Susan Enquist is a former softball player and coach. She played softball at UCLA under Sharron Backus from 1975 to 1978. She helped lead UCLA to its first national softball championship in the 1978 Women's College World Series and became UCLA's first All-American softball player.
Her career batting average of .401 was the UCLA team record for 24 years. She also played for the Raybestos Brakettes and helped lead the team to Amateur Softball Association national championships in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1980. After receiving a bachelor's degree in kinesiology in 1980, Enquist joined the coaching staff of the UCLA softball team.
She was an assistant coach under Sharron Backus from 1980 to 1988. In 1989, she was appointed as the co-head coach with Backus, a position she held for eight years from 1989 to 1996. Following Backus's retirement, Enquist became the sole head coach at UCLA in 1997, a position she held for ten years from 1997 to 2006. Enquist retired from UCLA in 2006. In 18 years as the co-head coach and sole head coach at UCLA, Enquist compiled a record of 887–175–1.
Her career winning percentage of .835 is the highest recorded by any of the college softball coaches with 800 career wins. During her years as a player and coach at UCLA, the Bruins softball team won 11 national championships in 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1999, 2003 and 2004.
Enquist has been honored with inductions into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006, the UCLA Hall of Fame in 1993, and the Capistrano Unified School District Hall of Fame in 2000.
Maybe we just chill in the car, even though you’re dying to know what happened in the third inning or why they didn’t swing at that rise ball. We just need to give that moment to them and just speak when spoken to. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
One of the tie breakers between two athletes is the parents. While on the bleachers, parents may look like they’re paying attention to the athletes but they’re listening to how the other parents speak to one another and how they speak to their children. This is because they know that model behavior is going to be very similar to their child. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
One of the main things I did when looking at a student athlete while coaching was failure recovery. I would hope I would get to watch a student fail because I wanted to know if they could pack their chest saying ‘My bad!’, give the two outs and eye contact to a teammate, and bounce back thinking about the next play. Those were the types of players I wanted. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We know athletes won’t be perfect in sport. Those players that have that sense that they can bounce back is what we look for. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Another way you can really stand out as a student athlete is to sprint everywhere while everyone else jogs. Sprinting can grab the attention of many coaches.@SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
We're also looking to see who sees the game without the coach telling. Is the player moving on their own or do they have to wait for the coach to direct them? @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Players that actually can see the game and orchestrate their defense without the coach’s instruction - whether it be volleyball or basketball - is another skill that we’re looking at regarding being able to see the game and control the game. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
What’s most important is having a student athlete who was raised by a family that values character, who understands the importance around work ethic and a positive attitude, and is able to understand there is no one moment that is going to be bigger than who they are as a person. This idea of who I am will always be bigger than what I do. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Athletes come in with a sense of really strong core values. We recruited athletes who lived by their core values, who had a drive for discipline, and who had a fanatical need to serve their teammates. They really innately believed that the team came first for those two or three hours every day. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Right now is a great time to work on your character and your skills. There are two types of character skills. There are skills that get you to the top, such as skills that don’t involve other people (i.e. work ethic, grit, sacrifice), and the other skills like moral skills and relationship skills. Those are the skills that keep you on top and those have to deal with other people (i.e. awareness, empathy). @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Use this time to sharpen your skills in your home. Practice giving to your big or little sibling, practice doing the dishes without being asked, practice being in college one week (manage your schedule, wash your own clothes, cook your own food). That would be a great thing to do in COVID-19. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I always encourage families to do the toe test. Every single day when you wake up in the morning, let your toes hit that cold floor and remind yourself of everything that you have. This starts your trajectory for the day. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
It’s super counterproductive to keep score on whether it’s “fair.” Once you get into that language of ‘This is so unfair!” your heart is going to become heavier each day. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
You’re creating your story that you’re going to be able to reflect on when you move forward. When you go to college and you’re successful but are having a tough slump, you’re going to be able to look back and see that you made it through 2020. You can make it through a 0-4 weekend. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
When you go for that job, you can look that person in the eye and let them know that you competed at the highest level, lived through the pandemic of 2020, and state what you’ve learned about yourself and about your teammates. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Be able to tie your current experiences together in your future opportunities so you can look back and say, ‘I did it. It was a valuable time and I became a bigger person so I can move forward.’ @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
You have the grit to power through whatever you do. Don’t ever forget that because you’ll need that later on in life. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I coach because I love the feeling of helping others. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
I never felt like I had a J-O-B. I lived in my tennis shoes and was surrounded by student athletes and their families that were just exemplars. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
You hear this word a lot: Passion. What’s your passion? I hear a lot of student athletes get a little wide-eyed because they don’t really know if they know their passion or even if they know what that means. All those students and parent’s out there that are listening …don’t panic! @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Ask yourself, "What are you curious about in life?" Whether it be sport, engineering, dance or music, just ask yourself what you’re curious about. It doesn’t necessarily mean, what keeps you up at night because you’re so passionate? Start where you’re curious and see where that takes you so you don’t feel overwhelmed. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
There’s a theme of emotions on one side and a theme of emotions on the other side. What I’m hearing a lot and even things I’ve experienced is, ‘I’m going to or I am falling behind, I can’t go outside, what is Plan B?’ All this angst, this anxiousness, and this noise is in students heads if they’re a high performer. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Angst is very common. For those people that have that feeling, I want to tell you something: That’s also what made you great. You’ve got that voice in your head telling you you’re falling behind, but what’s not good is to let that voice of anxiety control the conversation. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Always ask students, would you date your inner voice? Start paying attention to that dialogue because that dialogue affects your overall mental health. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Think about giving that negative voice a name because when the brain gives a name, now that negative voice can be addressed. It allows you to coach yourself up. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
The other side of emotion is this sense of wonder—what you can do to get better while the world is on pause. Feed your curiosity when we’re in this press pause moment. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
For parents, there’s a lot of anxiety around their child’s learning. I have a lot of teacher friends who are aware that this semester is going to be tricky but students will not fall behind. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Parents should press pause and see this time as an opportunity to get closer with their son or daughter around how to be a parent of a performing child. Ask your child what you can do for them. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
My passion lies is teaching parents how to be great sport parents or parents of performing children. I want to ask parents, are we being great as parents of performing children? On their competition day, are you a little overbearing? @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
On competition day, no matter what kind of competition day, think about it as if you’re going to a movie. What do we think about when we go to the movie? We’re uber sensitive to other people so we’re quiet, we sit down, and we turn off our phones. You don’t text during your child’s game or their dance recital. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Be present. For parents that get super excited, you would never jump up on the stage, yell at the movie, or give mechanical instruction to a movie. Think about the movie on game day and maybe that’ll help you become a better parent for performing children. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
There’s six words you have to remember: I love to watch you play. Maybe we just give that moment to them and just speak when spoken to. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Student athletes don’t want to break down every quarter of the basketball game or every inning of the baseball game. When you get in the car, put your hands on the wheel at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock and then speak when spoken to. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Allow an opportunity for your child to exhale. They just got a chance to play with lots of noise like coaches yelling at them and parents yelling at them, and they don’t really get to free play or get to own the game. Now they’re in the car thinking about two things: Carl’s Jr. or Taco Bell. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
Probably more than anything, performers are great in Plan B. When you go for that job, tell them, ‘Hey, I understand about failure and I know the importance of bouncing back quickly.’ Those are things that corporate America always looks for. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit
You have the courage to go out there and put your name and your reputation on the line every day when you try to perform. Speak to that when you go for that job. @SueEnquist @LIOVirtualAthleticSummit