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no_ties

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Reply with quote  #181 
Something to talk about.......in 3-5 years.  Dang, this is jumping way into the future!  Give these ladies (Lombardi and Rocha) a chance to perform where they are now!
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The price of greatness is...RESPONSIBILITY!
scrybe

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Reply with quote  #182 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrot


If this were the case, Lombardi wouldn’t have split. Not to mention does Rocha get the HC job if Lombardi succeeds at UO?


So, I take it you and Lefty aren't good at bingo?
scrybe

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Reply with quote  #183 
Big day for the Big 12. I see UT got a new assistant coach too.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #184 
Year    G   GS   AB   H   2B  3B  HR  EBH   TB   HB  BB  SO   SB  CS   R  RBI     BA   OBP   SLG    OPS
2017  59   51  184  75   8    3    7    18   110    2   12   24   21   4   55   24   .408  .449  .598  1.047
2018  60   57  165  51   6    5    0    11     67    1   19   29   13   5   46   15   .309  .384  .406    .790

Nicole Mendes had a pretty dramatic drop off in performance from her freshman season (2017) to her sophomore season (2018).
She went from 7 HR... to zero. She went from 110 total bases... to 67. She went from 75 hits... to 51. 
She went from a .408 BA... to a .309 BA. She went from a .449 OBP... to a .384 OBP.
She went from a .598 Slg%... to a .406 Slg%.  She went from a 1.047 OPS... to a .790 OPS.

I am left wondering... if the addition of Janie Reed to the Oklahoma staff as a volunteer assistant coach... 
might have adversely affected Mendes in the 2018 season. 

I think they may have tried to turn her into too much of a slapper type hitter... 
She had much better results in 2017 - when she wasn't trying to be like Janie.

What do the rest of you Oklahoma fans (and any other fans as well) think..?
Is there any merit to this thought - as to why Nicole had such a down turn in 2018..?
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #185 
Well, ostensibly YOU saw her play.... was she slapping all the time in comparison to freshman year?
Scupino

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Reply with quote  #186 
sophomore jinx
scrybe

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Reply with quote  #187 

Though I don't have numbers to back it up, I do believe Nicole was slapping more often than she did her freshman season. As a freshman, she was more of a dual threat at the plate. When she slapped, her blazing speed allowed her to reach base frequently; but she swung away as often as not and it kept defenses off balance because they could never settle on the best way to play her.

In 2018, Nicole wasn't nearly as effective as a slap hitter or a traditional hitter. I really don't know why, but the "sophomore slump" mentioned by Scupino may provide as good an explanation as any.

What's your take, Henry?

RahOKU

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Reply with quote  #188 
I saw a lot of Mendes' play online and I think there's a little bit of each of these factors at work in her lowered production:

"Sophomore jinx" -- Mostly opponents looking at video of Mendes in 2017 and finding more effective ways to pitch to her in 2018.

Identity -- As Scrybe describes it, Mendes seemed unclear about what she was trying to do, over-thinking situations and generally being less instinctive.

Pressure -- She was pressing quite a bit, which is understandable given a thinking (myself included), that the sky was the limit after 2017. She got behind in counts and chased lots of bad pitches.

Remedy? That's a discussion for hitting experts that is well above my pay grade. I would imagine the OU braintrust will try to get her to relax and go back to putting defense on their heels by both bunting and hitting away. That she had zero home runs in 2018 suggests she got away from just getting up there and looking for pitches to hit hard. 



scrybe

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Reply with quote  #189 
Rah: As you likely noticed, there was at least one poster on a couple of Sooner forums who seemed convinced that Nicole's off-season weight training, and the weight gain it caused, made her a step slower down the line.

She appeared to me to have the same blazing speed, but my perspective was from watching on TV only. What do you think?
RahOKU

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Reply with quote  #190 
I couldn't detect any loss in speed. But if she did strength training you wonder what it was for, given her zero home runs.
LandLottery

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Reply with quote  #191 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrybe

Though I don't have numbers to back it up, I do believe Nicole was slapping more often than she did her freshman season. As a freshman, she was more of a dual threat at the plate. When she slapped, her blazing speed allowed her to reach base frequently; but she swung away as often as not and it kept defenses off balance because they could never settle on the best way to play her.

In 2018, Nicole wasn't nearly as effective as a slap hitter or a traditional hitter. I really don't know why, but the "sophomore slump" mentioned by Scupino may provide as good an explanation as any.

What's your take, Henry?

