The first Softball Clinic by the Swiss Baseball & Softball Federation is a wrap.
I was asked to write down my experience of being a speaker at the clinic, powered by the ESCA. Well, the title is kind of a spoiler, but this definitely sums it up.
Who knew that attending an ESCA Camp as a shadow coach, last October in The Netherlands, would have me traveling around Europe, meeting inspiring people and exchanging knowledge on the best sport ever?!
The Swiss B&S Federation has organized 4 clinics for baseball before, but for softball, this was the first time. No pressure there. Being a newcomer as a speaker, I was fortunate to have had a great practice run at the DBV Convention in Paderborn, Germany 2 weeks prior to this event in Magglingen. Also my 'partner in crime' speaker Ben ten Pas was a familiar face to me. Still, the butterflies in my stomach were feeling pretty comfortable in there.
When facing the small group in the classroom on Saturday, enthusiasm replaced the butterflies immediately. 11 eager coaches- some of them playing coaches- and 1 very involved umpire(!), brought so much positive energy to the theoretical sessions. We covered pitching mechanics i.a. and also the mental toughness of a player/pitcher, which I believe is actually the most important part of the game.
Considering there are only 6 teams in the Swiss Softball League, the attendance at the clinic was great. But at the same time the coaches face challenges, for the teams are made up of different ages and playing levels. A challenge I think is very common for softball in other European countries. So bringing knowledge and experiences together at a clinic surely benefits the sport.
On Sunday morning I pinched myself again. Walking up to the gym in the crisp mountain air, enjoying the spectacular views over the Alps and blaming my poor condition on the altitude. Living the dream!
The practical part I was looking forward to the most. Letting the group experience the pitching movement and demonstrating fun and useful drills.
The participants really put the effort in and even worked up quite a sweat. The dedication and passion for the sport, especially with the challenges they are facing, is admirable and truly inspiring.
Looking back on the weekend, I'm very grateful ESCA provided me with this opportunity. I came home with great new insights, valuable contacts and a lot of delicious Swiss chocolate. I gained an unforgettable experience and hopefully not some extra weight...!