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NFCC Graduates First Master Coach Class
The 2005 NFCA National Convention’s closing business meeting not only included discussion and voting on different proposals, it also included a graduation ceremony of sorts.
Twenty-two coaches, minus caps and gowns, received shiny new plaques to commemorate being the first class of Four-Star Master Coaches through the NFCA’s National Fastpitch Coaches College.
The extensive weekend courses began in 2002, with two classes made available for coaches. Each year a new course was added to the curriculum, and the final course of the curriculum debuted at the 2005 NFCA National Convention in Orlando, Fla.
“I went to the first class ever given,” Jim McGlynn, head coach at Southwestern Christian University, said. “The way it was spread out, the program took about five years. It was a lot like Christmas to me. Each year I couldn’t wait to see what course was going to be offered that year.”
Unlike most clinic and classroom environments, the NFCC is a one-of-a-kind offering that takes a specific area of the game and addresses it over a three-day span. For first-time coaches or seasoned veterans, the NFCC presents the game in a new and unique way.
In addition to a unique learning environment for softball knowledge, one area that coaches in different coaching ranks agreed on was that it was a great networking tool. In NFCC courses, the attendees don’t just learn from the instructors; instead they also interact and share ideas with each other.
“I would encourage anyone to take NFCC courses,” Kennesaw State senior assistant coach Bill Gray said. “You get to learn from the best coaches in the country while networking with other coaches and sharing ideas. What Sharon (Drysdale) and the NFCA have done with the Master Coach program has been excellent.”
“The collection of people that come to the courses is great,” St. Benedict High School head coach Christy Bingham said. “We have shared stuff between us. A coach at the junior college level might be looking for something for junior college players, but we all bring something to the table since we all work with softball.
“You definitely make contacts. As a high school coach, I develop players at a younger level,” she continued. “The contacts I have made through the NFCC have helped not only me, but my kids as well. Those contacts have helped place my players while also helping coaches searching for players.”
In addition, master coaches are seeing results of the courses on the field and in off-the-field dealings with their team.
“The course offered in Orlando (Course 406: Team Management/Game-Day Coaching) had speakers from other areas in the athletics field discuss things like marketing and fundraising. The NFCC really does a great job of encompassing the entire picture,” Gray added.
“The NFCC courses have really helped me gain a better knowledge of hitting and pitching,” Bingham said. “The courses have helped me become a better coach on the field. They’ve also helped me off the field in becoming a better motivator.
“On the field I took our hitting and combined some things I did with some of the things I learned in the Teaching a Run-Producing Team Offense and Strategy course. Last season our run production increased,” Bingham added.
McGlynn echoed Bingham’s sentiments that the courses have made a difference in the way he approaches preparing his players for games.
“I’ve changed a few tactics in games, but the courses have really benefited our program in preparing for practice and games,” he said. “Practice days and recruiting have really been helped by the courses.”
Another area that has been enhanced by reaching the status of Four-Star Master Coach is the ability to add that title to the resume or speaker bio.
“Having the ability to say you are a Four-Star Master Coach adds credibility when speaking about the game,” Gray said. “The NFCC benefits me as an assistant coach no more than it does as a head or assistant coach at any other level.”
Despite the many different backgrounds, one thing these 22 coaches have in common is that they are the first class of Four-Star Master Coaches, and they hope to see many more coaches receive that plaque at future conventions.
To get started on achieving Four-Star Master Coach status, go to www.nfca.org/college and sign up for an NFCC course. There are two classes remaining in the 2005-06 schedule, and next year’s schedule will be released by the end of May.