This is more my take on it.  It was irritating enough that I would probably have replaced Gasso's son because I watched several things I didn't like with several hitters.  I thought Mendes had been "taught" a new way to hit.  Her natural swing was missing all year.  She swung at low outside pitches trying to slap them.  Then, she'd try to pull the same pitch.  Pitchers learned that they could throw outside pitches on her and get strikes.  She didn't really want to swing.   She was confused, not a natural hitter.  Since she had a great natural swing, I want to know who screwed it up.  You don't change that much without someone telling you to.  My instructions to her would have been simple.  Pick a ball you want to hit.  Hit it hard---anywhere.  Hit it where it is pitched.

RahOKU

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Reply with quote  #192 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LandLottery
This is more my take on it.  It was irritating enough that I would probably have replaced Gasso's son because I watched several things I didn't like with several hitters.  I thought Mendes had been "taught" a new way to hit.  Her natural swing was missing all year.  She swung at low outside pitches trying to slap them.  Then, she'd try to pull the same pitch.  Pitchers learned that they could throw outside pitches on her and get strikes.  She didn't really want to swing.   She was confused, not a natural hitter.  Since she had a great natural swing, I want to know who screwed it up.  You don't change that much without someone telling you to.  My instructions to her would have been simple.  Pick a ball you want to hit.  Hit it hard---anywhere.  Hit it where it is pitched.


Here, here!

Rule No. 1 in many aspects of life: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
scrybe

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Reply with quote  #193 
Your observations (LL and Rah) are in line with something Henry stated in his original post on this topic: Janie Reed, a slap hitter, was brought in last season as a volunteer assistant. If Henry's onto something, maybe it wasn't JT who messed with Nicole's swing.
surfinusa

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Reply with quote  #194 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LandLottery
This is more my take on it.  It was irritating enough that I would probably have replaced Gasso's son because I watched several things I didn't like with several hitters.  I thought Mendes had been "taught" a new way to hit.  Her natural swing was missing all year.  She swung at low outside pitches trying to slap them.  Then, she'd try to pull the same pitch.  Pitchers learned that they could throw outside pitches on her and get strikes.  She didn't really want to swing.   She was confused, not a natural hitter.  Since she had a great natural swing, I want to know who screwed it up.  You don't change that much without someone telling you to.  My instructions to her would have been simple.  Pick a ball you want to hit.  Hit it hard---anywhere.  Hit it where it is pitched.


A source close to the program that I interact with would say you are pretty much on target and it didn't involve any volunteer assistants in the changes made.  You'll notice that her style changed back to more like her freshman year at the end of the season.  She tore it up in the postseason.
Oger

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Reply with quote  #195 
I thought she was far too patient most of the season and got behind a lot in the count and seemed to be confused at what to swing at. Like it was said previously at the end of the season she played far more aggressive and seemed to have a see ball hit ball approach.
LandLottery

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Reply with quote  #196 
If I were a pitching coach, and I had a young freshman who had:

---hit a leadoff home run in the championship game against a pitcher who many thought was the best in college ball,
---had a solo home run and the single that started the winning rally in the 17th inning of one of the greatest games in history,
---hit 13 for 24 with a home run in the NCAA regionals,
---was two for six in the Super-Regionals,

I think my advice would have been to follow your gut.  I wouldn't be trying to get her to be a slap hitter when she has hit two key home runs in key games against really good pitchers, thereby lowering her seasonal total bases from about 110 to about 66.  I wouldn't be trying to teach her to go deep into the count.  I would simply tell her to hit the ball when she sees a ball that she likes.  Don't be shy..  Hit it, and hit it hard.  Get excited about what might happen.  If you see that they are playing you in shallow left, you might drop a bunt, but only if you just want a laugh.  My batting practice would consist of throwing every type of pitch so she wouldn't be caught off guard and letting her deal with any problems she might have hitting a pitch.  You didn't like it?  Here it comes again, until you figure out what to do with it.

