''The whole week we were just dancing, everywhere and everytime''
Please introduce yourself.
Hello everyone! My name is Dominika Mešťanová and I'm a softball player from Slovakia. Apollo Bratislava is my home team where I'm playing for since nine years already. I also wear the uniform of Snails Kunovice (CZE). This season will be my third season in the Czech Extra League. Middle infield and outfield are the positions where you can find me playing. Since 2011 I'm part of the national team as well. Since the world is bigger than 'just' softball, my other passions belong to the world itself. Travelling, exploring and enjoying the nature are my favorite things to do in the off season. Oh and I love kids, so so much - that's why I work as a babysitter.
What made you want to play softball?
My mom forced me a little. She had a colleague who was coaching softball and he kept asking her when me and my sister were going to start playing softball. Since I ended up swimming, I went to my first softball practice one day. Since that time I'm playing. I'm very thankful to my mom's colleague, who was also my first coach, that he didn't give up asking her haha.
Can you tell me something about softball in your country?
Slovakia and softball are not the best friends yet. The amount of players and teams is not very high. We have about thirty players in the women's category, in the whole country. Hopefully we are on a good way spreading softball in Slovakia since the 2018 U22 Women's European Championship will take place in Trnava. I hope that more people will find out what softball exactly is and will fall in love with it as we did.
How often do you practice with your national team and what do they look like?
We are trying to practice once a month. This month we were divided into four groups and practices were specialized for hitting. Each group of four to six players have two hours of practice on Sunday. We also have individual plans to improve our stamina and strengthen our core. The plan consists of two running sections, five balance/core sections and also one regenaration section per week.
Was it difficult to get into the national team and what was the process?
We didn't have to fight for a spot in the team for a few years already. This situation is not so good if you want to motivate players or if you want to get them better. It's always good to have that 'healthy' competition in a team so players are forced to work harder. I remember when I was at the tryouts for the U16 WECh. I was 14 at the time and when I realized that my coaches chose me for representing my country I was the happiest kid on the planet. Fortunately this year will be different since we have more players in the try outs for the U22 WECh. This means that all of us have to put our 100% in practices and preperation for the championship.
What's your beste experience with the national team so far?
Oh, this is my favorite question so far! My best experience was, is and probably for a long time will be the last time we were competing on the U22 WECh in Pardubice (CZE). We beat the Czech Republic for the first time ever at this championship. What I appreciate probably even more is the fact that we played as a team. I have never played with that much confidence, joy aand pride before and not even since that time.
People, teams and fans knew who we are. That was so special for us because we had never played in front of that many fans. Many people from different countries cheered for us and they recognized us. Recognizing that we are players from Slovakia was uncommon for us because there were many situations before where we were called Slovenia. Also the National Anthem was Slovanian and so on. But not that time. That time we were SLOVAKIA.
The whole week we were just dancing, everywhere and everytime. I can't even explain how many positive emotions I felt during the whole week, it was one big firework happening inside of me. For the first time we felt that even the more experienced teams considered us as an equal opponent. I loved it. We all did. Everyone deserves at least one moment like this. It was huge and I will never forget about it, it was just impossible.
What's your goal for the 2018 season?
My personal goal is to improve hitting as a lefty since I switched boxes last season. For this years' championship I would really like to play i a team where everyone feels comfortable playing in.
What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
While I was talking with Britt Vonk about me having a bad season, she told me 'mistakes happen! Always. It's a game of failure. The best players are the players that can handle the failure'. That the mental game is the most important and the best way how to make my mental game stronger is by failure. Since that, I realized that everyone is making mistakes, in every league and every league of softball. Sometimes we can't just avoid the bad hop, rise ball or stolen base, all we can do is learn from that and be better next time. Set up our minds.
Who's your role model and why?
Back to Britt haha. Britt Vonk is my role model. I like how she sets up her goals and step by step fulfills them. Watching her on the field is just great. Especially in the batters' box. If you ever saw her play, you can tell that every time she steps into the box, it seems like it's all hers. Like she is the one will decide what pitch will come. Besides softball I like how she wanders across the world and moreover she is a very good person to talk with.
What's your ultimate softball dream?
I would be very happy to see my country having a medal from the European Championship at least once. We were so close to that two years ago and I hope that moments like this will happen again.
What do you think is the key to a successful team?
Having a team-spirit even though you are losing. Everyone is having fun where there are wins. But being a team while losing, shows if you are really a team or if you are just a group of girls playing softball. Also communication, competition and cooperation. That's my own 3C's model haha.
- Romy Marinus -