NFCA Forums

NFCA Forums are in-depth educational offerings that are open to everyone. Highlighted by our Educate To Elevate series, these forums take a look at current issues in the sport as well as society as a whole. We hope you enjoy these special offerings and welcome your feedback. New episodes, topics, and guests will be announced via the NFCA’s bi-weekly newsletter and through NFCA social media accounts (@NFCAorg across platforms).

Educate to ElevateLet's Talk Tech | Long Talk |  NFCA and The AllianceVirtual Convention 


CONVENTION (Mental Health) 

"Mental Health for Coaches" | Kate O'Bryan (University of Louisville)


"Lead From the Front: Managing the coach's mental health"

For this session, the focus on Mental Health and Sports Psychology is YOU, the coach. Dr. McCabe brings his years of experience as an elite baseball player as well as a licensed sport and clinical psychologist into our world to deliver strategies and tools that will extend careers and increase self-efficacy.

WHAT'S NEXT? (Virtual Mentoring Session - Student-Athlete Edition) 

Exploring Careers On The Diamond

A virtual mentoring session just for student-athletes was held on Nov. 14, 2023. It took a deep dive into coaching, umpiring, softball operations, strength and conditioning, MLB, and other softball-specific professions, featuring professionals in each respective field speaking on their jobs.



Educate To Elevate forums take a closer look at current issues in the sport, as well as society as a whole. 

Setting the Tone

As each school year begins, there are many things on your plate. Move-in day, first team meetings, setting parental boundaries, communicating team/staff expectations ... the list goes on and on.  But there is one truth, you must 'set the tone' from the beginning.  

Featuring: Mickey Dean (Auburn), Leslie Huntington (Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Chrissy Schoonmaker (George Washington), Brandi Stuart (Purdue)

Leading with Intention to Normalize Diversity in Softball - 2023

An open collaboration on how to enhance and grow opportunities for underrepresented members of the softball community. Learn how your program can help advance coaching diversity and access.

Featuring: Melvin Jenkins (Tyler HS), Tyra Perry (Illinois), Jessie Scroggins, Cat Tarvin (North Carolina Central)

Mental Health and the Role of the Coach

As a coach you know the importance of mental health and the role that mental health awareness and education can play within your program. While many educational initiatives are focused on the student-athlete and their needs, this session will shift the focus to the coach.

Featuring: Kat Ihlenburg (Georgia Gwinnett), Charlotte Morgan (CSUN); Brooke Kalman (MIT); Mark Montgomery (Maryland); Dr. Rachel Conway (Sports Psychologist at Wake Forest)

Performance Profile Outcome ExamplePerformance Profile Outcome Example

Navigating Multigenerational Workplaces

Learn alongside the panelists as they discuss their experiences navigating a multigenerational workplace.

Featuring: Dr. Bea Bourne (Purdue), Jo Evans (Texas A&M), Nikki Palmer (UC Riverside), Janae Shirley (ETBU)

Powered by Inclusion

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This Educate to Elevate reflects the importance of ensuring that people with all disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement.

Featuring: Justen Burns (Gallaudet), Christy Connoyer (Saint Louis), Dr. Jo Dell R. Heroux (Central Michigan), Taylor McQuillin (Team Mexico), Cat Osterman (Team USA)

Take Control of Your Time

Do you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends? Do you wonder how sustainable your schedule is? Coaches are continually asked to do more and are consistently striving to be present for their student-athletes, family, and friends. Often, this is at the expense of their mental health and own well-being. If this sounds all too familiar, make plans now to join September's Educate to Elevate session and learn how you can help ensure you are getting the absolute best of yourself at work, home, and play.

Featuring: Dr. Timothy Baghurst (Florida State), David Kuhn (Mississippi Gulf Coast CC), Kim Sowder (Long Beach State), Shonda Stanton (Indiana)

Leading with Intention To Normalize Diversity in Softball - 2021

An open collaboration on how to enhance and grow opportunities for underrepresented members of the softball community. 

Featuring: Monica Harrison (Carnegie Mellon), Melissa Inouye (Fordham), Now-Allah James (NYU), Sharonda McDonald (Campbell), Tyra Perry (Illinois), Tori Tyson (Howard), Kevin White (Associate A.D. for Sports Programs, James Madison)

Unprecedented & Uncharted & Unusual…OH MY

Open discussion among coaches, sports medicine professionals, and other industry experts surrounding the uncharted 2021 season. From bus seating charts to travel, planning team meals, and navigating mask protocols

Featuring: Kerri Blaylock (Southern Illinois), Sammie Charters (Tennessee / Assistant Athletic Trainer), Denny Griffin (Alma), Owen Stanley (Missouri / Director of Sports Medicine)

NFCA Educate to Elevate: Unprecedented & Uncharted & Unusual...OH MY from NFCANFCA on VimeoVimeo.

Recognizing and Addressing Bullying and Hazing

Bullying and hazing are issues that may impact your program in a variety of ways. Join our panelists to discuss what bullying and hazing are, how they can be perceived differently, and what you as a coach need to do to educate your student-athletes and keep those around you safe while also protecting your program and your job.

Featuring: Dr. Angel Brutus, Samantha Ekstrand, Dr. Jennifer Waldron, Jill Zwagerman

Performance ProfilingPerformance Profiling (web article) | Performance Profile Outcome ExamplePerformance Profile Outcome Example (pdf)

2021: Creating & Sustaining Habits for Success

Featuring: Dan Cavalea, Amy Kvilhaug (Boston College), Beck Marx Keogh, Helen Williams (HMW Sport Consulting)

Attitude of Gratitude: Good Vibes & Thankful Thoughts

Featuring: Nicki Levering (Georgia Southwestern), Ed Marcum (New Palestine High School - Ind.), Patrick Murphy (Alabama) and Rhonda Revelle (Nebraska).


