Overall Experience the Focus for DePauw's Skrenta "If a softball game is two hours long, what are you doing with your other 22 hours?" COACH’S PROFILE PAGE 6
WORDS TO COACH BY...
Four short words sum up what has lifted most successful individuals above the crowd: a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and a little bit more.
A. LOU VICKERY
NATIONAL FASTPITCH COACHES ASSOCIATION “yes
VOLUME 16, NO. 3
Blinn Takes Home JC Leadoff Classic Title By PARKER GRIFFITH Director of Media Relations The Blinn College Buccaneers won six games in three days to claim the gold bracket and overall tournament championship at the 2011 NFCA Junior College Leadoff Classic, played March 6-8 at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, Fla. This year’s Leadoff Classic marked the fifth year that the event has been held at the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” and featured 24 of the top teams in NJCAA Divisions I & II. The 2011 field featured two of the NJCAA’s 2010 national champions, Miami Dade and Muskegon, as well as 12 other teams who qualified for one of the national championship tournaments last season. Blinn wasted no time in making its mark on the tournament, as they ended the first day of play with a two-run walkoff blast from freshman Britney Krchnak to cap a 6-5 win over the hometown team, Gulf Coast. Krchnak was not the only player to make an Blinn College accepts the Gold Bracket Championship trophy impact on Friday, as Santa Fe sophomore Colena after a perfect 6-0 run through the Junior College Leadoff ClasLazar tossed the only no-hitter of the tournament sic in Panama City Beach, Florida. in a 1-0 win over defending Division II national On Saturday, five of the six undefeated teams from champion Muskegon. Lazar ended the Saints’ five game Friday won their final pool game to advance to the gold stretch by being just one of 12 student-athletes named to bracket. However, despite dropping its final game in pool the all-tournament team. For the weekend, she was 4-1 play, Odessa also advanced to the gold bracket along with with a 0.63 ERA and a tournament-high 38 strikeouts. Florida State-Jacksonville and Gulf Coast. After the first day, Blinn and Santa Fe were two of just In the nightcaps, eighth-seeded Gulf Coast made the six teams left with unblemished records. Chipola, Tal- biggest wave of the tournament when it knocked off lahassee, Chattanooga State and Odessa were the other SEE JC LEADOFF CLASSIC PAGE 9 four teams that got off to 2-0 starts.
THE ISSUES IN RECRUITING In our March special insert, read recruiting perspectives from all levels of the game...
SPECIAL PAGE 11
Make Plans for 2011 WCWS If you want to see some great college fastpitch action, visit Oklahoma City June 2-8 for t h e 2 0 11 N C A A Wo m e n ’s College World Series. The final eight teams will vie for the coveted NCAA title. Ticket Info Only all-session tickets will be sold in advance; however, single-session tickets will be sold at the gate during the week of the event. The stadium seating layout is as follows: Diamond Seating — Seating behind home plate to the top of the stadium. Original to the stadium — SOLD OUT. Premium Seating — Two sections adjoining the Diamond Seating, along first- and third-base sides to the top of the stadium. Original to the stadium — SOLD OUT. Baseline Seating — Lower nine rows of newer sections; must indicate first-base side or third-base side — SOLD OUT Grandstand Seating — Upper 10 rows of newer sections; must indicate first-base side or third-base side. All-sessions tickets available for $100 each. Outfield Bleachers — Reserved seating; all-sessions tickets are available for $100. Single-session tickets will be available starting Monday, May 30, for $17 a session. SEE 2011 WCWS INFO PAGE 8
INSIDE NEWS & NOTES NFCA EDUCATION EXTRAS
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The National Fastpitch Coaches Association is a multi-level coaching organization serving girls’ and women’s fastpitch coaches at all competitive levels of play. The NFCA strives to promote and develop the sport, coaching knowledge and leadership through the services it offers. Members of the NFCA receive 12 issues of Fastpitch Delivery, a yearly calendar, discounts on various products and resource materials, and the NFCA Directory of Information free. The NFCA also represents its members in organizations such as the ASA and NCAA. Awards programs are offered for coaching wins and high school and collegiate AllAmerican and Scholar-Athlete honors. The NFCA also holds a national convention in December, combining business meetings, coaching seminars, exhibits of top equipment and plenty of social/networking opportunities. Members also receive discounts to NFCC courses. Note: Individual subscriptions to Fastpitch Delivery are not sold outside of a full membership. It is estimated that $35 of the membership fee goes to Fastpitch Delivery.
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Fastpitch Delivery • March 2011 • Page 3
NEWS & NOTES
Briefs COACHING MILESTONES
Ashland University picked up two wins March 11 in Florida to give head coach Sheilah Gulas 700 wins in her career... Gulas has been a college head coach for 24 years, and this is her 15th at Ashland. She has guided the Eagles to the NCAA Division II playoffs each of the last two seasons... A March 16 sweep of Doane by California Baptist netted head coach Mike Smith his 600th career win. Smith has amassed his 600 career wins in 12 seasons as a collegiate head coach, posting an overall record of 600-169 (.780). Now in his eighth season with the Lancers, Smith is the winningest coach in program history and CBU has won the GSAC title every season he has been at the helm... March 19 marked win No. 100 for Adrian College head coach Kristina Schweikert. The 8-2 victory over Franklin College moved the fourth-year head coach to a career mark of 101-36...
NPF Veteran Kiernan Tabbed as Diamonds Coach
The NPF Diamonds have announced the signing of Tim Kiernan as head coach for the 2011 season. Kiernan’s stints as head coach in professional softball include a season with the WPSL’s Virginia Roadsters in 1999, NPF Tour Teams in 2001 and 2003, and a season at the helm of the Sacramento Sunbirds in 2004. Kiernan has been at the helm of the Sacramento City College since the 1982 season. The NPF Diamonds will open the 2011 season in Akron, Ohio June 9. For more information on the Diamonds please visit www.diamondsnpf.com.
Monti VanBrunt has been announced as the new head coach of Team TFS 18U (TX). VanBrunt was previously an international coach...
NEBRASKA-OMAHA PLANS MOVE TO DIVISION I
The University of Nebraska at Omaha appears bound for Division I athletics. UNO's chancellor and athletic director are recommending to the NU Board of Regents that UNO join the Summit League, a 10-team conference in NCAA Divison I. As part of a department reorganization that would accompany the step up in competition, the UNO leaders are proposing to drop football and wrestling — sports not sanctioned for competition in the Summit League.
Littlewood Begins Blog about Women's Athletics
Head, Caldwell Parish HS (LA); Bonnie Ebenkamp, Assistant, StormUSA (CA); Karen Fifield, Head, Shasta HS (CA); Donna Galgano, Head, Long Island Hellcats Softball (NY); Ronald Gantner, Assistant, Birmingham Jaguars (MI); Stacie Goddard, Head, Polar Crush (NH); Ashley Gordon, Head, Lincoln Trail College; Frank Greene, Head, Concordia University, Nebraska; Wallace Hackbarth, Assistant, California Grapettes (CA); Marvin Harper, Head, Hughson Hurricanes 18U A (CA); Ladonna Harwell, The Fastpitch School; Team TFS (OH); Brian Hedlund, Head, Skagit Valley Thunder (WA); Benet Higgs, Assistant, South Dakota State University; Ken Horton, Head, Cabrillo Crushers (CA); Robert Ives, Head, California Waves (CA); Michael Kearney, Head, Maryland Blitz (MD); Rick Kiefer (NY); Nicole Levering, Assistant, Galveston College; Nicole Loudin, Assistant, SUNY Fredonia; Charles Ludlow, Head, Steal Breeze Elite (CA); David Martin, Head, Georgia Impact (GA); Steve Miner, Assistant, San Diego State University; Miles Mohnkern, Head, Greater West Houston Girls Softball (TX); David Morissette, Head, Rivier College; Susan Oran, Strictly Softball/Strictly Sports Productions LL (OR); Kirt Orr, Head, Idaho Diamond Bandits (ID); Mark Ouellette, Assistant, Morningside College; Dianne Parisi, Head, Rockport HS (MA); Ron Petersen, Head, C C Krush (CA); Jeffrey Rajchel, Head, Tuff N Tuffer Gold (PA); Shawn Reis, Head, Northern Ohio Softball (OH); Marcella Ronyak, Head, Washington Mustangs (WA); Carol Savino, Head, Norwood HS (MA); Edward Semans, Assistant, Delaware Storm 18U (DE); Deborah Seuferer, Head, Chariton HS (IA); Allison Smith, Assistant, California State University, Chico; Lynn Sparks, , StormUSA-Corona (CA); Jennifer Stowe, Head, Diamond Nation Finch's Aces (NJ); Michael Terceira, Head, Northern Crush (MA); Dan Tredinnick, Assistant, Pennsylvania Shooting Stars (PA); Mike Weaver, Head, MI Batbusters (MI); David Weems, C.A.B. Solutions (AL); Dave Wheeler, Head, Jersey Nightmare (NJ); Ryan Wigley, Assistant, California Lutheran University.
Advancing the Evolution of Soil. Field surfacing products designed exculsively for Softball.
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NFCA Hall of Famer Mary Littlewood, who coached at Arizona State from 1966 through 1989, is reliving the early days of women’s athletics in a blog posted on the Arizona State website: thesundevils.cstv.com/blog/. In “Remember When with Mary Littlewood #2,” Littlewood wrote about discrimination against women athletes: “From interviewing several ASA Hall of Fame players, I learned that during the 1940's, 50's and 60's, it was not uncommon for a woman attending college as a physical education major to be told that, if she wanted to continue to be a student in good standing at that institution, she must quit playing Amateur Softball Association softball and/or AAU basketball. The attitudes of many people, in particular college educators, was that it wasn't ‘feminine’ to slide into a base or sweat from the exertion of competing against others.” In 1998, Littlewood authored the NFCA-published book "Women's Fastpitch Softball - The Path to the Gold.” To purchase this historical book about women’s fastpitch, visit the NFCA web store, at nfca.org.
Chad Abbott, Head, Adrian Diamond Club (MI); Jeffrey Alford, Head, Illinois Esprit (IL); Bryan Attaway, Assistant, StormUSA/Amarilla (CA); Afton Bartz, Head (CO); Logan Bennett, Head, Rockbridge County HS (VA); Catherine Billman, Assistant, South Dakota State University; Chris Brothers, Head, Washington Catholic HS (IN); Peter Bua (NY); John Campbell, Head, South Jersey Stingrays (NJ); Ashley Cirone, Head, Jonesport Beals HS (ME); Jeffrey Collins, Head, Bloomington-Normal Girls Softball Assn. (IL); Samantha Darr-Rec, Head, Troup HS (TX); David DeMoss,
Fastpitch Delivery • March 2011 • Page 4
minutes – HCC
FROM THE INTERNET COMMITTEE
FEBRUARY 1, 2011 telephone conference no. 2011-02
Video Recruiting on a Budget
The meeting was brought to order at 10:02 a.m. CST. Those present were: Lonni Alameda, Atlantic Coast Conference; Michelle Burrell, America East Conference; Maggie Calcaterra, The Summit League; Brian Campbell, Horizon League; Tricia Carroll, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; Connie Clark, Big XII Conference; Chris Cochran, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; Pat Conlan, Big East Conference; Mickey Dean, Big South Conference; David Deiros, Atlantic Sun Conference; Michelle DePolo, Patriot League; Aimee Devos, Atlantic 10 Conference; Todd Fairbourne, Pacific Coast Softball Conference; Telma O’Neal Hall, Southwestern Athletic Conference; Amy Hayes, Missouri Valley Conference; Jacquie Joseph, Big Ten Conference; Leslie King, Ivy League; Roy Kortmann, Northeast Conference; Rachel Lawson, Southeastern Conference; Kathy Leitke, Mid-American Conference; Stefni Lotief, Sun Belt Conference; Matt Meuchel, Western Athletic Conference; Diane Ninemire, Pacific-10 Conference; Natalie Poole, Southland Conference; Frank Reed, Southern Conference; Kathy Riley, Independents; Kim Schuette-Dorey, Ohio Valley Conference; Kim Sowder, Big West Conference; Windy Thees, Conference USA; Kathy Van Wyk, Mountain West Conference; Joe Verbanic, Colonial Athletic Association; Sharon Cessna, NCAA Director of Championships, Guest; Karen Weekly, Division I Representative, Chair; David Batson, NFCA Legislative Consultant; Patrick Murphy, NFCA President; and Lacy Lee Baker, NFCA Executive Director. Matt Meuchel, Western Athletic Conference, was not on the call. 1. January Call Minutes. It was moved (Ms. Thees) and seconded (Mr. Campbell) to approve the January 2011 minutes. The minutes were approved. 2. Bat Testing Penalties. Ms. Cessna was a guest on the call and said that the NCAA Division I Softball Committee had met on several occasions since receiving feedback from the coaches at the convention. She stated the following:
By Bob Guerriero Assistant Coach, Seton Hall University When we go to purchase a product as a consumer, we look at the various options that come along with that product. For example, our deepest wishes may say to buy the top of the line automobile that is offered, with the nice leather interior, the Bluetooth, the GPS system included and several other perks. But, as we begin to crunch the numbers, we often find our pockets don’t go as deep as we’d like them to, and we begin to scale back on our dream car, or purchase of whatever we are looking to buy. Finally, after much hedging back and forth, reality bites... and it smacks you with the words your hate to hear... Stay within my budget! So we begin to modify, and weigh carefully how we can get the best bang for our buck. And so it is with collegiate coaches of all levels looking to find ways to make their programs better, yet they must be so very conscious of that word “budget.” One
of the ways coaches would like to help their players is through the use of video analysis. It was my assignment to get some information on what today’s coaches are doing when they are looking for ways to analyze their players’ performance through the use of video... all while staying within a set budget for their program. What I found out surprised me somewhat... I will begin at the recent NFCA Convention in San Diego. During the vendor’s showcase of products, I stopped at every vendor that offered some form of video analysis. I got quite a range of services from these vendors. Some offered the ability to draw or edit the swings of hitters. Others offered the use of entering statistics that detailed the type of pitch thrown, the field the ball was hit to, the result, the count, right-handed or left-handed hitter and on and on. Needless to say, these would be the programs coaches would love to use for their own use. Did I mention cameras? I was asked if SEE INTERNET COMMITTEE PAGE 22
WE NEED YOUR COACHING ACTION SHOTS! As a monthly feature, the NFCA will select a coaching action photo from those submitted by members to publish in each edition of Fastpitch Delivery. Please send your high-resolution shots to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with photo credits and description.
COACHING SHOT OF THE MONTH
A. NCAA penalties would only be implemented in postseason; many conferences were taking the matter into their own hands during the regular season. B. The following penalties were agreed upon by the committee; however, these must be approved by the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet before final. It is expected that the cabinet will review the proposal in February. The recommendation going to the cabinet is: (1) The Division I Softball Committee recommends that the following penalties be assessed per NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52 (d) to institutions that allow a bat that (a) has not undergone a precompetition postseason Barrel Compression Test (BCT); (b) has not passed the BCT; or (c) was not on the most current 2011 NCAA Approved Softball Bat List, into a game during the NCAA postseason (regional, super regional or Women’s College World Series) will face the following penalties: (2) First offense—public reprimand of the head coach, monetary fine ($600) and loss of bat. (3) Second offense: Head coach receives multigame suspension (three games) served immediately after notification and which can be carried over to the following year’s postseason competition. In the event a coach with a suspension is employed by a different institution the following year, the suspension will be applied at the institution (i.e., suspension “follows” the coach). [Note: Subsequent to the meeting, the proposed penalties were approved and a memorandum stating such was sent to the Division I membership on February 23.] 3. Conference Bat Testing. The group talked about what various conferences were doing regarding bat testing. It was decided that information on failed bats should be sent to Dee Abrahamson,
SEE HCC MINUTES PAGE 10
After picking up career win No. 700 March 11, Ashland University head coach Sheilah Gulas was suprised with this blanket given to her by her team.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association
2011 Recruiting Camps NFCA Administered Camps
(completely administered by nfca staff)
Date Camp Location APPLICATION Deadline June 15 Pennsbury Academic Recruiting Camp Yardley, Pennsylvania April 25 June 16 Pennsbury Recruiting Camp Yardley, Pennsylvania April 25 June 27 Colorado Sparkler Recruiting Camp Westminster, Colorado April 25 June 28 Fireworks Recruiting Camp Aurora, Colorado April 25 July 7 Ohio Stingrays Recruiting Camp Columbus, Ohio May 15 July 14 Atlanta Legacy Recruiting Camp Woodstock, Georgia May 15 July 15 Impact Gold Recruiting Camp Houston, Texas June 1 July 20 USSSA Recruiting Camp Kissimmee, Florida June 1
NFCA Endorsed Camps
(administered by local staff according to NFCA standards)
Date Camp Location APPLICATION Deadline June 10 Las Vegas Recruiting Camp Las Vegas, Nevada April 25 June 17 Valley Invitational Recruiting Camp Hillsboro, Oregon May 20 June 23 New England Recruiting Camp Devens, Massachusetts May 17 July 7 Stop DWI Tourney of Champions Recruiting Camp Binghamton, New York June 1 July 14 Delaware Recruiting Camp Wilmington, Delaware June 1 Oct. 14 Surf City Showcase Recruiting Camp Costa Mesa, California Sept. 30 Oct. 28 Ronald McDonald Recruiting Camp Houston, Texas Oct. 14
Camp contact information Camp All NFCA Administered Camps NFCA Las Vegas Recruiting Camp NFCA Valley Invitational Recruiting Camp NFCA New England Recruiting Camp NFCA Stop DWI Tourney of Champions Recruiting Camp NFCA Delaware Recruiting Camp NFCA Surf City Showcase Recruiting Camp NFCA Ronald McDonald Recruiting Camp
Contact Phone Email NFCA (662) 320-2155 email@example.com Sally Commerford (702) 361-7431 firstname.lastname@example.org Mike Wells (503) 329-0129 email@example.com Ron King (978) 386-5658 firstname.lastname@example.org Louis Bishop (607) 761-8095 email@example.com Michelle Berryman (302) 322-5100 firstname.lastname@example.org Kim Cass (800) 613-8002 email@example.com Tracey Reyes (281) 610-2788 firstname.lastname@example.org
BENEFITS FOR ATHLETES & COACHES #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7
To allow college coaches to scout in a professional atmosphere and in a relatively short period of time. To allow the college coach to see lots of reps at the athleteâ€™s chosen position. To guarantee a coach sees specific athletes field, throw and hit in case that chance does not happen in a game. To permit the coach to select athletes to follow in the upcoming tournament. To get athlete profiles, including contact information, academic information, academic/athletic honors and individual statistics. To get camp results conveniently posted on the web site for all coaches to review. So that parents and athletes can attend the recruiting seminar to enhance knowledge of recruiting rules, eligibility requirements and exposure opportunities.
college coach registration College coaches can register online at nfca.org/camps/signup_new/ for any of the NFCA recruiting camps or their corresponding tournaments. An automatic response, with the opportunity to download camp Quick Facts sheets, will indicate successful registration. The NFCA recruiting camps are free to all pre-registered NFCA member coaches. There is a $25 on-site fee for non-member coaches or for those who are not pre-registered.
