2017-18 Webinar Series continues with Olympian Kaleigh Rafter

The 2017-18 Softball Ontario Webinar Series continues on Tuesday, December 19 with Olympian, Kaliegh Rafter. NCCP Certified Coaches will earn 1 Professional Development point towards maintaining their certification and learn valuable tips from one of Canada’s top athletes.

Kaleigh Rafter was a 2008 Olympian and is a current member of the Canadian National Team. This year will mark her 12th year with the National Team program. She also spent two seasons playing in the Japanese Professional Softball league from 2013-2015.

A graduate of Florida State University, Kaleigh holds a Masters in Criminology as well as a Masters in Sports Management and Administration. She currently is an assistant coach at the University of Virginia and works with catchers, infielders, and hitters.


My Experience at the Canada Summer Games

I wanted to take this opportunity to first thank Provincial Women’s Softball Association (PWSA) Canada Summer Games Committee, the PWSA Executive, the PWSA membership and the Canada Games athletes and staff for the opportunity to represent Team Ontario, Softball Ontario and the PWSA at the 2017 Canada Games. It was my second time attending, having attended in 2013, and I can say without a doubt, it never gets dull or routine representing your province – the honour and pride to wear Team Ontario across your chest is beyond words, the feeling of walking into an opening or closing ceremony (I have been fortunate enough to now have experienced both) is humbling, emotional (read tears of joy), and most importantly an honour.

While in 2017, we fell short of achieving our goal of winning and bringing back home gold for Ontario, we improved upon our 2013 fourth place finish. Both results immediately following the Games were personally disappointing in that we did not meet our goal, however, I know that the athletes and staff did the very best we could … the chips didn’t fall in our favour and sometimes you have to just “tip your hat” to your opponent.

As I reflect on both my experiences, I want to thank the PWSA, the athletes and coaches of both the 2013 and 2017 for lessons and memories far greater than wins and losses. As coaches, we can get a narrowed focus on what success means and that typically aligns with wins and losses, however, our greatest measure of success is our athletes. When we all start out coaching our aim is to provide opportunity, not just opportunity to grow as ballplayers but more importantly as people.

Your PWSA president 30+ years ago put up her hand to coach a t-ball team in a small Toronto Borough with her husband, so my sister and I could play, learn the value of teamwork, being a good time, and be active (read burn off energy and learn how to get along with one another!)

I remember asking my boss who hired me for my first “real” job after graduate school, why he had hired me (during my first week he asked if I would play on the company slo-pitch Team) and he candidly said, we can teach you the specific skill set of the job, your education has taught you to learn and the fundamentals of engineering and Softball has taught you how to be a great teammate, how to communicate with others, how to work collaboratively, how to push through challenge and how to manage your time, how to set goals, etc. I am reminded of Bruno’s words to me 15 years later as I reflect on my coaching career … I remember teams, games, plays, athletes, the “ah ha” moments and now most fondly, when I get an email from former athletes telling about what they have been up to, sharing their life with me, telling me the impact the team, the sport and myself have had on them, they don’t recount the wins or the losses but the life-skills and life-lessons they learned in the safe and controlled environment that we create as coaches.

I will share one last thing to close off my thanks. While we as coaches ask and push our athletes to excel in pursuit of success, I am reminded that we as coaches similarly need to push ourselves to develop, excel, and grow and for me, my athletes, and fellow coaches inspire me to do that, to challenge myself, so that I can challenge them. To close, as I have done in my reflection on my Canada Games experience and having a difficult time reconciling the result of our fourth-place finish in 2013 and bronze medal in 2017, I challenge everyone here to remember why you got involved in the game as a volunteer administrator and or coach… and remember…

“A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime – Bill Graham” …

What do you want your legacy to be?

By Johanna Malisani


Softball Ontario Hall of Fame Welcomes Class of 2017

Saturday, November 25, 2017, marked Softball Ontario’s 2nd Annual Hall of Fame Banquet at the annual Softball Ontario Summit held in Burlington, Ontario.

