“I faced a lot of pressure from other people telling me I wasn’t good enough. I had a lot of people tell me that female athletes weren’t pretty. Stuff that hurts the girl in you, not the athlete in you,” says Monica Abbott, Team USA star pitcher and Fairchild Sports Performance client. “Eventually, I learned how to not let people get the chance to tell me I wasn’t capable.”
Truer words haven’t been spoken.
The silver-medalist holds the NCAA record in career strikeouts, victories, shutouts and single season strikeouts during her time with the University of Tennessee.
Growing up, the six-foot-three-inch pitcher said basketball and softball were her main sports but when she entered her later years of high school, she knew she found her niche in pitching.
“When I started pitching it’s like it fit who I was,” she said. “I loved every part of it! Before, I played outfield, short stop and second base but finally pitching gave me a home on the field.” Abbott knew she found her spot when she was asked to play on a travel team with her older sister but the hard work didn’t stop there.
“That’s when I knew I was doing pretty well, but in the end, it was potential. I had to find a way to get better,” she said.
And she did just that.
However, it didn’t come with a few obstacles along the way. As a female athlete, Abbott has had to ignore naysayers and pressures that come with becoming a rising female athlete.
“I think societal pressure is bigger in that realm than anything,” she stated. “There are a lot of misconceptions out there. It has been hard knowing that it will take a special man to be okay with my pursuit of athletics.”
Although she has faced some negative feedback, she has not been short of positive role models.
“I had some pretty great coaches to ambassadors to look up to, “she said. More importantly, she added, she had influential males in her life, as well.
“Yes, I’m a female pro-athlete, but there were some very influential males that pushed me harder and never lowered their standards for me just because I was a female. That was huge for me — they saw more for me and helped drive me into that position to be successful far more than what I could have done by myself.”
Abbott believes that the world of female athletics is continually changing for the better, and she is thrilled to be a part of such an incredible plight.
“The biggest thing for me is to be an example — to show that they can continue to play after college,” she said. “Aside from that, I do a ton of speaking and motivating in debunking some of the myths surrounding the game and helping girls see a bigger opportunity for them outside of high school sports.”
Keeping female athletics in a positive light is one of Abbott’s main goals, but a small thing called the Summer Olympics may be a top priority, as well. Women’s softball is slated to make its comeback for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“My main goal is to compete for gold in Tokyo 2020, but it’s a tough road. I need to be physically, mentally and emotionally strong. There are a lot of athletes out there competing and some really good countries gunning for the USA,” Abbott said.
However, based off of her past accomplishments and determination, there doesn’t seem to be many obstacles that will stand in her way.
Check out more of her highlights at monicaabbott.com.