Skrenta Focuses on the Overall Experience of Athletes at DePauw By SCOTT WALTERS Media Relations Associate DePauw University softball coach Bonnie Skrenta is facing a new and unique challenge in her ninth season as head coach of the Tigers. Skrenta is coaching a veteran team, with essentially her entire starting lineup back from an NCAA championship participant of a season ago. “This is such a unique team with a veteran group of returnees,” Skrenta said. “We have two new pitchers, but basically ev"If a softball game is two erybody else is hours long, what are you back. The bigger softball prodoing with your other 22 grams get used to hours?" this because they have most of their players for either four or five years. This year, we have been able to jump off into advanced plays and situations. “That has made the season more challenging and in a lot of ways, more fun.” The 2010 Tigers finished 40-9, including a 1-2 work-
sheet at the national championship tournament. Megan Soultz and Kristin Barrow were the lone seniors on that DePauw squad. That duo combined to throw 306 of the squad’s 323 innings last season. The staff workhorses capped off a stellar career by leading DePauw to four straight appearances in the national championship tournament. “This team has used last year as a springboard,” Skrenta said. “The defense is identical this year. Offensively, we have made a few changes in the lineup. In the circle, we are really counting on (sophomore right-hander) Emily Bichler. She was our third pitcher last year but did not throw that much. However, she trained with two really
good ones. “Emily and (freshman right-hander) Megan (Landahl) are our two pitchers this year. We have some real good veteran leadership. The leaders have taken it among themselves to help bring those pitchers along, because we are counting on them heavily.” Despite early weather struggles, the Tigers In the Press Box With... BONNIE SKRENTA are off to a good start, having won nine of their first 11 games. Offensively, junior outfielder How has the game changed over the years since you’ve been coaching? Rachel MacBeth and junior third baseman Jen The game is still the same. It is still three bases and home plate. The ball is fancier and Kosinski are the early top hitters. Senior secthe bats are better; however, the game itself has remained the same, thank goodness. You ond baseman Emma Minx is the early leader still have to score more runs than the other team. What has changed is the high school in RBIs, while junior catcher Haley Buchanan experience. A lot of players are coming from highly regarded programs. Everyone has has managed the two new pitchers while hitbetter stadiums. Everyone has better dugouts. There are more batting cages. Everything ting five of the team’s first 13 home runs. around the game has changed, and for the most part, the change has been good, positive. The team closed out the March portion of its Fortunately, we still come to back to the same game we have known and loved. schedule with a week-long spring break trip to Georgia. Ironically, the weather may have What are some problems new coaches face today that are different from when you started? played into the Tigers’ favor when an openingHonestly, I still feel like a freshman in this profession. Every year is full of new learning weekend tournament was washed out. experiences. I wish I knew how my mentors had dealt with injuries, burnout and other adversities. Today, we are coaching “We were scheduled to play in a tournament a different student-athlete and that makes it a challenge. Donna Newberry had a great line in her Hall of Fame speech in Tennessee and the whole event got rained and it is very accurate. She said she always told her athletes, it is not what I want from you, it is what I want for you. out,” Skrenta said. “That may have been the best thing to happen to us, because the girls If you knew then what you know now, how would your coaching have been different? spent so much time together. It wound up reI would have been much more respectful to my coaches during my playing days. I would have done a lot of things difally being a great team-bonding event. That ferently as a player. I think that would have made me a different coach when I first entered into the profession. Really, carried over to Georgia. Even though we had I don’t think I would have coached differently from a strategy standpoint. However, I would have definitely given out a veteran team, the time together has really many more thank you’s along the way. helped us become a closer ballclub.” The togetherness and closeness is a tradeIs there a secret to success? mark of the DePauw softball program. Brad Stevens, the basketball coach from Butler, said it best. He said the key to success is to surround yourself with Typically most Division III programs have a good people, and that is 100 percent accurate. I feel so lucky to be around this community. The students that we attract smaller campus and more unified student body to DePauw are unbelievable. I think it is important to recognize and respect everybody. I have tried to do that. From to begin with. However, this sprit is magnified the players to the coaches to the equipment managers to the bus drivers, everyone has a role to play in a program being at DePauw, where past players are a key comsuccessful. I feel fortunate to call these people my extended family. Success starts by being around the best. ponent in keeping the program’s legacy alive. “It doesn’t seem possible that we were in What would your ideal season be like? a position where recently (in 2003), the team The ideal season happens when you see a player respond. When the moment happens that it finally clicks for a player... only won six games,” Skrenta said. “The real that is special. Every day we try to take another step towards the goals. Whether, it is a team photo at Disney, or players credit goes to the players who bought into singing on the bus, or winning a championship... it is all about adding to the photo book of life. If you can add special memories to that photo album, then you have had a successful season. SEE SKRENTA PAGE 20
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Split Decision on Dealing With Adversity – Preparation Versus Reaction Better? In northern New York, often times the first opportunity we get to actually be outdoors on a field is our first game or scrimmage. After so much time practicing on a gym floor and not being able to create a full field defensively, it is inevitable that teams are going to make early season mistakes. Because of this, we try to focus on going back to the basics the first few times we can get outside. In addition, almost all of our first games are crossover games that are part of our league schedule but are played against a class higher than us. Because of this, I encourage my players to think of those games as our “preseason.” We try to take the pressure off of winning and losing those games, and focus instead on doing things correctly offensively and defensively and on perfecting skills that we know we will need later. We take a lot of time in those games to work on individual skills and make sure that we are prepared for the long haul. John Cain Copenhagen Central School (NY)
adversity a purpose, rather than just blame it on random misfortune or bad luck! We try to address this issue within the first week of classes and throughout the year. Instead of being surprised and overwhelmed when it does happen, we try to be as ready for it as possible. This really does give us the ability to pull together instead of falling apart. Whether it is the coach’s or the player’s adversity, facing it head on gives us the family atmosphere that we are striving to provide to truly make us a team! Ultimately, softball is pretty insignificant in comparison to life. What I hope we offer are lessons in how to deal with life’s trials and tribulations. This sets our student-athletes up for success on and off the field. Everett Roper Saginaw Valley State University
Early-season adversity... mid-season adversity... lateseason adversity...what’s the difference? I think it is imperative that you are prepared for adversity whenever it happens. Generally speaking, I have found that student-athletes are not prepared for adversity when it does happen. Somehow, they are taught that when things get tough, find a way out (transfer, quit, blame your coach or parents). We address adversity often. Adversity is NOT an option. Softball, similar to life, does not give adversity as an option, but instead as a reality in everyone’s life. The only option is how you handle adversity. It can either overwhelm you, or you can see adversity as an opportunity to grow and get stronger. Instead of a “why me” mentality, we try to adopt a “why not me” mentality. Adversity, even though it can be extremely tough, can be what sets us up for success now or later in life. Instead of finding a way out, how can we find a way through? Find a way to grow. Find a way to thrive. Our toughest moments in life define us. Can that definition be what allows us to gain strength versus letting it shut us down completely? When facing adversity head on, even though times may be hard (perhaps the hardest we have ever faced), can we take lessons from that to help ourselves or even others as we impact our future? Not all lessons in life are meant for the individual to go through. Sometimes those lessons will be for those we love, lead or work alongside in the future. We try to give
This is a problem that is universal to most programs, I would imagine. The ‘honeymoon’ period when the players first return to school and practice is over, and the ‘Season of the Grind’ to prepare for early games begins. The adversity that occurs can take various forms; I will emphasize the difficulties of indoor workouts and team chemistry/focus. For the schools in regions that are climatically challenged, indoor practices are our life for the entirety of the early season, and this certainly presents challenges. It is far too easy for these workouts to become stale and ineffective. At Ship, we try to combat this by really mixing up what we do. First, as a matter of normal operating procedure, we really separate our defensive and our hitting work. This helps us to get efficient reps without the interruption of bringing out and setting up the hitting equipment in the middle of a practice. This also offers variety from day to day. This lets players know that they are not simply doing the same thing every day. Within this separation, we also try to offer variety to keep things fresh. There are the daily drills such as those position specific drills that work on techniques that we feel demand daily attention. But after that, we try to present something that is not so stale for the rest of the practice session. For defensive work, it may be adding a drill that emphasizes situational defense. It may be a change in venue. Though most of our workouts are in the Gym of
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How do you deal with early season adversity?
Great Tradition (i.e. the Old Gym), we are able to periodically get our outfielders to the newer field house so they can see fly balls off a bat. We try to mix up the hitting work by allowing a certain freedom in tee work; letting the players work on the specific areas of the swing in which they, individually, need work. This helps us get out of the monotony of typical hitting circuits. We also give a major voice to our team leaders. They let us know what is stale, and they offer great suggestions on how to keep things fresh. It is the senior leaders that will also help players stay on task for each rep in practice. In regards to team focus and chemistry, we rely on skills/strategies given to us in our mental training seminars in the late fall. Though we certainly have season goals for the team and players, we also set goals for each portion of the season: preseason, early season (largely tournament play), conference season, and postseason. Breaking the season up like this presents the team and players with more manageable “bits” to focus on. As players work to realize goals within this smaller period of time, it is easier to keep their attention where it needs to be. The close quarters of these indoor workouts can cause flare-ups with individual players. Here again, we put a lot on our player leaders. They work to resolve the issues between players that arise from time to time. It is our hope that these never really grow to where they need the coaches to step in. But we are certainly there, and watching, just in case. Paul O’Brien Shippensburg University This season began with some adversity for us. Before day one, rumors were swirling about the status of some players as well as the relationships between other players. In the days prior to beginning practice, I spoke with at least half of the team on an individual basis to answer questions and address concerns. I also tried to get feedback as to what their ideas were to help solve some of the problems. Before beginning practice on day one, we had a team meeting to review our goals, which we had set in the fall, and to review our team rules and the expectations that I had for them both in softball and in life. Finally, each player had to post their goals on a wall for all to see as well as post a word that they wanted our team to represent this season. Communication is key to avoidSEE QUESTION OF THE MONTH PAGE 25 EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to space limitations and a large amount of responses to last month's question, this is a continuation. Previous answers were printed in the February edition of Fastpitch Delivery.
2011 WCWS INFO
2011 COLLEGE CHAMPIONSHIPS NCAA DIVISION I Date: June 2-8 Location: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium; Oklahoma City, OK Format: The championship provides for a field of 64 teams. Four teams will compete in 16 regionals at sites announced when the field is announced. The regional winners will advance to play in eight best-of-three super regionals. The winners will advance to the WCWS. Thirty conference champions will receive automatic berths. NCAA Division II Date: May 26-30 Location: Moyer Park; Salem, VA Format: 64 teams will be seeded and participate in eight regional tournaments of eight teams each, with the eight winners advancing to the national tournament. Each regional, as well as the national tournament, is double-elimination, with one winner-take-all game at nationals. NCAA Division III Date: May 20-24 Location: Moyer Park; Salem, VA Format: The Division III championship includes 60 teams. Eight regional sites will feature doubleelimination tournaments. The number of teams per site (six or eight) will be determined by
geographic location; regionals and the final eight will use a double-elimination format. NAIA Date: May 19-25 Location: Gulf Shores Sportsplex; Gulf Shores, AL Format: The softball championship will be a 32team pool play tournament, followed by bracket play. Teams will be seeded 1-32 and divided into eight pools based on the seeds. The top team of each pool will advance to double elimination bracket play. NJCAA Division I Date: May 19-21 Location: Canyons Complex; St. George, UT Format: Field of 16 district champions will compete in a double-elimination tournament. NJCAA Division II Date: May 19-21 Location: Champion Fields; Normal, IL Format: Field of 12 district champions will compete in a double-elimination tournament.
NJCAA Division III Date: May 19-21 Location: RCTC Fields; Rochester, MN Format: Field of eight district champions will compete in a double-elimination tournament. California JC Date: May 20-22 Lo c at i o n : Bakersfield College; Bakersfield, CA Format: Eight best two out of three regionals, hosted by top seeds in the North and South divisions, will produce eight participants for second round of similar-format regionals. Those four winners will advance to the state championship, a double-elimination tournament. NWAACC Date: May 20-23 Location: East Delta Park; Portland, OR Format: Top four teams from each region will advance to championship tournament, which is double-elimination format.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Tickets can be purchased through the Oklahoma City AllSports Association until April 1 by calling 405/236-5000; advance tickets after that date will be sold through through ticketmaster. com or by calling 800/745-3000 (additional fee required when purchased through Ticketmaster). Hotel Information The NFCA has arranged a block of rooms for its members at the Hampton Inn Northwest Expressway at a rate of $90 plus tax. Please call (405) 947-0953 and ask for rooms in the NFCA block. Rooms are limited and will be filled on a first-call, first-serve basis, with a cut-off of mid-May. If the hotel is sold out, you can find other hotels listed at the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau website: www. okccvb.org.
2010 Convention Clinic DVD Order Form
If you couldn’t attend the convention, or want to review a session that you attended, you can purchase a DVD of many of the topics. DVDs are $20 for members/$25 for non-members (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.
“TEACHING PURE THROWING SKILLS THAT LAST A LIFETIME” Tony Abbatine, Founder and Director, Frozen Ropes Training Centers
“DRILLS, DRILLS, DRILLS” q Connie Clark, Head Coach, Texas (pitching); Carol Bruggeman, Associate Head, Louisville (team defense); Michelle Venturella, Head Coach, Illinois-Chicago (catching)
“DROP THE LECTURE AND TEACH THE DROP: A GUIDE TO TEACHING THE DROP BALL WITH DRILLS” Beth McClendon, Head Coach, Florida International “strength & conditioning FOR SOFTBALL” Teena Murray, Director Olympic Sports Performance, Louisville
“CREATING SCORING OPPORTUNITIES WHEN RUNNING BASES” Linda Garza, Associate Head Coach, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
“TECHNIQUES & STRATEGIES FOR THE LEFT-HANDED SHORT GAME” Tony Rico, Owner & Instructor, Softball Connection/Head Coach, Worth Firecrackers
“ACL TEAR? SEASON’S OVER! STATE OF THE ART TREATMENT AND RESEARCH-PROVEN INJURY PREVENTION FOR THE TWO MOST COMMON KNEE PATHOLOGIES: ACL TEARS & PATELLOFEMORAL DYSFUNCTION” Kate Grace, RPT, OPA-C, Founder of Kate Grace Physical Therapy
“HITTING LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY” Martin Rubinoff, Lead hitting instructor at the Texas Baseball/Softball Ranch
“SEE A FAST GAME IN SLOW MOTION” Ryan Harrison, Slow the Game Down Visual Performance Training
“how and when we adjust to speeds and locations” Don Slaught, President, Right View Pro
“TEAM CHEMISTRY: AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE WINNING FORMULA” Kelly Inouye-Perez, Head Coach, UCLA
“ATHLETIC SPORTS TESTING” Frank Spaniol, Professor, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
“OUTFIELD: DEVELOPING THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE” Mike Larabee, Head Coach, Arkansas
“KEY ELEMENTS OF THE RISE BALL” Mike White, Head Coach, Oregon
Name Address City State E-Mail Phone
Payment Information DVDs are $20 for members/$25 for non-members. Return to NFCA, 100 G.T. Thames Dr., Suite D, Starkville, MS 39759, fax to (662) 320-2283, call (662) 320-2155 or purchase online at www.nfca.org.
Card # Exp. Date
$ SHIPPING ($6 FIRST DVD; $1 EACH EXTRA) $ TOTAL $ dvdS (@ $20/$25 EACH)
NFCA To Use BATS Testing at All 2011 Administered Recruiting Camps Many sports, including football and soccer, have developed a standardized battery of tests that are used to evaluate and rank their players. The sport of softball has no such standard evaluation tool. Many college coaches have voiced a concern and have experimented over the years with different tests to evaluate current and future athletes. Thanks to Frank Spaniol, softball now has BATS , the Baseball/Softball Athletic Testing System designed to measure, evaluate and even improve performance, provided suggested training procedures are employed. Kirk Walker, head coach at Oregon State, had this to say about BATS Testing, “There has always been a void in the testing consistency and effectiveness in predicting performance levels on the field and I believe the BATS program is the best system in place to finally get our sport on the same page across the country and across all skill levels. Utilizing the full battery of tests in the BATS program could really change how we recruit, track, evaluate and develop our athletes from a young age through the professional level.” Based on his experience as a sport scientist, researcher, player and coach, Spaniol believes that the BATS system is designed to assist softball players in achieving maximum performance. He says that BATS utilizes the latest sport science research and technology to provide standardized softball testing that measures the following
performance areas: body composition, flexibility, muscular strength, power, agility, speed, throwing velocity, bat speed and batted-ball velocity. Upon completing the BATS testing, player results can be compared to a national database of norms, which may be used to develop an individualized BATS Report with specific recommendations for player improvement. The following list includes the individual tests that make up BATS, according to Spaniol: Body Composition refers to the relative proportions of body weight in terms of body fat (% body fat) and lean body mass (LBM). Appropriate body composition is essential for maximizing softball performance, while LBM is important for power production and highly correlates with strength, power, agility, speed, bat speed, and throwing velocity. BATS utilizes skinfold calipers and/or bioelectrical impedance to measure body composition. Flexibility is the ability to move a joint fluidly through its complete range of motion and is important for reducing risk of injury and maximizing softball performance. BATS utilizes the modified sit and reach test to measure flexibility. Muscular strength plays a crucial role in athletic performance and is highly correlated with softball success. One particular strength test, grip strength, is positively correlated with throwing velocity, bat speed, and batted-
In the semifinals, Gulf Coast’s Cinderella run ended as they were taken down, 5-0, by Chattanooga State. In CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 the other semi, Blinn blanked Santa Fe, 2-0, to set up the overall tournament championship game between the top-seed Chipola, 9-0, in five innings. Freshmen Taylor final two undefeated teams. Blinn got off to an early lead in the contest, scoring all Nicolosi and Kathleen Vogler were the stars of the game, three of its runs in the first two innings of play. However, as each went a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish to go along Chattanooga was able to mount a serious comeback in with three RBIs. the final innings. The Tigers scored one run in both the fifth and sixth innings, but were sat down in order in the seventh by Blinn’s Alyssa Vordenbaum to end the game. Vordenbaunm ended the contest by allowing just two runs off of seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. Following the game, Blinn’s Sara Vaughn and Chattanooga’s Misha Aldridge were named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Pitcher, respectively. Vaughn finished the weekend by going 12-for-19 at the plate with 10 runs, two doubles, two home runs, four RBI, four walks and two stolen bases. Meanwhile in the circle, Aldridge was equally as impressive for Chattanooga. The sophomore went 4-0 in the tournament and ended play with a 0.00 ERA, an opponent’s batting average of .156, 17 strikeouts and just three walks. In other bracket finals, Wallace StateHanceville took home the silver bracket Chattanooga State's Misha Aldridge was named the Junior College crown with a 9-2 win over Iowa Western. Leadoff Classic's Most Valuable Pitcher after leading the Tigers to the Wallace’s Whitney Brown and Megan Christensen were each named to the allGold Bracket championship game.
