SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Day two of the 2022 NFCA Convention featured the membership conducting its annual business meetings, a jam-packed Exhibit Show, an entertaining and engaging mentoring session, fireside chats, and the first six speakers at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
With 114 companies , attendees mingled with vendors and learned about the latest in equipment, apparel and innovative products, while exploring the sold-out Exhibit Show. The final 90 minutes were capped off with the Happy Hour presented by League Apps. Additionally, companies were featured during the programming schedule, taking part in Exhibitor Education Sessions.
Following early-morning Boot Camp and Yoga sessions and a hearty breakfast, the membership discussed the key issues in their respective caucus meetings.
In conjunction with the Exhibit Show, the digital auction concluded at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday evening as coaches bid on several items from their favorite companies going home with equipment, technology, gift certificates and more.
Coaches checked out the first of two Drills, Drills, Drills sessions or took part in the Head Coach Track Education presented by FieldTurf, which focused on mental health (Leslie Huntington, UW-Eau Claire) and contracts (Samantha Ekstrand, NFCA Legal Counsel). It was followed by four more sessions on infield decision-making skills (Aileen Morales, Georgia Tech), mental health for coaches (Dr. Bhrett McCabe), DP/Flex management (Yvette Healy, Wisconsin), holistic pitching development (Paige Cassady, Texas Tech).
Emceed by NFCA Board members Stephanie Bagwell (Francis Marion) , Lindsay Leftwich (LSU) and Shonda Stanton (Indiana), the NFCA scholarship winners were recognized, and mentors volunteered to give advice and life lessons to young head and assistant coaches in the always anticipated Mentoring Session.
Additionally, mentors were asked to “pay it forward” donating money toward great prizes and educational opportunities for the mentees, which included 2023 Convention, NFCC and NFCA Clinic registrations. In addition, 11 mentees went home with prizes, ranging from NFCC registrations to a 2023 Convention registration. The latter went to four lucky coaches in attendance – Joey Camacho (Fusion), Miranda Vargas (Southwest High School), Brook Gajewski (Milwaukee School of Engineering) and Riley Kelsch (UW-Plattsville).
Prior to the mentoring session, coaches engaged in meaningful conversations at a pair of diversity gatherings. LGBTQ and ally coaches discussed various topics on diversity and inclusion, shared information on best practices for helping student-athletes thrive as valued members of their teams. At the Diversity & Inclusion Gathering presented by MLB Discussion, attendees discussed university and athletic department policies and resources for staff, coaches, and administrators along with training for athletic teams and staff will be addressed.
Additional education continued after the mentoring session with three Fireside chats. In a laid-back setting, attendee-led discussion covered topics such as pitching, hitting, and mental health.
The evening concluded with Diamond/PGF “ugly sweater” party, which featured a DJ, karaoke and live music, amongst the holiday lights on the JW Marriott’s Event lawn.
Day two of the Exhibit Show is on Friday, which opens its doors to members at 9 a.m. and runs through 3:00 p.m. It is highlighted by the Sports Attack raffle and HitTrax Presents: Home Run Derby with the Pros (and Coaches).
Friday features full day of speakers starting at 9:00 a.m. The lineup also includes the Softball Summit, sponsored by USA Softball, and the Grassroots Summit presented by Wilson with a college coaches panel and educational offerings. The night is capped off by the Convention’s marquee event, the 2022 Hall of Fame banquet.