Ponoka Minor Ball’s female athletes got some hands on training with those who know the game; players from the SAIT Trojans.
Their day of spring training was held April 23 at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex with three Trojan athletes along with head coach George Edwards who provided some in depth training on batting, bunting, pitching, catching and fielding the ball.
“They don’t realize how much they’ve learned until they start teaching it,” said Edwards of his players. “And that’s when you really become knowledgeable about the game.”
He added that these clinics are another way to give back to the sport.
“It’s second nature in the States that they want to play softball. Here (Alberta) they don’t realize that they can and there’s 32 teams right now in Alberta in college/university softball,” said Edwards.
There was a wide range of skill sets and ages willing to learn with Ponoka athletes in the U8 category, U10, U12, U14 and U16. “We try to set up stations and teach different things to the different ages.”
Under the umbrella of softball there are a variety of disciplines including slow pitch, modified, sling shot and fast pitch, which is where Ponoka’s athletes got to sink their teeth into.
SAIT’s team is a competitive club inside a college association — The Western Collegiate Softball Association — so in an effort to get their name out and to raise funds for the program the Trojans travel and teach a younger generation of players the game.
“We are a college league for Alberta and Saskatchewan,” said Edwards.
The team plays throughout Alberta, which includes universities in Calgary and throughout Saskatchewan. What he enjoys seeing is the personal growth players develop at these clinics. “What I see is a lot of young kids with a passion for the game.”
These players want to learn. They gain much knowledge of the game through these clinics, which helps them advance rapidly. All they need is a little help.
“It takes a lot of co-ordination for your hand-eye co-ordination and softball players are highly intelligent because of all the strategy in the game,” added Edwards.
He praised the three SAIT players, Hayley McDowall, Kennedy Murphy and Tori Stavenjord for helping the young female athletes learn the best techniques to grow within the game.