JC LEADOFF CLASSIC
ball velocity. BATS utilizes the hand grip dynamometer to measure grip strength. Power is another physical attribute that plays a major role in softball success. The ability to produce explosive power is highly correlated with batting, throwing, fielding, and base running. BATS uses the vertical jump and standing broad jump to measure leg power, while rotational power is measured by the Spaniol Rotary Power Test. Agility requires rapid changes of direction and is crucial for all softball players, especially when playing defense and running the bases. Agility can be enhanced by improving body composition, strength, and power. BATS uses the 5-10-5 test to measure agility. Speed is a highly valued skill in softball. However, top running speed rarely, if ever, occurs during a game. In actuality, acceleration plays a more important role than speed for softball performance. BATS utilizes the 10 and 20 yard dash to measure speed and acceleration. Throwing velocity and arm strength are highly regarded tools that are important for softball success. Research indicates that throwing velocity is highly correlated with LBM, grip strength, lower body power, and rotational power. BATS uses a radar gun and standardized test protocol to measure throwing velocity. SEE BATS TESTING PAGE 19
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM Most Valuable Player Sara Vaughn Blinn Most Valuable Pitcher Misha Aldridge Chattanooga St. Whitney Brown Wallace St.-Hanceville Hillary Chapman Gulf Coast Megan Christensen Wallace St.-Hanceville Brittany Cooley Chattanooga St. Michelle Downing Blinn Daleigh Fossler Iowa Western Jolene Graham Odessa Colena Lazar Santa Fe Emily Leib Temple Jasmine Warren Santa Fe tournament teams, as was Iowa Western’s Daliegh Fossler. Christensen led the tournament in both batting average and RBI by going 16-for-21 (.762) and knocking in 11 runs. In the bronze bracket, San Jacinto used a walkoff single from Shelby Parham to take home that bracket’s title with 2-1 over Temple. Following the contest, Temple’s Emily Leib was named as the lone bronze representative on the all-tournament team. Leib was 2-1 in four appearances for the Leopards and recorded 37 strikeouts in 24.2 innings of work. The NFCA Leadoff Classic will return to Panama City Beach and Frank Brown Park in 2012 and will feature some of the country’s best NAIA teams.
NATA Position States Physical Fitness Is Key for Preventing Overuse Injuries By KYLE BASS Communications Intern Recently, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) released a new position statement regarding the prevention of injuries caused by overuse in athletes that range from six to 18 years of age. According to the statement, over half of all pediatric injuries in the United States can be contributed to overuse or repetitive trauma. Two of the most common sports-related activities that result in these types of injuries are running and throwing. These two basic functions are necessary for any athletic activity and prove that any healthy, active individual is likely to be vulnerable to overuse injuries. In the sport of softball, athletes are constantly running and throwing, which makes young softball players prime candidates for overuse injuries. Repetitive overhead throwing, such as the catcher returning the ball to the pitcher, as well as pitching, are the most notable activities in softball that could lead to overuse injuries. Dr. Tamara McLeod of A.T. Still University, who chaired the group that contributed to the NATA position statement, believes that there are simple keys to preventing overuse injuries for all athletes. “A good base level of fitness is probably the most important thing any athlete can have,” McLeod said. “Too often we see athletes who have been sedentary for some period of time and lose that base of fitness.
HCC MINUTES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor. Although a model will not be assessed a strike unless Ms. Abrahamson is doing the testing, she wants the information (not the actual bat) so that she can specifically look for a particular model when doing her own testing. Other roadblocks to testing were reported: A. Machines on back-order; B. Some administrators questioning necessity since machines weren’t budgeted; C. Lack of confidence in machines; D. Unsure about difference in Easton machine vs. Washington State machine, if any. [Note: Subsequent to the call, conference bat testing information was acquired from HCC reps and a document was prepared (see 201102 Attachment A).] 4. Bat Testing Update. A. Calibration. Some HCC members had concern if the machines were calibrated correctly according to NCAA standards. Subsequent to the meeting, Ms. Abrahamson was asked about this and her response was: “The BCT machines are calibrated in the factory but come with a red and green cylinder to put in the machine every time you turn it on. If they do not get the right response, then the machine should be sent back to the manufacturer to be recalibrated. We have shipped our machines all over and had one we had to send back. Now that Easton makes a machine calibrated to the
Then they attempt to move too fast into being ready for the season.” In addition to a maintaining a base level of physical fitness, McLeod also said that athletes should follow the 10 percent rule while progressing in their activities. This means that athletes only increase their activities by 10 percent each week as they progress into the season. For softball athletes, McLeod added to her original keys by saying that all softball players should warmup properly before throwing and also keep track of the number of pitches or throws they make. Preparation before the season can help in preventing overuse injuries for softball athletes, according to McLeod. “Prior to the start of the season, athletes should have a pre-participation physical exam that can assess for possible muscle imbalances, then do the proper stretching and strengthening to reduce those imbalances.” Not all of the responsibility falls on the softball athletes however. Coaches and athletic trainers also play an important role in preventing overuse injuries. McLeod suggested that coaches monitor each athlete’s progression and not add a lot of repetitions or volume too fast to the workouts. She said literature indicates that throwing with arm pain or fatigue increases the risk of shoulder and elbow injuries greatly. “Coaches should instruct athletes that if they have arm pain or fatigue, they should let a responsible adult know. If an athlete has arm pain or fatigue that does not
USSSA standard of 1.2bpf, we DO have to be clear that it is the 98mph or ASA, calibrated machine that we use.” B. Out of the Wrapper Failure. Ms. Calcaterra said that she had received a machine and had tested all her team’s bats. She found one bat that tested negative out of the wrapper and questioned the machine’s validity. Subsequent to the call, Ms. Abrahamson said: “It is possible that a bat right out of the wrapper is out of compliance so Maggie should call the manufacturer and explain that the bat failed BCT. I am guessing they will have her return it and replace it. It is no good to her because she knows it is out of compliance and they should not want it out in public either. If she needs a contact for the manufacturer, have her get in touch with me and I’ll get her in touch with someone.” C. Approved Sticker Location. The rules committee has changed its interpretation of where the approved sticker can be placed on the bat during pregame barrel compression testing. Originally, it was just on the knob of the bat, but now it can be placed on the taper. In addition, there was some discussion regarding the sticker type, and Ms. Lawson said that the sticker suggested for use is one that will become destroyed once someone tries to remove it. D. Postseason Protocol. Some members talked about the importance of regularseason testing to prepare the studentathletes for postseason protocol. 5. Coaching Points of Emphasis. The group reviewed the proposed Coaching Points of Emphasis, and decided to modify them in regards to (a) taking out a suggestion regarding
resolve with some rest, they should be evaluated by a certified athletic trainer or other healthcare provider. Coaches should respect the decisions made by medical providers with respect to restricted activity or complete rest and make sure the athlete is properly cleared to return to activity before allowing them to participate.” With increased emphasis on the competitiveness in youth sports in recent years, these suggestions are extremely important for young developing softball athletes. McLeod insists that it is important for young athletes to follow the pitch rules for their age and take time to rest. She recommends that young athletes in every sport should diversify rather than focus too much on one sport to help prevent overuse injuries, and urges everyone involved to remember the true purpose of youth sports. “It is recommended to take two to three months off in which the athlete participates in another sport that has different demands. It is also important for parents and coaches to keep in mind that the percentage of athletes who get full collegiate scholarships is very low. It is more important that the athletes participate with the goals of staying active and having fun. Everyone involved in youth sports should focus on developing individuals who will continue to be active adults and appreciate the many benefits of sports participation.”
limiting timeouts, and others that specifically went against current rules; (b) making sure to mention how much maximum time it should take to change between half innings (90 seconds), and (c) using more of an “encouraging” tone to the document. It was also decided that a paragraph or letter should accompany the points to explain why the points are necessary. A roll-call vote was taken and the 29 conference reps on the call at the time approved the distribution of the points. The following also was discussed: A. The points should help reduce time, but the biggest time user in the game is offense. B. It is hoped that the document will stop some teams from using excessive time when changing between offense and defense; one member reported that last year, an opposing team took between four and five minutes when going on defense. C. That the points should also be sent to umpires so they are aware of the concerns.The umpires enforce the rules only, although the rules do give the plate umpire the authority to ensure the pace of the game. On the other hand, some coaches wanted to make sure that this focus wouldn’t cause umpires to speed up the game unnecessarily or cause them to cut short needed conferences. D. Some HCC members felt that the points at least make coaches aware of the time concerns and is something that can be referenced if slow play is an issue. E. There was some discussion regarding the television “red-hat/green-hat guy” who indicates to the teams when television is live. Could that person be used to assist in getting teams play-ready in a timely manner?
F. It was noted that baseball is moving to a clock to encourage speedier play. This was forwarded by Mr. Murphy from a USA Today article on college baseball: “Pitch clock: In addition to adjusting to the new bats, college players will also work with a 20-second pitch clock this season designed to speed the pace of play. The new rule requires a pitch to be thrown within 20 seconds when there is no one on base. Pitchers who fail to comply will be issued a warning. After that a ball will be added to the pitch count for every violation. If a batter is the cause of exceeding the 20-second limit, he will be assessed a strike for every incident following an initial warning. One of the base umpires will carry a stopwatch to enforce the time limit.” G. The group still wants to entertain some future rules changes to speed-up the game. [Note: The final Coaching Points of Emphasis and accompanying letter were emailed to the Division I membership February 7 and published in the Feburary edition of Fastpitch Delivery.] 6. Next Meeting. The next HCC meeting will be held at 10 a.m. CST Tuesday, March 1. 7. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 11:19 a.m. 2011-02 Attachment A CONFERENCES TESTING DURING REGULAR SEASON AND CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT (IF APPLICABLE) Atlantic Coast Conference Testing during regular season & conference tournament.
SEE HCC MINUTES PAGE 24
Fastpitch Delivery • March 2011 • Page 11
Why Recruiting is Like a Game of Musical Chairs By CATHARINE ARADI Recruiting Consultant It can be tough being a softball player who not only has the ability to compete in college, but who also really loves the game and can’t imagine quitting after high school. There are probably 80,000 high school seniors graduating every year who could potentially play college softball. Many of them won’t want to, of course, and many who think they do will decide otherwise once they find out what it actually entails. But I estimate that most travel ball players have about a 1 in 15 chance of making a college team. (That’s a statistical average, not one based on ability, experience or exposure.) Nonetheless, only about 4,500 kids will enter college each fall as new recruits headed for the softball team. Coaches, particularly those from programs that do a lot of scouting, may have the opportunity to see more than 5,000 kids over the course of a summer. Talk about a “can’t see the forest for the trees” scenario! Yet many parents assume that every coach they pass at the Colorado Fireworks or ASA Nationals is there just to see their daughter... and no one else. In the same way, many parents often believe that the coach their daughter is writing once a month with updates on her high school statistics is only interested in corresponding with her. That might be true at a really small program, but in my experience, most players tend to aim high when they start their college search. In so doing, they often forget to cover their bases by aiming lower as well. Ten or 15 years ago, this wasn’t a big problem because there was a lot more time to work your way through 30 or 40 colleges until you found the one that wanted you. But these days, even smaller schools are hearing from a lot of prospects, and if these coaches are so inclined, they can plan quite of bit of their summer scouting and fall recruiting before they even start their spring season. In my book, I talk about what I call your “target zone.” It will differ, of course, for each athlete, but in general, it represents a range of college teams where you might be able to compete. On one end of the spectrum are the schools where you’d probably have to try out as a walk-on and then fight for a spot on the team. If you were lucky enough to make it, you’d probably be a role player and not get a lot of time on the field. On the other end of the target zone will be those schools that would consider you a major impact player, and whose coaches would probably do everything possible to recruit you. Most Moms and Dads, of course, want to see Susie playing at Alabama or UCLA (or their regional equivalent.) But as I so often remind families, only 100-125 athletes total will get to go to a Top 25 Division I program each year. That translates to roughly four to five kids per team out of those 80,000 high school grads. And, due to the incredible growth of softball around the United States, coaches at the big name
schools can choose from the best prospects in Florida, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia, Texas, and so on, as well as from California and other West Coast states. Children growing up in the last century (the 1900’s!) used to play a game called Musical Chairs. There would be a row of chairs set out in the middle of the room, and the number of chairs would always be one less than the number of youngsters playing the game. The person running the game would put on a record (you know, vinyl)—usually some type of marching music—and the children would circle the chairs until the music stopped. At that point, everyone scrambled to get a Catharine Aradi is the author of Preparing seat. The player left standing was out of to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level, the game. A chair would be taken away, published by the NFCA. She maintains the and the whole thing would start over, con- Fastpitch Recruiting Web Source, and she tinuing until there was just one child left works as a recruiting consultant with athletes and colleges around the U.S. You can on one chair. College recruiting is a much tougher ver- direct questions about this article to her sion of this game. There are a lot more kids at PO Box 9167, San Rafael, CA 94912; call her at (415) 456-6449; visit her website at than there are spots on college teams. And www.fastpitchrecruiting.com or email her every time the music stops—or a player at firstname.lastname@example.org. commits—another chance at playing in college is gone. This is not to say you should grab the first school that comes along if it’s not going to be a good educational or social fit. But look at it this way. When you pursue only big name programs, when you pursue schools that might not consider you an impact player, you’re walking around four or five chairs with hundreds of other kids. If you identify and pursue colleges that will go “Wow!” when they know you’re interested in them, you can end up walking around four or five chairs with only a few other kids. Seems like much better odds to me! When you begin your college search, don’t just write the schools you saw on ESPN. Do some internet research and write schools that are strong at the Div. II, the Div. III and the NAIA levels as well. Always keep in mind that—despite what other parents and travel coaches may tell you—full rides are a rarity. So for most athletes, the time will come when they have to decide whether to grab this great chair in front of them or keep marching and risk having nowhere to sit at all. In other words, if you are realistic about where you can play, it will significantly increase your chances of making your collegiate softball dream come true!
Concept 1 Addition of Logos
Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level This is the ultimate guide for athletes wanting to play college ball but not knowing exactly what to do to get there. Cathi Aradi lays out the steps in detail, including contact information for college coaches across the country. For high school or summer ball athletes, there is not a more comprehensive guide to getting to the next level. For more information or to order, go to www.nfca.org/store or call (662) 320-2155.
