Please introduce yourself.
My name is Tina van Nuffel. I'm 18 years old and I'm from Antwerp, Belgium. I have been playing softball since I was 13. Currently, I'm playing for the Stabroek Chicaboo's (the first league), a team which got promoted out of the second league. It's a team with a lot of motivated and experienced girls where I'm the youngest. The positions I play the most are catcher and third base but I have experience with every position (except pitcher). I played my first European Championship in Ostrava (CZE) when I was 14 with the U16 national team. Meanwhile, I played five European Championships with the U16, U19, U22 and women teams.
What made you want to play softball?
When I was four I started to play baseball with my twin brother because my dad was playing softball and my 6 years older brother played baseball already. The highlight of my baseball career was the last year I played baseball. I was selected for the Belgium team that took part in the Little League in Poland. When I was 13 I switched to softball.
Can you tell me something about softball in your country?
Unfortunately, softball is not a famous sport here. Today, 40 clubs make up the Royal Belgium Baseball & Softball Federation, with over 4000 members and more than 2900 active competitive players. The base- and softball world is very small, but everyone knows each other.
What's your best experience with the national team so far?
Definitely the European Championship Junior Women's 2016 in Sant Boi, Spain! We achieved the fifth place there (out of 12 teams). For the first time in the Belgian history, we beat Rusland.
Was it difficult to get into the national team and what was the process?
In contrary to other countries I think it's not that hard to get into the national team. This is because of the small number of players. But of course, you have to show your best during every practice and every game. You have to show what you got both individually and as a team member. It doesn't matter if you're a good player or not, if your attitude is wrong, you won't make it. ''Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference between softball success and softball failure.''
What is your goal for the 2018 season?
Personally, I would like to get the joy and relaxation back when I'm on the field, I thought about quitting some time. I felt too much pressure and I did not have any fun anymore. But that's changing again! This summer I will go with the U19 team as one of the oldest players to the U19 Women's European Championship in Italy. During this period I want to help the young team with my experiences that I gained from the previous European Championships. Also, I will be attending the U22 Championship in Trnava, Slovakia.
Do you have a pre-game routine?
Lucky socks! Under my sports socks, I'm always wearing my lucky socks. Also, I always try to clean my shoes before I leave to the game. During the warm-up with the team, I try to focus and to relax.
Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
I hope that I can still play softball, it doesn't matter with which team or in which country, I will see. If my body won't let me play softball anymore, you will most likely find me as a coach.
What's the best advice someone ever gave you?
''From the moment you step on the field, it's your moment. Clear your mind and shine! Enjoy the thing that you love the most, playing softball. Don't doubt, don't think too much and just play the game because you can! You have the talent, show them. Don't forget to enjoy it because if you're having fun you play better!''
In general, I got a lot of good advice. I'm always amazed by the way coaches are there for their players. I'm really thankful for them!
What do you think is the key to a successful team?
Team: Together Everyone Achieves More, says a lot to me already. But more important is respecting each other and being there for each other.
- Romy Marinus -