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Grand Valley State Coach Treasures Relationships Over Wins APRIL 2014 Fastpitch Delivery WORDS TO COACH BY... “What I like most is the relationships with the players. I want to be there for them. I would hope (they’d say) that I cared for them as a person and a student-athlete and that I wanted the best for them.”



“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back. Play for her.” MIA HAMM, U.S. SOCCER LEGEND


APRIL 2014

VOLUME 19, NO. 4

The Wright Decision

Fresno State Will Name Stadium For Former Coach

Central College coach George Wares, center, poses for a photo with his team after recording his 1,000th win. Photo by Larry Happel.

Central Figure Hits History

Dutch Coach Wares First In Division III To Reach 1,000 Wins By DAVE HINES Editor While everyone was excitedly awaiting history, Central College softball coach George Wares was just waiting to get it over with. So when the nationally-ranked Dutch won the second game of a doubleheader, 6-5, over fellow Top 25 school Luther College on April 8 to make Wares the first coach in NCAA Division III history to earn 1,000 career victories, no one was more relieved than Wares.

“I’m glad to have it out of the way,” Wares said after the game. “Obviously, it’s something I share with a lot of people over the years — from current players and coaches, to those that preceded them, as well as a lot of administrators.” Senior left fielder Jordan Overland said it was business as usual — until the seventh inning. “We were pretty concerned that we had lost the first game,” Overland said. “I did start to get some butterflies in the bottom of the seventh, though,


New Columnist Bree Nasti Says Switching Up How You Approach Practice Can Reap Dividends Once The Games Start.



because Coach’s daughters were in left field screaming to get the last out and finish the game.” “I got to experience Coach’s 900th win my freshman year, but getting to be part of his 1,000th as a senior was completely indescribable.” After his milestone win, Wares’ record in 29-plus years at Central stood at a mind-boggling 1,000-327-3 (.752 winning percentage), including 25 NCAA tournament appearances,

National Freshman Of Year Finalists The 25 Players Vying For The NFCA’s New Division I Award Have Been Chosen.



Fresno State’s proposal to name its softball stadium Margie Wright Diamond to honor the NFCA Hall of Famer and NCAA’s all-time winningest Division I softball coach, who led the Bulldogs to 1,294 victories, 17 conference crowns and 10 Women’s College World Series trips in her 27 seasons at the helm, was unanimously approved recently by the California State University Board of Trustees. Wright, who led Wright Fresno State to its first team national championship in 1998, had been an staunch advocate for building the 3,288-seat facility in 1996, which has been known since then as Bulldog Diamond. “Margie Wright is a trailblazer and one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of Fresno State,” University President Joseph Castro said in a news release. “She mentored hundreds of student-athletes during her career and many became leaders around the Central SEE FRESNO PAGE 5

NEW MEMBERS................................. PAGE 3 DIVISION I HCC MINUTES................. PAGE 4 QUESTION OF THE MONTH.............. PAGE 7 SOFTBALL BY SMITTY.................... PAGE 14 EDUCATION..............................PAGES 18-19 VIEWPOINTS.................................... PAGE 22


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APRIL 2014

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New Members James Adkins, Head Coach, James Madison High School (Va.); Mark Arrington, Head Coach, Angels 98; Melissa Baer, Head Coach, Lycoming College; McKell Barnes, Head Coach, Bates College; Rebecca Bartoo, Head Coach, Hot Springs High School (N.M.); Sarah Beachkofsky, Head Coach, Hilton Head Island High School (S.C.); Jeff Benson, Assistant Coach, Wallace State Community College-Hanceville; Rick Beville, Head Coach, Dinwiddle High School (Va.); Scott Beyer, Head Coach, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh; Robert Bitting, Head Coach, Cedar Cliff High School (Pa.); Mary Blasingame, Assistant Coach, East Georgia College; Jane Bock, Head Coach, Brownsville Area (Pa.); Jim Brown, Head Coach, Raymore-Peculiar (Mo.); Lucinda Buchan, Head Coach, Alverno H.S. (Calif.); Erika L. Burns, Head Coach, Rib Lake (Wis.); Cady Byrnes, Assistant Coach, East Central University; Alan Caouette, Head Coach, Aliso Niguel (Calif.); Jennifer Carlo, Head Coach, Academy of Notre Dame (Pa.); Shelly Chaffin, Head Coach, REC; Daryl Cook, Head Coach, Extreme Performance; Carla Dupert, Head Coach, Aiken High (S.C.); Matthew Elzey, Assistant Coach, Delaware Storm; Brian Erbe, Head Coach, Jefferson High School (Iowa); Susan Gowans, Head Coach (internet only), Royals; Ed Hall, Head Coach, Cornerstone Christian Schools (Texas); Garrett Hone, Head Coach, Corner Canyon High School (Utah); Rhonda Hoogenraad, Head Coach, Zeeland West High School (Mich.); Michael Johnston, Head Coach, St. Frederick High School (La.); Pam Johnston, Head Coach, NW Chaos; Bradley Kimbrough, Head Coach, Sheffield High School (Ala.); Pamela Knox, All-Inclusive Membership;

Heather Korzec, Head Coach, Monson High School (Mass.); Ashleigh Kuhn, Head Coach, LTG Stars; Amanda Larry, Head Coach, Independence (N.C.); Clayton Lavercombe, Head Coach, Tippeecanoe High School (Ohio); Ashley Lokey, Head Coach, Chabot College; Katherine Loomis, Assistant Coach, Legacy Charter High School (Fla.); David Lowry Assistant Coach, Buzz Slagle; Andrea Martensen, Head Coach, Nevada Stealth; Michael McCarthy, Assistant Coach, Oregon Silver Bullets; Ray Melewski, Head Coach, Canfield Cardinals (Ohio); Michael Miller, Assistant Coach, Texas Glory; Madison Moncrief, AllInclusive Membership; Ryan Pace, Head Coach, Golden Gate (Fla.); Kathy Parlin, Head Coach, Athens Area Schools (Mich.); Jackie Pasquerella, Head Coach, Bay Shore High School (N.Y.); Rick Patrick, Head Coach, Angels; Martin Radford, All-Inclusive Membership; Rachel Reekstin, Head Coach, Concordia University (Texas); Amanda Rodriguez, Head Coach, Lake Zurich (Ill.); Jamison Ross, Head Coach, Crown College (Minn.); Brian Scharmann, Head Coach, Livermore Valley Charter Prep (Calif.); April Schermann, Head Coach, Normal West High School (Ill.); Harley Sisson, Head Coach, Russellville High School (Ark.); Kelli Snyder, Assistant Coach, Williamette University; Christianna Stiles, Head Coach, Southeast Polk High School (Iowa); Brianna Strecker, Assistant Coach, Bridgewater State University; Karen Thull, Head Coach (internet only), Spartans; Amy Wolfenden, Head Coach, Pace High School (Fla.); Kelli Zache, Head Coach, Saint Mary’s College (Ind.); Charlie Zeilman, Head Coach, Louisiana State University at Alexandria; Amanda Zunno, Head Coach, Rancho High School (Nev.).


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APRIL 2014


March 4, 2014 Telephone Conference No. 2014-03 The meeting was brought to order at 10:01 a.m. CST. Those present were: Mandy Burford, Southern Conference; Heidi Cavallo, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; Jenny Condon, Big West Conference; Pat Conlan, Big East Conference, and NFCA Board Rep; Melanie Davis, Troy University; Michelle DePolo, Patriot League; Jo Evans, Southeastern Conference; Rick Fremin, Southwestern Athletic Conference; Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cessler, Big 12 Conference; Jessica Hanaseth, West Coast Conference; Amy Hayes, Missouri Valley Conference; Kyla Holas, American Athletic Conference; Melissa Inouye, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; Brad Irwin, Atlantic Sun Conference; Roy Kortmann, Northeast Conference; Amanda Lehotak, Big Ten Conference; Karen Linder, Mid-American Conference; Eric Oakley, Big Sky Conference; Bridget Orchard, Atlantic 10 Conference; Drew Peterson, Big South Conference; Dan Powers, Western Athletic Conference; Mike Smith, Southland Conference; Shonda Stanton, Conference USA; Heather Tarr, Pacific-12 Conference Erin Thorpe, Mountain West Conference; Holly Van Vlymen, The Summit League; Elizabeth Walther, Horizon League, Alternate; Jaime Wohlbach, Colonial Athletic Association Dee Abrahamson, NCAA Softball Secretary-Rules Editor, Guest; Natalie Poole, NFCA Division I Representative; David Batson, NFCA Legislative Consultant; Lacy Lee Baker, NFCA Executive Director Lonni Alameda, Atlantic Coast Conference; Rachel Hanson, Ivy League; Jane Worthington, Ohio Valley Conference, and a representative from the America East Conference were not on the call. 1. Approval of February Call Minutes. It was moved (Mr. Peterson) and seconded (Ms. Van Vlyman) that the February call minutes be approved. 2. New Scouting Rule. The group reviewed the Scouting Rule documentation that Mr. Batson had provided (see box at right). There were several questions, and Mr. Batson said he would find out the answers from the NCAA and provide information after the call. [Note: Subsequent to the call, the following Scouting Rule addendum was distributed to the HCC members for distribution to their conference coaches: A. Can a coach and student-athletes attend and scout a game being played between two teams that are not on the institution’s remaining regular-season



Scouting of Opponents

GENERAL SCOUTING RULE 11.6.1 - Off-Campus, In-Person Scouting Prohibition. Offcampus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season) is prohibited, except as provided in Bylaws and - Exception -- Same Event at the Same Site. An institution’s coaching staff may scout future opponents also participating in the same event at the same site. - Exception -- Conference or NCAA Championships. An institution’s coaching staff may attend a contest in the institution’s conference championship or an NCAA championship contest in which a future opponent participates (e.g., an opponent on the institution’s spring nonchampionship segment schedule participates in a fall conference or NCAA championship). VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT COACH 11.01.5 - Coach, Volunteer. In sports other than football and basketball, a volunteer coach is any coach who does not receive compensation or remuneration from the institution’s athletics department or any organization funded in whole or in part by the athletics department or that is involved primarily in the promotion of the institution’s athletics program (e.g., booster club, athletics foundation association). The following provisions shall apply: (a) The individual is prohibited from contacting and evaluating prospective student-athletes off campus or from scouting opponents off campus and may not perform recruiting coordination functions (see Bylaw (b) The individual may receive a maximum of two complimentary tickets to home athletics contests in the coach’s sport. (c) The individual may receive complimentary meals incidental to organized team activities (e.g., pre- or postgame meals, occasional meals, but not training table meals) or meals provided during a prospective student-athlete’s official visit, provided the individual dines with the prospective student-athlete. UNDERGRADUATE ASSISTANT COACH 11.01.4 - Coach, Undergraduate Student Assistant. An undergraduate student assistant coach is any coach who is a student-athlete who has exhausted his or her eligibility in the sport or has become injured to the point that he or she is unable to practice or compete ever again, and who meets the following additional criteria: (a) Is enrolled at the institution at which he or she most recently participated in intercollegiate athletics; (b) Is enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in his or her first baccalaureate degree program (see Bylaw, except that during his or her final semester or quarter of the baccalaureate degree program, he or she may be enrolled in less than a full-time degree program of studies, provided he or she is carrying (for credit) the courses necessary to complete the degree requirements; (c) Is receiving no compensation or remuneration for coaching duties from the institution other than the financial aid that could be received as a student-athlete and expenses incurred on road trips that are received by individual team members; and (d) Is not involved in contacting and evaluating prospective student-athletes off campus or scouting opponents off campus and does not perform recruiting coordination functions (see Bylaw NON-COACHING STAFF MEMBERS - Noncoaching Activities. Institutional staff members involved in noncoaching activities (e.g., administrative assistants, academic counselors) do not count in the institution’s coaching limitations, provided such individuals are not identified as coaches, do not engage in any on- or off-field coaching activities (e.g., attending meetings involving coaching activities, analyzing video involving the institution’s or an opponent’s team), and are not involved in any off-campus recruitment of prospective student-athletes or scouting of opponents. QUESTION AND ANSWER Question No. 1: For the purposes of this proposal, how is “future opponent” defined?

