Ron Ferrill has taken on the position of softball head coach this year at Truman State University. Ferrill was previously the softball head coach at Saint Ambrose College.
The players have already noticed a difference, senior outfielder Macy Taylor said. The Truman softball team finished last season with a record of 8-35.
“We have to rely on each other a little bit more than we have in the past because we are so tired at practice all the time,” Taylor said.
The practices are harder because of Ferrill’s new mindset, senior catcher Lauren Stade said.
Ferrill said this season he wants the players to give their maximum effort to develop themselves.
“It’s been a little bit harder — practices, harder lifts, harder conditioning — but we know in the end it’s going to be worth it because if that’s what it takes to win some more games and make it to postseason, then that’s what it’s going to take,” Stade said.
These changes are because of the culture change Ferrill wants to make, he said.
In previous seasons, the players were not held to as high of a standard as they are now, Ferrill said.
“The big shift [has been] trying to create a practice environment where it’s not only a positive supporting environment for each other, but we get a lot more work done at a higher intensity level,” Ferrill said.
They have already been making improvements since their first practice together, Ferrill said. Taylor said the players feel having this set of fresh eyes is something that will help them improve this season.
This set of fresh eyes does come with its own challenges, Ferrill said. He came into the season late which has made the transition difficult.
“I didn’t even know the players, and they had already started the season, and they had already moved into campus and been working together and had their first practice,” Ferrill said.
Ferrill did not even know their names or their abilities, which has made it harder to know what gaps to fill when it comes to recruiting new players, Ferrill said.
“I’m scrambling to see who is still available, evaluating them and then trying to convince them that they need to come look at us here at Truman State,” Ferrill said.
A lot of the players that are eligible to play next year are already talking to other schools or have even committed, Ferrill said.
He also has to focus on the season ahead of them.
“As corny as it sounds, I don’t know what I don’t know,” Ferrill said.
Ferrill previously coached for an NAIA school, so making the jump to a Division II school means that he has not seen a lot of the competition, he said.
This makes it difficult to know what was going on last season and determine what changes he can make this year, Ferrill said.
“Are they really that much better than us, or were we just not doing the little things that we needed to do?” Ferrill said.
The main goal right now is to implement his new culture that he has implemented at his previous jobs which has led to his success, Ferrill said.
“My goal is always to win every game, but I don’t know how realistic that one is,” Ferrill said. “Right now, I’m just working as hard as I can to make each individual player better and then hope that translates to the team being better.”
The team was last in the conference last year, but Ferrill would still like to see competition and make it to the middle of the conference, Ferrill said.
While Ferrill has been coaching the team, there have been a lot of logistical things that he must do as well, he said.
“At the same time I am trying to figure out their names and simple things like that—I’m also trying to move my house from four hours away,” Ferrill said.
He said usually, these types of “human resource” tasks would be done over the summer or during preseason, but the timing has made the job more difficult.
The team is excited for the prospect of a better season, Stade said.
“We have really good kids,” Ferrill said. “I mean I really like our players, and I don’t mean from a softball standpoint—I just mean more from a human standpoint I think they’re awesome.”