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School and Softball a winning combination

Olympic softballer Tanya Harding

Image: Olympic softballer Tanya Harding

The Caboolture Softball Association in Queensland has had a boost to its numbers following a successful Sporting Schools program at St Michael’s College in which Olympic softballer Tanya Harding, coached scores of children over an eight week program.

Tanya, who has been a crucial part of every Australia Olympic softball team, winning medals in all four appearances, helped students from Years 3-6 with their skills and worked with the teachers to develop their skills into the future.

“The older kids had quite a bit of talent, and we were able to work on specific aspects of hitting and pitching,” Tanya said.

“With the younger ones, we worked mainly on the basics — throwing and catching.

“The teachers were familiar with the game, so we were able to structure a program that taught the basics and increased their skill levels,” she said.

Tanya was pleased to find out that many of the kids tried out for district teams, and some have joined teams in the Caboolture Softball Association, where they will hopefully play for many years.

Harding, who is also the Queensland Under-19 coach based in Brisbane, is looking forward to running more Sporting Schools programs.

“It’s an awesome way for schools to utilise athletes because the kids learn so much, and the teachers benefit by having an athlete to show them various training drills,” she said.

Harding encourages other top-level softball players to get involved in Sporting Schools.

“Athletes at the elite level who are looking for work just need to get accredited and endorsed, and then they can get into it. They get paid, and they are helping the sport by getting into schools. For the kids, the athletes are the face of softball. It creates familiarity, so that they might see a player on a poster and remember, ’Hey, that’s the player who came to my school!’”

Sporting Schools aims to help children foster a lifelong interest in sport, gain a healthier mind and body, all while being active, engaged and having fun.

In partnership with more than 30 National Sporting Organisations, the Australian Government’s $100 million Sporting Schools program coordinates sporting organisations, coaches and teachers to deliver sport before, during and after school hours.

Sporting Schools is a $100 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a Softball program at your school? Check out all the details on the Softball Australia page.