Answer: A future opponent is an opponent that appears on a team’s schedule in the remainder of the same season (including championship and nonchampionship segments). Question No. 2: Are potential opponents in a conference and/ or NCAA tournament considered future opponents? Answer: Potential opponents in a conference and/or NCAA tournament are not “future opponents” unless they appear on the institution’s schedule in the remainder of the season (including championship and nonchampionship segments). Question No. 3: Does the legislation prohibit a coach from attending an event in his or her sport, even if the competing institutions are not on the team’s schedule for the season in question? Answer: No. The legislation prohibits in-person, off-campus scouting of future opponents that are on the team’s schedule for the same season (including championship and nonchampionship segments), unless the same-site exception is met. Question No. 4: May a coach scout an opponent that the coach’s team already competed against in the same season? Answer: Yes, provided the opponent does not appear on the institution’s schedule in the remainder of the season (including championship and nonchampionship segments). Question No. 5: Is it permissible for an institution’s coaching staff member or noncoaching staff member with sport-specific responsibilities to attend an athletics event involving a future opponent of the institution if the staff member has an immediate family member participating in the event? Answer: Yes. (See staff confirmation 9/27/13, Item No. b Coaching Staff Member who is Parent, Sibling or Spouse of Participant in Contest Involving Future Opponent (I) Date Published: September 27, 2013. Item Ref: b The academic and membership affairs staff confirmed that the prohibition against off-campus scouting of opponents does not preclude a coaching staff member from attending a contest that involves a future opponent if the coaching staff member is the parent or legal guardian, sibling or spouse, of a participant (e.g., player, coach) in the competition. Question No. 6: Is it permissible for an institution to employ an individual or a professional scouting service for the purpose of recording video of its future opponents? Answer: No. Question No. 7: Is it permissible for institutions to pay the costs of exchanging video for scouting purposes? Answer: Yes. Question No. 8: Is it permissible for an institution to obtain video of future opponents from a recording/dubbing service, provided the institution pays no fees or expenses related to obtaining the video other than providing a blank videotape/DVD (or other medium) and paying postage costs? Answer: Yes. Question No. 9: Is it permissible for a coach to scout a future opponent that is competing in the same event (e.g., tournament) but at a different site (e.g., different arena in the same city)? Answer: No. Question No. 10: May a coach attend an event in which both prospective student-athletes and student-athletes that represent future opponents are competing at the same time (e.g., track and field meets, swimming meets)? Answer: Yes. If student-athletes from the coach’s team are competing in the event, then the same-site exception for scouting future opponents applies. If the coach’s student-athletes are not involved in the event and he or she is evaluating prospective student-athletes (during a permissible contact or evaluation period), he or she may attend and evaluate the prospective student-athletes regardless of whether future opponents may be involved. Question No. 11: May a coach attend a contest that involves prospective student-athletes and a future opponent (e.g., track meet)? Answer: Yes, provided the coach is attending the event for the purpose of evaluating the prospective student-athletes and the event occurs during a permissible recruiting period.

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APRIL 2014



Hill Hanging Up Coaching Hat After Season Longtime Pacific University head coach Tim Hill recently announced that he will retire from coaching at the end of the softball season. Hill, who had been at Pacific for 12 years and coached for 35 seasons, said in a statement released by the school that now is the right time to step away. “After 35 years in coaching, including 12 exceptional years at Pacific, I feel that I am as competitive as ever,” Hill said. “I still want to win every game and my heart is still into the game and into this softball program.” “Unfortunately, I am finding that I am just not able to physically perform at a level that is up to my expectations or at a level that is in the best interests

of this program. While it has been a wonderful journey here at Pacific, one that includes many outstanding teams, an awardwinning stadium, Hill a grerat athletic environment and player relationships that I will always cherish, I find that it’s simply time to step aside.” Hill began his college coaching career with two seasons at George Fox, and has finished with 20 or more wins seven times — including the last six seasons — since taking over a Pacific program in 2002 that had not won more

than nine games in the four seasons prior to his arrival. His 2008 squad went 31-9 and finished second in the Northwest Conference standings behind thendefending Division III national champion Linfield., staying in contention for an NCAA berth until the final day of the season. Ten players — two-thirds of that year’s roster — earned All-Northwest Conference recognition.

Sun Devils’ Escobedo Top Pick In NPF Draft Arizona State Dallas Last season, Hillright-hander led the Boxers to a Escobedo was the first pick by the 21-19 record and their first Northwest Pennsylvania Rebellion in the recent Conference playoff appearance. This National Pro Fastpitch College Draft presented by Bownet at the Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. Escobedo was one of three pitchers selected in the draft by the Rebellion. Washington’s Bryana Walker at No. 9 and Anna Miller of USC Upstate at No. 16 were the others. The second overall selection was University of Tennessee infielder Madison Shipman, who went to the USSSA Pride. South Alabama lefthander Hannah Campbell was the No. 3 pick of the Akron Racers and Arizona righty Estela Pinon was taken fourth by

FRESNO STATE NAMING STADIUM FOR WRIGHT Bally’s Las Vegas is once again the host site for the NFCA National Convention.

Don’t Gamble, Start Planning For Las Vegas It’s the best deal in town, so why The room block wait? Reserve your room for the 2014 set aside for the NFCA National Convention, scheduled national convention for Dec. 3-6 at Bally’s Las Vegas. is now open. Make All the exciting educational clinics sure to ask for the and seminars, motivational speeches, NFCA rate of just networking opportunities, vendors and $109 per night when celebrations of coaching talent that calling 1-800-358-8777 to reserve your you have come to expect at this annual spot in the Bally’s lineup. gathering will be on full display once It just wouldn’t be the same without again. you there with us.

This season he earned his 250th victory at the school. Hill was a successful high school and travel ball coach prior to joining the college ranks. He won 1,029 games over 25 years with Sun Supply and led the team to the 2002 American Softball Association (ASA) Under-16 national championship. That success earned Hill and longtime assistant coach Paul Sabah induction into the Oregon Chapter of the ASA Hall of Fame.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Valley and beyond. The renaming of Bulldog Diamond to Margie Wright Diamond is a well-deserved tribute to her extraordinary service at Fresno State.” An inductee into seven halls of fame, including the NFCA Hall in 2000 and the Women’s Sports Foundation International Hall in 2005, Wright retired in 2012 with a record total of 1,457 wins, 542 losses and three ties for a 33-year collegiate coaching career that included a six-year stint at

the Chicago Bandits. The league’s four teams were eligible to make one choice in each of the draft’s five rounds. Due to trades, the Pride had just three picks in the draft. Drafting an athlete gives an NPF team the rights to that athlete for two full seasons. The picks for the first, third, and fifth rounds were in order of last year’s regular season finish from last to first, while the second and fourth rounds reversed the draft order. A capacity crowd of 300 watched the draft unfold live at the Ford Theater, while countless others followed along live online at The 2014 NPF season starts May 25. Illinois State. Wright was an assistant coach on the U.S. National Team that captured the first Olympic softball gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games and served as the head coach for the 1998 team that won an unprecedented fourth crown at the ISF World Championship. She was the first NCAA Division I softball coach and the 24th in any sport in the division to reach 1,000 career victories. The ceremony to rename the field takes place on May 3 when the Bulldogs host Colorado State at 2 p.m. local time in the second game of a three-game conference series.


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APRIL 2014


National Freshman Of Year Finalists Chosen The National Fastpitch Coaches Division I National Association is proud to announce the Freshman of the top 25 finalists for the inaugural NFCA Year award was Division I National Freshman of the created from an idea Year trophy, which will be presented to honor outstanding prior to the start of the 2014 NCAA athletic achievement Women’s College World Series in among freshman Oklahoma City, Okla. softball student-athletes throughout With the Association always Division I. searching for innovative ways to Each of this year’s 25 finalists hails promote the sport of softball, the NFCA from a different university while

the group represents 11 Division I leagues across the nation. Both the Southeastern Conference and the Pac12 Conference picked up the most overall selections with six each, while the Big West Conference garnered three inclusions and the Big Ten Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference tied with two each. The American Athletic Conference, Big 12 Conference, Sun Belt Conference,

Big South Conference, Atlantic Sun Conference and Conference USA all reaped one nod. On May 8, the list will be trimmed down to the top 10 finalists, while the top 3 finalists will be selected and released on May 22. The inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented SEE NATIONAL PAGE 7



If you couldn’t attend the convention or you just want to review a session that you attended in San Antonio, you can purchase a DVD of many of the topics. DVDs are $20 for members/$25 for nonmembers (plus shipping and handling). Each features the speaker as shot in his/her presentation at the convention. All recordings are approximately 45 minutes in length. DVD NAME & SPEAKER “DRILLS, DRILLS, DRILLS” Diane Miller, Assistant Coach, University of Nebraska; Cheryl Milligan, Head Coach, Tufts University; Kevin Shelton, Head Coach, Texas Glory


“REALLY? THAT’S A RULE?” Dee Abrahamson, NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor


“CHOOSING YOUR OPTIMUM TEAM DEFENSE” Bill Edwards, Head Coach, Hofstra and Staff


“TRAINING TODAY’S PITCHERS” Lance Glasoe, Assistant Coach, University of Washington


“BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL SOFTBALL BUSINESS” Sara Hayes, Founder & Owner, Powerline Consulting


