ELIZABETH, Ind. —The NFCA Coaches Clinic in Louisville knocked it out of the park for the third straight year as it wrapped up its two-day run on Saturday at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel and Casino. Featuring a stellar lineup of nationally-known coaches, the two-day educational event provided a first-rate opportunity for softball instructors at all levels to learn from some of the game’s best. With approximately 380 attendees, it surpassed the 2017 mark of 323.
"What a terrific event!” said NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman. “It is evident softball coaches have a passion for learning as our Louisville clinic continues to grow. In the audience we had student-athletes and coaches of all levels ranging in age from 20 to 70.”
Additionally, the NFCA was in Chicago this weekend for another coaches clinic at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. The star-studded lineup in the Windy Cidy was Hofstra head coach Larissa Anderson, Cindy Bristow, founder/president of Softball Excellence, Texas assistant coach Tripp MacKay, Lizzy Ristano, associate coach at Notre Dame and UCLA assistant coach Kirk Walker.
The clinic, which provided coaches a snippet of the engaging, creative instruction showcased on a larger scale at each year’s NFCA National Convention, featured a five distinguished instructors: Florida head coach Tim Walton, Washington head coach Heather Tarr, Oregon skipper Mike White, Ohio State assistant coach Jenna Hall and Kenny Gajewski, head coach at Oklahoma State.
"Our speakers are first-class, high-level coaches who continue to share their knowlege of the game," continued Bruggeman. "The NFCA is thrilled to provide educational programming for our coaches as we are committed to being the top educational softball organization in the nation."
Exhibitors, 11 in all, were also an important part of the event as long-time NFCA sponsor Schutt Sports, Bownet, Blast Motion, Connect Sports, USSSA Indiana, Dynamic Team Sports, The Ripken Experience, BSN Sports, Mid-America Sports Advantage, See Ball and Youth Softball Nationals showcased their latest products and made new connections with coaches in attendance.
Bownet, an NFCA partner, provided top-notch equipment to be used for demonstration purposes and was raffled off to the attending coaches at the end of the day. NFCA partner Blast Motion sponsored the clinic lanyards and Connect Sports sponsored the "Social Hour," which took place on Friday evening.
Adding to the fun, all attendees were entered into prize drawings during the speaker changeovers both days. Kristen Richards, head coach at Cherokee High School in Rogersville Tenn. won the grand prize of a free registration to the fourth annual NFCA Louisville Coaches Clinic, scheduled for Jan. 4-5, 2019, at Horseshoe Southern Indiana.
Attendees were not limited to just Indiana and Kentucky. Coaches traveled from all over the United States. Those states represented were- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Gajewski, entering his third year at the helm of the Cowgirls kicked off the morning session at 8:00 a.m. with "Taking over a New Program," and came back with "Baserunning- Putting Pressure on the Defense." Sandwiched in between was White's final pitching talk, "Increasing Speed and Power in Pitchers."
After a break to visit the exhibitors, Tarr presented "Let's Play Catch! High Level Throwing and Receiving," and Walton capped off the morning session with "Increase Hitting Performance with Strike Zone Efficiency."
Following lunch, Tarr returned her focus to defense with "Strong Up the Middle 2B/SS Infield Defense." Gajewski taught "Team Building Ideas for Success" and Hall finished the clinic with "Culture, Leadership and Behavior."
You still have a chance to catch some of our great clinics. There are five left over the next three weekends. Here are the dates, locations and lineups. Don't miss out! Visit nfcaevents.org to register
Charlotte Advanced (Jan. 12-13)
Mickey Dean, Auburn University; Caryl Drohan, Northwestern University; Deb Hartwig, Just Softball; Shonda Stanton, Indiana University; John Tschida, University of St. Thomas.
Portland (Jan. 12-13)
Jessica Allister, Stanford University; Bill Edwards, Hofstra University (retired); Matt Lisle, University of South Carolina; Melyssa Lombardi, University of Oklahoma; Michelle Venturella, Washington (Mo.) University.
Minneapolis (Jan. 19-20)
Emily Allard, NFCA; Boo De Oliveira, Purdue University; Kelly Inouye-Perez, UCLA; Beth Torina, LSU; George Wares, Central College.
Nashville (Jan. 19-20)
Lonni Alameda, Florida State University; Gayle Blevins, University of Iowa (retired); Jen McIntyre, UConn; Donna J. Papa, University of North Carolina; Karen Weekly, University of Tennessee.
Kansas City (Jan. 26-27)
Lonni Alameda, Florida State University; Melissa Gentile, Eastern Michigan University; Lauren Lappin, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Diane Miller, University of Nebraska; Beverly Smith, University of South Carolina.