www.TheQSport.com Opportunities for Outstanding Individual High School Athletes Only 17 years of Queen of Diamonds Showcase Events • Opportunities for Outstanding Individual QDS.north, south, east and new central states High School Athletes Only (application is online, apply now) • 17 yearsofofDiamonds Queen of Team Diamonds Showcase Queen Tournament 14UEvents The Cup• 2012/2013 - International Fastpitch in the Netherlands QDS.north, south, east and new central states
• (application is online, apply now) • Queen of Diamonds Team Tournament 14U Concept 2 Same Font throughout • The Cup 2012/2013 – International Faspitch in the Netherlands www.TheQSport.com Opportunities for Outstanding Individual High School Athletes Only 17 years of Queen of Diamonds Showcase Events QDS.north, south, east and new central states (application is online, apply now)
Athletic Scholarships Not the Only Way To Handle Rising College Costs By CHRISTINA EDGAR Editor First, let’s cover the facts you already know. And if you don’t, you should. No. 1, college is expensive, and No. 2, because more than 90 percent of high school athletes will not receive athletic scholarships, there are other options. (And even if an athletic scholarship is in your future, chances are it will not be a “full-ride.”) There are a multitude of options available to help students pay for a college education, and all students, regardless of financial need, are eligible for some type of financial assistance. While the financial aid process can be intimidating and time-consuming, the positive results that can be achieved make it well worth the effort. You can start researching financial aid anytime you want to, even while in the earlier years of high school, but the first step in any financial aid process is filling out what is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form, due March 2 for the following academic year, is the be all and end all of financial aid forms and it will get you far if you take the time to complete it. The information a student and his or her family provide on the FAFSA is used to determine the estimated family contribution (EFC), and therefore the types of aid available for that particular student. Types of Aid Available First, let’s take a moment to define what “financial aid” is and is not. Basically, financial aid can be defined as any assistance that does not come from your own pocket. All financial aid resources are grouped into two categories: 1) gift aid and 2) self-help aid. Gift aid is defined as financial assistance that you don’t have to pay back. Typically, this encompasses grants and scholarships. Self-help aid is assistance that requires you to do something; either work for it or pay it back. College work-study programs and all loans fall into
this category. Gift Aid Basically, there are two main types of gift aids – grants and scholarships. The first type, grants, are relatively straightforward. A large number of grants are typically funded by the federal government or the state, and basically if you fill out the form and end up qualifying, you’ll get a check in the mail. You never have to pay back the money received in a grant. It’s as easy as that. Pell Grant – The federal Pell Grant program is probably the most well-known of all federal aid programs. This is a grant distributed by the federal government that provides students with exceptional financial need a means of paying for college. The amount you receive each year may change depending on the budget restrictions and any changes in income you may report. Completing the FAFSA is the only thing a student must do to apply for a Pell Grant. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) – This is a type of grant given only to students with the most need. This is typically awarded to students that have an EFC or 0 on their student aid report. Institutional and State Grants – Most states offer grant programs for their residents, but eligibility and availability of dollars may vary. For guidelines about your state’s grant programs, visit http://www.ed.gov/ about/contacts/state/index.html. Many colleges also make available institutional grant dollars that come from endowment sources or other private donations. The school’s financial aid office is the best place to locate additional information. Non-Athletic Scholarships The term “scholarship” evokes an assortment of definitions and misunderstandings. Scholarships are not only for valedictorians, but for regular students with some
Resources General Financial Aid Information FAFSA - www.fafsa.ed.gov College Answer - www.collegeanswer.com Financial Aid Tips - www.financialaidtips.org FinAid - www.finaid.org Ed.gov - www.ed.gov/finaid Federal Student Aid - www.studentaid.ed.gov Savingforcollege.com - www.savingforcollege.com Financial Aid Finder - www.financialaidfinder.com FinancialAid SuperSite - www.financialaidsupersite.com Peterson’s - www.petersons.com SallieMae - www.salliemae.com General Scholarship Information CollegeNET - www.collegenet.com Scholarship Resource Network - www.edvisors.com
Scholarship Help - www.scholarshiphelp.org Fastweb - www.fastweb.com FreeScholarshipGuide - www.freescholarshipguide.com Scholarships.com - www.scholarships.com BrokeScholar - www.brokescholar.com Guaranteed Scholarships - www.guaranteed-scholarships.com General College Information College Board (SAT) - www.collegeboard.com ACT - www.act.org The Common Application - www.commonapp.org College Scholarships - www.college-scholarships.com Supercollege.com - www.supercollege.com GoCollege - www.gocollege.com CollegeView - www.collegeview.com Collegebound - www.collegebound.net
unique qualifications. They typically fall into two categories: 1) need-based or 2) merit-based. Need-based scholarships are more often than not determined by the student’s EFC. Outside of the college, many scholarship foundations will want your prospective school to provide them with your EFC or at least answer some questions about your family’s financial situation. Eligibility requirements can vary quite a bit among schools and foundations looking at “need” as the primary selection criterion. Merit-based scholarships are typically based on a student’s talent or academic prowess. However, other things like leadership ability, moral character and involvement in extracurricular activities can warrant scholarship accessibility. While a family’s financial situation could impact merit-based eligibility, usually it does not. Merit-based scholarships are often based on SAT or ACT test scores. Scholarships never need to be paid back, just like grants, but there is no limit to the amount of scholarship money you can qualify for. If you win a scholarship, the money is yours. This makes scholarships a much nicer way to pay for college because you can use that money for anything related to education, whether it is tuition, buying books or even buying a computer. There is no shortage of places to find information about different scholarship opportunities. In some ways, the internet has made finding scholarships an easier process to navigate as there are several free services that will allow you to simply enter some information about yourself and the database will locate scholarships that match your profile. Several of these are listed in the accompanying resource list. In addition to these scholarship search engines, be sure and visit the Web sites of large companies, colleges, high schools and different charitable organizations. Although sometimes you have to dig a little, there is a multitude of information to be found. Other resources can include: your mother or father’s employer; your church or religious affiliated organizations; minority serving organizations; libraries; and book stores. Once you’ve located possible scholarship opportunities, it’s time to apply. All scholarship applications will require you to tell something about yourself, and some ask for greater detail than others. The important thing is to spend your time wisely – apply for those scholarships that afford you the best opportunity to win. SEE FINANCIAL AID PAGE 19
DIVISION I perspective
10 Tips To Help Simplify the Recruiting Process By JOANNA LANE Head Coach, South Dakota State Over the past few years, the timeline on Division I recruiting for softball has seemingly gone into warp speed. Players are committing to universities before they have a driver's license, before they have picked out a junior prom dress and even before they have taken an ACT or SAT test. Travel ball programs want players to be noticed and to be able to show that their kids are getting recruited. Parents want a return on their investment, proof that the thousands of dollars spent traveling to tournament after tournament wasn’t done in vain. And yes, we college coaches want to protect our programs, to make sure we fill our needs and to find the “next big thing” before our rival does. With everyone involved in this process having their own agenda, it is extremely important for the agenda of the student-athlete to be first and foremost in everyone’s mind. As a recruited student-athlete, you are in the driver’s seat; yes, you may feel pressure from everyone around you, but this is your decision and one that will have a major impact on your future. So, what steps should you take? I am glad you asked... read on for 10 things to help simplify the process. 1. Know that college coaches are always watching. One time I watched a player yell through the dugout for her mom to bring her a Powerade. When the mom came back with an icy cold Powerade and the player yelled that it was the wrong color, needless to say I marked that young lady off the recruiting list before I even saw her step foot between the chalk lines. If you don’t respect your mom, you will never respect your coach. On another occasion, I watched a dad heckle the umpire, the coach and the other team; he chastised his daughter's mistakes and screamed at her teammates for not being good enough. As a college coach, we are recruiting your whole family, so unfortunately for that young lady, she missed a lot of opportunities because of her father’s behavior. Few college coaches want to worry about that parent and what they will do or say to damage their programs over the next four years. Your demeanor in the dugout, grades, ability to communicate effectively, the way you run on and off the field, how you encourage your teammates, and yes, how you treat your bat, glove and helmet, will always be watched in the recruiting process. So make sure that you are aware of your character at all times – it will make or break you. 2. Have an open mind. Unless both your parents went to University A, you have been to all their camps, love the campus, know the school offers your area of study and the financial aid package meets your needs, there is NO need to commit before you have explored all your options. 3. Know your non-negotiables and don’t be afraid to say no. Once you start high school, you should be able to determine a list of things that you know are important to you. If you absolutely want to stay within three hours of home, then there is no reason to continue the recruiting process with a school 10 hours away; the
distance will never change. If you know beyond a doubt that you want your average class size to be 30 or so, then a campus with an enrollment of 60,000 students is also probably not for you. Some of these things will change; it is true that most freshmen change majors, but if you want to study something as specific as marine biology, a landlocked school in the Midwest is also probably not for you. If you are able to communicate these nonnegotiables to your travel ball coaches and the college coaches that have an interest in you, it will be much easier to find the perfect fit that you are looking for. 4. You are committing to the school, NOT the coach. Looking at the data, it appears that there have been approximately 25 head coaching changes per year for the past four years. This means in the typically six years between committing to a school and completing your eligibility, approximately 150 coaching changes will have occurred. Since there are 290 softball schools in Division I, most players are looking at more than a 50 percent chance their school will see a coaching change occur. This is why it is so important to pick the school that is right for you. Yes, you should get along with the coach, feel that they care about you, believe you can talk to them when an issue arises, and hopefully share in his or her philosophies and beliefs. But the fact remains that softball is only a piece of the puzzle, while the institution is a bigger part of the whole. The question to ask yourself about any one school is “If I get hurt the first day of practice, and I can never play again, will I still want to go to school here?” If the answer is no, you should keep looking. 5. Don’t expect the coaches to find you. You have to be able to market yourself to the programs that interest you. The hardest thing to do is match your skill level, position and class year to the program that needs you. You could be a top outfield recruit, but if the school you really want to go to already has six outfielders on scholarship, it is probably unlikely that you will receive a substantial offer from that university. If you have a short list of potential schools, you should have your travel ball coach contact the coaching staff at these institutions to find out if they are looking for your skill in your graduation year. A large part of recruiting is supply and demand. For example, if you are one of just a handful of talented pitchers in the 2014 class, you will probably have more opportunities than someone that may be one of several talented shortstops in the same class. 6. Get an honest assessment of your ability. Growing up, I wanted to play at UCLA. As a small town kid from Ohio with limited travel ball experience, I needed to realize quickly that for me, it wasn’t a possibility. Ask your coaches to be honest with you about where you can play and be successful. Is it a powerhouse university, a smaller, more regional Division I program or somewhere in-between? With this information, you can begin to match your coach’s evaluation with some schools that have your non-negotiables. Once you have this list, you should find a way to get to that university's softball camp. Camps are a great way to interact with the players and coaches of the team, to get an idea of how
your personality and that of the coach will mesh and to ask him or her if your ability is a match with their level of play. 7. Visit, visit, visit! As early as possible you should visit as many schools as you can to compare them and continue to get an idea of Joanna Lane became the 13th head your likes and coach in South Dakota State softball dislikes for each history when she took over the procollege. One may gram in August of 2007. Previously, she have great resi- was an assistant at Northern Illinois dence halls, anoth- and head coach at Wesleyan College er may have better in Macon, Ga. She was also a gradufood, a third may ate assistant at Florida State. Lane is be out in the mid- a native of Circleville, Ohio. dle of nowhere; but you cannot get a feel for a school until you are on the campus. Yes, the internet can give you an idea but until you see it with your own two eyes, you will never have the full picture. As coaches we understand that this can get pretty expensive for you and your family, so try to combine visits with camp opportunities, summer tournaments or even family vacations. 8. Processing the offer. Once you are able to do everything above, hopefully you will receive a scholarship offer from the university of your choice. Here are some things that you should know. Before August 1 of your SENIOR year, it is not permissible for a school to provide you with a written offer of financial aid. Since most decisions are being made prior to this, the studentathlete is “verbaling” to a university. The student-athlete and the coach are engaging in a verbal agreement to a certain aid package and a commitment by the studentathlete to accept this package once they are eligible to sign her letter of intent. This is in NO WAY binding for either party. If the coach decided to rescind the offer, her or she may certainly do so, and if the player decided she no longer wanted to attend the institution, she may change her mind. If a coach leaves, the new coach does not have to honor this previous arrangement, and in most cases she or he will not. There is a lot of risk associated with accepting a verbal offer, for both parties. Therefore you should expect coaches to take their time getting to know your family, character and reputation. 9. Accepting the offer doesn’t mean your job is over. Once you commit to a university, you need to understand that the commitment is based not only on the student and player that you are, but also on the student and player you will become. You need to continue your work ethic in the classroom and on the field. Continue playing against top notch competition and resist the temptation to coast. There is still room to improve, and your future coaches as well as future teammates are banking that you will. SEE DIVISION I PERSPECTIVE PAGE 21
DIVISION Ii perspective
Recruiting at Division II Is about Changing Perspective By KRISTIE BREDBENNER Head Coach, Emporia State The story of David and Goliath correlates significantly when recruiting for a NCAA Division II softball program – Goliath being the Division I programs that so many student-athletes strive for and David being the Division II level perceived as a huge step below Division I. Recruiting at the Division II level is all about changing the perception that the student-athlete is a DI player and that DII isn’t good enough. The first time a studentathlete watches a postseason softball game on ESPN, her dream is to be that player pitching on the mound or hitting the game-winning home run. The exposure of DI athletics is growing, as is the desire to play at that elite level. Unfortunately, not every softball player can play DI athletics. My job as a recruiter is to get potential student-athletes to look past the status symbol of playing DI athletics and choose a life of balance and potential success at the DII level. Recruiting at the Division II level can be frustrating and heartbreaking at times. My first priority is to evaluate the softball talent within the state of Kansas and the surrounding states. Unlimited evaluations give me the opportunity to attend as many games throughout the year as possible. Most of my recruiting is done during travel ball tournaments in the summer and late fall, however, attending occasional high school games gives you an
opportunity to see an athlete that doesn’t participate in travel ball. My goal is to target student-athletes with the same softball skills and athletic ability that DI schools look for. Once I identify my list of potential student-athletes, my main focus is to educate them on our program, our university, and what playing Division II athletics has to offer. At the Division II level you are allowed to offer a maximum number of 7.2 scholarships. As with most DII schools, we do not have the budget to offer the maximum scholarships. Each year our recruiting needs fluctuate depending on what positions we have to fill. Scholarships are based on the amount of money we have budgeted for that year and the ability of the student-athletes we are recruiting. For the rest of their expenses, student-athletes are on their own, using academic scholarships, student loans and grants like most other students attending college. Part of my recruiting philosophy is recruiting potential student-athletes with good grades and test scores. This allows me to combine athletic and academic aid into a scholarship package, making up for our lack of scholarship budget. The recent trend of early verbal commitments hasn’t made an impact on Division II recruiting like it has on Division I. If anything, it has helped recruiting. Most DI schools have offered their scholarships to studentathletes in their sophomore or junior year. Many student-athletes have slipped through the cracks and blos-
somed into great softball players later in their high school and travel ball years. They need places to play and most scholarships are unavailable at the DI level. Recruiting at the DII level can be tough. Putting in months of work on Kristi Bredbenner is currently in a big recruit only to her sixth season as head coach at Emporia State in Kansas. In six have them choose seasons with the Hornets, she has to walk-on at a DI led her squad to six straight MIAA school can drive you tournament championships. In adcrazy. However find- dition, Bredbenner led Emporia to ing that diamond in the national championship game the rough and turn- in both 2006 and 2008. Prior to Eming them into an poria, she spent three seasons as All-American by her an assistant at UC Santa Barbara. senior year is worth it. There are plenty of student-athletes that want to play softball in college. Competing for them can be a challenge, and losing them to a higher level can be a struggle. But knowing that you are losing them to DI schools means you have a good eye for talent, you just need to work on your sales pitch.
DIVISION Iii perspective
Recruiting at Division III Is More Art than Science By DAMIAN WILLIAMS Head Coach, Willamette It seems like I have this conversation at least three times a year. Whether it is with travel ball coaches at tournaments, Division I coaches at camps, or new coaches here at my current school, Willamette University, I get asked the same question. “How do you effectively recruit to the DIII level”? I have been at it now for 13 years and my answer stays the same. “It is more of an art than a science. You have to make many strokes and will develop many layers. And just like real art, many will like it and most will hate it.” I often relate recruiting to being a GM in Major League Baseball. There are big market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox (Division I) and small market teams like the A’s and the Twins (Division III). As a recruiter of a “small market” team, there are different ways I go about recruiting athletes to come play for our program. The first thing that I had to learn was how to work within a limited budget. My recruiting budget is only $1,500 a year, so that means I cannot travel to see most players play. Many players and their parents do not understand that I cannot travel to every tournament to see them play, and they take this to mean that I am not interested in them. This is not true. I go to the Las Vegas tournament in June, the Fourth of July tournament in Denver, and one tournament in Southern California in the fall. I also attend the Valley Invite in Oregon because it is a local tournament. Thanks to many coaching friends, I often share hotel rooms and rental cars to help keep costs down. Camps are another way I help keep my recruiting costs down. I try to work as many camps around the country as I can. We also partner with NIKE and US SPORTS Camps to run an Elite Camp at Willamette very summer. Camps are such a great way for me to see a player for a week and interact with them to see if they like our
program and if they can fit in with us. Recruiting services like Cathi Aradi and Kelly Jackson, and friends of our program like Jerry Wallace and Mike McCauley, are also valuable to our recruiting efforts. With no costs to me, they have helped fill my rosters for years now. Being on a phonecall-away basis with them has really helped attract more players to Willamette. For this article, I did a count of my current roster. Forty percent of our players, I coached at a camp, 40 percent came from recruiting services and friends, and only 20 percent of them Damian Williams is in his 13th season as the head came from players writing letters coach at Willamette University, and has an overall and sending their video to me. This record of 248-185. 2010 marked the seventh time underscores the importance of the that Willamette has recorded 20 or more wins in personal contact with recruits rather a season with Williams at the helm. than impersonal letters. Another area that makes us different than most is what we look for in players. Every program is different and has different needs from year to year, but what we look for at Willamette stays the same. The first thing I look for is if a player can “fit” into our system of play. I know a lot of coaches look for the best athletes that they can “coach up” to their specific needs. At Willamette and most DIII schools, we do not have the one-on-one time with athletes to get them where we need them. At Willamette, we see if a player can run, because you can’t “coach up” speed (you can make a player SEE DIVISION III PERSPECTIVE NEXT PAGE
Certain Traits Ensure Success in Recruiting and College Ball By DAVE WILLIAMS Head Coach, Cal State San Marcos “Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But, if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.” - David Rockefeller The current economic conditions and the multitude of competitive travel ball players have made college athletic scholarships, and even college softball roster spots, more difficult to obtain. But, if you are willing to commit yourself to the three principles mentioned in the previous quote, “the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were!” TRAINING: Physical ability and skill development are normally the first things a coach or recruiter notices. Physical ability is to a large degree a God-given trait. But, EVERYONE can and should be physically FIT. We pride ourselves in being one of the best conditioned teams on campus, in conference, and in the nation. Skill development comes through instruction and repetition. Working with good coaches, attending
camps and clinics, and studying are important keys to skill development. It amazes me how many high school players have never read a single book on hitting. Maybe more important is repetition. Example: If our players have had 10,000 at-bats, we will probably do a better job hitting the ball than our opponents who have had only 2,000 at-bats. DISCIPLINE: Self-discipline (behavior and order maintained by training and control) must be a core personality trait that every college athlete strives to develop. We recruit student-athletes who are responsible and will always do their best to get the job done. We like athletes who are always prompt, on time and diligent. We expect our athletes to be respectful to coaches, officials and teammates. How you treat others (especially your parents) tells a coach something about you. We want ALL of our players to be positive, motivated, and passionate (no one wants to hang out with negative, lazy unmotivated people)! Success in life requires consistent, disciplined effort and a positive attitude. HARD WORK: We recruit players who enjoy working hard because we KNOW that it is necessary in order to
reach our goal of winning the national championship. We want players that hustle everywhere they go. We give 100 percent in practices and games, and we dive for every ball without hesitation. We only become the best because we work harder than anyone else. In 2010, his first year on the Remember, when you job, Cal State San Marcos won are not working hard, a program record 40 games, someone else is. That per- reached a program best No. son may be on the other 5 national ranking, won the team trying to beat you program's first conference in the next game. They championship, and qualified may be on another team for nationals for the first time in program history. Williams that you won’t even see was previously the head coach until the World Series. at a former NAIA powerhouse, Or, they may be on your Point Loma Nazarene. own team, trying to take your spot. Never stop working hard. You will beat 80 percent of your competition in life just by working hard.