“TEACH, INSPIRE & CONNECT TO YOUR PLAYERS THROUGH BOOKS & ARTICLES” Yvette Healy, Head Coach, University of Wisconsin




“MAXIMIZING SUCCESS WITH EQUITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION” Kirk Walker, Assistant Coach, UCLA Sue Rankin, Senior Research Associate, Rankin & Associates


“THE WORKING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COACHES & HITTERS” Tim Walton, Head Coach, University of Florida


















DVDS (@ $20/$25 EACH)

“SECRET LIFE OF A STAFF” Amanda Lehotak, Head Coach, Penn State University


“THE YIPS: WHEN MIND MATTERS” Eileen Canney Linnehan, Assistant Coach, University of Illinois, Chicago


“AGGRESSIVE BASERUNNING: YOUR KEY TO SCORING MORE” Eric Oakley, Head Coach, University of North Dakota


“TAKING OVER A NEW PROGRAM: A NEW ‘STATE’ OF MIND” Shawn Rychcik, Head Coach, North Carolina State University



“DEFENSE: PLAYING CATCH AT A HIGH LEVEL” Marla Townsend, Head Coach, University of Alabama, Birmingham



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APRIL 2014




My varsity season has gone better than I expected. I returned one starter from my last year’s state runner-up team and brought up several young players. Eighty percent of my team is in the eighth and ninth grade at my small private Christian school. My surprise was their dedication to get better and their camaraderie together. The majority of them stay after practice to grab a coach or work with their teammates to get better. They are so eager and willing to learn new things with an open mind. Mark Ritchhart Pine Castle (Fla.) Christian Academy



If your season has gone better or worse than you thought it would, what has been the biggest reason why?

To date, our season has been a pleasant surprise, playing at times like we are in midseason form. I definitely can attribute our early The St. Ambrose season is going very well. The biggest reason success to the work we have done in the winter, training the mental is the amazing contribution from two freshmen. These two young aspect of the game. We have adopted the ideals taught by Brian Cain, ladies went above and beyond in their preseason workout program and and it has changed our program. preparation and it has prepared them to contribute much more and much Todd Buckingham sooner then anticipated. Saginaw Valley State University Ronald Ferrill St. Ambrose University Our season has definitely gone worse than anticipated, and we can





blame it all on Mother Nature. In Northern New York we don’t usually start the season until the end of March due to the weather, but our field at the start of the last week of March still had over a foot of snow. The gym is getting old really fast and games are being moved and shifted. A lot of weeks of five and six games or more are in our future. John Cain Copenhagen (N.Y.) High School



Our season has gone better than expected so far. Due to injuries and a lack of pitching, we were all worried about numbers. Many girls have voluntarily stepped up to pitch and play a leadership role to fulfill the needs of the team. Although we have been very competitive so far, I completely believe that the girls have already learned the full meaning of being a team in just the first two short weeks. By the end of the season, we should have all players in good health, a few new pitchers and a conference championship. Chelsie Oals Hagerstown Community College



I think that this season has gone better than expected. We lost some key players to graduation, and my team struggled last year offensively, but has been swinging the bat well this year. This team has much better depth at each position, and our freshman class has really The girls played better than I thought (in a preseason scrimmage), helped us to exceed expectations. so it is looking positive for things to come in our season. You never Lauren Gustartis get enough practice time for preparing the high school team. Weather is Clear Falls (Texas) High School always a factor in the spring. Dennis Joe Cox I knew we had talented kids returning this year, and I expected to be Riverton Parke (Ind.) High School fairly successful, as is our tradition. We work harder and longer than





most teams, but to really excel you need leadership. The biggest plus has been our three seniors — Deborah Elmore, Jessica Poiroux and Brittany Drinkard. They have shouldered leadership responsibilities with a very positive attitude. Too often, seniors think they are special rather than being special. This trio is truly special. Tony Scarbrough Baker (Ala.) High School


Have a Question or an Answer? Here is your chance to give input in a very simple manner – we need ideas for questions you would like to see answered in a future edition, so please feel free to share those ideas. Respond by emailing Dave Hines at

NATIONAL FRESHMAN OF YEAR FINALISTS NAMED CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 during a live ceremony on May 27 in Oklahoma City, Okla. NFCA Freshman of Year Finalists • Ali Aguilar – SS/2B – Washington • Annie Aldrete – DP/C – Tennessee • Maryssa Becker – P/1B – Louisville • Megan Betsa – P – Michigan • Nickie Blue – P – South Carolina • Jessica Burroughs – P – Florida State • Kristen Clark – OF – UCSB • Kasey Cooper – 3B – Auburn • Baylee Corbello – P/UTL – LSU • Tiarra Davis – P/UTL – Texas

• Tori Finucane – P – Missouri • Hannah Flippen – 2B – Utah • Taylor Glover – CF/1B – Cal State Northridge • Chelsea Gonzales – 2B/DP – Arizona State • Sara Groenewegen – P/IF – Minnesota • Haley Hayden – OF – Louisiana- Lafayette • Sierra Hyland – P/DP – Cal Poly • Milly Martinet – RF – Campbell • Katiyana Mauga – RF – Arizona • Jill Roye – 1B/DP – Tulsa • Caroline Seitz – 3B – Mississippi State • Lexi Shubert – P – USC Upstate • Kylie Sorenson – SS/3B/P – Stanford • Delaney Spaulding – SS – UCLA • Karley Wester – OF – Notre Dame




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Fastpitch Delivery

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World Championship Schedule Announced The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the schedule for the 14th Women’s Softball World Championship, which will begin on August 15 in Haarlem, Netherlands, the first time the event has been held in Europe. “The Softball World Championship provides a dedicated international

WARES FIRST IN DIVISION III TO WIN 1,000 GAMES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 four national championships and two runner-up finishes. The Dutch finished third in the country three times, fourth twice and fifth once. Last season, Central tied for seventh nationally.

platform for women athletes to shine and be the focus of sport,” said WBSC and ISF Secretary General Beng Choo Low, “and the strong ticket sales being generated for this world event highlights the spectator interest.” National teams from five geographic regions — Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania — will play 56

games in a round-robin format at Nol Houtkamp Sportpark’s two competition venues, which will set the stage for 10 playoff games. The competing teams are Australia, Botswana, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand,

Puerto Rico, Russia and the United States. The ceremonial first pitch is set to be delivered at 9:30 local time (3:30 a.m. Eastern) on August 15 before the host Netherlands squad faces the 2012 silver medalist United States team.The gold medal game is scheduled for August 24 at 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern).

Wares has averaged nearly 34 wins per season and more than three wins for every loss. He was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 2007 and has been honored eight times as the Iowa Conference Coach of the Year. Before arriving at Central, Wares coached seven seasons at NESCO High School in Zearing, Iowa, compiling a record of 214-94 that included three

state tournament berths and three AllArea Coach of the Year awards. But perhaps a larger sign of Wares’ success than wins and losses is the outpouring of support for him as he approached, and then passed, the milestone. Former pitcher/designated player Kiley Lythberg Liming felt so strongly about Wares’ impact on her life that she

drove the 70 or so miles from Winona, Minn., to Decorah, Iowa, to see Wares’ historic victory for herself. “Words can’t describe how much Central softball has impacted my life and the lives of so many others,” she said. “Coach Wares believes in each and every one of his players more than SEE WARES PAGE 23




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Grand Valley Coach Cites Others For Success

Woods Treasures 38 Years Of Relationships More Than 850 Wins He’s Collected On Field By DAVE HINES Editor After 38 years at Grand Valley State, the last 24 as softball coach, Doug Woods has decided to step away from the basepaths at the Division II school at the conclusion of this season. But while he will no longer be coaching, the man affectionately called “Doc” will still be very much visible on the Allendale, Mich., campus, as he’ll continue to teach 5-6 credits per semester in the athletic training curriculum. “I don’t think I can go cold turkey,” Woods joked. “I’ve been there for 38 years.” Under Woods’ leadership, the Lakers have won more than 850 games and appeared in the Division II Women’s College World Series twice — in 2002 and 2013. Overall, Grand Valley State has made 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament (1999-2004, 2006-07 and 201113) and won five Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships. Woods has the 10th-most wins among active Division II coaches and the 14th-most victories in Division II history. He is the only person to win three straight GLIAC Coach of the Year awards (1999-2001) and has won seven GLIAC honors in all. But his modest manner makes him quickly credit others for his success. “The key is that we brought in some talented athletes and have had great support from our university,” Woods said. Getting to the verge of a national championship in 2002 and last year’s NCAA tournament experience are among Woods’ fondest memories in the dugout. “The 2002 World Series we lost in the final game,” he explained. “It was our first time going. (Then) Super Regionals last year, we

Grand Valley State coach Doug Woods talks to his players during a break in the action. Photo courtesy Grand Valley State.

beat the University of Indianapolis, who is a to NCAA Regionals. In both 2000 and 2001, great team. Our players were thrilled with that.” the Lakers won 48 games to again advance to In 1999, Grand Valley State set a school SEE WOODS PAGE 15 record with 58 victories and made its first trip

IN THE PRESS BOX WITH DOUG WOODS 1) How has the game changed in the time you’ve been coaching? “Probably that the expectations are so great. They play so much that they expect instant success. You have to work at it.” 2) What are some problems coaches now face that are different from when you started coaching? “We see some overuse injuries. I’d like to see

them play as many sports as possible in high school, rather than dial into just one.” 3) If you knew then what you know now, how would your coaching have been different? “I’ve learned to be a lot calmer in game situations. It’s easier to talk calmly. If they make an error, we’ll get it corrected. They appreciate that. I know they don’t want to disappoint me.” 4) Is there a secret to success in coaching?

“You learn something every day. I’ve learned to listen to players. They have a lot going — on and off the field. We give them time for academics so that when they get out on the softball field they are ready to give it their all.” 5) What would your ideal season be like? “An ideal season would be great weather and playing when were supposed to so we can get into a routine ... and also play fairly well.”


