WE RECENTLY SAT down with Athlete Unlimited's (AU) softball pitcher Haylie Wagner to talk about her professional athletic career, her involvement with Athletes Unlimited, and how Lasso Socks 2.0 are helping her Stay Moving.
This whole journey began when Haylie and her teammates, Gwen Svekis and Victoria Hayward, drove down to New York to meet the Athletes Unlimited group and hear about the program about a year ago. During their meeting, the ladies discovered that the program was very interesting and they were all very intrigued with the prospect of it. Haylie told us that "As I learned more and more about what Athletes Unlimited was about, I really loved the concept and how they wanted to continue to grow the sport of softball." She also said "I like that they also want to grow other women's sports and empower women as well."
Haylie and the players have just wrapped up their first season of professional softball play with AU and she felt the experience had been amazing. The professionalism and the treatment of the players was fantastic for this new organization and the players were all very happy to have participated. "I don't have one bad thing to say about it," stated Wagner as she reflected on the inaugural season. "My experience here in the past year has been nothing but amazing and they take us very seriously and treat us like real professional athletes," Haylie explained.
Lasso's mission is to design and produce the best possible products that improve performance, prevention, and recovery to help the modern athlete Stay Moving and we wanted to know how they helped with Haylie's training and playing regiment. Haylie and the players received the Lasso Socks 2.0 during preseason when they reported to camp. Haylie was unaware that a sock could actually help with performance and recovery and tried them first for her post workout recovery. "I love them for recovery and I can actually feel my muscles repairing after practice," Haylie told us. After feeling how much the socks helped her in recovery, she began to use them during her workouts as well. Haylie told us that she loved the stabilization the socks provided her ankle. "I feel like my ankle is more secure while wearing them and this is good because I've sprained my ankle a few times over the years," Haylie told us. She further explained that just being able to feel safe and comfortable in them has been absolutely great.
We all know that collegiate and professional athletes have a special focus that drives them competitively and Haylie is no different. Growing up in Orange County California, Haylie had a very athletic and competitive upbringing. She played travel softball and for El Medina High School then later played for University of Michigan. Her idol and older sister played softball as well and was a tremendous influence one her. Her younger brother played baseball and her parents were very supportive and encouraging with their athletics. "Our parents drove us siblings to be competitive and that is something I really think back on a lot," Haylie told us.
Haylie went to the University of Michigan and was coached by some of the best leaders in the NCAA. This high-level of coaching really helped fine tune Haylie's competitive play and improved her mental aspect of the game as well. "This really taught me the importance of being a team player on the mound and being able to do my part and have my teammates backs," Haylie said. "All I want to do is do whatever I can in the circle and on the field to get my defense back into the dugout so they can produce offensively."
Playing and winning competitively takes a lot of determination and Haylie says that this is critical to her strengths. "When I was in college we had to pick a word that best described us and what we were going to own for the year. I picked determination and I've kind of been owning ever since," Haylie explained. It is 100% determination that she shares with her team and puts in every day. She believes determination gives them the competitive edge to get outs and get back into the dugout. Haylie said "The big thing for me is being able to Support each other and knowing that no matter what happens throughout the entire game, it's one pitch at a time. It's one second at a time. It's one at bat at a time. And, you have to have each other's back the entire time."
Athletes demand a lot from the equipment and Haylie is no different. She understands that every athlete is unique and, different things work differently for others. Haylie told us "The most important thing for equipment is reliability, and being comfortable in it. This goes with gloves, pants, jerseys, and socks." She knows that if her gear fails it can definitely change the game not only for her but the whole team. And, once you find a good fit, you stick with it. Haylie has been using the same style Wilson glove since 2011 because she trusts it and she is a bit of a creature of habit. Haylie's demands are no less for her socks and she has found the Lasso Socks extremely comfortable and reliable. "I literally wear them every single day,' Haylie said. "I can't wait for new Lasso products to come out so I can try them. And, I know what I'm getting my family for Christmas now. Especially my dad."
The softball players of Athletes Unlimited's first season have definitely developed something great. By reimagining the way traditional sports can be played, Athletes Unlimited has sped up game play, added a personal player point system, and created a new weekly draft and team roster system - all to deliver next-level competition and engagement.
For more, go to auprosports.com.