Sheila Marie Cornell-Douty (born February 26, 1962 in Encino, California). After graduating from UCLA she played for the Stratford Brakettes from 1988 through 1994. She also competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta where she received a gold medal with the American team. She was also a member of the American gold winning team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2006, and the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame in 2007.
Sheila Cornell-Douty Answers My 10 Questions on The Fastpitch TV Show Produced by Gary Leland
Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?
A. 10 years old. When I started playing I would just play in the backyard. Then once we moved to a new neighborhood my mother thought it would be a great way for me to meet new friends, and get acclimated. So she took us down to the local ball field, I signed up for softball and fell in love.
Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?
A. I’ve had so many people in my life that helped me become a great player. I was very fortunate from the very first day that I started playing to have great coaches that cared not only about the sport but also about the players. Everything from when I first started off with Norm Collins was my first coach and he was awesome. Then with Steve Jerrard later in my high school career years on the California Raiders with Phil Bruder as well. And, of course playing for Ralph Raymond as many years as I did. He was like a father to me, I learned so much from him. And have continued to carry on his legacy with those that I teach as well.
Q. How do you get ready for a game?
A. I think every player has some sort of rituals that they go through. I was somebody who was a very positive, “mental” ball player. I was always ready an hour before we would leave on any trip, in uniform and packed, wether it was my dorm room at UCLA or on the bus to travel to a field. I would then just sit or lie down with my eyes closed and visualize for 30-40 minutes what I wanted to have happen in the game.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?
A. Everything, I was involved in many sports. When I was in high school and even junior high I played volleyball, basketball, soccer, I ran track and field, swimming. I even did water ballet when I was younger. I loved going hiking, and anything outdoors.
Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?
A. I think opportunity, desire, and always striving to be the best I can be in anything I did. I always wanted to be the best and never settled for less. I had an incredible competitive drive. At a young age I hated to lose at anything, and learned to channel that better as I grew up.
Q. Do you have any routines or superstitions that you implement regularly?
A. I wouldn’t call them superstitions, but I believe most players have a routine to warm up, and get prepared and mentally ready for the game. Everyone used to make fun of me when I was at UCLA for always carrying around a “Tee.” And one story, from when I played at ASU, they actually stole my Tee to get to me before the game.
When I first went to play for Ralph Raymond on the Brakettes, I would take my Tee out before hitting practice and hit balls into the fence and he would ask me what I was doing. I would tell him “I’m just warming up I’ll be fine.”
Q. What is your favorite softball memory?
A. Honestly, I have three all involved in one event.
Stepping onto the Olympic field for the first time, when they announced us against Puerto Rico. That was one of the best moments, I was crying and telling myself to keep it together we have a game to play. Even if you make the Olympic team, it isn’t real until you are in the arena and step onto the field. Having waited so long for it to happen, and that it was in the United States and all my family was there. It was incredible.
Hitting my homerun against China in the semi-final rounds to get to the gold medal game was such a great feeling.
And last is the feeling of having that Gold Medal place around your neck, hearing the national anthem, and watching your country’s flag raised… It’s an indescribable feeling.
Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?
A. There’s nothing more important in the game. Obviously being a power hitter, I tell people all the time “You can have all the skill in the world, but if you don’t have mental toughness, you are going to have a tough time being successful on the field.”
Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?
A. After college, when I went to play for the Brakettes, and after we found out we were going to be playing in the olympics. I’d say one of the toughest things after already completing my education, having my master’s degree, and working in the field as a physical therapist, was finding the time to train and prepare to tryout for the olympic team.
Q. What is life like now after softball?
A. Awesome! It’s great, I do some motivational speaking. I also have a granddaughter that is preparing to go to Michigan, so we work out all the time. I have 7 grandkids and stay busy going to all their events. My husband and I own some properties and we stay busy managing them. There is never a dull moment, we always stay busy.
A FEW ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996, 2000)
Three-time World Champion (1990, 1994, 1998)
Four-time Pan American Gold Medalist (1987, 1991, 1995, 1999) Member of the National Softball Hall of Fame and ISF Hall of Fame
Earned ASA All-American honors 16 times
2000: Gold medalist at Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia
1999: Gold medalist at Pan American Games, U.S. Olympic Cup and Canada Cup
– Hit .355 with 11 hits, six RBI and four runs scored (Pan Am)
1998: Gold medalist at ISF World Championships
– Hit .345 with four home runs and 12 RBI
1997: Silver medalist at Superball in Columbus, Ga.
1996: Gold medalist at Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia
– Hit .393 with three home runs and nine RBI
1995: Gold medalist at Pan American Games and Superball in Columbus, Ga.
– Led hitters with .581 average and eight RBI (Pan Am)
1994: Gold medalist at ISF World Championships and Pan American Games Qualifier
– Hit .357 with two home runs and five RBI
1993: Gold medalist at Intercontinental Cup in Holland
1992: Gold medalist at Women’s World Challenger Cup
1991: Gold medalist at Pan American Games
1990: Gold medalist at ISF World Championship
– Hit .536 with eight RBI
1987: Gold medalist at Pan American Games
– Hit .389 with six RBI
1983: Silver medalist at Pan American Games
– Hit .464 with nine RBI
Two-time NCAA National Champion (1982, 1984)
Named to Pac-10 All-Decade team
GETTING TO KNOW DOUTY
Named an ASA All-American 16 times during Women’s Major Fast pitch career
Seven-time ASA National Champion
Born on February 26, 1962