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DIVISION I 4/30 — All-Region nomination forms available online 5/6 — Last day for filling out nomination forms 5/9 — All-Region ballots available online 5/13 — Last day for completing ballot 5/15 — All-Region teams announced 5/28 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • Central: Amanda Rivera, IUPUI • Great Lakes: Jessica Allister, Minnesota • Atlantic: Christy Connoyer, Saint Louis • Mideast: Melinda Fischer, Illinois State (chair) • Midwest: Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cessler, Iowa State • East: Bill Edwards, Hofstra • Pacific: Diane Ninemire, California-Berkeley • South: Beth Torina, LSU • Southeast: Donna Papa, North Carolina • West: Matt Meuchel, Nevada  DIVISION II 4/25 — All-Region nomination forms available online 5/7 — Last day for filling out nomination forms 5/8 — All-Region ballots available online

5/13 — Last day for completing ballot 5/15 — All-Region teams announced 5/21 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • Atlantic: Dan Gierlak, Edinboro • Central: Bill Gray, Missouri Southern State • East: Amy Delmore, Queens College • Midwest: Sue Kunkle, Southern Indiana • South: Michelle Frew, Rollins College • Southeast: Jamie Madewell-Grodecki, Georgia College • South Central: Brady Tigert, Midwestern State • West: Shelli Sarchett, Humboldt State  DIVISION III 4/29 — All-Region nomination forms available online 5/1 — Last day for filling out nomination forms 5/2 — All-Region ballots available online 5/5 — Last day for completing ballot 5/9 — All-Region teams announced 5/21 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • Atlantic: Margie Knight, Salisbury • Central: Tiffany Ozbun, Denison • East: Amy Weaver, Messiah


College prospects can go to the Apple Store to download the free app to enter their profile for college coaches.


• Great Lakes: Lee Negrelli, Wisconsin-Platteville • Midwest: Jennifer Walter, St. Scholastica • New England: Cheryl Milligan, Tufts (chair) • Northeast: Marie Curran, Buffalo State • West: Janae Schlabs-Shirley, East Texas Bap- tist  NAIA 5/5 — All-Region nomination forms available on line 5/12 — Last day for filling out nomination forms 5/15 — All-Region ballots available online 5/22 — Last day for completing ballot 5/23 — All-Region teams announced 6/3 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • East: Chris Wilcoxson, Auburn-Montgomery • Great Lakes: McCall Salmon, Davenport • Midwest: Mike Christner, William Penn (chair) • Southwest: James Kling, Our Lady of the Lake • West: Greg Stewart, Oregon Institute of Tech  NJCAA DIVISION I 4/23 — All-Region nomination forms available online 5/6 — Last day for filling out nomination forms

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5/12 — All-Region ballots available online 5/20 — Last day for completing ballot 5/23 — All-Region teams announced 6/4 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • Midwest: Lorie Videmschek, Crowder • South: Brian Pittman, Southern Union State • West: Don Don Williams, North Idaho (chair)  NJCAA DIVISION II 4/23 — All-Region nomination forms available online 5/6 — Last day for filling out nomination forms 5/12 — All-Region ballots available online 5/20 — Last day for completing ballot 5/26 — All-Region teams announced 6/6 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • East: Brian Dewey, Mercyhurst North East • Midwest: Joe Yegge, Kirkwood CC (chair) • South: Ed Hargrove, Cowley CCC  NJCAA DIVISION III 5/8 — All-Region nomination forms available on line 5/19 — Last day for filling out nomination forms

5/12 — All-Region ballots available online 5/27 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • East: Stephen DePasquale, Gloucester CC • Midwest: Ryan Connell, DuPage • North: Stacy Johnson, Corning CC (chair)  CAL JC 4/25 — Awards nominations submitted 5/5 — Award winners announced Committee Chair • Michelle Daddona, Riverside CC  NWAACC 5/1 — All-America nominations open 5/11 — All-America nominations due 5/11 — All-America ballots available 5/12 — All-America ballots due 5/15 — All-America teams named 5/19 — All-America teams announced Committee Chair • Megan Corriea, Southwest Oregon CC  HIGH SCHOOL 4/28 — All-Region nomination forms available online

6/12 — Last day for filling out nomination forms 6/20 — All-Region teams announced 6/24 — All-America teams announced Regional Representatives • East: Mike Curro, Oneida; Debbie Schwartz, Toms River (region chair); Anthony LaRezza, Immaculate Heart Academy; Michael Carrozza, Bridgewater-Raynham • North: Jim Piazza, Keystone; Greg Clark, Loogootee (region chair); Perry Peterson, Barrington; Terry Wagner, Cedarburg; Jerrod Newland, Greenville • South: Samuel Sheppard, Smyrna; John Keyes, North Fort Myers; Gary Payne, Glen; Philip Belfield, St. Margaret’s; Milton Simmons, Essex (region chair); Kent Chambers, Bob Jones • South Central: Marsha Cusack, Enid; Carrie Austgen, Deer Park; Laneigh Clark, Pear land; Frank Barnes, Olathe North (region chair); Kevin Halley, St. Pius X; Brenda Holaday, Washburn Rural • West: Jim Rawlings, Sahaurita (region chair); Mike Delaney, Burbank; Dean Gregory, Buchanan; Kevin Werth, Piedra Vista; Robert Shorts, Desert Edge


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Confidence And Preparation Work Wonders By DICK SMITH Much has been written and said about the fine art of hitting. There is pretty much agreement on the basic fundamentals and the implementation. There is controversy over what is known as linear and rotational hitting, but this is a topic for another day, notwithstanding that the argument continues. There is pretty much agreement on stance, grip, eye contact with the ball, stride and the like. But what about time? Time? Yes, time. Pitches traveling at 60 miles per hour are becoming quite the norm these days, yet hitters seem to be able to catch up to the ball pretty well. Are you kidding? Such a pitch is moving at 88 feet per second and begins to travel from 43 feet in college. So if it is released at 43 feet, it would reach the plate in less than one half a second. Not much time. REMEMBER, too, that pitchers do not release the ball at 43 feet. Even if the pitcher is legal — and many are not — it is much less, perhaps as little as 40 feet. Illegality refers to leapers and those that crow hop, a violation rarely called by the umps. So, our batters may have four tenths of a second, or less, to see the ball, decide to hit it and take a swing. Think about that for a minute, as there is very little reaction time, actually less than the time it takes to say the word “reaction.” Well, hitting instructors these days are quite good, as evidenced by the very fine batting averages posted against some flame-throwers, who pitch at speeds up to and over 70 mph. Smitty and his Indiana coaching

guru, Porko, began coaching back in the dark ages. Batters back then would have a great deal of difficulty even making contact at these speeds, particularly since the distance to the pitcher was three feet shorter than it is today. The pitchers, however, did not routinely throw over 60 mph, but Porko came along with other pitching coaches and took care of that, making hitting even more difficult. Porko could make a pitcher out of a fireplug and a hitter out of bale of straw. ONE CONFERENCE did a study and compared batting averages taken when the pitching distance was 40 feet and compared them with those the year after the rubber was moved to 43 feet. They found that the batting averages increased significantly at 43 feet, meaning the escalation in pitching distance had a profound effect on averages, and also RBIs and scores. Since that time, batters have become bigger, stronger and have received excellent physical training, all lending a profound effect on batting production. This, together with fine coaching, has led to some pretty hefty averages and scores, with 1-0 games being a rarity whereas before they were the norm. The batting instruction has implemented better pitching machines and techniques, which include drills for reaction time, eye coordination, and the like. This, coupled with the physical training girls are receiving, contributes in large part to the current batting successes. Furthermore, in the “olden days” high school conferences were lucky to have one or two pitchers who could

throw hard. College wasn’t much better in terms of pitching talent. But along came the big-time interest in travel and high school softball, and the accompanying group of pitching coaches. Gradually, conferences began seeing more and more quality pitchers, and, as this occurred, so improved the quality of hitting. THE OBVIOUS reason hitting improved, other than much better bats, was because the hitters were facing more and more quality pitching. This along with the coaching did a great deal toward making averages go up. Along with this, extra-base hits were becoming routine, including the home run, which was a rarity in the days of Porko and Smitty. Since there were few fences in those days, home runs mostly came about in “gappers” going between outfielders and rolling forever. That has all changed. Now, because of fences, the triple is a rarity. So the lesson for coaches these days is quite obvious. Train your hitters with tried and true methods and do it often. Live batting practice is essential, if not a batting machine cranked up to high speeds and then varied. Soft tosses and tee work are good, as are many of the hitting gimmicks on the market, although most of the latter are true gimmicks and not that useful. GOOD CONDITIONING is a must, as are any drills where there are proven eye exercises. Video is a must for swing analysis, although a trained batting instructor can often see as much. The latter, however, are rare birds. Speaking of birds, the railbirds have a ton of advice if one cares to listen.

Dick Smith is the former head coach at the University of St. Francis and previously coached at Valparaiso University.

They are never at a loss for words, especially when a batter is not hitting well. The answers are obvious to them. There is an aspect to hitting that is rarely discussed. You often hear teams yelling out when there is a batter, “You can do it!” Yes, she can, but will she? BETTER IS THE one says, “You will do it!” This has to do with that old saying that has to do with mind over matter. The mind is a powerful thing. Just think of all it controls in the body, not the least of which is proficient athletic endeavors, including hitting. One must believe that one will hit. There can be no doubt when going to the plate. If there is, the pitcher already has the edge. Will this guarantee a hit? Obviously no, but a negative thought will surely guarantee failure. So, it behooves a batter to go to the plate full of confidence, not giving a thought to the prowess of the pitcher, but knowing completely one’s ability to succeed. Success will follow quite often.

SMITTY’S TIP Hitting yips (nerves) are quite common, especially in delicate circumstances when the team needs a hit. One must not forget that every player on the team is tasked to succeed. The fact that many do not does not mean that you are required to perform perfectly. These things are of no concern to you as a batter. Your only concern is the pitch coming at you and executing your fundamentals to perfection. Try it. You’ll like it.


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Believe And You Can Achieve Great Things By AARON WEINTRAUB Mental Training Expert

about this subtle distinction that confidence fluctuates not based on experiences, but on the way they think about these experiences. Therefore, they typically emphasize their most recent experiences. This is a natural pattern of self-talk. When they do this, the belief that confidence comes from experiences becomes true. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that is fine when recent experiences are good, but very damaging when recent experiences are bad.

Confidence level correlates highly with one’s performance level. Great performers trust their skills and believe that things will go well. Muhammad Ali said, “I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.” It is a valuable pursuit to figure out how to obtain and maintain a high confidence level before and during a game. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that a person either has confidence or she does not. In fact, confidence is an attitude and DID CAT Osterman lose confidence attitudes are controllable. Great athletes after giving up a hit? Did Jessica imitate the thought patterns of the other Mendoza lose confidence if her first greatest athletes in the world. at-bat of a game was a strikeout? Do any of the greatest athletes in the CONFIDENCE COMES from world allow their confidence to suffer preparation, self-esteem, and one other because of a single mistake or episode significant factor. Most people think of bad luck? Of course not. They use this other factor is past experiences. the experience to learn, and then they Actually, confidence comes from the flush the past from their minds. way people think about the experiences Since they were already good they have had. This distinction is and now they learned more, their subtle, but huge because the past is confidence rises, even after a mistake. not controllable, but the way athletes If needed, they lean on thoughts about think about the past is completely past peak performances to consciously controllable. build their confidence. Once it is time to perform, preparation With practice, an athlete can quickly and self-esteem are constants. image her PPPP (Personal Past Peak However, an athlete’s confidence in Performance) to bring that confidence her ability to execute this next play is to this moment. very much a variable. Preparation and Since confidence is largely the self-esteem are worthy of discussion direct result of particular thinking elsewhere. This article focuses on how habits, making the commitment to to use self-talk to consciously increase consciously gain confidence by using confidence right now. effective patterns of self-talk is a top Many athletes have never thought priority for leaders. These patterns

WOODS SAYS SUCCESS IS CREDIT TO HIS PLAYERS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 NCAA tournament play. His best coaching job may have come in 2006, though, after the Lakers lost their opening game in the GLIAC Tournament and won six straight games to earn the title.