Nicole has power to left and right.  Let her hit it hard where it is pitched.  Enjoy it.  Slap-hitting is for teams that don't have an offense.
RahOKU

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Reply with quote  #197 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LandLottery
If I were a pitching coach, and I had a young freshman who had:

---hit a leadoff home run in the championship game against a pitcher who many thought was the best in college ball,
---had a solo home run and the single that started the winning rally in the 17th inning of one of the greatest games in history,
---hit 13 for 24 with a home run in the NCAA regionals,
---was two for six in the Super-Regionals,

I think my advice would have been to follow your gut.  I wouldn't be trying to get her to be a slap hitter when she has hit two key home runs in key games against really good pitchers, thereby lowering her seasonal total bases from about 110 to about 66.  I wouldn't be trying to teach her to go deep into the count.  I would simply tell her to hit the ball when she sees a ball that she likes.  Don't be shy..  Hit it, and hit it hard.  Get excited about what might happen.  If you see that they are playing you in shallow left, you might drop a bunt, but only if you just want a laugh.  My batting practice would consist of throwing every type of pitch so she wouldn't be caught off guard and letting her deal with any problems she might have hitting a pitch.  You didn't like it?  Here it comes again, until you figure out what to do with it.

Nicole has power to left and right.  Let her hit it hard where it is pitched.  Enjoy it.  Slap-hitting is for teams that don't have an offense.


Yep.
surfinusa

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Reply with quote  #198 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LandLottery
If I were a pitching coach, and I had a young freshman who had:

---hit a leadoff home run in the championship game against a pitcher who many thought was the best in college ball,
---had a solo home run and the single that started the winning rally in the 17th inning of one of the greatest games in history,
---hit 13 for 24 with a home run in the NCAA regionals,
---was two for six in the Super-Regionals,

I think my advice would have been to follow your gut.  I wouldn't be trying to get her to be a slap hitter when she has hit two key home runs in key games against really good pitchers, thereby lowering her seasonal total bases from about 110 to about 66.  I wouldn't be trying to teach her to go deep into the count.  I would simply tell her to hit the ball when she sees a ball that she likes.  Don't be shy..  Hit it, and hit it hard.  Get excited about what might happen.  If you see that they are playing you in shallow left, you might drop a bunt, but only if you just want a laugh.  My batting practice would consist of throwing every type of pitch so she wouldn't be caught off guard and letting her deal with any problems she might have hitting a pitch.  You didn't like it?  Here it comes again, until you figure out what to do with it.

Nicole has power to left and right.  Let her hit it hard where it is pitched.  Enjoy it.  Slap-hitting is for teams that don't have an offense.


Agreed on everything you said.  Nicole was the most noticeable player because the "changes" resulted in such unexpected sub par results.  But, if you look at the numbers even closer, Caleigh Clifton and Fale Aviu fell off from their 2017 production. Nicole and Caleigh grooved in 2017 at lead off and the #2 spot.  Fale appeared to be lost in the shuffle for no apparent reason in 2018.  Why a clutch hitter is sitting on the bench or batting 9th is a head scratcher. 

I haven't looked but the gut feel is that the #7 spot was more productive in 2018 and Lea Wodach got some timely hits.  Not much was expected from Kelsey offensively and she was the only "regular" that didn't show deep outfield power.

It seemed that Jocelyn kind of took the air out of the lineup in a way.  Instinctively the team fed off her power and production and, subconsciously perhaps, relied on Alo too much.  And Sydney was hot for much of the year but cooled off in May and at the WCWS.

We know Patty wants the players to go deeper into the count but many times the head game turned out to be against the Sooners.  Patty felt there were too many 1st pitch batted balls that turned into outs.  It's understandable that she wants the batter to be patient with runners on base so that they can execute a hit and run, a steal, a double steal if runners are on 1st and 2nd...etc.

Batting is the art of "hittin' 'em where they ain't."  That is instinctive.  With power hitters from the "elite of the elite," the Gassos need to give them some rein.  They're race horses and don't need to be biting on the bit instead of running at full speed.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #199 
<< Well, ostensibly YOU saw her play.... was she slapping all the time in comparison to freshman year? >> (3LT)

Lefty - this is a quote from my initial post on Mendes: 
"I think they may have tried to turn her into too much of a slapper type hitter... 
She had much better results in 2017 - when she wasn't trying to be like Janie."

I think that answers your question. 
In my view, she was trying the slap approach much more in 2018 than she did in 2017.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

<< What's your take, Henry? >> (Scrybe)

This is conjecture only.
I feel someone had the idea that Nicole might be able to become an even greater version of what she had been in her freshman season... 
by further developing her slap hitting ability.

Someone had the idea that she just might be able to go from a .408 batter... to maybe a .460 batter by adding some extra infield hits.
And then we would have a .460 hitter with a .550 OBP and a .700 Slg% with maybe 10 to 12 HR when she hit away.

And sure... that would have been a very nice thing - if it had worked out.

