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    Joanne and David Berg. (Source: Family)Joanne and David Berg. (Source: Family)

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Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - Flush.

"Sometimes I'd get in this snowball effect of negative, negative, negative..."

Flush.

"...and never take a step back and be like look where I'm at. Look where I'm standing. Look who I get to play with. Look who I get to play for." 

Flush.

If Wildcat junior pitcher Nancy Bowling has learned anything this past season it's to flush it all away. The distractions. The negativity. Anything that gets in between her and her focus. Including herself.

"I just got of lost sight for why I started,"she said.

Last season wasn't a lost cause by any means. Bowling finished 7-0 with a 2.80 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 9 games started. And yet as the season went by, Bowling couldn't seem to get out of her own way.

"I think the big thing with (Bowling) is getting her mentally where she needs to be," said Arizona head softball coach Mike Candrea. "Physically she has the tools but I think she's one of the those kids who's a perfectionist playing a game that's not perfect."

Therein lied the biggest conflict, one that Bowling took a whole off season to try to overcome. 

"Mentally I've tried to gain more confidence," said Bowling. "Not doubt myself as much."

Bowling and Candrea have had numerous conversations about this topic. As had Bowling and former Wildcat star pitcher Kenzie Fowler. As had Bowling and a trained specialist, who helped coach her to see the bigger picture. Bowling's biggest take away? Learning how to have short term memory. 

To accomplish that, Bowling developed her own mechanism to forget a bad pitch or bad play. Her trigger? A flush. 

"For me, I will literally flush. I'll just stand there and I'll flush air." 

That's her way of telling herself to move on. It's not easy, not for the perfectionist. But it's a start and it's better than the alternative.

"She's got to believe in herself and believe in what she can do," said Candrea. "Once the ball's released, it's gone. It's done."

"It's an experience of a lifetime," said Bowling. "How many people grow up in our sport looking at Coach Candrea, looking at this program saying I want to be there. And they never get the opportunity. The fact that I'm blessed enough to have this opportunity? I just have to learn to embrace it and love every second of it."

So the next time the pitch doesn't come out just right....

Flush. 

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