The last four triumphs all came on a whirlwind final day, 6-1 over Ashland, 4-1 over Gannon, plus 5-3 and 4-3 over Wayne State to score the seventh of their 11 NCAA tournament appearances. Woods got his start at Grand Valley State in 1976 as the school’s athletic trainer, working with all the Laker teams, but traveling primarily with the basketball and football

allow athletes to hang on to and thus benefit from successful experiences and let go of, or de-emphasize, less successful experiences. THIS UNBALANCED relationship of emphasizing positives and deemphasizing negatives is the secret to consciously increasing confidence. Negative thoughts are de-emphasized, or flushed, by focusing on something else, like the next pitch. If they are stuck in the brain because of negative emotions, they will get unstuck with forgiveness. Forgiveness is a critical skill for de-emphasizing thoughts that could seriously damage an athlete’s confidence. On the positive side, affirmations are simple, positive, self-directed thoughts such as, “I am a smart and strong hitter.” They are a form of mental practice that can be used away from the diamond, in practice or during games. They are reminders of past successes, personal strengths, or positive expectations that an athlete gives herself to increase her confidence. They are used anytime an athlete says simple positive statements to herself, often repetitively. Affirmations may seem tautological and effusive, but if it improves performance, then it has value. They are like the statements a great coach would make to an athlete at just the time she needs to hear it to maximize her confidence. Since she is the most important coach she will ever have, and the most reliable, she can benefit by squads. He added softball coach to his duties in 1991, doing both jobs simultaneously for the first eight seasons, before becoming Grand Valley State’s first full-time softball coach in 1999. The Lakers have had 17 seasons of 30 or more wins under Woods and have won 40 or more games 10 times during his tenure. But it’s not the wins that mean the

Aaron Weintraub holds a B.A. from Emory University (1993) and a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia (2000). He served as an assistant baseball coach for 13 years at Emory, UVa, Presbyterian College, Brevard College, and Cedar Valley College. Four of those programs achieved school records for wins while he was there. In 2006, Weintraub star ted www., a consulting business whose mission is to over-deliver value on goods and services designed to help you win the mental side of the game. He has worked with teams and individuals in all sports around his hometown of Dallas and around the country. His company also runs events such as softball camps and coaching clinics and sell books, videos, Elite Athlete Audios, and motivational cues. Leadership Training for Softball, the book from which this article was excerpted, is now available.

systematically using affirmations during her pre-performance routines. This is particularly valuable for the athletic personality which tends to get stuck thinking about negatives. Every athlete/scientist should put affirmations into her experimental design to see if they help. most to Woods. “What I like most is the relationships with the players,” he said. “I want to be there for them. I think teaching I can understand the time our players need for academic work. “I would hope (they’d say) that I cared for them as a person and a student-athlete and that I wanted the best for them.”


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On Passion: Cracking The Code this: Passion. I have heard teams talk about losing close games, letting some This is about the time I get the slip away that they shouldn’t have phone calls. and struggling with turning it “Help.” That’s about the extent around. I believe strongly that the of the conversation. And if I could answer is all in the word passion. give you the perfect answer to help you win every game, I certainly I HAVE LONG believed that would. energy wins games; yet also However, because I can’t, I can believe that we each define energy tell you this much with certainty: in different ways. It’s great to be What happens now, at this point in loud and cheer with as much vigor the season, will create your story. as possible, but when cheering And it’s one that could last for a becomes “going through the long time. motions” and saying the words, teams fall short. I have seen it time FOR THOSE who are winning and time again. Perhaps the answer games, I say rock on. Keep it up really lies in the passion. and do everything you can to keep When teams feel their way the passion and fire and that one through the ending of a tight game, thing that will make or break you: and not think their way out of it, Momentum. they are more prepared to live in To those of you who are not the present moment and play each winning games and you feel you pitch. That is where the passion should be, I say do everything you lies. We can’t really feel passion can to find the passion and fire and when we are worrying about the that one thing that will make or outcome or what we did in our last break you: Momentum. at bat. So, here is what I have found. All Playing one pitch at a time, the years and conversations about committing to winning each pitch the mental game all come down to is the answer. When I coached,

we called it Killer Instinct. And when we used the letters K.I., the girls immediately shifted into another gear. The look in their eyes, the desire to win each pitch, not the game, became the game. Momentum then is in your favor. Even in the moments you may lose momentum on the scoreboard, when you have passion and K.I., you will never lose it for long.

proceed with caution to ensure that they do not enter the facility when a future opponent is still playing, do not station themselves in a position where a future opponent is in sight (say on the neighboring field) of the coaches while scouting the game, and the coaches do not linger before or after the game such that they are able to observe a contest involving a future opponent. Actions contrary to these cautionary measures could result in the coaches of the future opponent alleging that their team was being impermissibly scouted and lead to allegations of a violation that would have to be defended. B. Clarification on Who May Scout in the General Rule. As for who may scout, it would be only the three head and assistant coaches. A coach who is classified as the undergraduate or volunteer assistant coach may not scout but may be present at the facility observing games similar to the student-athletes but may not take

notes or provide any information they see while observing the contest to the three head and assistant coaches. The same is applicable to any director of operations/ non-coaching staff position. I would also suggest that a staff member who may not scout should not be sitting with coaches from their institution who are scouting. There is no such thing as a graduate assistant coach category for DI softball so the graduate student who is coaching must be categorized as a volunteer coach or as one of the three head or assistant coaches which would then determine whether the graduate student could perform any scouting duties.] 3. Softball Season Issues. The following issues were mentioned and discussed on the call: A. Positioning of Umpires. Ms. Stanton said that in one game, an umpire positioned himself in front of the second baseman (two feet to the left of her). Ms.

By JEN CRONEBERGER President, JLynne Consulting Group

MINUTES-HCC CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 schedule and not at the site their team is playing at and possibly not even as part of the same event? Response: Because the teams playing are not on the remaining regularseason schedule (championship or nonchampionship) of the institution wanting to observe, the teams are not considered future opponents and as such not subject to the scouting restrictions. Therefore, the answer is yes, but proceed with caution. Yes, it is permissible for the coaches who are permitted to scout off-campus to attend and scout and yes it is permissible for the student-athletes to attend but NOT participate in any scouting activities. However, the coaches should


IF I COULD count how many times I heard coaches ask me what they should do to help their teams “finish games,” “close the door,” “believe they can win,” “get over the hump,” “win the close ones,” I bet it would be in the thousands. And after all the time I have spent exploring this topic, I believe I have cracked the code. It’s simple really. Stay in the present and bring the passion and intensity to every pitch — regardless of score — the same way you do when you are winning and having fun. And how do you find that when you are struggling? Go back to the basics. Ask one question in those moments. “Why do you play and

Jen Croneberger is a mental game coach who speaks at clinics, team workshops and corporate seminars. She has been interviewed on ABC news (Philadelphia affiliate) on many occasions about the mental game, consulted by MTV’s MADE as a fear coach and was the 2009 Female Business Leader of the Year for Chester County, Pa. She works with many organizations and sports teams from professionals to youth and is formerly the head softball coach at Ursinus College. Her blogs and more information on her programs can be found on

what are you playing for?” When the answer is love, then the passion isn’t hard to find. Energy wins games. Passion in the present is how you create energy. And when you love it, you don’t have to pretend. Stanton had asked him to move, but he did not. She will call Donna Vavrinec, national coordinator of the NCAA Softball Umpire Program, to discuss the specifics but the general protocol is for umpires to reposition themselves when asked by a player. B. Weather Survey. The group acknowledged the survey that the Moving the Season Back Working Group had developed to gather weather data and its effects for the first three weeks of the season. It was the general feeling that the survey should be extended one more week. [Note: Subsequent to the call, Ms. Baker contacted working group chair Rhonda Revelle, and she okayed the extension of the survey for one more week.] C. First and Third Play. There was much discussion about a first and third play that has resurfaced. It has to do with the runner from first sliding way behind the


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Switch Up How You Think About Practice By BREE NASTI Head Coach, Adelphi University In April of 2010, a 30-year-old man of average physical proportions quit his job, and, without having ever played a full round of golf, decided he would dedicate 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to it. Dan McLaughlin’s plan, which is appropriately titled The Dan Plan, began with a goal of completing these 10,000 hours by December of 2016 and ultimately obtaining a PGA Tour Card. This month, he crossed the halfway point to his goal. YOU MAY BE wondering why I am sharing one man’s journey in golf in a softball coach’s newspaper. The answer is that it has little to do with golf and everything to do with deliberate practice. There is a great deal of data, information and opinion out there that will debate innate versus acquired talent, early sampling versus early specialization, and even the role that birthplace and birth month may play in a child’s likelihood of excelling in sport. While not discounting the myriad of factors that potentially influence talent development, the purpose of the following paragraphs is to introduce deliberate practice and discuss how it affects us as coaches and how we approach practice. WE SPEND A great deal of time preparing to compete, both before our season begins and during our season. Whenever I speak on these types of topics, I feel the need to give a disclaimer: While I choose topics based in research and coaching science, the intent is primarily to encourage reflection and not to prescribe a means of operating or convey the notion that this is the only way, the right way, or the best way to operate. In addition, the following is merely an introduction to a topic and not an extensive review. Recently I saw a commercial for the Cadillac ELR that made me think a lot about our culture compared to those of other countries, and the idea of more