But... instead of getting this hybrid slapper/power hitter all american batting stud... 
we got a confused sophomore who didn't seem to know exactly what she was doing - a lot of the time.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Because Janie Reed was a new coaching addition to the team (and because Janie is a GREAT slap hitter)... 
I saw her as a likely culprit in coming up with this new approach for Mendes in 2018.
But it could have come from J.T... or PG... or even Nicole herself. 
Or maybe there was never any such thought process by any of them...
But it seems to me that something along those lines... probably happened.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Nicole Mendes is a very talented ball player... on the bases, in the field and at bat.
As a freshman she had a very quick bat - that could catch up to even a top level pitcher's chin high rise ball. 
In 2018... she seemed to lose some of that bat speed... (perhaps indecisiveness in her approach at the plate contributed to that).
She seemed to lose the confidence she had developed as a freshman... and the belief in herself and her ability to dominate a pitch (and a pitcher). 
I have this feeling that Nicole... never really fully believed in this new pro-slapper idea - and as it never really paid off... 
she fell a bit deeper and deeper into a funk as the season developed. 

PG finally sat her out a few games, just before the post season ... and after that - Mendes came back with some new fire in her belly.
She put up a .385 BA, .429 OBP, .500 SLG and .929 OPS in the post season.
This was a nice improvement over what she had done in 2018... but was still well below her 2017 level.

I am looking forward to seeing what sort of numbers Nicole will put on the board in 2019. 
I hope she gets back to her 2017 style of play... and even improves upon those numbers (especially in power).
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #200 
If anyone is interested... I could tell you the approach I would use with Mendes - if I were her hitting coach.
Let me know if you want me to post my thoughts on that subject... 
and - anyone else - feel free to post your thoughts on the approach you would use - if you were her coach.
ChinMusik

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Reply with quote  #201 
NO WORRIES YOU WILL POST A NOBEL LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #202 
<< It was irritating enough that I would probably have replaced Gasso's son because I watched several things I didn't like with several hitters. >> (LandLottery)

I would enjoy hearing about these "several things you didn't like with several hitters". 
Exactly what "things"...  and which hitters?
Please elaborate...
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #203 
<< A source close to the program that I interact with would say you are pretty much on target and it didn't involve any volunteer assistants in the changes made. >> (surfinusa)

From the sound of your sentence above... it seems you are indicating it was - J.T. Gasso. 
Is that the case?


<< You'll notice that her style changed back to more like her freshman year at the end of the season.  She tore it up in the postseason. >> (surfinusa)

She didn't exactly "tear it up" in the post season...  
but she definitely headed back in the right direction.
LandLottery

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Reply with quote  #204 
Romero had the type of year in which you just let her hit.  But, when she slumped, she was horrid.  She also kept trying to hit it too hard.  If a hitter has lost their eye or timing, I like to have them think opposite field or up the middle.  It shortens the swing, and the ball is often hit before the wrists turn over, reducing popups, maximizing bat control.

I thought they took the bat out of Caleigh's hands this year.  She spent more time trying to bunt her way on or hit behind a runner, maybe trying to get hit.  Caleigh had begun to develop power, and she can kill you with doubles and an occasional home run.  I just want Caleigh hitting it where it is pitched.  She doesn't have the speed to beat out bunts.

This slap-hitting nonsense only works if you have either really sensational home-to-first speed, or the other team is ineffective on defense.  We didn't have one hitter in the past three years that I would have wanted to be a slap hitter.  Turang graduated.  We had hitters.  I would have never let Kelsey hit left-handed with runners on base.  She hit right into force plays at third or second, almost never getting it through the infield.  Turn around and hit a fly ball, or hit it to the opposite field.  She wasn't that bad as a right-handed hitter.  Except with the bases empty, I didn't want her slapping.

I had a lot more respect for Wodach than they did.  She showed she could hit.  Catching killed that.  Why?  She only did one thing wrong.  She let too many of her favorite pitches go by while swinging at bad  balls with two strikes.  Straight pull hitter.  So, either learn to hit the outside pitch into the opposite field or don't swing.  It was always an out. She hit a lot of balls way foul.  OK.  Take a step back from the plate so they aren't so far inside.  It looked like she wanted to get to the outside pitch.  Step back and kill the inside pitch--fair.  If you have to swing at the outside pitch, deposit it over the second baseman's head.  Do not stand next to the plate and pull a home run fifty feet foul.

Aviu. Let her alone.  Just tell her not to swing at an outside low pitch.

