SEATTLE – The ping of dozen of bats connecting with the ball and the pop of dozen of pitches hitting their target echoes through the Dempsey Indoor facility. It’s a Tuesday night in November, and the entire Washington softball coaching staff, as well as members of the current team, is hard at work fostering the skills of the next generation of softball players.
Last Tuesday marked the final session of Washington’s Fall Clinic series – a collection of hitting, pitching, and defense academies for softball players ages 8 to 18 that ran from October through November.
Each hour-long clinic begins with the players gathering around the coaches for instruction. Then, the players are divided into groups, where they work closely with the current Huskies players, as the coaches roam the field and give individual instruction to the campers.
Robert Treves has been bringing his daughters, Kelly, 11, and Rachel, 9, to the clinics for the past three years. Treves says his daughters enjoy the experience of learning from the coaches as well as the current players.
“They love it,” Treves said. “They relate to the players. They relate to the coaches. They listen. They improve drastically, and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Tami [Storseth] Mahler has three daughters, River, 10, Jessi, 8, Sawyer, 6. She has been bringing River for about three years. Mahler, who played shortstop with head coach Heather Tarr with the Huskies from 1992-1996, says the unique combination of instruction from the coaches and players is what makes the clinics so special.
“It’s just a fun time. It’s so different and unique,” Mahler said. “We are so lucky to have the coaching staff here, because they’re relatable and they’re normal people, and the players just make such a big difference to the kids.”
For many of the campers, working with the athletes is the highlight of the clinics.
“My favorite part is playing with the players and getting the experience that a lot of other people don’t get,” Kelly Treves, 11, said. “I really look up to them. I think it’s really awesome to be working with them.”
The campers receive direct coaching from the Washington coaches and players, because there are usually 20-30 athletes in each clinic.
“Our girls pay attention,” Robert Treves said. “They listen to the coaches…They get a lot of very direct coaching here. After you leave these camps, there’s been direct correlation to improvement on the field.”
Over the course of the clinics, the campers also develop a close relationship with each of the coaches.
“One of the coaches actually calls me ‘Google,’” Rachel Treves, 9, said. “They were asking me questions, and I just answered them, and they were all right.”
“My favorite part is how hard we work and how hard we try to hit the ball and catch the ball and throw the ball to the catcher,” Rachel said.
While the fall clinics are done for this year, the Huskies offer camps year-round. For more information on all of Washington’s softball camps, click here.
For aspiring softball players, the experience is unmatched.
“It’s being at the University of Washington,” Robert Treves said. “It’s being on the field here. It’s being on the outdoor field. It’s talking to the players…It’s not difficult at all to get them here. It’s doesn’t take anything. There’s no complaints. There’s no worries. Getting them to leave at the end of the day is the harder part.”