is more. The commercial ends with, “Look it’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck and you gotta believe anything is possible.” Many of us equate working hard with working long. I use the word efficiency a lot in my program and think of it in terms of working smart. Some of you may be familiar with deliberate practice through Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” or Geoff Colvin’s “Talent is Overrated.” Daniel Coyle touches on the concept, but refers to it as deep practice in “The Talent Code.” Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, is arguably the expert on this topic, having studied experts in sport, chess, music, math and an assortment of other domains. THE FOUNDATION for deliberate practice lies in training designed to and focused on improving specific tasks, level of performance and reaching for objectives beyond one’s level of competence. Immediate feedback, allowance of time for evaluation and problem-solving, and repetition and refinement are crucial elements as well. It is intense, exhausting, effortful and not inherently enjoyable. As a result, it typically consists of activities of short duration. Activities also must be designed to account for the skill level and knowledge of the learner(s) so that we can be sure they understand what they are being asked to do. The authors of Freakonomics posit that individuals are motivated by incentive. Those engaging in deliberate practice are motivated to practice because practice improves performance. We have all most likely been involved in a practice where our athletes have lost focus or concentration a few hours in, and can probably agree that the remainder of the practice was, for lack of a better word, a waste. While we may only be able to sustain deliberate practice for 60-90 minutes, that’s not to say we won’t practice for a longer period of time. When we exceed this time frame for deliberate practicebased activities is where we “lose” our

athletes, whether to injury, failure or focus. In my opinion, another common issue is executing tasks or situations well in practice and performing them poorly in competition. Coaches are often faced with the issue of creating a way to allow for practice activities to translate to competition. How can we integrate the concept of deliberate practice into our daily workouts and do so in a way that practice is designed to best replicate those situations and circumstances we face in competition? LET’S BEGIN with what is unique about softball. Unlike basketball, our game is not limited by a clock. Perhaps hockey or football coaches believe performance in a certain quarter or period is more crucial than in others, and will choose whom to place in those situations. I can’t speak to that. What I do know is that it seems difficult to pinpoint the most crucial, pivotal or important part of our game until after the final out is made. We cannot plan who is going to field or catch the ball on defense, or who is going to be at the plate during what we feel to be a crucial moment, unless we are going to pinch-hit. The majority of our game for the majority of players is spent waiting for an opportunity to contribute. A few years ago, while coaching high school softball in California, I consulted with an expert in the field of sports psychology whom I was studying under and working with at Fresno State. Together, we discussed some of the challenges and nuances of softball, and, more specifically, the team I was working with at the time. WE DESIGNED a practice that was broken down into innings, with offensive and defensive tasks alternating much like they do in competition. Each half of each inning had an objective and an activity was designed for each objective. A point system was designed to reward our team for executing specific tasks we felt were relevant to our success in competition. Failure to execute resulted

Bree Nasti is in her second season as the head softball coach at Adelphi University. In her first year at the helm of the Panthers, Adelphi went 25-5 in Northeast-10 Conference play, won the Southwest Division regular-season title and the program’s first Northeast-10 Conference Tournament crown, earning a berth in the NCAA Division II East Regional. In recognition of their efforts, Nasti and her staff were named the NFCA East Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Prior to Adelphi, she spent four years as the hitting instructor and outfield coach at Stony Brook University, helping lead the Seawolves to their best batting average since becoming a Division I school. She also spent time as an assistant coach at St. John’s and Hofstra. Nasti holds a degree in psychology from the University of Buffalo, where she is the softball team’s leader in nearly every offensive category. She was a four-year letterwinner and a three-time All-Region and All- Mid-America Conference honoree for the Bulls.

in points for the opponent, an imaginary team we were competing against. After each inning was complete, we were winning, losing, or tied. Practice ended when we finished our seven innings, and we either won or lost our game. As always in a softball game, the possibility was there for extra innings. With this type of practice, individual activities were based in deliberate practice, and the design as a whole closely represented the nature of a softball game. Players knew when practice would begin, but not when it would end. This is one example of how we tried to integrate what we knew about effective coaching and deliberate practice into our practice habits, many of which had become routine. SEE SWITCH UP PAGE 23



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Everyone Can Be Trained To Hit For Power By MATT LISLE Asst. Coach, Cal State-East Bay “She’s just not a power hitter.” That’s a phrase I hear a lot out of softball coaches’ mouths. Something I disagree with. I think everyone on your roster can hit for power. I have learned over the last few years that the power of the player is much more important than their strength. I get about one text, call or email per week from a college hitting coach that starts something like “Do you have any drills for helping my players use their legs?” WORKING ON using our legs in our swing is something we spend a great deal of time on at practice. Although we spend most of our time in our hitting stations on hand path and swing mechanics, we also focus a lot of our reps on how we use our legs and the best way to generate power from them. The term we use the most in practice is horizontal drive. I want the players to understand that most of their power comes from how much horizontal drive they can create with their bodies (mostly their legs) toward the pitcher and into the ground. A good friend of mine, Dr. Marcus Elliott, owns a facility in Santa Barbara called P3 Performance. In this facility he works with many Major League Baseball players, training them how to create the most horizontal drive in their swings. He has the ability — using special force plates — to measure horizontal drive by how many newtons of force a player can generate horizontally and into the ground. Top MLB players can create upwards of 1,200-1,300 newtons when properly creating horizontal drive. Players with less power will create between 700-900. So how do we create this horizontal drive and power in our legs? It starts with our stance. If we’re not in a good position to start, it makes it very difficult to create a great deal of force.


Matt Lisle is the lead assistant softball coach at California State University-East Bay, where he serves as the hitting and catching coach and recruiting coordinator. He also is currently an associate baseball scout for Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers. The Concord, Calif., native is an instructor, clinician and writer who works with baseball and softball players and has coached at all levels of the sport, from Little League to Division I. Follow him on Twitter at @CoachLisle and keep up with him at

and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols do a great job of describing what needs to happen next.

Clockwise from top left, the proper form for the Bryce Harper Drill is shown. At bottom left, Oklahoma slugger Lauren Chamberlain demonstrates shin angle. Photos provided by Matt Lisle.

There are some universal things we look for in the stance. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. In order to have a powerful swing and maximize rotation our feet must either be pointed straight ahead or slightly pigeon-toed. If a players feet are duckfooted (pointed out), this puts the player at a great disadvantage in the sense of rotational power. SECONDLY, the knees must start inside the feet and must stay inside the feet. A lot of players will start in a good position, but when they load/ gather they end up going back and get their back knee over their back foot. In doing so, they put themselves in a great position for creating vertical force, which is helpful for dunking a basketball, but a poor position for hitting a softball with power.

THE LAST THING I want to see is what I refer to as “shin angle.” The greater the angle of the shins in conjunction with the feet, the greater the chance for the hitter to create horizontal force. I encourage hitters to find a shin angle that is most comfortable for them, but to try to create as much of an angle as possible. Let’s fast-forward through the load/ gather and stride segments of the swing (that’s for another article) and get to the point where our front heel drops after the stride or positive move. This position leads us into the most important part of using our legs in the swing. When the front heel drops, there are two things that a hitter needs to work on and keep in mind. But don’t take my word for it. Hall of Famer Ted Williams

WILLIAMS USED to share with hitters that it needs to feel like you’re landing in wet cement and pushing hard into the ground with your heels (back half of front foot) and that you should feel your feet sinking down, not having the weight up on your toes. A phrase I use with my players that always seems to make them laugh is, “Toes are for ballerinas and heels are for home runs.” Another concept we need our players to understand when they stride comes from Pujols. He says that he tries to emulate the feeling of having 25-pound weights in his back pocket. This helps him to sit and get down into his legs as he begins his swing. I like to see the front foot land back to almost square again (closed) with a maximum of a 45-degree angle of openness. This will cause everything to remain in the proper position and balance, yet helps to start the weight SEE EVERYONE PAGE 19

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Managing Stress Helps You And Your Team By MEGAN BROWN Asst. Coach, Univ. of Connecticut As the country is getting into the heart of conference play, whether you started out 15-0, 0-15 or somewhere in between, you have no doubt had some stress in your life. While stress in coaching is as much a part of your daily life as brushing your teeth, how we handle it will have a direct impact on our team. As coaches we all take care of our players, team, family and daily tasks of life first. If we have a chance in the last few moments before we pass out at night, we might do something for ourselves. WHILE BEING selfless is an admirable quality, we cannot be what those around us need if all we do is run on half-empty all the time and look like death sucking on a lifesaver. In an effort to combat this, I made a pact with myself to start every day and practice in a good mood. I don’t have to tell you that I don’t always end as I start, but it is a starting point. Now I know some of you are thinking, “It must be nice to start every day in a good mood.” Trust me this was not my first choice. It was a hard lesson I learned as a freshman in college. I pitched the opening game against

EVERYONE CAN TRAIN TO HIT MORE POWERFULLY CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 shift with the front heel digging down. I see more problems with swings that start with a toe tap, opening front knee, etc. than anything else. A lot of hitters still land with a soft front foot, which causes a lot of problems. Almost all great hitters have the force going into their front heel, so much that the foot

a conference rival and, to say the least, I got smoked. So I went back to my dorm and called my dad, just knowing my loving dad would tell me everything was going to be okay and that he was sure it would all be better tomorrow. Well, as with everything else that night, I could not have been more wrong. I WAS TOLD that I had better understand that it was not all about me, and no matter what, I had better show up the next day ready to go and quit feeling sorry for myself. I don’t know what I cried harder over, the bad game or my dad’s “pep talk.” While this was not what I wanted to hear, it helped me understand that I had to have myself together first, so that those around me could do what they needed to do for us to be successful. I have tried to take this same principle into coaching. I really don’t want that “pep talk” again. So how do I keep my goal of starting every day and practice in a good mood? And since we already don’t have enough time in the day, how do I add one more thing? The key is you don’t have to add big things, but find brief pockets of time. For me, the main key is the morning before things really get started. For some, it’s singing in the shower, for others it’s a walk, reading the paper or having coffee. tends to roll over to the outside edge, or, in Barry Bonds’ case, up onto the heel for maximum hip rotation. Now leads to the most important part of creating horizontal drive, a concept that I call “The Inside Move.” As our front heel drops and we sink down into the back half of our feet and down into our legs, we drive our back knee and back hip towards our front knee — down and towards the pitcher. We start this inside move by pushing back with the inside of our back foot

For me, it’s having time before things get crazy to read my bible and pray. To add a treat for myself, I have coffee during this time as well. This helps me keep proper perspective on life and what is important. It also gives me an opportunity to ask for help, guidance and get myself sorted and ready to go. Another thing I use is my drive to work. This gives me time to think, listen to music or talk to my family. I don’t have any children, but if you do, this is time you can spend with them. While this is great for the start of the day, we all know that unwinding after games and practices is sometimes more important. For these, I tend to exercise. Trust me, I have shaved multiple minutes off my three-mile time after a loss. AS WE ALL know, exercise either runs off stress or makes you too tired to care. Either one can be helpful. Just a walk around the block or hotel or a few ab crunches can help. I also love to read or watch TV that doesn’t have anything to do with sports. If you are traveling, soaking your feet in the Jacuzzi at the hotel helps. One thing that wears on me is that I don’t see my family very much. Most of this is because I live 1,000 miles from them, but I have found using FaceTime or Skype to “see” my family is priceless. using the back half of our foot. We do this with so much force that many times our back foot is literally off the ground at contact. This can be very difficult for many hitters who use their toes to push and rotate. A good way of seeing if your players are doing it correctly is to videotape them. If you film them from the side and see their back knee going towards the camera instead of going towards their front knee when they drive it, they are using their toes to

Megan Brown is in her first year as an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut. She recently earned her doctorate in kinesiology from Auburn University and was a three-time All-America pitcher at Florida Southern College, earning Hall of Fame induction at both her alma mater and the Sunshine State Conference. Brown played in National Pro Fastpitch from 2007-09 and in Europe from 2010-13. She currently serves as the pitching coach for the Great Britain National team.