You have excellent hitters.  No slapping.  Teach them to swing level---to all fields.
scrybe

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Reply with quote  #205 
Completely agree that too much slapping was a bane of OU's existence in 2018. Oklahoma's lineup is stacked with power hitters who can also hit for high averages.

I'm still hesitant, however, to lay all the blame at JT's feet. In his first couple of seasons, Sooner hitters looked so comfortable at the plate. It was reported often that he brought with him a philosophy of "See the ball, hit the ball." That approach worked well. I don't know why he would have abandoned it.
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #206 
LOL.... which J.T.?
scrybe

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Reply with quote  #207 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3leftturns
LOL.... which J.T.?


LOL right back at you. You can't help yourself, can you?
surfinusa

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Reply with quote  #208 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryLouisAaron
<< A source close to the program that I interact with would say you are pretty much on target and it didn't involve any volunteer assistants in the changes made. >> (surfinusa)

From the sound of your sentence above... it seems you are indicating it was - J.T. Gasso. 
Is that the case?


<< You'll notice that her style changed back to more like her freshman year at the end of the season.  She tore it up in the postseason. >> (surfinusa)

She didn't exactly "tear it up" in the post season...  
but she definitely headed back in the right direction.


Deductive reasoning will lead you to the understanding it was J.T. Gasso.

She put up a .385 BA, .429 OBP, .500 SLG and .929 OPS in the postseason.  It wasn't her 2017 numbers but in relation to the team as a whole in postseason--- she tore it up. 
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #209 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrybe


LOL right back at you. You can't help yourself, can you?
YOU were the one who actually mentioned both of them... and then scurried back and changed Takeda to Reed
surfinusa

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Reply with quote  #210 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrybe
Completely agree that too much slapping was a bane of OU's existence in 2018. Oklahoma's lineup is stacked with power hitters who can also hit for high averages.

I'm still hesitant, however, to lay all the blame at JT's feet. In his first couple of seasons, Sooner hitters looked so comfortable at the plate. It was reported often that he brought with him a philosophy of "See the ball, hit the ball." That approach worked well. I don't know why he would have abandoned it.


Agreed.  Patty has a strategy that if you force the opposition infield into motion on the bunt that you can grind them down over the length of the game.  She is good at probing and attacking weaknesses in the other team's fielding.  One theory is to have an unexpected bunt laid down by a "power" hitter that undermines the opponent's strategy against the Sooners.  If the foundation under the fielders is frustrated, then opportunities develop to open up an inning with multiple runs. 

We saw that with planned "run down plays" and aggressive base running.  Several opposing players wound up confused just holding the ball as Sooner runners scurried to their base.  That sows the seeds of doubt that can induce or increase a moment of hesitation when the fielder attempts to execute a play. 

Patty also complained in interviews that she wasn't getting the clutch hit or the timely hit when necessary.  She then talked about "just getting on base" a few interviews later.  A sense of frustration developed when the team's actions didn't fit into her strategies. That sense manifested itself in what the fan saw as batters who "pressured" to swing or hit only for power.  

Kelsey Arnold was the most publicized player who worked hard to adapt to the change in the rule on "Batter's interference" on the slap and the bunt.  Did other batters in the lineup receive as much training and coaching on this aspect of the game?  Especially when more emphasis was placed on "slap and bunt" strategies?  Did that factor into poor execution of the slap and bunt as well as those strategies going against the natural inclinations of the batter?

It's true that run production has to change to station to station softball when power hitting does not occur.  Yet, when power hitting was shut down by Washington, it seemed a pressured situation developed where "just get on base" was the strategy.  The team didn't have much confidence in the bunt and slap game.  That the Mendes and Clifton examples hadn't worked showed clearly throughout the season. 

I won't attempt to second guess a HOF coach who's 24 year career boasts a record of 1364-386-3 (.779).  But I have to ask, given her ever changing lineup order with its inherent instability and her seemingly pushing an ideal game strategy, did she and her son realistically assess the progress of the players' response to it? 

You only have to ask yourself when was it when you first saw that Mendes was off stride, looked confused and unsettled.  And then over a period of time after that, how often did you ask yourself, "don't they (coaches) see that it isn't working?  Put her back where she was thriving!"

It's something to think about.  I'm not saying that is the way it was nor that I am certain of my conclusions of what I saw.  I'd like to hear your thoughtful feedback.  Replies that "you're an idiot" or "you got it all wrong" are not necessary.  I understand that there are differences in perspectives.
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