Born in Chattanooga, 23-year-old Kaity Holloway’s whole life has been softball. Parents, Todd and Tina, were big supporters of twin girls Kaity and Kristin’s softball careers.
Though being a twin, Kaity and her sister had their differences. “We are very much fraternal – not identical in the least. We had our sibling rivalry but that changed when we attended seperate high schools. We moved to Chickamauga when we were 15. She stayed at GPS and graduated. I went to Gordon Lee during my sophomore year,” she says.
Kaity’s parents were a big support in keeping her motivated as she grew up with the sport.
“When I was 10 or 12 years old, I was at a pitching lesson and I was just done with it all. I didn’t want to pitch that day, I wasn’t pitching well at all. Pitching lessons don’t come cheap and my parents weren’t going to continue to pay for that if I didn’t give it my all. Dad grounded me because I was pitching so badly and so I quit. The only reason why I quit was because I was grounded,” Kaity admitted.
“I said, ‘Dad, since I quit, am I still grounded?’ He technically ungrounded me – but when I got home, my mom found out I quit and she grounded me for quitting,” Kaity laughs.
“They knew that I loved it and they knew that I just was having my lazy moments - every kid does, but there came a time when I was about 13 that my dad said, ‘listen, I am not begging you to practice anymore. You are old enough to make this decision on your own’. I remember from then on out I practiced every day. I knew it was up to me and I knew it was what it would take to get me to college,” Kaity insists.
“Their supporting me was everything to me - being there for all the fundraisers, to get to the tournaments or our uniforms and they never complained. They supported us 100 percent of the way,” Kaity avers.
Kaity’s whole childhood was about ball, spending nine months out of the year focusing on the game.
She and her sister played ‘select’ ball when they were just seven. After those two years they moved up to fast pitch. “We played from age nine (up until we were playing in college) playing school ball during school season and in the summer league we always played on the same team,” Kaity says.
Kaity played select softball with Chattanooga Austin Eagles, played at GPS for a few years until she transferred and played at Gordon Lee.
Admitting to being a very competitive person, Kaity seems most competitive with herself. As there were several highlights Kaity could recall over all of the games she has played, such as throwing her first perfect game at GPS, she also remembers her strike-out game at Gordon Lee.
“I had faced 16 batters and I struck out the first 14, walked the 15th batter and then struck out the 16th. I remember after the game, I didn’t care about all the strike outs – I was so mad that I walked that 15th batter. It ruined it for being the perfect game for me,” Kaity says.
When she began getting exposure during tournaments, Kaity started receiving letters from colleges. “I received 120 letters from about 35 different colleges. Some were Arizona State, Florida State, University of Indiana, Michigan, Syracuse and UTC,” Kaity states.
She received a full ride scholarship offer from UTC. “I was only there for two years and then transferred out to Northwestern State University in Louisiana. It wasn’t my best interest to stay at UTC - the coach and I didn’t see eye to eye,” Kaity declares.
She is now a camp counselor for the summer at the private elementary school, St. Nicholas in East Brainerd. “I am looking for other employment after August because the summer ends. I am trying to get different experiences under my belt but I did graduate with a psychology degree,” Kaity says.
She has also been coaching at Chattanooga School for Arts and Science since the start of this season. Last season she was the assistant coach under her sister, but Kristin left for a job at another school.
Because of her own experience, Kaity knows what it takes when inspiring the girls she coaches. “I went through a lot where we did conditioning for the first two hours and practiced for the last hour – three or four times a week. It’s hard work, long hours and long days,” she says.
Playing with injuries in college, Kaity had two foot surgeries and had played with a hurt shoulder since she was a junior in high school. “Things like that help me explain to the girls, ‘Hey, it’s worth it, this is where it got me – I got my full ride’,” Kaity says.
Aside from the competitive aspect, Kaity likes the mental challenge that can arise in a game. “The analytical part excites me; the strategies, the quick-thinking …one of the reasons that I was a psychology major was being faced with these types of things. I have always loved numbers and was a business major starting out. I love statistics and it all plays a part in coaching to me,” Kaity asserts.
It is clear that Kaity pushes for the win and her exuberance is what makes her a good coach. “Numbers don’t lie. But at the same time I am a strong believer in listening to your gut and, the best defense is a great offense. Whoever ‘scores the most runs’ in the end is going to be the winner so…” she trails off, knowing she made her point.
Kaity’s strong points are pitching and hitting. She has been giving lessons since she was 17 years old, working with individuals with pitching, hitting and fielding lessons for six years now.
When coaching her girls’ softball team, Kaity realizes she will deal with attitudes from time to time.
“The girls will post things on Facebook saying they ‘got killed at practice’ …little things that they are feeling that I was feeling when growing up playing – but at the same time, it’s a satisfaction to see and that’s why I push them. I am not asking them to do anything that I didn’t do,” Kaity says.
Competitive softball is one of the most time-consuming and demanding of sports and it takes a lot of commitment.
“There would be days when I played when we would play seven 1 ½ hour games in one day - we did that at a state tournament. You would get to the field about an hour and a half to two hours before the game and we didn’t leave until almost 2:30 or 3:00 that next morning. It is absolutely a commitment and to make a commitment in sports you have to be the best of the best,” Kaity says.
The hardest thing for the young coach is conveying to her girls the mental aspect of it. “I am putting a lot of my time and attention in my girls – we have so much raw talent, I really want us to work on our mental part of it. When it comes down to it – the mind can withstand so much more than the body will allow it to do,” she says.
“With all of those 3 to 4 practices in which we run to death, doing the fundamentals and doing a bunch of tricks just to keep your mind right - that is the hardest aspect of it.”
Kaity’s desire is to stick with coaching high school ball but loves the idea of working with students and possibly going back for her masters in the future.
“I just want to be around the game. It’s been my entire life and I love it.”