DIVISION III PERSPECTIVE
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Self-Help Aid Loans – Loans are far and away the single largest aid program available to students. Because loans must be repaid, the decision to borrow should be made carefully and the resulting debt be managed methodically. There are a variety of different loan programs available to students and their parents, but federal student loans, such as Stafford loans or Perkins loans, are generally the best type of loan for your education. What sets federal student loans apart from private loans and other loan types is that loans that are funded by or guaranteed by the government give students a wider range of options in terms of repayment plans, interest rates and loan amounts. Because federal loans are funded by or guaranteed by the government, interest rates are significantly lower than private loans. The government makes it so there are controls on the interest of federal loans and helps to ensure students are not taken advantage of. One of the biggest problems with getting a standard private loan is that you or your parents will have to start repaying it right away. Most of the time with federal loans, students will not have to pay back a cent on their loans until they have graduated college or shortly thereafter. Likewise, interest often does not accrue on federal loans while the borrower is in school. The key to securing a federal loan for your college career begins, as with all financial aid options, with the FAFSA. You will need to fill out the FAFSA before March 2 of the year you plan to begin attending college in the fall. The FAFSA will make you eligible for federal loans and grants. If you end up meeting the requirements, you will receive an offer for a federal loan in the mail. If, after exhausting all other options, you still find yourself coming up short financially, it is only then that you should consider getting a private loan. Most financial institutions that offer private student loans include large banks and specialized companies. Work-Study – Most colleges offer work-study programs where a job is provided to the student and the earnings can be used toward their educational expenses. Jobs can be located anywhere throughout the campus or even off-campus. Work-study is a need-based program available to undergraduate and graduate students. To be considered for work-study, a student must complete the FAFSA. There are specific rules regarding employment for athletes by the various governing agencies (NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, etc.). The best way to make sure you’re being compliant is to contact your schools’ athletic compliance office or financial aid office.
quicker but hard to make them faster); we see if they have a high softball IQ, because we do not have enough time with them to teach them the ins and outs of the game (we try to give them the little things to make their game more advanced); and we see if they are a good character person, because softball is a spring sport and they need to be trustworthy from September to May. The next thing is to look at their grades and SAT scores. At Willamette we recruit to an ever-rising profile. Currently, our profile is a 3.7 GPA and a 1500 SAT. A lot of parents and players think that I am not interested in them. I really am but I do not want to waste their time or mine if they are going to get denied admission to our school. This is often a difficult conversation to have with parents who know their child is a good student and feel they are smart enough to go to any college. The last major hurdle to clear is having the financial aid talk with parents. With the cost of sending a child to college rising and the downturn of the economy, this conversation gets tougher and tougher. Most D III schools are private and expensive (Willamette’s total tuition is just over $49,000 for 2011-12), and trying to convince families that it is worth the investment is a hard sell. We mainly focus on the players’ next 40 years of their lives, not the next four. When we sell the “whole life” package, it makes that $49,000 a great investment. The rising costs of playing travel ball is just one of the problematic issues out there today. I often have parents tell me that they invested their savings into their child playing travel ball with the hopes of her getting a college scholarship. For some reason, that is difficult for me to understand. I know every family has its own philosophy and that philosophy is best for them, but I hope I invest my savings into helping my children go to the college of their choosing, to get a great education that will help them to a great future. Playing softball in college is a great thing, but “investing” in travel ball seems riskier than the stock market these days. Who knows what school the kid will end up at? Or whether they will stick it out at that school or with that team or with that coach? Hopefully, kids are playing because they love to play and it is fun and their parents are supporting them, not investing in them. One thing that remains true and constant is that recruiting is the lifeline to any program. Recruiting is one of best parts of my job. I love getting to know new people and having great conversations about Willamette and our program. It is always fun to go watch softball and not have to stress about coaching it. Recruiting is great and I look forward to the summers at the ballpark every year.
junior college perspective
JC's Provide Unique Opportunities Not Available Elsewhere By MATT HOUSEMAN Head Coach, Muskegon CC My name is Matt Houseman, and I am the head coach at Muskegon Community College. We are a junior college that competes in Division II of the NJCAA. When I began my stint as coach of the Jayhawks, we were what you would call a “bottom feeder” in our league. We were not very talented, and our recruits were young women that decided at the last minute to play softball in college. We knew that had to change drastically for us to get our program where we wanted it to be. Over the last five years, I have learned that recruiting is a complex and exhausting process for not only us coaches, but for the players and parents that are involved. I can’t speak to what it is like to recruit at any other institution except ours. I feel if I did I would be giving false information. As part of our scholarship packages at Muskegon Community College, we are only allowed to give tuition and any related academic fees. This will vary depending on what institution you are looking into. When I was asked to write about recruiting at our level, I wanted to give the information that would help the most... but that is different with each and every player. So here’s my two cents on recruiting at the JUCO level. JUCO’s give very unique opportunities; we
give our student-athletes the opportunity to play very competitive softball, along with the ability to move on to higher levels after completing their time with our programs. We give young women who are not quite sure what they would like to do for a career a little more time to develop their game plan. We also give our studentathletes an extremely affordable education. At Muskegon CC, there are a few things that are must-have’s when we are looking at perspective studentathletes. They must understand what “do the right thing” means. Softball only lasts for four years, but character will last a lifetime. They must be hard workers. They must have a strong desire to be good students first. And finally, they must have the want to strive for goals that others feel are unattainable. On the flip side of that, there are some things that will disqualify an athlete. If they treat their parents and current coaches with disrespect, they will not find a home with us. Players who have a really hard time making eye contact during their visits make us a little leery. Lastly, overbearing parents will hold their daughters back. One of the things that I love about coaching and recruiting at the JUCO level is that not only do we recruit our athletes, we have to help them get recruited by another institution. We take this very seriously at MCC. It is such a joy to watch these young women live their dreams
right in front of your face. For the young woman that was not looked at by any schools coming out of high school, to get that chance to play at the NCAA Division I level is just a great Matt Houseman is in his fifth year at the feeling. We do face helm of the Muskegon CC program. After unique chal- qualifying for the NJCAA Region XII tourlenges at our nament in his first three years as head l e v e l , b u t I coach, in 2010 the Jayhawks won their first MCCAA Western Conference title, MCCAA love what I state tournament, Region XII Regional do and I love tournament and the NJCAA Division II w h e r e I a m national title. at. The JUCO level is a great place to play softball! Don’t ever say, “Its just JUCO softball!” Our level is a great place to work on your academics, your softball and your life skills. Let us JUCO schools get you to what you have always dreamed about!
ASSISTANT COACH PERSPECTIVE
Important for Everyone To Understand Role in Recruiting Process By TOM GRAY Assistant Coach, Oklahoma State Recruiting is the foundation of any collegiate softball program. The manner in which each program approaches and organizes its recruiting can vary greatly. The division of responsibilities varies from school to school. I am fortunate in that the head coach I work for has trusted me to be very active throughout the process. The initial step in the process has to be identifying potential recruits. We have a general profile that we are looking for at Oklahoma State. That profile is much more than the position they play. Just a few of the things we take into account are athleticism, mental and physical toughness and overall disposition. Coach Wieligman (head coach at OSU) establishes that profile while allowing for input from the two assistant coaches. I think the old adage “too many cooks spoil the soup” is important here. We need to have one person who has the final word; of course that person needs to be the head coach. My role as an assistant coach is to understand the profile he establishes and to do all I can to make it happen. If everyone knows, understands and accepts their roles in the process, it helps us all do our jobs to the best of our abilities, and as a staff we are much more effective. When I am out recruiting, I know the type of player we are looking to bring into the program. I know what
positions we need to fill in each class and how much scholarship money will be available. But my most important role is as an extra set of eyes for our head coach. My opinion of a certain player’s ability or attitude could be much different than his. I might have seen that player in a completely different situation, and she might have responded in a more or less favorable way. After we feel we have had enough opportunities to thoroughly evaluate a recruit, we sit down as a staff and discuss what each of us sees. We look for strengths and weaknesses. Again, here it is important to have one person in charge that will process all of this information and make a final decision. An assistant coach needs to know being heard is one thing, but getting his or her way is another. This is not a time to worry about who is right but to make a decision that is best for the program in the eyes of the head coach. It is helpful if you can streamline the process of establishing a pool of recruits. We cannot be everywhere and see everyone who has expressed interest in our program. So another big part of a college coach’s job is to establish relationships with coaches at the club level across the country. We trust these coaches for an honest evaluation of players. Some of the best teachers of the game are coaching at the club level, and some coaches have been developing great players for decades. We are fortunate that the three members of our staff are all from different regions of the country and have developed a strong rapport to club level coaches in those areas. Knowing which
ones understand what it takes to play at the Division I level, then communicating with them helps us to narrow the field of potential recruits. In the same way I trust these club level coaches, C o a c h Tom Gray is in his third season as an assistant Wi e l i g - coach for Oklahoma State. Since he made the move from from co-head coach at Illinoism a n Chicago, OSU has made back-to-back NCAA needs to tournament appearances. Gray also has expebe able to rience coaching at both the high school and trust me. travel ball levels. He needs to know that I would not overstep my role. My job is to be a communicator and helper, not the person who discusses scholarship offers or makes the final decision on a recruit. I want the coaches I approach for help to know that I am pretty much gathering info that will be relayed to Coach Wieligman, and he will be making all final decisions. Coach Wieligman knows I am going to be reporting back to him in detail what I discussed with SEE ASSISTANT PERSPECTIVE PAGE 20
HIGH SCHOOL PERSPECTIVE
What's Best For Student-Athlete Needs To Be Focus By CARIE DEVER-BOAZ High School Head Coach I coached at the NCAA Division I level for 16 years and then decided to spend more time with my family and focus on the younger athlete. Once you leave the NCAA, the beauty is that it no longer can govern what you can and cannot do to help young athletes. On my return to the high school level of coaching, I found that the athlete plays nearly year-round, from the time they are 12-years-old. I find that of concern as a coach and parent, for the simple fact that it limits the athlete’s ability in training and becoming an all-around athlete. Not to mention, it can contribute to burnout of a potentially amazing softball player. However, it is amazing that these young athletes are so focused and desire to reach a higher level in the game I love. In my opinion, it is essential for young children to participate in many sports to develop all skills. In today’s society, children have very little avenues to play and be a kid. Our children are expected to do more, learn more and make decisions that will impact their lives at a much younger age than we had too. I am finding a much greater level of knowledge in players on both hitting and pitching, due to the tremendous amount of time and money being spent on individual lessons of these aspects of the game. I myself spend a tremendous amount of time teaching lessons to individuals on these aspects of the game. As a coach at the high school level, what I am noticing is a decline in the general overall game knowledge and basic skills of catching and throwing. Every college coach knows that he or she is only as good as the last or next recruiting class, thus the increase in the new trend of early verbals. As I talk to many of my friends still involved in the college game, they are
concerned the direction recruiting is headed. I too am saddened at the road our sport has taken, and that freshmen in high school are committing to four-year institutions. This is a slippery slope. In rare cases, it makes sense – a kid born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, whose parents are both Tide graduates is going to Alabama! However, how many children really know what they want to be when they grow up? Heck I still don’t! What happens when an athlete commits to Oklahoma as a freshman and then passionately falls in love with marine biology; that's going to be a little tough to pursue at Oklahoma. The bottom line is that softball should be used as a vehicle to their education and a career! Another concern is that both players and programs are only governed by a verbal contract. We all know that it should be as good as a written one, but the bottom line is that it comes down to ethics. What happens if as a junior in high school the athlete blows out her knee and loses her God-given speed? Or what about the athlete who gave a verbal (based on pressure she felt to commit for the full ride) to her second choice school her junior year, and then her No. 1 offers later? I have seen it happen – people backing out of their verbal commitments. The trickle-down affect is not pretty. I hear athletes and their parents tell me they have to have a scholarship to go to school. I then ask them how much money they spend a year on lessons, travel, uniforms, camps, and equipment; they start to see where I am going with this. Play this game for the pure passion, love of competition, desire to participate in America’s game, and enjoy the family time and memories that will last a lifetime. Every time in life I have let money dictate my decision, I have found it leads to a U-turn. I go back and correct the decision based on what is really important, not money! Many civilians (non-athletes) put themselves through school, take loans out, work through
the summer. It really never should be all about the money or status, rather the right fit for the student-athlete, your CHILD! This new trend makes it mandatory that the parent take control early and often. Help your c h i l d s l o w Carie Dever-Boaz is in her first season as down the pro- a high school head coach in the Memphis cess and play area. She has coaching experience at sevthe game for eral other levels of the game, having most recently served as the head coach of NPF's the pure pasWashington Glory. Previously, she was also sion. Let them an assistant at Virginia, Florida and South experience the Carolina, and a head coach at Arkansas. prom, other She is also a well-known clinician, instrucs p o r t s , a n d tor and speaker. spend time developing the total “student-athlete.” Make sure you expose your child to many universities all over the country when you travel to all these tournaments. Go to camps at some of their favorite schools, talk to parents and other athletes who have already gone through the process; take your time and constantly challenge your child to see the bigger picture. This is about a young female athlete receiving the keys to a kingdom of self worth and self reliance, and of being able to care for herself the rest of her life. Remember that if your child wants to play college ball, she can; there are so many levels and places for her to fulfill that dream.
TRAVEL BALL PERSPECTIVE
Are We Headed in the Right Direction with Recruiting Trends? Compiled by BRANDI GORDON Assistant Coach, Harvard Education & Publications Committee Member The following is a compilation of several issues that are affecting travel ball coaches across the country.
Recruiting has never been a concern when you play softball at the end of the road in Alaska. Our season is too short, our players spread themselves out to four sports, and no one knows that we exist. That, however, does not keep our players from dreaming that they might some day play “in the bigs.” The few that have ventured out to America have mostly found that they are a lost number in the cattle-call of recruiting camps, or they played a supporting role so one star could be recognized. Those players that have made it to upper level ball have been walk-ons to JC or DIII programs. As a 16-year coach, it is amazing to me that someone could commit
to a 14-year-old phenom that he or she really does not know when I have known these players all their lives and cannot even predict what she will be like from one year to another. Let´s be reasonable. They are young adolescent women at the most changeable point in their lives. Please do not force them to be something they may not want to be at 14, please do not lock them in so they do not have the incentive to keep striving and driving themselves, and please do not put so much pressure on them that they will feel like failures if they do not get signed by an upper tier DI school before they can drive. These are young women with a full, adventurous life ahead of them. At least wait until they are seniors before scooping them up to fulfill both your dreams and theirs. William Bell, MD Homer Alaska High School Coach-16 years Coming from the travel ball world before “showcases,” I think recruiting has taken the competitiveness
away from the game and now people are just playing for a scholarship. I remember tournaments used to be qualifiers, which meant you played for something. Early commitments have affected both schools and players. A player that develops later in her career doesn’t get looked at, and some players that commit early may have peaked at the age that they verballed. Hopefully things will get back to the old way, where the game was played for the love of the game and not for a scholarship. Dena (Tyson) Slye Travel Coach Rainier Jets 2007 to present PLU 2011 University of Washington 03-07 Central Mass Storm Fast Pitch softball organization was formed five years ago with 12U/14U/16U teams, and we are still at a B-level. If players are interested in DI colleges, they have moved on to A-level tournament SEE TRAVEL BALL PERSPECTIVE PAGE 20
In the End, All the Trouble of the Process Is Worth It By MADDIE REESE When I was 13-years-old, my 14U travel softball team tied for third place in the Pony Nationals in Cary, N.C. Being from Upstate New York, it was the first time that I had ever played on a field that beautiful. The dirt was perfect and the grass was like a golf course; I had never seen anything like it. It was after this experience that I started to think about playing softball in college. At age 15, I tried out for and made the TC Tremors Gold 18U softball team. This was a very big commitment for me and for my family. The team is located in Binghamton, N.Y., which is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from my home; most of the tournaments were five-hour car rides or required us to fly. It was then that my dad and I started to make our plan. We purchased Cathi Aradi’s book Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level and went to work. Training was something I knew that had to be a big focus. I had worked out with a personal trainer for a couple of years, but I needed to be more focused on getting stronger, improving my agility, and becoming more explosive. I set up calendars and made goals for myself, continued to work on my softball skills, and really became dedicated to the process. I love softball so it didn’t feel like work, but it was definitely a bigger commitment; I had to make decisions about what was important to me, and that meant sacrificing weekends and time with friends. I also knew that I had to work hard in school – good grades would open up more doors, show that I’m serious about being a student, and prepare me for the time management and balance required for playing softball in college. It’s sort of funny, but my dad has a saying that you often find what you like in life by finding out what you don’t like first. It was definitely that way with my college search. I started out with a big listing of schools, sent out 40 to 50 emails, and I was only concerned with if they were interested in me for softball. After awhile,
and several college visits, I realized I needed to focus on other things. Do they have my major? Is it an urban, suburban or rural school? How big is the campus? Is it a commuter school or do the students live on campus after freshman year? What are the facilities like? What do I know about the coaches? How expensive is the school? At the start of my junior year, my dad and I put together a “wish list” of all the things I thought I wanted... and in some ways, we started over. I can’t even begin to tell you how many e-mails I sent out over that two-year period. I tried to stay in touch as often as I could. Several coaches told me “be a pest.” Coaches only have so much time, so they like to know who is really interested in them. I visited 10 colleges, met with eight different coaching staffs, toured 17 different campuses and corresponded with over 25 different coaches through e-mail and phone conversations. While I really liked many of the schools and the coaches, I just wasn’t sure any felt right. My dad would ask me “Is this the one?,” and I would say “Well, I really like it, but... ” Everyone told me I would know when I found the right school – there would be no doubt. I began to think maybe it wasn’t going to happen that way for me. I had several schools that I really liked, and coaches I felt connected with, but I still wasn’t sure. In the fall of my junior year, Kyle Jameison (the assistant coach for the University of Arkansas) watched me play at a tournament in New Jersey. He had been an assistant at Syracuse and had seen many of our travel games over the past year. On the car ride home, after Coach Jamieson spoke to my travel coach Lou Bishop, I spent several hours on the Arkansas website. They had my major, it was the size school I was looking for, the campus was beautiful... the facilities were incredible. My only question was “can I play there?” I sent an email to the coaches, and Coach Larabee (Arkansas head softball coach) came to watch me play at a tournament in Florida. We traded some e-mails before the quiet period, and in February of my junior year, I sent out letters to
a handful of schools, including Arkansas. Coach Larabee continued to keep in touch through email, I spoke to him on the phone, and we decided I would visit over my spring break. After 20 minutes Maddie Reese is a high school senior on the Arkansas from upstate New York who will be campus and talking attending Arkansas in the fall. with the coaches, I knew it was where I wanted to be. It was the right fit, and there was no doubt in my mind that Arkansas was the school I had been looking for. All the hard work paid off; I’m fortunate to have found my school and have the opportunity to play softball at the collegiate level – the dream that started back at Pony Nationals when I was 13-years-old. The recruiting process isn’t easy. It takes commitment, focus, determination, and it requires supportive parents to help guide you. In the end, the recruiting process can help develop life skills. It requires you to be organized and makes you get out of your comfort zone. My generation is more comfortable texting than talking on the phone, so that first call to a college coach was terrifying. But the more I did it, the more comfortable it became. You have to write e-mails and letters, meet with coaches, carry on conversations, ask good questions and be a good listener. Most of all, you have to be persistent and never give up. The recruiting process gives you some incredible highs where you feel like you’re on top of the world, and some lows that make you wonder if it’s all really worth it. After traveling to some great places, meeting people from all over the country, and experiencing a world of softball that I never knew existed, it was definitely worth it.
You Never Know What To Expect in Long Process of Recruiting As parents who have not played sports at the collegiate level, the recruiting process for our daughter was fraught with mystery and high drama. Initially the process seemed very methodical and date-driven. Sometime prior to the summer of the junior year, athletes would send letters to coaches asking them to consider watching them during the summer travel ball season. After July 1, when doors for communication opened up, the coach and player would exchange messages and information. The coach would observe our daughter’s skills live at a showcase in either Las Vegas, Colorado, Huntington Beach or at nationals. Official visits would start early fall and by November, she would sign. So simple. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it went.
Though the letters were diligently sent to dozens of coaches in the spring of our daughter's junior year, there were only a handful who came to the fields that summer. And when they arrived, we were unprepared for how difficult it would be for our daughter to “perform on demand.” I still recall the first coach who walked straight to the dugout and asked to have her put in. The coach was only going to be around for 10 minutes and she wanted to see her pitch. After being told the player would need to warm up first, the coach went to the parking lot and drove away. Crushed, my daughter felt she had lost her shot. It goes without saying, she warmed up prior to every game after that occurrence, but the coach wasn’t to be seen again.
