Inaugural NFCA Coaches Clinic A Rousing Success

ELIZABETH, Ind. — The first NFCA Coaches Clinic was saluted as a rousing success as it wrapped up its two-day run Saturday at the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Hotel and Casino.

Featuring a stellar lineup of nationally-known coaches, the educational event provided a golden opportunity for softball instructors at all levels to learn from some of the game’s best, just 15 minutes from downtown Louisville, Ky.

“What a fantastic inaugural NFCA Coaches Clinic!” NFCA Interim Executive Director Carol Bruggeman beamed. “Thank you to our outstanding lineup of speakers and the 260 attendees who spent their weekend growing and improving as a coach. I believe everyone walked away inspired.”

The clinic, which provided coaches a small taste of the engaging, creative instruction showcased on a larger scale at each year’s NFCA National Convention, featured a quintet of the game’s top minds: University of Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy, Michigan State Head Coach Jacquie Joseph, Tennessee Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly, Nebraska Associate Head Coach Lori Sippel and Arkansas Assistant Boo De Oliveira. A similarly strong lineup is planned for the next edition of the NFCA Coaches Clinic, which returns to the Horseshoe Southern Indiana on Jan. 6-7, 2017.

Exhibitors were also an important part of the event, and the clinic was proudly sponsored by three of them — Republic Bank, MPC Promotions and StrikeTec Systems.

Attendees were not limited to just Indiana and neighboring Kentucky. Coaches came from as far as Alaska, and also traveled from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Mount San Antonio College Head Coach Rubilena Rojas was glad she made the trek from Santa Ana, Calif., to expand her knowledge of the sport.

“I definitely had to make the trip,” she said. “I wanted to learn from some of the very best in the game and bring that back.”

Marian (Wis.) University Head Coach Tony Draves summed it up this way: “Seven-hour drive … totally worth it.”

On Saturday, Joseph batted leadoff with her presentation on “Building Quality Hitters,” which preceded Murphy’s “Ideas for Championship Team Building.”

Multiple Hall of Fame pitcher Sippel offered her thoughts on “Outfield Skills and Drills” before Weekly followed a short break with her insightful “The Game Within the Game — Pitch Calling and Pitching Strategies” and De Oliveira shared her “Favorite Competitive Drills.”

Following lunch, Joseph returned to the stage to talk about “Organizing Practices to Produce Game-Day Results” and Weekly advocated being “Strong Up the Middle,” focusing on second base and shortstop defense. Sippel’s thoughtful “Pitching with Imagination and Intention” provided an engaging final presentation.

“It’s a great opportunity to network with other coaches and hear from some great speakers,” Miami (Ohio) University Head Coach Clarissa Crowell said. “I highly recommend everyone come to this event in the future. It’s a great way to start the season.”