There are as many ways to deal with stress as there are people. The key is we all need some release from stress so we can be our best for those around us. Hopefully something in here will help the adage “they keep you young” ring true for you, but if not, at least maybe it will keep some of the gray away. We have to be our best in order for our players and other staff to be their best. So if we ask our players to do the extra things to be the best, shouldn’t we take 15 minutes to do the same for ourselves? begin driving. So how do we practice and ingrain “The Inside Move” for our players? Drill work, of course. There are many drills that we use to focus on “The Inside Move,” and I will share the three that we use the most. The first is a drill that I got from my friend, Lisa Navas, the associate head coach at the University of South Carolina. She calls it Rolling Front SEE EVERYONE PAGE 21


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Be Ready For Your Brand-Forming Moment brand-forming moment or control when or how it happens, what we do after those moments help them brand-forming become memorable.

By JAMI LOBPRIES Marketing Strategist

What is your moment? If we think of our favorite athletes, we often think of certain moments in their career. Brand-forming moments that catapulted them into stardom and embedded their image, their speech, their athletic performance or their controversial moment into our memory banks. The moments that basically turned them into strong, recognizable brands. The moments that have made them famous beyond their playing days.

ONE OF the most famous brandforming moments in sports is the picture of American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos making a “black power salute” on the podium at the 1968 Olympics. They will forever be attached to this historic moment. In terms of brand logos, Michael Jordan’s signature “Air Jordan” pose has evolved from a dunk into a social symbol for shoes. Brandi Chastain went from being a defender on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to “that girl who took her shirt off after the goal,” after she hit the game-winning shot in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Sports are unpredictable. Many elements in sport are uncontrollable. That is one of the biggest reasons we as sport fans tune in to watch. Brand-forming moments in sport are unpredictable, often uncontrollable, but yet, forever memorable. While we may not be able to predict our

create opportunities. Opportunities to build your own brand, your team’s brand and your sport’s brand. Opportunities that can transcend your brand to the general audience. THE KEY is leveraging those Opportunities that can create longbrand-forming moments. How? Let’s term value and career opportunities go back a couple months to the NFC for you. These moments help you Championship game and Richard stand out. They differentiate you Sherman. There were actually from others. two brand-forming moments for Sherman: the pass-breakup in the IN 2014, the opportunities for end zone and the infamous interview visible brand-forming moments with Erin Andrews. are bigger than ever in softball. Those moments created a storm of ESPN is covering over 80 college comments, opinions and talk-show games, FOX Sports is covering an debates. The key abundance of to Sherman’s games, CSS newfound glory Sports televises was how he games, and not leveraged those to mention many moments; how youth parks, he took control high schools, of his brand colleges and the after those pros live stream moments. The games. blog Sherman Plus, we live in posted the next the Web 2.0 and day, the followsocial media era up interviews, where everyone and the continual social media posts has the potential to become a helped him define the brand he YouTube sensation. Opportunities really wanted people to see. for brand-forming moments exist. The key again is capitalizing on the IT ALSO helped him remain brand-forming moments after they relevant after his moments. Without happen. Follow-up these moments a strategic follow-up, Sherman isn’t with a strategic plan. taking selfies with Condoleezza Rice at Stanford basketball games. MAJOR sporting achievements, Yes, he did win a Super Bowl, but public appearances and chance media name me another defensive back on encounters are traditional brandthe team. forming moments. For softball, they Why is this important for softball? may come in the form of walk-off Brand-forming moments help home runs at the Women’s College

Brand-forming moments help create opportunities ... Opportunities to build your own brand, your team’s brand and your sport’s brand.

Jami Lobpries is a sports management PhD student at Texas A&M, researching sports marketing and women’s sports. She played collegiately at Texas A&M, where she participated in two Women’s College World Series, and professionally in National Pro Fastpitch from 2009-12. Lobpries uses her playing experiences and research to discuss marketing strategies to help grow women’s sports. Follow her on Twitter at @JamiLo2 and keep up with her blog at www.

World Series, a unique pitching motion (a la Monica Abbott), a sport milestone or record-breaker, a dynamic personality leveraged through interviews and social media or a unique off-field story. USE THOSE moments to help define your brand, to help you stand out and to help you differentiate from others. Use those moments as your platform, then actively follow them up. Whether it’s a large-scale moment like the WCWS or a smaller-scale moment at your local high school, those moments can help you stand out and help you create opportunities to grow your personal brand. And those opportunities can help you achieve the goals you set forth!

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APRIL 2014



Make The Student Body Part Of The Team By PARIS IMHOLZ Pitcher, Iowa State University One of the most special aspects of being a collegiate athlete is the privilege to be part of a population that shares similar values. We all possess the desire to compete on a daily basis and we hold our sport as one of the most important aspects of our lives. There are very few other students on campus who understand what it feels like to be a part of a team or program that requires the amount of time, effort and dedication to be successful at this level. While we are in many ways just another tired student struggling to make it through an 8 a.m. lecture, we are also lucky enough to share in a community of peers that simply “get it.” THOUGH SOME might make a career out of the game they love, many of us will hang up our cleats, leotards or sneakers after graduation. Our chance to shine is within the timeline of a degree; our shot at fame is in the bleachers at our home field. And whether we like to admit it or not, we want to see a packed crowd every single game. Spectators and fans are just as much a part of the experience as the actual play. The cost of a ticket holds no value compared to the support shown from behind the backstop or in the nosebleeds. We hold the power of bringing

EVERYONE CAN TRAIN TO HIT MORE POWERFULLY CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 Toss and it’s exactly how it sounds. We roll the ball. This forces our players to get down into their legs in order to make contact so low. You’ll enjoy the faces of your players the first time you do this drill. It is very difficult at first for them to make good contact, but, after a few times,

people to our fan base through what we put into the society, especially through social media. Just one tweet can spark the interest of someone who has seen 300 games or just three. Include the important details of time, location and opponent, and we’ve already done the job of self-promotion — no media necessary. Fortunately, we do have incredible media relations that work to make our time at college a positive and special environment for us both as athletes and students. They provide the base that connects us to not only those outside of the athletic department, but those whom we see in the training room, study hall and dorms: our fellow athletes.

friends, whether we are in the stands or states away. Though our social media sites may just be technology in the eyes of some, we rely on it for communication when we can’t interact face-to-face.

THE BEAUTY of being an athlete is the inclusion in something that is greater than just an individual victory. The record books may show just one name and one score, but they also include the most important name of all — the university. Every loss, every win (even the ties) count for one name. We cheer for the playoff pushes and sympathize with the heartbreakers in overtime, because we are one collective group. It makes sense to bring praise upon each other, because we are essentially benefitting as a whole. Our generation is at a perfect place to do just that, thanks to technology and the boom of the social atmosphere we are immersed in on a daily basis. It is fun to feel like we made even the slightest difference in the success of our

ONE QUICK “good luck” shoutout on Facebook or Twitter is a simple, yet special, way to show our support. We may know one person or the entire starting lineup; the point is that we are the backbone of a solid community of athletes. Our spotlight only shines as bright as those who build it up, and part of our role as student athletes is to improve the atmosphere of our university. We have been given every resource to be successful in our academic and athletic career, so we have the obligation to give back to our school however we can. While it may seem crazy that a message only a few sentences long would be a proper way of doing that, we are the generation that responds best to that style of communication. It could be a non-conference game against an unranked opponent or a Sweet 16 matchup in Madison Square Garden; we still get the same jitters and sense of pride when we’re mentioned in a post. The slogans in our school fight songs aren’t meant for show, they are a way of acting in unison and extending the traditions that were built so long ago. While previous alumni may not have

they’ll get it down. It has become a staple of our hitting stations. The second drill and probably my favorite for creating horizontal drive is the Elvis Drill. This is a drill that focuses on driving the back knee down and in and towards the pitcher with as much force as possible. We do it as a tee drill, but you can do it without a bat in increments (30 seconds, 1 minute, etc.). The batter starts at the stride position when their front toe lands, and from

there they drop their front heel hard into the ground and drive their back knee down and towards the pitcher with as much force as possible using “The Inside Move” three times. On the fourth time, they swing and hit off the tee. The first time doing this drill can be difficult for players, especially the ones who don’t use their legs correctly. For other players, it is natural and easy. They will most likely complain of soreness because they are using muscles they have never used

Paris Imholz is a junior pitcher for Iowa State University, who is majoring in journalism with a minor in sociology and child, adult and family services. Imholz, a native of Antioch, Calif., led Bowling Green University in wins the past two seasons before transfering to Iowa State. She earned Mid-American Conference honors both years, earning selection to the league’s All-Freshman Team in 2012 and the All-MidAmerican Conference Second Team in 2013.

had the chance to put a “hashtag” next to the lyrics, they still meant something special to the athletes who heard them from fans and friends alike. Like many aspects of this day and age, we have been blessed with easier opportunities to share the spirit and love we have for our school. Though each sport has a finite window of time to compete before the next year comes around, we can always rely on our offseason training to encourage each other. After all, the most important body we can build up and improve is the entire student body. before. The third drill is one I have called the Bryce Harper Drill. Harper is a major league baseball player that creates an incredible amount of horizontal drive, who has hit a few nearly 500-foot home runs as a result. In this drill, we place something about 12-18 inches high (we use a bosu ball, but some soft throw-down bases or anything else can work) between the SEE EVERYONE PAGE 23