Over the course of the summer, other coaches did stop by, to watch an inning or one at-bat. The pressure on these 16-year-olds is extremely severe. Trying to hit even the worst of pitches for fear they will walk and not have a chance to show their hitting abilities, we’ve seen players swing at almost anything. Of course that’s not advisable, but at the time, we didn’t know what it felt like to be really recruited. And we felt time was running out. Fortunately, we had read Cathi Aradi’s book and we ultimately decided to hire her as our softball recruiting consultant. She kept us moving through the process even when our morale was down. Unless you are going to hit SEE PARENT PERSPECTIVE NEXT PAGE
FINANCIAL AID CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 Self-Help Aid Loans – Loans are far and away the single largest aid program available to students. Because loans must be repaid, the decision to borrow should be made carefully and the resulting debt be managed methodically. There are a variety of different loan programs available to students and their parents, but federal student loans, such as Stafford loans or Perkins loans, are generally the best type of loan for your education. What sets federal student loans apart from private loans and other loan types is that loans that are funded by or guaranteed by the government give students a wider range of options in terms of repayment plans, interest rates and loan amounts. Because federal loans are funded by or guaranteed by the government, interest rates are significantly lower than private loans. The government makes it so there are controls on the interest of federal loans and helps to ensure students are not taken advantage of. One of the biggest problems with getting a standard private loan is that you or your parents will have to start repaying it right away. Most of the time with federal loans, students will not have to pay back a cent on their loans until they have graduated college or shortly thereafter. Likewise, interest often
does not accrue on federal loans while the borrower is in school. The key to securing a federal loan for your college career begins, as with all financial aid options, with the FAFSA. You will need to fill out the FAFSA before March 2 of the year you plan to begin attending college in the fall. The FAFSA will make you eligible for federal loans and grants. If you end up meeting the requirements, you will receive an offer for a federal loan in the mail. If, after exhausting all other options, you still find yourself coming up short financially, it is only then that you should consider getting a private loan. Most financial institutions that offer private student loans include large banks and specialized companies. Work-Study – Most colleges offer workstudy programs where a job is provided to the student and the earnings can be used toward their educational expenses. Jobs can be located anywhere throughout the campus or even off-campus. Work-study is a need-based program available to undergraduate and graduate students. To be considered for work-study, a student must complete the FAFSA. There are specific rules regarding employment for athletes by the various governing agencies (NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, etc.). The best way to make sure you’re being compliant is to contact your schools’ athletic compliance office or financial aid office.
PARENT PERSPECTIVE CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE the ball over the fence regularly or pitch at 65 miles an hour, she explained, it’s not that easy to be recruited by the bigger Division I programs. So when summer ended, and there were no official visits, we trudged on into fall. A few things happened by fall that made recruiting a whole lot easier. First, coaches coming to the dugout asking for someone to be put in became commonplace. Second, our daughter stopped trying to impress in the first five minutes and practiced more patience at the plate. And finally, she grew, matured, and made those difficult phone calls to show the interest that was there all along, but hidden behind remote email communication. However, along with interest came the more difficult task: choosing a college that fit both academic and athletic goals. Truth be told, we were not that anxious for our daughter to play softball in college. With great grades and test scores, we were comfortable with her hanging up her cleats and focusing on her degree, and possibly, graduate school. But since she had been playing travel ball from age 10, she had other ideas. And because we had encouraged her to play and partially were to blame for the development of this monstrous desire, we had to now find a college that we could all agree upon. We spent the next six months researching the differ-
BATS TESTING CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 Bat speed and Batted-Ball Velocity (BBV) are essential for hitting success. Research indicates that bat speed and BBV are highly correlated with LBM, grip strength, lower body power, and rotational power. BATS utilizes swing speed radar to measure bat speed and a radar gun to measure BBV. Walker continued to praise the BATS system by saying, “Many college coaches and strength & conditioning staff in our sport have been using similar tests to track their athletes, but with Dr Spaniol’s full battery of tests and his normative data, we will now be able to start predicting specific athlete’s potential up to the highest levels.” Walker commented that he thought it was a great step for the NFCA to utilize the BATS program in their recruiting camps and believes that any training program, recruiting service, or exposure camp as well as college softball programs should make every effort to implement this battery of test so that this system becomes the standard for evaluating talent across the country. Frank Spaniol, Ed.D., CSCS*D, FNSCA, serves as Professor of Kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where he teaches biomechanics and directs the Sport Science Research Laboratory. He served as the head baseball coach at Morehead State University from 1989-95 and head softball coach at Georgia Southwestern State University in 1996. Spaniol is recognized as a leading softball and baseball researcher and presents his findings worldwide, recently traveling to China to work with their national softball and baseball teams. Spaniol publishes and presents extensively and in 2009 was honored as a Fellow by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He may be contacted by emailing: frank. email@example.com.
ences between DI, DII and DIII colleges (by this point, we had offers from all three levels). Coaches vary tremendously in their attitudes toward practice time, travel time, time out of the classroom, time spent with the team, roommate assignments, etc. Schools have varying degrees of support for the athlete, including preferred class enrollment, tutoring, and counseling. Then there are the teams themselves – how they get along, how large the roster is, and how many already play your position. After charting all these variables, it seemed as if the spreadsheet was growing in so many directions there was no right answer. Again, at this point, a softball recruiting consultant was invaluable. Though the next eligible signing period isn’t until April, I believe my daughter has finally made a choice. As expected, we have a list of items under the category “If I had only known then what I know now.” Here is our advice. 1) Tell your player to keep up her grades and study for that SAT. There are so many excellent options for softball players at the collegiate level, but only if they qualify to attend the university. 2) Have your player call coaches instead of emailing or just writing to them. Call early and call often. Email is rarely read, and calling shows the coach there is genuine interest. The same goes when she’s being recruited; if there is real interest, after the permissible date, the head coach will call the player. All those emails about camps, clinics, and “it was great to see you play” are somewhat meaningless. Real interest begins and ends
with the phone. 3) If you aren’t signed at the beginning of the senior year, it is not too late. Lots of verbal commitments fall through, teams change what positions they are seeking to fill, and there is movement all the way until spring of senior year. We were still getting calls as late as March. 4) Keep all options open. We recently took out some old notes from when we first asked our daughter which schools she would consider, and she had written “not sure” next to the one she ultimately chose. They really don’t know what they want, and they grow so much in the last one to two years of high school. They will change their minds a thousand times – so keep everything “on the table” until the very end. 5) Try not to stress. It can ruin the last couple years you have with your player at home. We have spent all of the junior year and most of the senior year on this process. And in the end she will move out, play softball where we cannot see every game, and we do not want her to recall those last couple years at home as ones filled with anxiety. Finally, a word to those coaches out there. Thank you for your encouragement and for all you do to make softball possible at the collegiate level. This article was written by the parent of a senior softball player from Northern California. The student-athlete will attend a university in the Northeast, beginning in the fall.
TRAVEL BALL PERSPECTIVE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 teams and are playing year-round softball only. We had a few players who excelled in high school and tournament ball play DIII softball. For our 16U team, the serious softball players have made videos and have been proactive, telling interested colleges about our tournament schedule to see them in action. Some players are also participating in Bay State softball games, hoping to make it to medal round games, where they’ve connected with interested college softball coaches. They are also individually participating in softball “showcase” events during the summer. So, it’s been a combination of high school, tournament team action, and personal initiative from the players. However, another trend we’re seeing is that many girls who are strong athletes are playing two or three sports in high school. They are being strongly encouraged by their high school coaches to play in summer basketball, field hockey, and ice hockey leagues/tournaments/showcase events, which becomes time-consuming and forces our ‘softball’ players to pick which sport they have the time and passion to play. This dilemma has hurt our 16U Storm team, as we’ve lost many strong softball players to ice hockey, field hockey etc… Ellen O’Donnell Coach/Board member for Central Mass Storm-5 years Lancaster Junior High Softball Coach-5 years Recreational Softball-10 years I believe it is pretty obvious that the recruiting process is starting way too young. To ask a sophomore in
high school (or even younger) to commit to a school, as well as a coach committing to a player at that age, is ridiculous. Who is to say if a player will even want to continue to play, or that a college coach will still be at that school in three or more years? I also believe it puts the travel ball coach in the middle of recruiting; college coaches have to call to ask them to have players call them at certain times so they can talk to each other. It also puts a financial burden on the players that did not previously exist. Having to take unofficial visits to many schools so the player can make a decision is very expensive. By the time the players can take their official visits, most of them have already committed and have already been to the school on a unofficial visit. I think the above issues are pretty obvious to most people. Something needs to change soon before we are recruiting elementary school kids! I personally liked the “good old days,” where we used to coach fundamentals, taught players how to compete, let them learn and love the game as well as their teammates. Players came to practice by themselves (not the entire family watching and critiquing every move a coach and every player and even their own daughter made) – because it was about the game, not about the money. Probably the only way to change the recruiting process would be to not let players verbal until the summer between their junior and senior year. I definitely feel this would be better for the players and the game of softball. Margo Leiter (Smith) Played at Portland State (Graduated 1979) Varsity High School Coach, Lake Stevens HS - 12 years Travel Ball Coach, Lake Breeze - 15 years
SKRENTA CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 the program at that time. It was an unhealthy program. It was in serious decay or trouble. The darkest moments are really what strengthen me now. To have players come in, establish themselves, work hard and take a stand to turn things around is really a credit to the pride and determination on which we have built this program.” When a program needs a turnaround, the base has to be its recruiting principles. For starters, it may be more important to promote the university itself, as opposed to a down-trodden program. Now, Skrenta and her staff can promote a quality education and quality program. “When we are recruiting players, the No. 1 thing we stress is the opportunity to be a student at such an amazing university,” Skrenta said. “Our student-athletes love to call DePauw home. We offer the unique opportunity to be so much more than a softball player. That’s what we talk about all of the time. “If a softball game is two hours long, what are you doing with your other 22 hours? Everyone at our school really focuses on helping shape the new leaders. Whether it is in community service projects, the classroom or the sports field, it is a unique setting where you have an opportunity to really become the best you can be.” Schools are allowed 19 weeks of competition, including four weeks of fall practice, as well as 15 weeks of competition in the spring. Thus, each team opportunity is one which should not be taken lightly. “From lifting weights to training to running, it is all important,” Skrenta said. “It is all part of the process. A team really comes together there during those light moments during off-season workouts. Softball is an extremely important part of the college experience, but it is not the only part. We try to stress the role softball can play and how it can enrich your overall college experience. “On the smaller levels, you are playing more for the love of the game. That is
ASSISTANT COACH PERSPECTIVE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16 any club coach. I want to note that it is important that club level coaches know I am going to be completely up front with them in regards to where we are at in the process of one of their players. I look to provide as much information as I can so as to make the process as smooth as possible. Once we have decided that we want to pursue a certain recruit, each of our coaches takes on a part of the active recruiting of that player. We divide the responsibilities of mailings, phone calls and contacts. We want each of our coaches to get to know all of our recruits, but one of us needs to be responsible for being sure that we are maintaining consistent contact and the recruit is being kept informed as to what is going on. That role typically falls on one of the assistant coaches. For me, this is the hardest part of the job. But it is one that the head coach usually does not have the time to do. So realizing that we want our recruits to know that they are important to us by communicating with them is vital. I think it is clear that I believe an assistant coach’s role in the recruiting process is one of support. “Support” is not a demeaning word. Often people view support roles as less important than that of the decision maker. I choose to look at it from a different angle. Any organization that wants to be effective must be strong from the bottom up. Its foundation must be solid. Committing to being a part of the foundation doesn’t mean you are less important. What it means is that you have really bought in. It means that you are willing to step back and be part of a team. Isn’t that what we ask our players to do?
why it is highly important to work the game into the daily routine in a unique way. If things do not go your way one day, why did that happen? How we can make it better the next time around.” Skrenta feels that having too many youth leagues has taken away from the level of instruction. While it is great that more youths are playing the game than ever before, that does not necessarily mean the game is being played at its best. “I am really worried about some of the coaching the younger players are getting today,” Skrenta said. “I take a lot of pride when players who play here go back and involve themselves in their local community. Even if you are not coaching for a living, it is great when you interact with the youth programs and volunteer your services.” Skrenta feels this season’s group offers that same potential. “I feel really lucky to have an absolutely great group of girls,” said Skrenta, who is assisted by Curtis Lawrence and Bob England. “Our goal each day is to do things a little better than we did the day before. Success is fun. However, you won’t have success unless you put in the hard work to get to that point. It is great when you see the girls dancing around, singing songs and having fun. Softball is a game that is supposed to be fun. You have to enjoy what you are doing to be successful. “However, this team does a great job of being serious when they have to. Each day, we try to out-perform what we did the day before. They have the type of balance and work ethic you have to have to be successful.” Many of the lessons about hard work and work ethic taught today are lessons learned during Skrenta’s playing days, which included a stellar career at Providence College. “I have learned from so many people in the game,” Skrenta said. “Obviously, I wished I had paid more attention when I was 20- and 21-years-old. I wish I had been a better player and done the right thing more often. That is why I appreciate today’s student-athlete. In a lot of ways, they are a lot like me. “However, when you look in a player’s eyes and finally see something click, that is the best feeling you can have as a coach."
Fastpitch Delivery • March 2011 • Page 21
SOFTBALL BY SMITTY
Soft Hands Is Not as Simple as It Sounds By DICK SMITH Head Coach, University of St. Francis, Joliet When meandering about the softball fields of America watching softball practices and coaching, one hears many different instructions being given to our youngsters, especially when first learning the game. Coaches have their favorite phrases, many coined years ago and repeated throughout the ages. Hitting is full of these “helpful” manifestations of coaching genius. We often hear: eye on the ball now; don’t over-stride; hit the green; we need a hit now; watch the pitcher’s hip for the ball; get on top (of the ball); down and hard; ad infinitum. Pitching is another position requiring staid comments and, of course, coaching genius. For example: throw strikes; get ahead (in the count); don’t walk her; make them hit it; watch the stride; get the ball down; hit the glove; and more ad “nausiums.” Fielding has it own set of occupational instructions given out to youngsters. Throwing the ball is another that we will deal with later. For the present, we will deal with the term “soft hands.” Now, soft hands to the casual bystander means using the lotion mother uses to make her hands and fingers supple and beautiful. In softball, it mainly pertains to fielders gobbling up ground balls. How many times have you heard coaches telling their charges to use soft hands when dealing with balls that are hit to them? Perhaps, dear reader, you have used this term yourself. Now, exactly what is meant by the term soft hands? Well, we mean that the fielder should bring the ball into her body in a manner that will insure success in getting the ball into the glove, preparatory to engaging in the act of throwing... a praiseworthy goal. However, when we use the term soft hands, we are not really describing what happens when a fielder does attempt to field a ball. Our hands are not soft in the sense that they are capable of insuring success in fielding. It is another part(s) of the body that is actually being engaged. The secret is not in the hands, but in the elbows. Note that when a successful fielder brings the ball into her body preparing to execute another maneuver, the elbows “give” and are pulled backward toward the midsection of her body. Even when fielding balls to the right or left side, it is the elbows that give, not the hands. We often hear of the term brick hands. It is not brick hands, but brick elbows. The nasty condition of committing errors results from this process, and it is the result of jabbing at an offending grounder and not “giving” with the elbows. Your hands can be as soft as a lamb’s wool, but unless there is “give” in the elbows, problems will arise. Perhaps this is just a lesson in semantics or a trivial distinction. But when talking with players, they often cannot understand certain instructions. Ask any beginning, or rather, unsophisticated, player what is meant by soft hands and she won’t be able to tell you. They are bewildered and have no idea of how to implement instructions.
Smitty’s Tip Care of one’s equipment, especially our gloves, can mean at least a 20 percent reduction in errors. After a game, wipe your glove with a damp cloth, inside and out, rub some hand lotion into the leather, inside and out, put a ball in the glove, and tie it up. Keep the glove away from moisture. Note that glove oil and other concoctions tend to rot leather, but lotion does not. Properly cared for, a good glove can last for many, many years. Try it. You’ll like it.
The body is often not in sync with the brain. The brain may know the meaning of a coaching term, but the body does not. In order to be successful, the two must be connected. Constant practice will not do it, but what it will often do is implement a rote of incorrect responses, thus enabling resulting errors. Smitty believes that while teaching kids the soft elbows method, or many softball fundamentals for that matter, a hands-on approach is needed. This is required even though coaches continue the old ways of soft hands. So, what to do? Well, first we must be very careful about putting hands on youngsters for obvious reasons. Coaches need to work in pairs when doing this and need to tell Dick Smith is the head coach at the University of St. Francis and formerly coached at players exactly what they will be doing Valparaiso University. before taking any action. It is easy to demonstrate the technique, but difficult to put into words. Smitty will try. When working with an inexperienced (or perhaps even one that “knows it all”) player, start by working without a ball, sometimes referred to by Smitty the magic ball drill. Stand in front of her and have her assume a defensive position. Best the hands be away from the body in a manner akin to shaking hands, elbows (and this is essential) outside the knees and bent. Then work her arms (elbows) back toward her body as if she were fielding a ball. When she gets the idea, begin rolling balls to her. When working on backhand and forehand fielding, the no-ball technique needs to be used, as well. Have the player assume her defensive position, then take a jab step to the right (or left), and then pretend to roll a ball in the direction you are working on. The player should reach out as far as she can, using her elbows to pull the magic ball into a throwing position preparing to throw. Introduce the ball when she gets the idea. One other point concerns defensive positioning. Generally, the corners are taught to stay low, some actually touching their gloves to the ground. The idea is to avoid a ball going through the fielder’s legs. Percentage-wise, this is fundamentally wrong, as there are far more balls hit somewhere other than between the fielder’s legs in the normal course of games. So why prepare for a low percentage play when you could be preparing for all the rest? Further, when the corners are this low, their arms must perforce be between their legs, thus limiting mobility, as they must stand up to move either right or left. It also limits our new “theory” of soft elbows, as there can be no give when fielding a ball. Errors are a part of the game and they cannot be eliminated. They can be lessened, however, by using tried and true techniques. Smitty will agree that if the term soft hands gets the job done, then by all means use it and throw this article in the trash. To learn more, buy Smitty’s book, Fastpitch Softball Fundamentals, available everywhere. Or email him to criticize, agree or even admire at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DIVISION I PERSPECTIVE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 10. Don’t expect an easy four years. Things will happen over the course of your college career that you will not like. Be it workouts, playing time, getting along with teammates, the policies and rules of the program or struggling in classes, you will have adversity. Sometimes the first thought is to transfer. But honestly, after all the effort you put into getting to where you are, that should be the last thought on your mind. You need to develop a mental toughness that will allow you to overcome many types of adversity that get in your way. Be willing to talk to your coaches and team captains and don’t be afraid to ask for help; they have been where you are and know how to make things better. If you fully invest yourself once you arrive on campus and believe in your future, I have no doubt it will be successful!
