany Bryant, Ashley Evans, etc.) and got beat 2-6, 0-8, 2-7.  In 2003, we played Arizona again and lost 3-7.  But in 2004, we played Arizona in the Tempe Regional/Arizona was the #1 National seed and we beat them 5-0.  So when we talk about getting better, we are not talking about it happening in one or two weeks.  For that group, they stuck with the process for 2 years (with devotion and discipline) and it paid off.  I believe the experience of playing in Fullerton helps the younger players understand how to play the game at a higher level and motivates them to work harder and smarter so they can compete against the best eventually.  Part of getting rid of self-limiting thoughts is playing the toughest competition…. Everybody continues to hear about Gabby Bridges, Christi Orgeron and Ashley Brignac’s successes.  Gabby was Sunbelt hitter of the week and Ashley was the pitcher of the week.  But how about some love for some newcomers: during the Fullerton tournament, Paige Cormier hit .308 with a .400 on base % and Jennifer Martin had a .333 on base % and hit a grand slam vs. Long Beach State.  Paige prepped at Teurlings High School and led her team to a State Championship; Jenn prepped at St. Thomas More and led her team to a State Championship.  Their successes this past weekend can propel them to greater heights and motivate them to reset their goals and even DREAM BIGGER….Last year, at the Fullerton tournament, we were 1 and 4; we lost to Virginia in game 1, (1-4) then we beat Fresno St 7-5, and then lost to Washington (defending National Champions and pitcher, Danyele Lowrie 0-8), host team Cal State Fullerton 6-9, and Purdue 7-14 (who we had beat previously in the same year 7-6).  It was imperative in our thinking that this year, we set a different tone in game 1 vs. Notre Dame and Brignac did a great job by shutting down the Irish and allowing our hitters time to settle in; big win 4-1…..All conference series are WARS.  Your conference opponent knows as much about you as you know about yourself.  HOW?  Scouting reports and being familiar with your personnel from playing you year after year.  It’s very comparable to playing a conference foe in the NFL; they spend more time game planning and preparing for a conference foe than any other opponent.  And because of the magnitude and significance of the game, everybody brings there best.  There has never been an easy conference series in the 11 years I have been here.  People should not fall into the “TRAP” of thinking “WHO the opponent is” matters about the execution of the game.  This is a very difficult game to execute and failure is more the NORM.  Performances have UPS and DOWNS too; most of our players understand and work very hard on being consistent in their approach and in their preparation; and I am very proud of this group – they work extremely hard and they CARE (it matters to them); they are great kids who want to excel both on the field and in the classroom.  Excellence is a process and we got plenty of work ahead of us...Congrats to the BASEBALL team on their 11-5 victory over LSU; it was thrilling!  Coach Robichaux has been the “constant, positive voice” in UL athletics during our tenure.  He has ALWAYS been there for Stefni and I.  He is a good man with a great heart; he runs his program with integrity and class.  I love listening to him “talk the game”; he is very wise.  We are his biggest fans and we appreciate ALL he has done for US.


 Paige Cormier prepped at Teurlings Catholic High School; she was a member of the TCH  State Championship team.  Her “rags to riches” success story at UL should be an inspiration to many aspiring young softball players to keep working hard day by day and chasing after your dreams.  After FALL practice had already started during Paige’s freshman year, she walked out to practice and asked to try-out, just hoping for an opportunity to walk-on; she did and red-shirted her freshman year.  The next year, she set her sights on making the travel squad; which she did.  Then she set her sights on contributing to the team and getting some playing time.  After working hard for three years at practice and in scrimmages, Paige has thrust herself into the Cajuns’ starting lineup at second base.  Cormier’s glove has proven to be solid on the right side as she currently sits with a .953 fielding percentage with 22 putouts and 19 assists.  At the plate, Cormier really made her presence felt last weekend at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. as she hit .308.  In the Cajuns’ first game in California, Cormier belted her first career home run in a 5-1 defeat of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.  Thanks to that accomplishment, Cormier hit cleanup in UL’s lineup in three of the next four games. 

Coach Mike’s assessment:  “Paige has worked extremely hard and has been consistent in her approach day by day.  She always has a great attitude and has been willing to do “whatever” is best for her team.  Not many kids work as hard as Paige has and wait their turn for 3 years, all the while with a smile on their face and a constant appreciation for the opportunity.  Don’t let Paige’s quiet demeanor fool you either – she is a fierce competitor and she is tough.  She broke her nose (foul ball off of her bat) last year.  This year versus Arkansas she was cleated in the ankle while turning a double play (10 stitches to her lower leg) but finished the inning and nobody but her even knew what happened.  She plays the game hard and each year, she has been able to set bigger goals for herself and is not afraid to dream big nor work hard to achieve them.”

Paige is majoring in Psychology; she is the daughter of Laura & George Cormier; she is a member of the Academic Honor Roll.


The 1999 Ragin’ Cajuns made sure that Louisiana’s postseason absence wouldn’t last more than one year.  The Cajuns won 51 regular season games and earned the No. 1 seed for NCAA Regional #7 in Amherst, Mass.  For the 1st time in school history, the Cajuns won the NFCA Leadoff Classic.  Behind junior pitcher Kim Dunlap, UL defeated Top 10 powerhouses Michigan and Oklahoma.  Freshman pitcher, Melissa Coronado allowed only one run during the week and picked up wins over Hofstra, South Carolina & Depaul.  A few weeks later at the Fullerton tournament, UL beat nationally ranked Texas, Oregon State, defending National Champions Fresno State and Washington.  Louisiana was only one victory short from making its 4th WCWS, losing to CAL in the finals.  Freshman shortstop, Alana Addison, set a new single season record for freshmen with 12 homeruns.  Senior Kelli Bruce set the school record for doubles in a season with 24 and had a 25 game hitting streak.  Tiffany Clark set the school season records for hits (87), total bases (145) and runs (67).    Coronado (who I saw this past weekend in Fullerton/married and living in Corpus Christi/and looks exactly the same) led the team with a .98 ERA, 22 wins, 18 complete games, 8 shutouts.  Members of the 1999 NFCA All-Region team were: Michele Balion, Melissa Coronado, Tiffany Clark and Jana Mower.

 Don’t forget to check out our facebook fan page: RAGIN’ CAJUNS SOFTBALL FAN PAGE.  Also, listen to Stevie P. broadcast this week’s softball games on and remember the COACHES SHOW on Mondays at noon on  GEAUX CAJUNS!!!!