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Comfort Feels Good, But It’s Not A Necessity By CHARITY BUTLER Founder, Exceed Sports “Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.” —Jonathan Lethem, American Novelist I crave comfort: comfort food, comfortable clothing, temperatures and lighting. I want my office chair comfortable during the day, my couch welcoming in the evening and my bed cozy at night. I want my shower not too hot, not too cold, but just right. I want to be comfortable when I travel on planes and in airports and hotels. When anything is uncomfortable, regaining comfort becomes more than a distraction. It is an insatiable desire. Most of us are convinced we need comfort. Believe me, I can enjoy luxury. Physical comfort has value, and I appreciate opportunities for pampering and rest. In the U.S., however, our “necessities” are luxurious to others around the globe: clean water, roofs that do not leak, electricity, air conditioning/ heat, functioning vehicles and now cell phones. THESE BASIC “needs” for us are not really needs at all. Millions of people around the world live their entire lives without the above items. Research has even determined that people in such situations are typically happier than those of us who live more comfortably. Comfort is relative, and it is definitely not essential for life. To be clear, clean water is important, and there are valiant efforts around the globe to provide clean drinking water to people in need. However, in many cases, people’s immune systems have adjusted so they can regularly drink water that would make you and I sick. We are pampered and soft. Our perspective is skewed. We think we cannot survive a day without our mobile devices. In our society, comfort is viewed as a right. This comfort is killing our ability to reach our potential. We love comfort more than success. We will


avoid physical, social and emotional discomfort, even if it costs us who we are and our ability to become our very best selves. Eric Thomas, a former homeless guy and current motivational speaker says, “The problem is, you ain’t felt no pain before. You’re soft. This is a soft generation. You quit on everything.” Does this remind you of any of your players? Students today expect instant results without pain or hard work. I would dare to say that even as coaches we fall victim to the allure of comfort. Like our players, we avoid pain, where possible. However, if we want to be our best in all areas, and if we desire to lead our players in pursuing greatness, we must embrace pain and discomfort ourselves. ACCORDING TO author and Zen Habits blog creator Leo Babauta, “If you learn this skill, you can master pretty much anything. You can beat procrastination, start exercising, make your diet healthier, learn a new language, make it through challenges and physically-grueling events, explore new things, speak on a stage, let go of all that you know and become a minimalist. And that’s just the start.” If you are like me, though, your first instinct is to run from anything uncomfortable. Running limits our ability to grow and build new healthy habits. To establish these habits, I have learned the power of a second thought. When my first thought says, “I do not feel like getting up early and working out today” or “I would really love a burger and fries right now” or even “I am scared to try (anything new or challenging),” my second thoughts are becoming things like, “Just get out of bed and you will feel better,” “Remember how much better you feel when you put goodness (instead of nutritional crap) into your body?” or “Push through the fear of change and do it anyway!” Preferring to avoid discomfort is not the source of our problems. We have trouble when we stop at the first

thought because the need to dodge the uncomfortable suppresses any chance of a second thought and subsequent actions. Babauta goes on to say, “The beautiful thing is I learned that a little discomfort isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be something you enjoy, with a little training. When I learned this, I was able to change everything.” THIS INSIGHTFUL blogger described overcoming what psychologists call experiential avoidance (EA). EA is basically an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable: thoughts, experiences, feelings, memories, etc. EA exists when we seek short-term relief from discomfort by avoiding it, but this avoidance increases the likelihood that the problem will remain. Again, negative thoughts and feelings (the first thought) are not what limit us at all. It is our response to them (the second thought) that causes us trouble. We have all been there … • Procrastinating because a particular task (or conversation) would evoke discomfort. • Passing on a substantial opportunity to avoid the potential feelings of failure • Not exercising because of the effort required. • Avoiding particular social settings because of the anxiety they create. • Avoiding close relationships to elude the discomfort of vulnerability. • Staying in a terrible relationship to avoid feeling lonely. • Maintaining an unfulfilling job or position to avoid the ambiguity of change. HOW DO we overcome these very real situations to embrace uncertainty and discomfort? We can begin by recognizing the difference in unpleasant and unbearable. Pain is absolutely undesirable, but we all have and will experience it in life. Instead of demanding comfort and feeling entitled to it, let us choose to prefer it. I definitely prefer comfort to discomfort, but it is a preference, not a

Charity Butler is respected nationally & internationally as a pro athlete, writer, speaker, collegiate coach, hitting instructor and Certified Intrinsic Life Coach®. As a Pro Speaker for Sports World, Inc, Butler travels the country speaking to more than 40,000 people annually. As a recognized expert in confidence training, she also presents at various conferences, colleges & universities. Butler is the founder of Exceed Sports, LLC ( and of the I HEART FASTPITCH Campaign (www.iheartfastpitch. com). Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @CharityButler

need. “I dare you to take a little pain,” Thomas challenges. “At the end of pain is success. You’re not going to die because you are feeling a little pain.” I am learning to embrace the strength and resilience produced by discomfort. I am still breathing. Pain and uncomfortable situations have not killed me, and if you are reading this article, they have not taken your life either. Just as we tell our players, we have more inside ourselves than we often recognize. We preach to our athletes, “Give 110 percent!” But coach, they can’t. They cannot give more than what they have, and neither can you or I. We cannot give more than 100 percent, but if we ever try to give everything … if we abandon our comfort zones and seek to be all we are called and created to be, life will get uncomfortable. Giving 100 percent physically, socially, spiritually and emotionally hurts. It is sometimes painful, but rather than simply desiring to feel better, let us be willing to feel better.

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Fastpitch Delivery

coach for three years, he has been a voice inside my head every day since,” former left fielder Janette Moews CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 Stecker said. “Coach taught us to believe in ourselves and to work hard, any individual can realistically fathom. celebrate success, grow through defeat Had I not played for Coach Wares, I and carry our heads high knowing that would never have become the athlete we gave our all.” I was and the person I have become. This accomplishment is beyond wellFORMER THIRD baseman deserved.” Donell Hotze-Kvaal, the 2003 NFCA Division III Player of the Year, “THIS MILESTONE encompasses remembers Wares being slightly everything Coach Wares has developed annoyed that a 10-minute celebration in the Central College program,” former of his 500th win took five minutes Dutch catcher and first baseman Ashley too long in his estimation. Phipps said. “It shows that hard work, “His mind was already on to the focus on details and holding yourself next at bat,” she said. “It makes me to higher standards than people expect so proud and honored that I got to will put you into a unique, small group learn about softball and life from the of incredibly successful people in the best.” world.” Wares is currently the Midwest Metro State University’s Annie Region representative on the NFCA VanWetzinga played for Wares from Division III Top 25 Poll Committee 1998-2001, and then followed him into and recently completed his second the coaching profession. term as the representative for all of “1,000 wins is huge,” she said. “An Division III on the NFCA Board of average of 33 wins per season really puts it in perspective. That shows the standard that has been set and the EVERYONE CAN TRAIN TO quality of play year in and year out.” HIT MORE POWERFULLY “Coach Wares was not only my


St.Thomas’ John Tschida won his 750th game and holds NCAA-best .850 win percentage.

Other Recent Win Milestones

DIVISION I 1,200 — Eugene Lenti (DePaul) 1,000 — Jo Evans (Texas A&M) 900 — Bill Edwards (Hofstra) 900 — Sandy Montgomery (SIUE) 800 — Joe French (UMBC) 700 — Chris Hawkins (USC Upstate) 700 — Tracey Kee (North Texas) 700 — Renee Luers-Gillispie (UCF) 700 — Jana McGinnis (Jacksonville State) DIVISION II 600 — Jamie Apicella (LIU Post) DIVISION III 900 — Bob Timmons (Coe) 750 — John Tschida (St. Thomas) NAIA 1,400 — Phil McSpadden (Oklahoma City University) NJCAA 1,100 — Dennis Clark (Kankakee) 1,100 — Heinz Mueller (Phoenix) 700 — Rick Church (Blinn)

MINUTES-HCC CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16 second base bag, or in some cases, even running into the outfield. Ms. Abrahamson said it was a legal play, as long as the runner does not deviate more than three feet on either side of her base path. The base path is an imaginary line between the runner and her base established at the time a tag is attempted. Ms. Abrahamson said that a video regarding the play had been up on the Arbiter site, behind the paywall, and she would check to see if it was still available. D. Batter’s Box. Ms. Hayes said that

some umpires were interpreting the stepping out of the batter’s box rule differently. Ms. Abrahamson said a “Feet and Lines Chart” which includes definitions of “on” and “within” lines and spaces was included in Appendix A in the 2014-15 NCAA Softball Rules Book. 4. Guarantee Survey. Mr. Oakley asked about doing a survey on guarantees. It was decided that it was a good idea, but participation would probably be better if it was sent out after the season was over. 5. Next Conference Call. The next HCC conference call will be held at 10 a.m. Central time Tuesday, April 1. 6. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 10:58 a.m. Central time.

felt to be useful, and perhaps provide opportunities for readers to reflect on the previous paragraphs, with their own behavior, values, beliefs, and CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 philosophies in mind. While I’ve offered one example, I’m Feel free to share any thoughts, sure there are many ways in which comments, or suggestions for future to accomplish this. As coaches, most topics with me at of us like things we can apply. My For more information on The Dan goal here was to introduce a topic I Plan, visit



Directors. He has also served two terms on the NFCA Division III AllAmerica and Coaching Staff of the Year Committee. “YOU’VE GOT to love it,” Wares said of coaching for so many years. “As I’ve said before, but I’m not overstating it, there are a lot of really special people beyond the players and coaches. Also, the fact that we’ve had great administrative support means we’ve been able to take some trips that I’m sure some other Division III schools can’t, and that’s allowed us to play a higher caliber schedule. Because of that, we’ve been able to attract some very good players.” In typical Wares fashion of making the next game the most important one, he capped his comments on the milestone predictably. “Now we shoot for 1,001 and go from there,” he said. Central College sports information director Larry Happel contributed to this story.

we have seen tremendous increases in our power numbers. In 52 games in 2013, we hit only seven homers and 75 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 extra-base hits. In our 39 games so far this season, we have hit 27 homers and hitter’s legs, and at contact they need to have 90 extra-base hits. have their back knee touching the item. This drill ends up being a combination OUR SLUGGING percentage is of the Elvis Drill and Rolling Front 100 points higher than last year and we Toss drill, because you are using the are on pace to finish with 37 homers — same principles in a sense. We use this five times as many as last year — and drill as a tee drill, but eventually you 125 extra-base hits. I attribute a lot of can try it as a front toss drill. One of the most common mistakes that to working on The Inside Move your will see with your players is that and developing horizontal drive in our they will make contact first and then hitters. There’s nothing that puts a smile on drop onto the item and think they did my face more than when our smallest the drill correctly. The timing of contact and knee hitting the item should be player labeled “not a power hitter” hits a home run and I look over at the simultaneous. A key coaching point is that normally opposing team’s shock as the ball sails we want our hitters to make contact over the fence. If you can remember that the power with a firm front side. In our Inside Move drills, like rolling front toss, of the player is much more important they will make contact with a bent than their strength and that you can front side. Make sure to communicate build that power with horizontal drive to your hitters that we’re focusing on and The Inside Move, your smile-tobuilding the muscle memory of getting shock ratio will increase at the same deep down into our legs in these drills rate as their power numbers. You can view these drills at www. and that they won’t be completely Click on the Drills game-like. In my first year at Cal State-East Bay tab.


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