Ashley Van Slyck, Correspondent (@AVanSlyckFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – At five years old, when Terese Waltman’s parents first asked if she wanted to sign up to play softball, she responded telling her parents “No. All I want to do is go to the concessions stand by myself.”
The Lincoln High School softball coach began playing when she was six years old, just a year after she told her parents she did not want to play. Waltman was inspired by her sister, who is two years older than her, to begin the sport. Along with softball, she was very active, playing basketball, tennis and golf. She mostly spent her time focused on softball and basketball.
“I think it was actually when I got into ninth grade I had to make the decision. Am I really going to focus on softball or basketball?” Waltman said. “After I finished basketball season, I realized I was wanting to leave basketball practice and go pitch in the yard with my dad or leave a basketball game and go hit with him.”
Her sophomore year of high school, Waltman began receiving letters of interest and by her junior year was going on official visits. She narrowed down her top three schools to Georgia Tech, University of Alabama and Florida State.
“I had my older sister so I kind of followed the ropes she took and saw how the recruiting process worked,” Waltman said.
After watching her sister play in college at the University of West Georgia, she decided what she wanted. She wanted the opportunity to prove herself as a player at a top university.
“I wanted the big university aspect of it. At that point, I did everything in my power and worked really hard and was able to earn a scholarship,” Waltman said.
Waltman committed to Florida State University at the end of her junior year and officially signed as a senior. Through her experiences as a player, Waltman learned a lot about herself.
“I’ve learned how strong of a person I am. You can face adversities and see how you react to them and overcome them,” Waltman said.
Less than a week after finishing four seasons at Florida State, Waltman headed to Germany for a summer to play softball internationally. She competed for the European cup and her team took fourth place. She was named Most Valuable Pitcher at the global tournament.
Waltman returned to Tallahassee and first began her coaching career at Lincoln High School in fall 2011, with her first official season in spring 2012. Waltman has used her experiences as a player to help develop the way she coaches her athletes.
“I’ve been in their shoes. I know what it feels like to be in those pressure situations,” Waltman said. “I think it has helped me relate to them instead of demanding to do this and that.”
Off the field, Waltman has become a comforting voice to her players. Senior catcher Taylor Thorpe said it’s like having another parent.
“Basically, [she] is like our second mom or sister. I can talk to her about anything. I’ll text her that I need help with something and ask for her advice,” senior catcher Taylor Thorpe said.