The European Softball Coaches Association


Craig Montvidas

I consider myself extremely fortunate knowing that I am one of only a few softball coaches in Europe working as a full-time coach for a living.  It is a privilege being able to go to work each day doing what I love, and for this I am grateful!  By surrounding myself with talented people, both players and staff members, I have been able to achieve some success on the diamond as a coach.  Softball has provided me the opportunity to travel the world, meet new people and make new friends.  The game has been good to me and for this reason I feel the desire to give something back to the game I love.  That is why, when asked to assist as an advisor to the European Softball Federation’s newly-created European Softball Coaches Association, I immediately said yes!

The European Softball Federation is aiming to improve the quality of coaching throughout Europe by providing a number of instructional avenues open to all softball coaches, whether coaching fastpitch or slowpitch for women, men, co-ed teams of youth.  The coach is the key to making an athlete's experience enjoyable, safe, educational and memorable for all the right reasons – and yet the majority of today's coaches are not properly trained.  ESCA wants to help every coach at every softball level continue to develop as a "quality coach"!

One of the ideas that ESCA hopes will further enhance and educate European coaches includes making use of National Fastpitch Coaches Association instructors.  NFCA instructors can share their experience and expertise with their European colleagues either through webinars, Skype sessions or, when possible, with on-site "shadow coaching".  This would involve an experience where European coaches would visit a US university and serve as an Assistant Coach for a designated length of time, ideally a week to 10 days.  This would give them the opportunity to witness all phases of softball coaching from close range -- a wonderful learning opportunity!

Other possibilities include sharing of ideas and knowledge between coaches at different levels through incorporating e-courses and instruction.  Subject matter might include such topics as offensive or defensive strategy, the mental side of the game, organising practice sessions, sharing of training drills etc.

Just as is the case with any craftsperson, the proper tools are always essential if success is to be achieved.  The European Softball Coaches Association hopes to provide the necessary tools for coaches to develop their coaching philosophy and mission, providing them with the confidence to conduct enjoyable and productive practice sessions and be effective on game day.

ESCA hopes to achieve the following:

1)  Keep its members informed with updates of current coaching trends and techniques.
2)  Create a forum for the discussion of matters of interest to its members.
3)  Stimulate the development of quality leadership.
4)  Provide an avenue for coaches to share their knowledge and exchange their ideas with colleagues.  This is perhaps the number      one goal of the Association.

So any British coaches who are serious about becoming a better coach should join ESCA now!  And the process of becoming involved is simple: just register by emailing and providing:

  • Your name.
  • Your address, including street, town or city, postcode and country.
  • Your email address.
  • Your team’s name.
  • The age group you coach.
  • Your mobile phone number.

Studies tell us that athletes who play for untrained coaches drop out of their chosen sport at a rate of 28%, whereas those athletes who play for a trained coach have a significantly lower dropout rate of only 5%.  The sport of softball is a great game, but if our game is going to continue to expand throughout the world, then we need to support the coaches who sacrifice so much of their time and energy in motivating others to become better players on the field and better people off the field.

Hopefully, ESCA can contribute to providing that support.

tagged under: coaching, events, esf, experiences

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About Craig Montvidas

Craig Montvidas

Craig is currently the Head Coach of the Pennsylvania Rebellion in the National Pro Fastpitch League in the United States, but he has previously coached the Great Britain Women’s Team, was part of a triumvirate of coaches assigned by the ISF to start a national Women’s Fastpitch Team in Greece and had two stints as Head Coach of the Dutch National Women’s Team, taking them to a ranking of #6 in the world.  He has also coached club teams in the Netherlands and Italy.  An American who graduated in psychology and sociology from the University of Hartford, Craig moved to Holland in 1976 to pursue a career as a baseball player and has lived in the Netherlands ever since, coaching both baseball and softball as well as pursuing a career as a television news producer.  He is married to a former Dutch National Team player, Luciene Geels, and they have two sons, aged 18 and 10.

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