D1Softball, through the D1 Players Society, has partnered with Oklahoma catcher, Kinzie Hansen to share her experience on winning a national championship in 2021 and how it has shaped her mindset for 2022.

The 2022 Sooners

As a team, Oklahoma is heading into the 2022 season with confidence and a drive to meet OUR standard. We expect greatness from ourselves and each other, and we will not settle for anything less. 

Compared to the past years for both our pre-season and offseason, the one major difference has been our mentality. We have been tougher on ourselves only because we know what this team is capable of and what it takes to be successful at the highest level. We continue to focus on controlling the game because that has been essential to our success and is key in maintaining it. We put a lot of emphasis on doing the little things right, because we know that these things will add up to the big things. 

As a team, we feel we deserve the respect given to us, and we expect the greatness that comes with it to come only from within ourselves. We have set higher standards for ourselves but we know we can reach them with our blue-collar mentality.

One of the biggest challenges that I suspect we will face as the reigning national champions will be social media. As a team, we have great chemistry and work ethic, but it is difficult to ignore the amount of hate that is put on social media. Especially when people say anything just to pick an athlete apart. We do our best not to give into the negativity. We just focus on what’s ahead and how we can make our mark on this year.

My Own Mentality

For me personally, my mentality is “what’s next?” It’s about accomplishing the next goals that I am setting in place. What limits can I exceed to reach these goals? How far can I push my mind and my body? I am a ‘whatever it takes’ kind of person. The things I achieved in the past weren’t my only goals, and I know that what I am capable of has very few limits. 

As I head into the first part of this season, my main focuses are to expand my game and be the best possible player and person I can be for my teammates. Growing my leadership skills has been something that I have focused on lately due to the impact a catcher has over her defense.

I am going to do as much as I can to help lead the 2022 Sooners to another national championship. If the accolades come after doing so, then that’s gratifying, but it isn’t what really matters. There is greatness on this team, down to the core, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that we get the most from this season.

Proverbs 27:17

With that mindset, I have felt drawn to the verse Proverbs 27:17 which states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This phrase really summarizes both Oklahoma’s mentality and mine as we take on the 2022 season and I am looking forward to seeing just how much this team is capable of.