Dannie is an assistant softball coach at Rutgers-Camden. Since Dannie was a little girl, she has always wanted to be a professional softball player. As she began chasing her dream, life gave her an opportunity to be a coach, and she has spent the last several months pouring herself into the lives of the players she trains. Among her many duties as Assistant-Coach, Dannie helps to lead and inspire her players to be the best version of themselves both on and off the softball field.

Dannie started her membership at Bellum while she was a student at Rutgers-Camden, using her skills learned to supplement her playtime on the softball field. After graduation, she found herself looking for a form of exercise that she wouldn’t make excuses to skip. She restarted her membership at Bellum, and once she decided to prioritize her time at the gym, she started attending 5-6 days a week consistently, partly for the health benefits, and partly because she calls Bellum “the best hour of her day”, no matter what the workout is.

In her last few months of membership, Dannie has honed her Olympic weightlifting skills, lifted (really) heavy weights, and has been able to use what she’s learned at Bellum to supplement her coaching sessions. Part of what makes Dannie such a great Assistant-Coach is her ability to BE coached. She is focused and listens to the suggestions of our team here at Bellum, knowing when to grab the heavier dumbbells and push herself, and when to listen to her body and focus on form versus intensity.

What type of workouts did you perform before coming to Bellum?: I’ve played many different sports while growing up such as softball, basketball and soccer. I ended up playing softball for 17 years so i’ve always been active, but I can honestly say though that I never “worked out” until I got into playing softball at the collegiate level. That’s when I started getting into lifting and running more than just when being on the softball field. Our strength and conditioning coach my first two years at Rutgers was actually a CrossFit coach, so I got a little glimpse at some of the CrossFit style work outs before I actually got myself into Bellum.

Why were you looking for a new style of workouts?:  Once I graduated and stopped playing softball, I wanted something that would keep me in shape and that I would also enjoy doing. One thing about me is if i’m doing something that I don’t full heartedly enjoy doing, I am absolutely miserable because I feel like i’m wasting my time. I can honestly say that coming to Bellum is my favorite hour of every day because I do nothing but laugh (sometimes a little too much) (Mondays at 6:45 with Liss) (sorry Kelly) and i’m bettering myself while doing it.

What is your favorite CrossFit movement or workout?:  My favorite movement would have to be the Power Clean. Although my form on them can still use some work, I find that movement the most interesting because of how many muscles you are actually using to complete it. My favorite work out would be anything involving rowing, and something that is over a longer period of time. I like longer workouts because that way I can pace myself and control my breathing better. I don’t like quick workouts where I know my lungs are going to blow up (like in those cruel benchmark workouts that I complain the whole time).

What is your biggest accomplishment since starting at Bellum? My biggest accomplishment in the gym is more of an internal accomplishment that most people probably wouldn’t be able to notice, but i’ve been able to become more consistent with my attendance which is something that i’m proud of. When I came back to Bellum in July, I struggled with motivation and averaged like one class a week by using my schedule as an excuse. Over the past couple of months i’ve been consistently getting myself there 5 to 6 days a week now, which is something that I didn’t think I would be able to do. My outside of the gym accomplishment would definitely be being brought onto the coaching staff at Rutgers.

How have the workouts at Bellum strengthened your ability and/or approach to coaching your team?: While being at Bellum, i’ve learned a lot about what movements help strengthen certain muscles, and also ways to help/prevent injuries. A lot of softball requires strength, so now I am able to help my players with different lifts/workouts that they could do that would help them improve their strength in certain areas. Also if one of them are injured, I can take some of the stretches/movements that i’ve learned at Bellum, and help them with theirs. AND the work outs are still keeping me in shape which allows me to still show my players up when needed 🙂

What is your favorite out-of-the-gym activity?: I LOVE following a sunset, I will drop anything i’m doing if I see a good one and i’ll go follow it. Other then that i enjoy going to concerts, being on a softball field (watching, playing, coaching), trying new breweries or wineries, and annoying Kelly as much as possible.

What’s your “Why”?: My why is broken into two parts. The first part would be me. Most of my days are spent doing things that are catering to other people since I am a waitress and a coach. I do things for other people, and I often catch myself not doing enough for me. Coming and working out is the one thing that I can say is only for me, no one else is benefiting from this besides me. My other part of my why would be for my players. I coach at two different levels, college and a high school level travel team. I believe that an athlete goes through an identity crisis once they are done playing their sport because they think that they are not an athlete anymore. I want to show them that you can still be an athlete just in a different way. I also want to lead by example for them, if I want them to be in shape and i’m not, how would that make any sense.

Leave a Comment