As we continue with our segment, "Players Corner", we have interviewed one of our U12 players and rare pitcher/catcher combo Luca Donohue. He had a promising fall we hope he continues
1) "Who do you look up to as your heroes in sports?"
Derek Jeter, because of the way he handled himself on and off the field. He treats everyone with respect. He created a great model for leadership as the Yankee captain and I try to follow it. His work with his foundation is inspiring as well as his second baseball career with the Marlins.
2) What do your friends think of your athletic success? How do you handle missing out on activities with friends because of your athletic schedule?
Most of my friends also play on travel teams, just not baseball, they play soccer, chess, other commitments. I don’t mind sacrificing hanging out with friends because my priority is baseball. I’ve missed birthday parties, random other moments...but there’s nowhere i’d really rather be than on the field.
3) Have you had any serious injuries? How did you deal with these and overcome the obstacles?
I had an elbow injury two seasons ago from overuse. I had to be very patient and take the winter off from throwing and put in the work to get better. Physical therapy is tedious but it worked. It was really frustrating not to be able to fully participate in practices but I knew I had to think about the bigger picture.
4) Is it difficult to balance sports with school work? Why or Why not?
Sometimes it’s hard to balance because I get home late from baseball and it’s hard to get motivated to do my schoolwork, and weekends are generally jam packed. But I figure out ways to get it done. School is as much a priority for me as baseball.
5) Was there a time where you disagreed with an umpire, how did you handle it? Tell us about the one time you may have gotten carried away.
As a pitcher, hitter and catcher, there are lots of times when I disagree with an ump. But, I always treat them with respect and keep control of my emotions. I actually can’t think of a time when I got carried away.
6) How do you or your teammates feel about time on the bench?
Time on the bench doesn’t feel good but I take it as a learning opportunity to observe and improve my game and support the team.
7) How much time do you spend training and practicing?
I do some kind of workout everyday in the off-season, baseball training and/or strength training. I also play soccer and basketball. In the season I do some kind of baseball-related workout everyday.
8) Tell me about one or two things you do in training that directly contributes to your success.
All the small things, the repetitive drills and work help me in the game. For example, pop-time and transfer drills for catching or tee work for hitting.
10) Athletes have to eat healthy foods to be in top shape. What foods do you have to give up when you're in training?
Sometimes I try to limit my sugary foods when I’m training. I eat more kale salads and more smoothies but mostly I don’t have to give anything up, just make sure that I’m eating well.
11) Have you ever had any difficulties with teammates, and how did you handle them?
So far I haven’t - I’ve been lucky to play with mostly the same group of guys since I was 8. We’re tight and generally haven’t had a lot of tension or issues. I’m sure I’ll have to deal with that kind of challenge in the future but I’ve been lucky so far and we all get along really well.
12) Have you ever felt pressured by a coach or your parents? If so explain and how did you handle it?
I’ve only had good pressure…coaches encouraging me to work harder or push myself that could feel like a lot of pressure, but it’s necessary. There have been tournaments where I was really tired and I felt pressure to pitch or catch another inning but I generally trust that coaches know what they’re doing.
13) What have you learned about your own endurance? About your personal limits?
Over time I learned that you have to push yourself but not to the point of hurting yourself. From my arm injury a few years ago I learned about overuse so that’s always in the background.
14) What do you feel is the role of your parents? What is their actual role?
I’m sure that in the future I won’t always defer to them, but this fall when I had to make a hard decision about changing teams they helped me navigate that moment, because all I knew was that I wanted to play ball. Their actual role? They give up their weekends and so much time to get me to games, tournaments, and practices. It’s also about helping me balance everything that I need to do while I get more independent.
15) Have your parents always been supportive of their sports.
My parents have always been supportive of anything I’m passionate about, but my grandma really introduced me to baseball. (She’s a Yankees fan)
16) What words of advice or encouragement do you have to share with younger athletes
Always push yourself, stay humble, put in more reps then you think you need, and pick your teammates up when they need it. Play more than one sport, it’ll help your baseball.
17) What have you learned about teamwork from being on this team? How does the team make you a better player?
I’ve learned that teamwork is about putting the group above myself, even when I don’t have the best game, you need to celebrate others’ wins and vice versa. There’s really no individual wins, the team magic is everything.