Sechelt Minor Softball

girls and boys ages 5-19

May 25th, 2006
May 25th, 2006

Coast Reporter Article

*Story appeared in the May 12, 2006 edition of Coast Reporter
* Reproduced with permission of Coast Reporter

Clan ladies teach skills
Ian Jacques

Athletes and coaches got a chance to rub shoulders with some of the best female softball players in the country last weekend.The Simon Fraser University (SFU) clan women´s softball team, with head coach Mike Renney, came to Sechelt for a four-day stay and skills camp with the Sechelt Minor Softball Association (SMSA).

The team arrived on Thursday, and after checking into a beautiful seaside B&B in Halfmoon Bay, they treated the local association to an up-tempo practice Thursday night.
"It was a chance to let some of the local coaches and players see some of our training drills and how fast-paced and intense our practices are," Renney said.

On Friday, the team practised and had some social time in the community before hosting a pitching clinic for three hours Friday night. "Our pitchers did most of the work and teaching," Renney said. "The session was about skill development and giving the players a solid foundation and the proper mechanics. From there it will be the time and energy that each individual player puts in that will take them to the next level."

Bright and early Saturday morning, approximately 40 athletes took to the field for an all-day skills session. While the players hit the field, 12 coaches hit the gym with Renney for a half-day coaching clinic. Both sessions were repeated on Sunday. The general skills camp focused on all aspects of the game, including throwing, catching, fielding, full infield and outfield drills, base running and hitting.

"This whole weekend is really a snapshot. Really it´s how much the kids put into it after the event," said Renney. "At the end of the day, these athletes will remember what they´ve learned a few days later. The biggest challenge is for us to have them internalize the skills. We even have them perform a few skills with their eyes closed so they get a different sense of the skills." Renney said development of players and coaches is crucial in trying to make better ball players. "Getting the coaches into a clinic and working with them is just as important as working with the players," Renney said. "We cover many of the same technical skills that the athletes are doing, so when we leave the coaches can work with the kids on their development and everyone is taught the same things. It´s so valuable to have the opportunity to work with the coaches. When we come in here we can work with one athlete and develop that one athlete. When we develop one coach, it could mean dozens of athletes who can be developed over the years through that one coach."

Following Saturday´s training session, the association hosted the team and several sponsors at a barbecue feast at Cooper´s Green in Halfmoon Bay. This was the second straight year that Renney and SFU have come to Sechelt for a clinic. Last year four players were here towards the end of the summer for a short three-day session. This year, a window in SFU´s season allowed them to come up for an extended stay."This whole weekend has just been tremendous for our players," said Renney. "To be able to get out of the hustle and flow of the city, come here and enjoy such a beautiful place has been just as much of a learning experience for us as it hopefully has been for your athletes and coaches."

SFU is 25-2 and is the number one seed in their regional championship. This weekend, the team is in Oregon for regionals and then returns home Monday for a few days before heading to Alabama for the NAIA national championship. SFU is defending NAIA champs and will be gunning for the title again this year. "To get there is an achievement in itself. Once we get to Alabama, we´ll re-evaluate our goals and see how far we can go," said Renney. "Last year we had a veteran club and this season we´re much younger. We´ve been inconsistent at times. I know 25-2 doesn´t sound like we were inconsistent, but I think we can play much better. We´re going to have to be at the top of our game in order to be successful."

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