ELIZABETH, Ind. — Over 380 coaches descended on the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel and Casino, for year three of the NFCA's Louisville Coaches Clinic. It's the second straight year that the attendance has increased significantly from the previous year.
Featuring an all-star lineup of nationally-known coaches, the two-day educational event provides a first-rate opportunity for softball instructors at all levels to learn from some of the game’s best. Additionally, NFCA partners Bownet and Blast Motion, along with Connect Sports, play a key role in the clinic. Bownet provides the top-notch equipment to be used for demonstration purposes, which will be raffled off to the attending coaches on Saturday. Blast Motion sponsors the clinic lanyards and Connect Sports sponsors the "Social Hour," which follows the always entertaining "Last Coach Standing" contest.
Joining Bownet, Blast Motion and Connect Sports as exhibitors is longtime NFCA sponsor Schutt Sports, USSSA Indiana, Dynamic Team Sports, The Ripken Experience, BSN Sports, Mid-America Sports Advantage, See Ball and Youth Softball Nationals.
Oregon head coach Mike White, who has led the Ducks to four Women's College World Series, tossed out the first pitch with his presentation “Pitching 101: Injury Prevention Through Correct Mechanics” followed by Ohio State assistant coach Jenna Hall's “Timing - How Do Hitters Get It and How Do You Teach It.”
After a short break, which was designated for the attendees to check out the 11 previously-mentioned exhibitors in attendance, the program continued with two-time national champion head coach Tim Walton of Florida, who spoke on "Organizing Practices to Produce Game-Day Results." White returned to the stage for more of his specialty with "Championship Bullpen Workouts." Hall concluded the second session with "My Favorite Hitting Drills."
Following dinner, Walton and Washington skipper Heather Tarr, who guided the Huskies to a 2009 national title, each focused on what wins championships: defense. Walton opened with "Defensive Team Strategies to Help Win Championships" and Tarr closed out the night's speakers with "Solid Corner Defense: 1B/3B Skills and Drills."
The first day ended with a fun game of “Last Coach Standing,” during which eight coaches - the four day-one presenters, plus Oklahoma State’s Kenny Gajewski, New Palestine High School (Ind.) head coach Ed Marcum, Lafayette Tecumseh Junior High head coach Katelin Johnson and Murray State head coach Kara Amundson battled head-to-head in a bracket-style competition.
Coaches facing off in each round had the same randomly-drawn topic and just one minute to present their best drill/idea/lesson/story in that subject. Audience applause determined which of the two coaches did the best job with their presentation and moved onto the next round.
The competition eliminated coaches until Walton faced off against Marcum in the finals. Walton took home the trophy with his answer to "What drill do you incorporate to put pressure on your players?" He edged out Marcum with live situational hitting that puts pitchers or hitters in tough situations.
Following "Last Coach Standing," attendees were able to mingle with the presenters during a social hour hosted by Connect Sports.
Saturday’s second day has Gajewski joining White, Walton, Tarr and Hall for more instruction on hitting, offensive and defensive strategies, practice drills, game-day preparation and team-building and team culture.