Fastpitch Delivery • March 2011 • Page 22
NFCA instructIONAL CORNER - the mental game
The Importance of Consistency & Commitment By JEN CRONEBERGER President, JLynne Consulting Group Head Coach, Ursinus College One of the most important goals any player can hope to achieve is consistency. As the season is starting to kick into full swing, consistency is key in the long days, the hard fought games and the ups and downs on the field. Consistency is the difference so often in winning and losing the close ones. I often tell my team that the difference between good teams and great teams is attention to detail. Attention to detail, the little things, is such a big part of consistency. When a team or a player isn’t consistent, it is usually because the little things fall through the cracks. Mental consistency is even more important. Doing the same things over and over, leaning on routines, allowing oneself to understand the power of continual effort; consistency is the backbone of success. So often when a team is struggling it’s because they are lacking mental consistency in some way. They allow the big hit they gave up to get to them, or they start to allow frustration to sink in after a strikeout in the last two at-bats. In the same way, commitment is the only way consistency can work. A mentor of mine many years ago taught me this definition of commitment that I have carried with me my whole life: “Doing something you said you would do, long after the mood in which you had said it has left you.” I am sure you can relate. Have you ever gotten caught up in the moment, said you would make the macaroni salad for the barbecue next Saturday afternoon, and were excited to go? Then Saturday rolls around and you just finished mowing the lawn and
INTERNET COMMITTEE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 I would be interested in stadium mounted cameras at critical locations. Wow... that would be so cool! But, here comes that word again... budget. I have been to stadiums that have mounted cameras, and I admire the programs that can have the funding to support such a high tech system. Realistically, most programs can’t afford to use the funding they do get for this type of system, not because they don’t want to, but more so because they need to go out and buy a pitching machine for that particular year. If it’s not a pitching machine, it will usually be something else that keeps most coaches from getting the top of the line video systems that are out there. Some of these systems are pretty intense to use as well, if either you aren’t too tech savvy or like most coaches out there, don’t have a great deal of time to enter the data required to get the most out of the program that it offers. How many of you have a phone or computer or some other electronic device that you have never used
weeding all day, laid on the couch with a nice tall iced tea and fall asleep. All of a sudden, you realize it’s time to go and you haven’t even cooked the pasta yet. It’s quite possibly the last thing you want to do, but you do it anyway because you said you would. Follow through is everything. Commitment is everything. It is not possible to be successful without commitment to excellence every day, even when you are not in the mood. Commitment to the mental game is the critical component. Not just doing it one time, or reading a mental game book before practice one day, but doing it all the time. Making a commitment that it is a part of what you do, who you are and the kind of players you want to build. So what does that mean? How does one become committed to consistency? Part of it is a choice. Part of it is learned. Part is just flat out doing. Practicing what it feels like to follow through. No matter what, whether you want to or not. Following through mentally as well as physically. We teach our players what it’s like to be physically tough and to get tougher and stronger with every workout and practice. The truth is that without a consistent and committed mental attitude, the physical doesn’t mean much. It’s so much more than committing to a workout regimen, eating right, getting rest, and being consistent with that regimen. That is an important commitment, for sure, but the most important part is the intangible: the attitude, the resilience, the ability to bounce back from adversity and commit to controlling emotions regardless of situation. Being consistent in that can be a huge precursor to success far beyond a big win here or there, the big play every once in a while. The difference between being consistently solid and inconsistently heroic is
huge. You never know if or when the big play is going to come so you certainly don’t count on it. But when the routines are solid and the mental and emotional control is a constant, Jen Croneberger is a mental game coach the chanc- who speaks at clinics, team workshops and es of more corporate seminars. She has been interviewed consistent on ABC news (Philadelphia affiliate) on many occasions about the mental game, consulted success are by MTV’s MADE as a fear coach and was the good. 2009 Female Business Leader of the Year for So really, Chester County, Pa. She works with many orgac o m m i t - nizations and sports teams from professionals m e n t a n d to youth and is currently the head softball consistency coach at Ursinus College. Her blogs and more have to sur- information on her programs can be found on vive togeth- www.thefivewords.com. er. You can’t really have one without the other. A team who masters these two pieces will win the close ones. When we focus on the commitment to the mental game and we are consistent in that commitment, it’s easy to watch a team go from believing to knowing. And in that knowing is where champions live.
the available features on and probably never will? Alright, so if we downgrade a bit, and begin to look at less expensive programs, or the options the more expensive programs offer, will it work then? For instance, I can get a video analysis program that doesn’t allow me to write over the batter as she swings, or track the ball as it is hit, or just has fewer features to edit with. Or, I can back away from the stadium mounted cameras and go to portable cameras and the good old tripod. Now we’re starting to get into the ballpark that would suit the needs and budget of more coaches. The less perks I get, the more affordable the programs can get. If I am willing to use my own portable camcorder that for the past 10 years has been used for videotaping my kids' birthday parties, then I’ve got a more affordable video analysis program by saving hundreds of dollars on a camcorder. I just hope my camcorder is compatible with the program that I purchase, so I will have to talk to the sales rep and see. While I do that, I think I will need to see what kind of tech support is offered in case my editing hits a snag. What I did find out at the convention is that all tech support is not created equal. Some companies offered 24/7 service with a phone call,
while others offered service to tecchies that were not “in-house” representatives. Some companies offered the service with their program; others did not. Some companies charged a fee for the service, others did not. I also found out that some of the vendors had a onetime fee for their programs, while others required a yearly renewal type of fee. Although these fees may not be very high, it is just another reach into your pockets to try to get the program you want. Does having a top level video analysis program translate into wins on the field? From a scouting standpoint, it may. Seeing the capabilities of the top level video programs was very impressive. Being able to chart the type of pitch hit, the count, and where it was hit can give you valuable information on your opponent. But the coaches that replied to my email had mixed emotions about that, as you can see when you read their answers below. I sent out an email to about 50 coaches or so of all divisions at the college level. I covered the East, the West, the South and the North. Here's what I asked of them, based on the topic of “Video Analysis on a Budget.” I’m SEE INTERNET COMMITTEE PAGE 26
THE UN-COMFORT ZONE with robert wilson
Will You Freak-Out or Hunker Down? Sometimes motivation is forced upon us. We are thrust into the Un-comfort Zone. And, whether we sink or swim depends on how we respond to the situation. How do you react during a crisis? Here are the stories of two men who faced a crisis late in life and how they dealt with it. One was a restaurant owner; the other a janitor. The former went into bankruptcy at an age when most people retire, and the latter was fired from a job he’d had for nearly 20 years. The restaurant owner enjoyed a successful business in a small town at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. It was a great location along busy U.S. Route 25. And, because he offered the best food and service around, his eatery was jammed from sunup to sundown. But it wasn’t to last. The janitor started his job at St. Peter’s Church in London as a teenager. Over the years he married and raised a family and enjoyed a perfectly predictable profession with solid job security. That is until the new vicar came along. Over the course of 26 years, he was honored by the state governor for his recipes; and was praised by famous restaurant critic, Duncan Hines, in his column Adventures in Good Eating. Then in1956, the new super highway by-passed the little town. It’s amazing the difference just a few miles can make. Two years later the restaurant was closed and the property auctioned off to pay creditors. At 64-years-old, the restaurant owner was broke. It was around the turn of the 20th century when the new vicar, a stickler for decorum, took over St. Peter’s Church. When he learned that the janitor could not read, he gave him three months in which to learn. Quite depressed by the news, the man thought it might make him feel better if he smoked a cigarette. Unable to afford the cost of opening another restaurant closer to the highway, he reviewed his assets. All he had left was his knowledge and the delicious recipes that
made his food so popular. So, he got into his car. As he walked home, the janitor searched for a tobacco shop. There was usually one on every block, but there were none near the church. He walked block after block without finding one. By the time he reached his house he knew exactly what he was going to do. Town by town, he drove, stopping at every restaurant along the way. He told the owners they would be more successful if they served his secret Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. is a morecipes under his brand name and paid him a roy- tivational speaker and humorist. alty. Two years later, in 1960, he had 400 restaurants He works with companies that serving his food. By 1963 he was making a profit want to be more competitive and of $300,000 per year. And, in 1964, Colonel Harlan with people who want to think Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken to investors for like innovators. For more infor$2 million, plus a lifetime salary of $75,000 per year. mation on his programs please With his meager savings, he opened a tobacco visit www.jumpstartyourmeetshop near the church. It was an immediate success. ing.com. His profits went to open a second, then a third and before long thriving tobacco shops all over London. Ten years later, he met with his banker about investing his earnings. The banker gave him some papers to sign. The man asked the banker to read the papers to him, explaining that he didn’t know how. Shocked, the banker exclaimed, “You are so successful, just think where you’d be today if you could read!” Albert Edward Foreman smiled and sighed, “I’d be the janitor at St. Peter’s Church.” (Based on a true story by Somerset Maugham) Did you know that in Chinese, the symbol for the word “crisis” is the same symbol used for the word “opportunity?” Two sides of the same coin. In other words, it’s all in our perspective. Will you find the opportunity in your next crisis?
NFCA Camp Network It’s Free and Your Campers Will Love It! Coaches Be a part of the NFCA Camp Network — an NFCA member benefit at no cost to you! Just reply to our email for your camp dates and details, and the NFCA will publicize the information on NFCA.org and in Fastpitch Delivery. In addition, we will provide your campers complimentary copies of our popular youth recruiting publication Top Recruit. Top Recruit is an annual publication that was first published in May of 2006. Containing fun and educational softball articles, Top Recruit has become a big hit in the youth softball community. A primary focus of the publication is to get accurate recruiting information out to recruitable student-athletes. For more information on the NFCA Camp Network, email email@example.com.
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The “D, E, F’s” of the Game By SCOTT WHITLOCK Head Coach, Kennesaw State I have heard that softball can be made as easy as A, B, and C. While that may be true, I am inclined to approach coaching using six D, E, and F’s. Let me explain. Determination, Enthusiasm & Fundamentals Building a team starts with these three things. A determined person rarely fails. If you wish to achieve; if you dare to step into the arena and compete; if you are committed to strive for success – you must be determined. You must be in it for the long haul. There will be ups and downs. Success does not come easy. Therefore, you must be willing to never give up. There is no substitute for enthusiasm (remember it is contagious). If the coaches are excited and believe in what they are teaching, the players will likely follow their lead. Coaches need to remember that softball is a game, not a punishment. It is perfectly acceptable for players to see their coaches having fun, joking, and laughing. A player performs better when relaxed. A coach’s enthusiasm can and will lead to players having pride in their performance. The fundamentals of the game are the very cornerstone of everything that we, as coaches, hope to accomplish. Start each day of your coaching journey committed to teaching the fundamentals. Develop EVERY needed Fundamental Practice should be about teaching and learning. There will be no Thrills if they do not have the Skills. Quality practices are essential to a team’s success. When conducting a practice, make certain that you are organized and thorough. Every aspect of the game needs to be taught correctly. Once fundamentals are taught, it is important to constantly reinforce during your practices the proper fundamentals and mechanics of the game. Bad habits can show up unannounced at any point and time. You must continuously evaluate and always make time to correct improper mechanics. Failure to correct bad habits is YOUR fault! Define Everyone’s Function Develop a (your) vision for each person in your organization and make certain that everyone is aware of their role(s). Each player needs to know all possible positions that they might be required to play and/or roles they might be
HCC MINUTES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 All schools are purchasing machines. Big 12 Conference Testing during regular season (no conference tournament) Every school is purchasing a machine. [Note: Subsequent to this compilation, the Big XII canceled bat testing because of equipment delivery and failure problems.] Big Ten Conference Testing during regular season (no conference tournament)
asked to fill (i.e., pinch run). Then they must be taught how to play each position assigned and/or do every skill required. Addressing these scenarios as early as possible will increase the likelihood of a team’s success. Exploit the assets that your assistants bring to the table. Put them in a position to contribute and feel valued. Teach them what they do not know and provide them guidance as to what you want taught and how you want it presented. Discipline Evolves in Fractions Seemingly since the beginning of time, coaches have talked about “discipline.” It has been my experience that the discipline needed the most within the team setting is SELF DISCIPLINE – in the coaches, in the players, in support personnel, etc. If each individual can condition him/herself to be willing to do whatever is necessary and appropriate at a given time, the organization stands a better chance of success. “Team Discipline” comes after “Self Discipline,” and Team Discipline is very much dependent upon the presence of Self Discipline. As coaches, we must recognize that great patience must be used when attempting to instill discipline into an individual or a team. Do not expect to be able to simply mandate that everyone must immediately discipline themselves or else… It just does not work that way. Coaches try on a daily basis to break bad habits in the hopes of teaching good habits. That same process must be used in attempting to create a disciplined team. The task is usually best accomplished by methodically requiring that self-discipline become an expected attribute of all team members and reinforce the concept daily. Discuss Every Facet This is such an easy concept to explain and it is so important, yet it is so often overlooked. COMMUNICATE with everyone connected to your program. Keep everyone in the loop. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Coaches need to talk to one another; coaches need to talk to players and coaches need to encourage players to talk to their teammates; and, when necessary and/or appropriate, coaches must communicate with parents. Everyone functions at a higher level when they are not walking around worrying and wondering. It just makes sense to COMMUNICATE! Do Not Ever Forget Learn and improve from everything that you experience as a coach. Whether it is successes or failures,
Every school is purchasing a machine. Mid-American Conference Voluntary testing in regular season. Mandatory bat testing at conference tournament. The following schools either have machines or have ordered them: Akron, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan. Southeastern Conference Testing during regular season and conference tournament. Every school is purchasing a machine. The Summit League The Summit League has bought a bat tester. Maggie Calcaterra will be traveling with the tester and making it available to all of the teams in our conference before each of our series.
wins or losses; let anything that you experience teach you something. Coaches are quick to always Scott Whitlock is one of the winningest talk about what coaches in NCAA softball, including they learned in a two national titles and 13 regional loss. However, I crowns. He was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 2005.After sucthink I have learned cessful runs at the NAIA and NCAA more on those days Division II levels, Whitlock has carried when things went his success into Division I. The Demorwell for our team est, Ga. native has compiled a 118-54 than on those days overall record within DI and captured when we faltered. the Atlantic Sun Conference regular There is much to be season championship in 2007. His two said about players Division II national titles came back“feeling success,” to-back in 1995 and 1996. experiencing it, and seeing what it looks like. When we coach from the perspective of learning from losses, we are reminding our players how they failed. When we take the opposite approach and coach based upon successes, we have more opportunities to remind (and reinforce to) our team what went right and how it helped lead to success. We are then able to easily encourage the team to repeat or continue what they are doing to achieve more success. Every practice and every game can increase the players’ and the coaches’ database of knowledge. The trick is to be able to file away what you experience and know how to use it to improve. In conclusion, do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed or frustrated. Any season or career will have its ups and downs. I am proof that if one is determined, committed to the fundamentals, a reasonably good communicator, and able to learn from experience, that he/ she can make a go of it. Good luck.
CONFERENCES TESTING AT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP ONLY Atlantic 10 Conference Our conference championship will be bat tested.We have several schools within the A 10 who plan to bat test but no one can actually get a machine at this point. Everyone is on back order/wait list: UMASS, Charlotte, Fordham, St Joes, URI, Dayton, St Bonaventure Ivy League As a League, we are testing at the conference tournament only. I know Harvard and Cornell are buying machines and I’m working on my admin to do the same. Missouri Valley Conference
Will test at conference tourney; schools don’t have individual machines, except Indiana State ordered a machine two months ago and hasn’t received it. POSSIBLE TESTING AT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP BUT NOTHING CONFIRMED AT THIS TIME Conference USA We do not have bat testing mandated for the 2011 season, but we are as coaches trying to have our conference add it. Our conference coaches aren’t the best responders to emails. No one has the machines for thus season. Ours won’t be in for another month or so.
