May 11, 2017 – Olympia Haarlem Sports Facilities, Haarlem, Netherlands

One of the biggest challenges for amateur sports clubs around Europe is the administration of their organisation. IGETS set as an objective for the three partner clubs to improve the management side of their organisation. The 2nd transnational meeting set as a goal to seek ways to identify weaknesses which need to be addressed. The three partners met in the morning on Thursday, May 11, to discuss policies which can be implemented to improve the running of the three partner clubs.

A common issue for the three partners is the lack of volunteers willing to commit themselves to help out in the management of the club. Often those who are willing to volunteer either do not have enough time, or the necessary skills to make an effective contribution. Organising fund raising activities is also proving to be difficult for varying reasons. The need for adequate softball facilities to practice and play the game was cited as the most pressing issue for the Redcoats. Whereas for Olympia it is rising costs associated with the running of the club which is proving to be the biggest challenge going forward. The three partners agreed to undergo an organisation risk audit to identify potential risks and come up with a comprehensive risk management action plan. As part of this process the clubs will formulate and implement policies related to the protection of minors and sexual harassment, set up required standards for volunteer coaches along with a code of conduct, identify ways to make the club family friendly and more inclusive, and achieve gender equality within their respective Executive Committee.

In the afternoon, Stanley Doney, the head coach of the senior softball team of Olympia Haarlem gave the three partners some insight into his coaching methods. Mr Doney described his style of coaching as unconventional. He prefers to leave some of the decision making on the field to his players and as a result he prepares them accordingly. He distinguishes between variables and absolutes when coaching fundamental skills. His mantra and that of his team is “Repeat, Resilient, Ruthless, and Relentless“. He also stressed that the eight “un-coachable” characteristics of a player are what make the most impact on performance. Mr Doney stated that the difference between good coaches and great coaches lies in their ability to coach these un-coachables. He also described some of the pitching styles and techniques pointing out the difference between male and female softball pitchers and how some female softball pitchers are adjusting to adopt the male technique with great success.

Following the presentation from Mr Doney, the coaches of the three clubs took part in the practice sessions of the teams of Olympia from the U11s all the way up to the U18 team. This was another opportunity for capacity building for the coaches of the three partner clubs who shared ideas and coaching methods, as well as an opportunity for the visiting coaches to assess the skills and abilities of the players of the host club relative to those of their own players. In the evening it was the turn of the senior softball team of Olympia to practice. This was a great experience for the coaches as they were able to see some of the best players in Europe during their regular practice session. The ladies practiced hard in a relaxed manner, wasting little or no time in between drills. They seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the session with each one of them wearing a smile as they prepared for their biggest games of their season. They were scheduled to play a doubleheader against the 2nd placed team in the Golden League, the reigning Dutch softball champions, Sparks Haarlem in two days’ time.


Disclaimer: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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