LSU softball coach Beth Torina changed some things in practice as her Tigers prepare for the Baton Rouge Regional — but instead of pushing them harder, she made things more fun.
"We've done a lot of things to remind them what an enjoyable game this is," Torina said. "Softball is not their life, it's something that they do.
"It's a good reminder all the time for them that it's a game and we're privileged to have the opportunity to represent the greatest university in the country, but it is still not who they are, it is something that they do."
One of those things was a team versus staff scrimmage game.
LSU's staff features Torina, a former Florida pitcher, former LSU All-American and current graduate assistant Allie Walljasper and former LSU infielder Sandra Simmons.
"We were good, we were competitive," Torina joked. "That was probably the most fun. [The players] really enjoyed that."
Those sort of enjoyable things in practice keep the Tigers loose and ready going into the postseason, especially as they enter the tournament on a four game losing streak.
Senior infielder Shemiah Sanchez said everybody enters the postseason with a 0-0 record and every team who has gotten this far deserves to be here.
Fellow senior infielder Amber Serrett echoed that sentiment, saying the team's focus is to just put their heads down and work and that will get them where they need to go.
LSU will prepare for these games and treat them exactly the same as they have before it, no matter who it is against.
"I think they just need to do what they've done all season long," Torina said. "One thing we talked about today is that we're not going to treat this like a big event. It's just another event on our schedule. We prepare the same every game. Every game this year has been important."
Torina said she is going to count on senior leadership and experience in the postseason.
It's hard to find a team as experienced as LSU is across the board. More than half of the team has been to the Women's College World Series and and everyone except the freshman class has advanced at lead to a Super Regional.
"They understand the magnitude of the moment and you don't have to talk to them about something like that," Torina said. "It's already there. It's a good reminder to play the way we've played all year and not make it bigger than it is."
"The great thing about this program is that we're a postseason team," Serrett said. "We work hard and we know what it takes to get where we ant to go."