SEE HCC MINUTES PAGE 27
QOM CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 ing problems before they occur, as well as dealing with problems when they do surface. It takes a lot of time, but I think it is worth it in order to get everyone on the same page and working together. Katrina Dagan Maine Maritime Academy (ME) How do we deal with adversity? This is something we talk about every single day with our team. When you live in the Northeast, you are always dealing with adversity and in the long run it makes you a better team. We have five feet of snow on our field right now, and we are practicing in our bubble. The bubble floor is extremely hard and the lighting is not good. We tell our players if you can field ground balls in here, you can field ground balls on any field. We do our best to put the team in situations that have adversity, and they are forced to find ways to figure things out. We put a lot of responsibility on our players to hold each other accountable, and make sure we are all giving our best effort every day. We have one month of two-hour, indoor practice in the bubble, trying to get in shape and getting ready to hit. Then, after that month, we go south to play. Adversity is one of the key words for every Northeast program. We make the best of every situation, and we tell our team to trust in our system and work hard everyday! All of the adversity we go through living in the Northeast will make us a better team, and in the long run make us better people! Jeff Franquet Central Connecticut State We always keep in mind and work to reinforce in our players' minds that, while wins and losses are important, our growth as a team and as individual players is the most important goal we have. We expect that the mental and physical mistakes that are inherent the first few weeks of the season are an opportunity. As a high school and a travel ball coach, it is much easier to approach the game in this manner, as our ultimate goal is to be playing our best at the end of the season. As such, we can work through the typical early season issues, and focus on developing players and raising the level of play of the team as a unit. In any case, no matter what level, allowing early season setbacks to develop into a negative environment will affect
every player and coach, and the issues will snowball. Coaches must maintain confidence in their players and their ability to teach the game. Positive approaches and hard work at the fundamentals will address many of the typical early season issues. Cliff Kilian Mt. Notre Dame HS (OH) If by adversity you mean losing an unusual number of contests early on, I do not acknowledge it as adversity. Every contest is a learning process. You must build on each loss and learn from each. There are reasons you lose. You address them in an ongoing teaching and learning manner. Sometimes your opposition is just more talented than you are. You must explore how you can overcome the difference the next time you play them. Bring more energy, be better prepared, and play and coach differently if you want a different result. When losing by a large margin, work at winning one inning at a time. If you go down seven in the first inning, win each of the remaining innings by just one run. In the end you may lose 7-6, but you will know that if you play better next time out, you can win at least 6-5. If you should get blown out, let it go. There is nothing of value to be taken from that game. Move on like it never happened. There is nothing you can say that will change what happened. I do not even have a post-game team meeting. The old saying of “if you have nothing good to say, then do not say anything at all,” works here. Gary Ferrin Loyola Marymount University Our coaching staff works very hard to instill one major concept: Appreciate The Process. Since our first game is not until February/March, we have to understand the process is from the summer all the way until mid-March/April/postseason. If you put too much focus on winning, then you take away from the process. If as coaches, we recruit the right players, implement the right offensive/defensive strategies, build team chemistry, work hard on and off the field every day, and develop good people, then winning will take care of itself. Sometimes the early losses and adversity allow your team to peak at the right time. So enjoy the marathon, even if you lose a sprint here and there. Anna Welsh Bethel College (IN) I try to break the games down into smaller portions, such as an inning or
even an at-bat, and try to find positive things to build on. It may be a hard hit that someone happened to catch this time, or a 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a strikeout. Stress the hard hit and making the pitcher throw a lot of pitches as positives. Keep encouraging the players to stay positive and keep working hard, and little victories will eventually lead to bigger victories. Greg Hayes Adirondack Chill 16U I always stress the importance of team building. Having your players bond at an early stage in the season is beneficial for you as a coach and for them once they step onto the field. Bringing to light that each player has strengths to bring to the table will enhance the team and make known the positive side of each team member. I like to do team building games in the fall as a kind of icebreaker for the newcomers and build team unity. Lori Shimasaki Lake Superior State University Unfortunately, we have had to deal with this many times before. An example came five years ago when our starting pitcher Hannah Becton tore her ACL in the second inning of our first game while fielding a ground ball. Our only other player that year with any experience at all pitching was a freshman that went on to win 12 games. We just approached it as an opportunity for someone else to step up. We had to move some players to different positions and spent a great deal of time talking about the hardships and opportunities that life presents. The players rallied around the freshman and we ended up with a .500 winning percentage. It is equally important to help the injured player feel like a part of the team. Hannah traveled with the team as much as possible, and was able to maintain contact with the other players that helped her get over the pain of not playing that year. Mike Harper Rogers High School (AR) A word I have been using this year is “perspective.” Since we live in an area that keeps us indoors the first part of the season, practicing in a gym can be monotonous at times. Then, moving outside and playing in real dirt resulted in some slow starts for us in the past. So this year, I have been telling the team to “keep things in perspective” and to understand that although we may not have the start to the season we want, if we keep our heads up and remain focused, we know the
hard work will pay off. No matter what weather you are faced with, the perspective is that you still have to pitch, catch, throw and hit the ball. The other team is not going to feel sorry for you because you did not get to go outside and they did. Anthony R. Stone Montana State University-Billings Our goal at Fury Fastpitch in Tennessee is to try and peak by the end of the summer. So the thing we ask ourselves each practice and each game is, “did we get better today?” If the answer is yes, then we do not panic about what happens early in the season. However, we do approach the early season with a sense of urgency too, because if we are too patient we may see ourselves without an ASA berth and on the outside looking in. This is a really tricky question, because our season is so short (end of May to end of July), that any lingering adversity could ruin our chances at a berth. Pat Moyer Fury Fastpitch Gold (TN) Depending on what kind of adversity, I can handle it in certain ways. If it is injuries or such, I may have to move kids around from their normal positions to try to make the defense stronger at key spots. I just try to fill the gaps until everyone gets healthy. If it is early season losses, I keep plugging along with our plan for the season. I realize sometimes with a young team that this will happen, and I might be going into that this season as I graduated 10 seniors. You have to be patient though, and as long as they are getting better every day, it will work out. I tend to have tougher practices after wins and tone it down after losses. It is easier to be tougher after a win, because after a loss they already feel bad and I feel that sometimes they need to take some pressure off and relax. Anthony LaRezza Immaculate Heart Academy (NJ) Keep it in perspective. As Lou Holtz has said, “Things are never quite as good as they seem or as bad as they seem, but somewhere in the middle reality falls.” Just take a look at our troops. How many of them have come back home missing limbs? Keep it in perspective. Adversity is the real measure of the individual, quoting John Wooden, “Don’t whine, complain or make excuses.” Have faith and pray; it will make a difference. Jim Kulawiak North Central College (IL)
INTERNET COMMITTEE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 not sure how you do your video analysis, but with the various video analysis software being offered to programs, I am looking to get as many different takes on how certain programs handle this part of coaching responsibilities, and how that is incorporated into the program's budget. I am not looking for specific numbers and such, just your comments about how you manage your video analysis. For instance, does your program use fixed cameras at select stadium areas during game videotaping? Or do you rely on a simpler method using portable cameras? All of this does tie into your budget, so how does that work for you? Does it put you at a competitive disadvantage if you don’t have the highest software program available? From the 30 I sent out I got back about 10 answers. I was surprised by a few things. No. 1, the number of coaches responding was a lot lower than I expected. Why? I’m not sure... maybe it’s not a hot topic for many coaches? Secondly, the answers I got from the coaches who did respond were very surprising. Here are the responses I got: Amy Kvilhaug, Head Coach, St. Johns University Whenever we video our players, we use our portable video camera. If we are videotaping them at practice (indoors or outdoors), we generally transfer footage to DVD and have the players in to review. When videotaping in-game, we input the footage into our ARK software post game and review with players either individually or sometimes in small groups. It works pretty well, though in the future we are interested in purchasing RVP or some of the newer software that provides instant feedback for more advanced analysis during practice. Our method had a one-time charge for two or three items: our video camera, the ARK software, and the compatible laptop to accompany the software. At the time, it was it a big expense, but if you amortize it over the course of several years, the impact is really not that great. We only have to pick up small items now, such as blank DVDs and an occasional maintenance issue with the laptop, so it’s manageable. We plan to look for a more advanced method in the future. It would certainly be great if it were more affordable. I am sure somebody could communicate the needs of softball and suggest
ways to make a program more affordable. We are not the only group in the market to use this type of software so it could be a challenge. These companies are also trying to make money to stay in business. Perhaps a suggestion would be to have a different level of features available at different price ranges. Of course our game is a “game of inches,” and every little advantage could certainly help. I think some of the software available serves as great visual aid for student-athletes, allowing for a greater or different understanding of skill improvement. I say no because I think there are ways to compensate for the things we do not have. It just takes a little more work and time. There is less expensive software out there that performs similar tasks. I think this would be a great study for someone – whether schools with the most cutting edge and current video analysis win more. Margie Knight, Head Coach, Salisbury University I have used Dartfish and Rightview Pro for practice. Both are great tools, but both take a person to download or understand the sometimes complicated workings of the program. Having limited funds to buy the deluxe versions that may be easier to use, I use a quicker way to give our players great feedback at practice. We use Flip cameras (two) and plug them into a projector for instant feedback. We can be recording a person while one is watching their performance. EASY, FAST and inexpensive! We even skip the projector for faster feedback. There is no slow motion, no tools for drawing, but the bottom line is our players get instant feedback and they can operate the camera/projector instantly. If they have time in their week to analyze the video and have multiple game video, I am sure it would put us at an advantage. However, since many of us do not have the people or hours to watch the film, it may not be as much of an asset as it seems. Unless you have a wide angle lens you can only watch the pitcher, catcher and batter, so you see little defensive tendencies. The cost is $119 (for 30 min. camera) or $139 (for 60 min.), and I bought these three years ago. The projector is checked out through our IT department. Maggie Calcaterra, Head Coach, IUPUI We are very “strapped” when it comes to money available for video analysis. We try to video every one of our practices, which the coaching staff can analyze,
but also make it available for all of our players using Homefield. It's a very useful and inexpensive internet tool we can access from anywhere. We generally use one camera, which is operated by a team manager at practices and games. I believe that it helps us a little, especially with hitters and pitchers. However, we tape mostly to correct ourselves.
PitchaFit Inc. (local fastpitch facility) is video analysis. Over the years I have spent as little as possible to get what works well. Yes, I would enjoy spending several thousand dollars on the best high speed camera and analysis software. However, that dreaded six-letter word keeps popping up... yes, BUDGET! Luckily there are products and ways to successfully complete effective analysis Lonni Alameda, Head Coach, Florida while sparing your budget. State University At VWC we film all aspects of a playWe don’t use any video system. We er’s game, from hitting to running bases, are old school, I guess – a camera and and our goal is to increase the player’s play it on our computer. We analyze that probability for success by becoming as way – kind of boring, I suppose. We do efficient as possible with our movements, a ton of video though, from individual reactions and actions. Initially we used a to team stuff. simple camcorder to video our players; this worked well for whole team analyDon Justus, Assistant Coach, Kutztown sis such as defensive play; however, the University camcorder was a little cumbersome, and We do not have a specific budget for when analyzing a pitcher's pitching arm video analysis. We do have Sony video in motion or batters' hands (when swingequipment, which is supplied by our ath- ing), we had difficulty seeing everything. letic department for the use of all in-seaOur first priority was to get a camera son sports. I also have my own personal or camcorder that was pocket-sized, shot video equipment as well and the Right a good picture and was cost friendly. View Pro system, which we can use as Most cameras or camcorders that shot in needed. We do not have an affixed system excess of 60 frames-per-second (FPS) within our facility, and when we do use did a decent job... but we wanted better. video, it is all portable. Most of the video We finally found a high speed camera we use is on an individual basis to assess for under $400 that could film (video mechanics with our players, both offen- mode) in excess of 100FPS. Going with sively and defensively. Also, we directly the pocket-sized camcorder we sacrificed handle all this within our staff and do not some record time capabilities, but we have a separate individual to handle this. could immediately provide detailed feed back to the players on the practice field or Kim Camara, Head Coach, Drexel we could load the data on our computer University and hold an analysis session. Right now we use the basic version of Our second hurdle was finding a proDartfish. We record right to my laptop and gram to view/analyze the video. There are can view it either in or out of practice. some awesome programs on the market Prior to this year, we simply used the and they all do a great job, however... pause and play button on a camcorder. BUDGET constraints reduced our opWe used dry erase markers on the TV tions. After doing some research and testscreen to draw lines and dots to show ing a couple different software programs them their path of movement. The basic local teams used, we found that Apple Dartfish program we use actually does QuickTime (great cost, free) replays the not have an annual fee, so the one time video at variable operator-controlled purchasing fee was the only cost. I don’t speeds... in other words, frame by frame. need anything fancy, so the one time cost The only downside to QuickTime is the was perfect for us. inability to mark or write on the video. If a detailed analysis of a swing was needed, James Inzana, Head Coach, Virginia we used a program called MotionPro; this Wesleyan College is similar to Rightview Pro (also a great Most softball programs have a limited program) but more economical. Motionbudget, and making funds go as far as Pro allows us to draw and write notes on possible is a necessity. Here at Virginia the video for the player to see or read at Wesleyan, we are no different. We be- a later time. If you have the funds, Rightlieve that video analysis assists in team view Pro will do everything you need just and individual development; however, like MotionPro, but it also has a great we do not have a lot of funds to allocate selection of extremely talented softball towards it. players to do a comparison video with. One of my responsibilities at VWC and SEE INTERNET COMMITTEE NEXT PAGE
Fastpitch Delivery • March 2011 • Page 27
DEFENSE By BONNIE SKRENTA Head Coach, DePauw University Name of Drill: 20-40-60 Purpose: Catching, throwing, pressure and communication drill for all players. Explanation: Setup: One ball, infield with bases or cones to designate 20 feet from home to first and home to third , and 40 feet from home to first and home to third, and a stopwatch. Execution: Four players complete the drill at a time. The ball needs to travel clockwise and counter clockwise at 20 feet, 40 feet and 60 feet around the infield as quickly as possible. The ball starts at home plate, and the four players are set up 20 feet from home. As the ball travels clockwise then counter clockwise around the diamond, the players move back to 40 feet then to 60 feet. The team (group of four) that can move the ball around the diamond the quickest WINS! The diagram has cones but using bases helps the infield work on footwork at the bases. This is for all infielders and outfielders. I am almost certain that this is a drill that I learned from an NFCA coach!
INTERNET COMMITTEE CONTINUED FROM PREV. PAGE Bottom line for VWC is an effective system for between $300-$500. So as you can see, coaches that did respond showed an overwhelming use of their own camcorders, which they felt more comfortable with – something portable, something that didn’t require outside technical assistance, and yes... something that was affordable. They pointed out that time was a big issue, in terms of dissecting the video and then implementing it in the 20 hours allowed for practice. Time and money have been linked together for years and years, and it doesn’t appear that that will be changing soon. We’ve all seen video analysis presentations at conventions over the years. I marvel at the technical ability that is available for coaches to use. And who wouldn’t want to be able to compare swings that produce pop-ups to swings that produce home runs? What coach wouldn’t want to be able to increase his or her pitcher's velocity by three mph after picking up a mechanical flaw while watching a video analysis? But it seems that many programs and universities that are strapped in these difficult economic times have to find ways to make do with less, and a high tech video analysis system may not be the dream purchase for many programs.
HCC MINUTES CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 Horizon League Our conference office is looking into buying one machine for the conference. This machine would be past around from team to team, with testing being done at our tournament. No team has bought a machine. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference The conference is not testing at the moment. I have talked with one of the administrators on the softball committee about possibly testing at the conference championship. To my knowledge, no one in the conference has a bat testing machine. Mountain West Conference As of now it appears as though we are the only ones buying the machine. When it comes in I would like to test at our tournaments and conference games but we have not finalized a policy. Northeast Conference NEC purchased bat tester from Washington. Will probably bat test at tournament...not confirmed. No bat testing during year as of now. Do not believe any team has purchased on own as of yet. Ohio Valley Conference Our schools do not have a bat testing machine. We have just put it forward to get one for the entire conference to hopefully be shared and at the very minimum- used for our ovc tourney. Southern Conference I don’t think anyone in the conference is testing and to my knowledge no one has purchased a machine. I do believe they will test in conference tournament. Southwestern Athletic Conference Our Official Coordinator did send out an email stating she would purchase the bat tester. Sun Belt Conference We do not have a conference bat testing policy
at the present but have began discussing the issue. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette bought a machine but has not received it to date. Florida Atlantic and Florida International will be buying a machine to share. Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Troy, North Texas, and University of Louisiana at Monroe all do not and did not buy machines.
None of the teams in the Big West Conference have purchased a bat testing machine. Colonial Athletic Association The conference is not implementing anything as of yet, we want to see more how this plays out. I am not aware of anyone buying a tester but have not talked to everyone. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference No formal conference testing, but the following CONFERENCES NOT TESTING schools have purchased machines: BethuneAmerica East Conference Cookman, Florida A&M, Norfolk State We are not testing. The majority of coaches Pacific-10 Conference in our league did not think it was necessary. No testing and haven’t heard if schools are I proposed that we test at our conference purchasing individual machines. championship but coaches felt there were too Pacific Coast Softball Conference many unanswered questions (different testing The PCSC does not currently have any machines, who would administer the testing, bat testing in place. Eleven of 12 schools etc). Many felt that it would not be supported responded and NONE have purchased a bat by our ADs due to timing and unknowns. At testing machine. this point, no one plans to buy a machine. Patriot League Atlantic Sun Conference I emailed all the Patriot Lg coaches on Friday We are not purchasing or using bat testing and the only ones I have heard back from are machines in our conference for the 2011 Lehigh and Bucknell. None of us know if the season. We are taking a wait-and-see conference has any plans to do anything about approach and letting the other conferences bat testing this year. Also, none of us have that have elected to use bat compression bought a machine. testing work with the machines, work out the Southland Conference bugs, comment on pros and cons, and decide The Southland is not bat testing this year. I on a standard operating procedure that makes asked them and they said no. They will not buy sense. We will re-visit the idea at the end of the a testing machine this year because it is too season. expensive. I have asked the individual teams to Big East Conference consider buying one. I actually surveyed the coaches last week. We Western Athletic Conference have 13 teams in the Big East and none of the We were trying to get it done as a conference programs have purchased the BCT machine. this year but it looks like we will not be able get The conference office has recently made a enough machines in time. Fresno State already decision to not purchase a machine as well. has one and Nevada and New Mexico State There will be no testing going on during our have one on back order. regular season or conference tournament. Big South Conference I have only received info back from 3 coaches. No on thus far is purchasing a bat testing machine. Big West Conference
Bulletin Board NFCA 2011 RECRUITING CAMP REGISTRATION FOR COLLEGE COACHES Please go to www.nfca.org/camps/signup to register your intent to recruit any of the NFCA camps and/or corresponding tournaments this summer or fall. Registration is quick and simple and it guarantees you access to a coach’s book for the camp and a tournament manual if recruiting at the tournament. Head and assistant coaches should register separately so that the host is prepared with an adequate supply of material for each attending staff person. After completing the online registration, an auto response will confirm receipt of your information. You may download a Quick Facts sheet that provides specific details for each camp for which you registered. Please notify us if your plans change and you will be unable to attend the camp(s) or tournament(s) for which you registered. You may email Hildred firstname.lastname@example.org or call 662-320-2155 to cancel.
OTHER peer reviewERS NEEDED for online publication FASTPITCH RESEARCH Peer reviewers are needed for an online publication of fastpitch-related research. The publication will benefit all advocates of fastpitch, and there is a possiblity that some material could be used for future NFCC class material. The criteria for a reviewer includes someone with a doctorate and professional knowledge (expert in the field) of the game of fastpich softball. A peer review should: 1) prevent the publication of bad work; 2) check that the research reported as been carried out well and there are no flaws in the design or methodology; 3) ensure that the work is reported correctly and unambiguously; 4) ensure that the results presented have been interpreted correctly and all possible
interpretations considered; 5) ensure that the results are not too preliminary or too speculative; 6) select work that will be of the greatest interest to readership; 7) provide the editor with evidence to make judgments as to whether articles meet the selection criteria for the publication; and 8) generally improve the quality and readability of a publication. The basic prowess of the Peer Review process stands under a two-prong test: is the research valid and is the research useable by fastpitch professionals? The process will be as follows: 1) Two reviewers must approve each document before it can be classified as Peer Reviewed. 2) A panel of possible reviewers will be established with the papers being sent to at least three reviewers with submissions rotating through the panel, so each reviewer does not get overloaded with papers. 3) The reviewer will receive the document via an email attachment. 4) The reviewer will reply via email with an approval or suggestions needed for approval. All emails will be archived for preservation and proof of approved documents to be published. 5) In cases where changes are needed, the editor will return the documents to the original author with attached change suggestions. Upon return with the changes, the papers will be re-submitted to the same reviewers for approval. For more information, visit fastpitchresearch.com or contact editor D. Allen Hilsdon at (214) 707-6219 or dHilsdon@mail.twu.edu.
Advertise Your Job Opening OR OPEN DATE • The NFCA will print job ads and open dates in FD free of charge. To have your job posted in FD only, email information to email@example.com. • To advertise your job announcement on the NFCA website for a charge, go to nfca.org and click on Jobline. Ad prices are listed on the site. Click on Employers on the left side and follow the registration procedures to post your job announcement.