Coach Jennifer Walls shares her experiences coaching and playing championship-level softball, competing in bodybuilding, and what changed her outlook on leadership.
Coach Walls has led an active life, from playing in Softball world championships, competing in bodybuilding, and now acting as head coach for the ABAC softball team. She sat down to answer a few questions.
“I’ve tried soccer, that didn’t work out well, I tried gymnastics, that didn’t work out well either. Softball was the sport I gravitated towards; it came pretty easy to me”. She said. As for health, I really didn’t start taking an interest in health and fitness until college, that’s when I started with the weights and nutrition.” She said. “It wasn’t until freshman year of college that I got interested in weights. I got the results of my body changing, putting muscle on, and being a lot stronger. It helped my overall performance with pitching, endurance, everything.”
Being an athlete is not easy, especially when you’re graduating from high school softball to a more serious collegiate team.
“I was given a workout package to do by my college coach, she said that it was probably a good idea, ‘you look through this and get familiar with some of the weights. Then when you come in as a freshman in college you won’t be so sore, and you’ll have an idea of what the workouts are like.” she said. “Do you think that I looked at that workout packet? Nah, I didn’t open it. So, I get to my first workout in college – I laugh now because this is what I preach to my college players at ABAC, I remember the first week of weights and running. I could not walk; I was So sore. I remember getting on the phone and crying to my parents about how I should have done my workout packet. They said “Yep, alright. Now you’ve got to make up for lost time.”
Walls eventually transitioned into a different type of athleticism, bodybuilding.
“I got into (bodybuilding) when I saw my friend’s pictures who had competed in a bikini competition, I said ‘you look amazing, how did you get into that?’ Seeing how my body could transform into that, I felt softball was over for me. She got me started in prep for my first show. She helped prep my diet and workouts, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to train for in my life, but I liked the challenge and seeing how I could transform my body.”
She led the ABAC Fillies to win the state Championship in 2019, placed third in her first competition and has competed in several since then. She said that she is now retired from bodybuilding and has “no desire” to do it again. Stating that the dieting was “miserable”.
You don’t have to be a world-class athlete, bodybuilder, or even a health nut to get started in fitness.
“If you’ve never exercised here before, come here to Thrash anyway, bring or make a friend here. I know it can be intimidating. Participation in Thrash has been amazing the last several semesters, it’s also a great recruiting tool for new students. The wellness center has been one of the best credentials we have to help bring new students to ABAC.”
She said to keep on the lookout for new PE classes coming to ABAC. New renovations are being made on campus to accommodate Yoga and other group fitness activities.