Grief & Loss: Tackling the Unexpected

Panelists from different backgrounds and experiences will share their unique perspectives.

Featuring: Sonja Garnett (Head Coach, Saint Mary's College), Linda Kalafatis (Head Coach, College of Charleston), Dr. Peter McGahey (Head Women's Soccer Coach, Saint Leo), Shonda Stanton (Head Coach, Indiana), and Dr. Meghana Suchak (Associate Director of Training, Counseling Psychologist, Louisville).

Do You Know What Your Players Are Thinking? Become a Better Listener to Navigate 2020

As a coach navigating a global pandemic, national social justice movements, an election year, and greater anxiety among athletes than ever before (just to name a few), your athletes are looking to you for guidance and support. Are you listening?

Featuring: Betsy Butterick (Communiations Expert), Deanna Gumpf (Head Coach, Notre Dame), Dr. Scotta Morton (Assistant AD Mental Performance & Psychological Services, Missouri), Gary Redus II (Women's Basketball Assistant Coach, Vanderbilt), Morgan Zerkle (Assistant Coach, Miami (OH) / Athletes Unlimited)


Identifying Unhealthy Relationships

You will likely encounter at least one scenario in your lifetime of an unhealthy relationship that may include physical abuse, sexual violence, emotional abuse and/or stalking. Can you identify the warning signs? Do you know how to start the conversation? 

Featuring: Kaylyn Manning (Former Student-Athlete, Arizona State), Julie Myers (Head Lacrosse Coach, Virginia), Dr. LaKeitha Poole (Director of Student-Athlete Mental Health, LSU), Trisha Whitmire, Ph.D. (Assistant Director Equal Opportunity, Valencia), Margie Wright (NFCA Hall of Fame, Fresno State/Retired)

Continuing the Conversations on Race: A Call to Action

Open discussion regarding the social justice movement. Our first forum touched on the current climate and the experiences of black coaches and administrators. This forum addresses action items coaches can take back to their team and communities to enact real change.

Featuring: Cam Fenton (TCU), DJ Johnson (Rock Valley College), Veronica Nelson (Cal), Dorian Shaw (Purdue), Samantha Ricketts (Mississippi State)


Creating an Inclusive Culture

Focused on creating an inclusive culture for the LGBTQ+ community within your program. Panelists share their experiences and expertise through open dialogue.

Featuring: Pat Conlan (Georgetown), Christian Conrad (Florida State), Dr. Meg Hancock (Louisville), Amanda Scott (UMSL), Brandi Stuart (UCF), Kirk Walker (UCLA)


Dismantling Racism and Understanding Privilege

Open forum about the social justice movement in our country, and how coaches can initiate the discussion with their team, staff, and administration.

Featuring: Charmelle Green (Penn State), Now-Allah James (NYU), Tyra Perry (Illinois), Tori Tyson (Howard), Olivia Watkins (Boston College), Veronica Wiggins (Florida A&M)



Did you miss the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Workshop: A Long Talk About the Uncomfortable Truth at the 2021 NFCA Convention?Learn how coaches influence, shape, and drive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within their programs during this session led by Kamal Carter and Kyle Williams.



Black Athletes Through the Decades

The Alliance Fastpitch co-hosted its first history series panel with the NFCA, titled Black Athletes Through the Decades in Softball. LSU All American and the first female Gold Glove Winner A.J. Andrews served as the moderator. The panel represented Black women who paved the way for the next generation of black softball players with over six decades of experience including Olympic gold medals, National Champions, and All-Americans.

Featuring: Billie Harris, Gillian Boxx, Natasha Watley, Marissa Young, Peaches James, Jazz Jackson Vesely, and Camille Navarro


Diversity & Inclusion Panel

Learn how you can help facilitate dialogue on your campus, create action items to make an impact in your community, and find resources to help you learn, listen, and seek understanding of one of the most important topics today.

Featuring: Amber Barker (Texas Women's), Monica Harrison (Carnegie Mellon), Now-Allah James (NYU), Eric Oakley (Kent State), Tyra Perry (Illinois), Brooke Reed (Texas Tech), Garland Shirley (Clark Univ.), Tori Tyson (Howard) and Monique White (Georgetown).

Grassroots Summit presented by Wilson: Mental Health

The mental health of youth athletes is possibly the most overlooked aspect of their development. Coaches who understand the great responsibility of caring for their athletes on this level can have more of an impact than they ever imagined. Watch this session to learn more about developing resiliency and building the foundation in youth athletes that will serve them for years to come, both during and after their playing days.

Featuring: Sue Enquist (UCLA Ret.) and Suzy McNulty, M.D., (Mia Bella Pediatrics)



Softball technology can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. This two-part forum will discuss how coaches use a variety of technologies with their teams. Learn from various perspectives ranging from Division I Power 5 universities to travel ball coaches. Each forum will end with a Q&A session and is open to anyone! If you've never had time to learn ... Let's Talk Tech!

Part 1 Featuring: Josh Bloomer (Duke - Blast), Benet Higgs (Stony Brook - Getting Creative with Technology) and Mike Reed (UT Tyler - Pocket Radar) 

Part 2 Featuring: Travis Wilson & Troy Cameron (Florida State - Diamond Kinetics), Geoff Hirai (Seattle University - HitTrax) and Josh Johnson (Mississippi State - Rapsodo) 


The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded online educational platforms, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from awards and scholarships, to a comprehensive digital education library and a National Convention.

Learn more about the NFCA and consider joining over 6,000 coaches today.

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