LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In keeping with its stated purpose to support softball coaches in their quest for excellence and advance the sport, the NFCA brought together nearly 2,400 coaches over eight weekends in December and January for a highly-successful series of regional educational clinics.
The NFCA Coaches Clinics featured an all-star group of speakers — five at each two-day clinic — who touched on a wide variety of topics facing today’s coaches. In addition to getting coaches excited for the spring season with first-class instruction and ideas that attendees could immediately use with their teams, the clinics offered an opportunity to network with fellow coaches and check out exhibitors showing off the latest products and services for softball teams. The clinics also provided a small taste of what the week-long NFCA Convention offers to coaches each December.
"Coaching education is one of our main pillars. The NFCA Coaches Clinics were a huge success as we were able to provide world-class speakers to share relevant, up-to-date softball information to coaches of all levels in a friendly, fun environment,” NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman said. “By spreading our clinics across the country, the NFCA can literally come to coaches backyards, making it easy and affordable to attend.”
“We gained 510 new NFCA members at our Coaches Clinics, many at the high school, travel ball and youth levels. These coaches not only enjoyed a terrific weekend clinic, but also will enjoy NFCA benefits year-round. Our exhibitors were able to showcase their items at each clinic via an exhibitor show and many donated items which were raffled off to attending coaches.”
All eight locations followed the same schedule format, with the topics tailored to the speakers at that particular location. All sites featured a Friday night social hour and the popular “Last Coach Standing” competition, and closed the Saturday slate by sending lucky attendees home with the softball equipment used on stage over the two days. Additional giveaways were conducted during breaks between speakers.
Kansas City, the final clinic of the series on Jan. 26-27, took top attendance honors this year with 428 participants, while the Louisville clinic on Jan. 5-6 and the first of two Chicago clinics (Dec. 1-2) tied for second with 384 attendees apiece.
“The NFCA is honored to carry on the tradition started by NFCA Hall of Fame member Mary Nutter and her business partner Traci Mayberry,” Bruggeman said. “When the highest achievers of our sport continue to give back to the game, our sport will continue to grow. We want to offer special thanks to all the speakers for sharing their knowledge of the game. Additional special thanks to our NFCA Coaches Clinics partners, Bownet and Blast.”
Last spring, the NFCA acquired the seven National Softball Coaches Clinics founded by Nutter and Mayberry that had been a staple of softball instruction for the past 30 years, to accompany the NFCA’s popular Louisville clinic in its educational lineup.
Collections this year at the eight locations raised a combined $2,350 to support the NFCA’s Mary Nutter Scholarship, which provides funding to allow selected member coaches to attend the NFCA National Convention each year.
Mark your calendars now for the 2018-19 NFCA Coaches Clinics schedule, which starts on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 with the first of two Chicago clinics. If attendees are able to stay in town, the NFCA National Convention will be in Chicago for the first time in Association history the following week, on Dec. 5-8.
The NFCA returns to Chicago for a second clinic on Jan. 4-5, the same weekend it holds its Louisville clinic, while the 2019 Minneapolis and Nashville clinics will be held on Jan. 18-19, the Charlotte and Portland clinics will occur on Jan. 25-26, and the Kansas City clinic is scheduled for Feb. 1-2. Speaker lineups and registration will be announced at a later date.