Twenty-six Writtle College Sports students have become softball and baseball coaches in one of the largest coaching courses ever run in the UK.
The Level 1 coaching sessions were run by British Softball UK and supported by Redbacks Baseball & Softball especially for the Sports and Exercise Performance degree students at the College.
The influx of new coaches, who hope to complete the Level 2 coaching qualification in the Spring, promises to drive on development of the sport in the region.
Mark Walker, Sports Lecturer at the College who is already a softball coach but qualified on the day, said: “The degree here at Writtle College is designed to give students the skills they need to thrive in the exciting Sports industry. By giving these students the opportunity to become softball and baseball coaches, we hope they will become even more employable and will contribute to promoting and developing this sport further.”
The coaching included classroom work on rules and positions, the differences between slow-pitch, fast-pitch and baseball as well as practical sessions on catching, throwing, ground balls and fly balls – basic athletic introductions to the sport – and batting drills. The students then had to work in pairs on a topic they would cover in a coaching session, which they delivered the following day, before their skills as coaches were assessed.
The Redbacks’ Phil Candice, Softball Development Coordinator for the Redbacks – which has grounds in Chelmsford (Melbourne Park) and Billericay (Forest Glade) - said: “It was terrific to see so many new coaches qualifying here in Essex as we build the fledgling softball programme. In fact, we had as many here training as coaches as we have had at any training session all season!
“We’ll now look to support finding places for these coaches to further their skills and experience and help to run more outreach into the local community and get more people playing. Hopefully these new guys and girls will find opportunities to further their understanding of softball and help us start running leagues and tournaments around Essex and East Anglia as they go off to start their professional careers.”