Coach's Clinic: Eric Williams Managing for Success
- Written on Saturday, 09 June 2012
- Written by Erika Yackulic
(Youth1) - Every Saturday, Youth1 is bringing you the Coach's Clinic, where we feature a different softball coach each week, and get the inside scoop on a variety of topics including tips on managing a team, making your players better, improving your batting and fielding, and more. This week, we caught up with Northeast Nightmare Manager, Eric Williams, and got his insight into successfully managing a team.
The Northeast Nightmare is a nonprofit softball organization that builds character and provides a family atmosphere. The president, Ed Lincoln, has established an organization that teaches player development which results in success among all age levels. The 10U Northeast Nightmare recently qualified for World Series play. The girls have proven their skills on the field, but let’s take a look at the person who leads these lovely ladies to success: the Northeast Nightmare manager Eric Williams.
Eric Williams has managed the 10U Northeast Nightmare the past two years. He has spent that time establishing a successful team, ensuring that the girls are having fun, learning skills, and working hard to achieve their goals. Williams’ coaching team includes Anthony Antonelli, Ralph Macari, Bryan Needle, Tom Mahan, and Manny Moitoso, which is not a bad group.
“As a manager, this team could not have a better group of coaches,” stated Williams. “They all bring something special to the table.”
The coaching team is certainly doing something right. In addition to acquiring talented players, the team’s 10U record is an impressive 47-3 and playing up in 12U their record is 16-4.
Part of managing a successful team is knowing when to be there for your players, especially when one is in a slump and is down on herself. Williams tells his hitters to relax and simply focus on having good at bats. He is aware that being in a slump is normally due to the player thinking too much, overanalyzing the game or losing confidence due to a few bad at bats. Eric is always sure to compliment a player if she has a good swing at a pitch to boost her confidence. He tries to focus on having the hitter swing at pitches low in the zone.
“At the 10U level we have the opportunity to teach mechanics early in a player’s career,” Williams said. “I'm a believer that the tee is king and it's about quality repetition, not just feeding a hundred pitches to a hitter.”
Williams is well aware of the impact managers and coaches have on a team.
“From a coaching standpoint, I never lose confidence in the player’s ability,” he said. “Kids feed on the coach’s feedback and energy at all levels.”
Another key factor to success is motivation. Williams understands the importance of keeping his players focused and setting team goals. He enters the team into the best tournaments with the highest level of competition. Williams and his coaching team keep the girls motivated by using team building events as well. On the way to New Jersey, the girls visited Carlo’s Bakery and had a cake made for the team. The girls were filmed for the TLC show Cake Boss as the cake was presented. Also working on team building, Player Development Coach Manny Moitoso brought in a Boston University player development expert to teach relaxation and pre-game routine exercises.
“All of these activities build towards the development of these players on and off the field,” commented Williams.
Even with all of the success, Williams knows losses will happen and he prepares his girls that each loss is an opportunity to learn what you can do better as coaches and players. He teaches the girls to always tip their hats off to any competitor that beats them. Williams feels that losses and competitive games bring out the best in his players.
The girls build friendships and are very tight with each other. This shows in their teamwork and success. The girls are very aggressive and competitive.
“The entire Northeast Nightmare organization is very tight in terms of support and player development,” said Williams.
Williams is confident in his team and their ability to win upcoming tournaments and championships. Northeast Nightmare is a big power-hitting 10U team, which shows in their success and scored runs.
Northeast Nightmare has qualified for World Series Play, but that is not slowing them down. They recently won the USSSA Connecticut State Championship and have their eye on the Rhode Island and New England Regionals. After those tournaments, the girls plan to travel to Orlando for the USSSA World Series and even though they expect the competition to be intense, Williams has faith in his team and they plan to give it their all. Congratulations and good luck to Coach Williams and all the girls of the 10U Northeast Nightmare team!
Tune in next week when we start a three-part series with Indiana Magic 01's coach, Brian Patrick Knipp, starting with the importance of shaking off a loss and getting ready for the next game.
Written By: Stephanie Cronk
Regional Representative: Erik Williams