The festivities saw Softball Ontario induct five new members into the Hall of Fame joining Wendy Cathcart, the Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductee.

In the Organizer/Builders category, Softball Ontario inducted Lois Thompson and Pat Sparling for their tremendous efforts for their local associations, Provincial Women’s Softball Association and Softball Ontario. Cliff Belch was inducted for his integral role in the development of Softball Ontario and his long tenure with the OASA, and Randy Beatty was inducted for his work with Slo-Pitch Ontario Association.

The Toronto Orioles became the first event entry into the Team category of the Softball Ontario. Known as one of the most dominant and feared teams in Slo-Pitch across Ontario.

To visit Softball Ontario’s Hall of Fame page, click here!

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Volunteer Opportunity: NCCP Coach Developers wanted!

Softball Ontario announces the call for applications for Coach Developers (Learning Facilitators/Evaluators) for Softball Ontario National Coaching Certification Program clinic for the sport of Softball. Our clinic line-up includes: Learn2Coach, Community Softball Coach and Competition-Introduction, Softball. The Coach Developer training will take place in February 2018 in Toronto, ON. Softball Ontario invites you to join us in this new and exciting step in the development of softball in Ontario through competency-based education training and the new NCCP.

Softball Ontario’s Coach Developer qualifications include:

  • Must be trained or certified in the NCCP context they are facilitating
  • Strong communication and administrative skills
  • A keen interest in Coach Development
  • An understanding of the NCCP Coaching Program specifically in Softball
  • Strong Leadership Skills
  • Coaching Experience is an asset
  • Teaching and facilitation experience in an adult education environment is considered an asset
  • Has post-secondary education degree is considered an asset
  • Have the ability to engage learners
  • Have the ability to demonstrate the use of technology
  • Must sign Softball Ontario’s Confidentiality Agreement
  • Must complete Softball Ontario Volunteer Application

Responsibilities of a Softball Ontario Coach Developer:

  • To provide a report or to appear at Softball Ontario Coaching Meeting when required
  • Receive and review all materials/minutes distributed by Softball Ontario
  • Do tasks as assigned by the Coaching Committee and/or Chairperson
  • Help Promote the Softball Ontario Coaching Program
  • Attend Coach Developer Training with Softball Ontario
  • Facilitate at NCCP Coaching Clinics for Softball Ontario
  • Commit to facilitate at a minimum of two (2) Learn to Coach Clinic(s) or two (2) Community Softball Coach Clinic(s) or a Competition-Introduction, Softball Clinic(s) between January and June 2018
  • Adhere to all Softball Ontario and Coaching Policies and Protocol
  • To annually evaluate the NCCP clinic form and provide recommendations to Softball Canada for improvement

Softball Ontario’s NCCP Coach Developers receive compensation for their services with clinic honorarium, mileage and meals.

The new NCCP has been offered to softball coaches in Ontario since 2005 and has trained over 1500 softball coaches- making Ontario the leaders in Canada in coach education in the new NCCP in softball.

Softball Ontario would like to invite you to attend the Coach Developer clinic free of charge to become one of our future NCCP Learning Facilitators/Evaluators. Travel (mileage) and accommodations will be provided by Softball Ontario for those who qualify under our current policies. Becoming a Softball Ontario Coach Developer is a great opportunity for you to improve softball in your community!

How to Apply to become Learning Facilitator with Softball Ontario?

Interested applications are encouraged to complete the application form below. Here is the link:

Softball Ontario NCCCP Coach Developer Application

Send the Softball Ontario Coach Developer Application to ssutton@softballontario.ca by Friday, October 13, 2017.

Softball Ontario is looking forward to a great clinic season but we need your help to make it a success!

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Building Champions panel added to Get in the Game Symposium

Softball Ontario in conjunction with PWSA is pleased to announce that, “Building Champions”  FREE session has been added to the Get in the Game Symposium lineup, featuring Mark Smith and Melissa Basilio, of Softball Canada’s Women’s National Team Program. This FREE session will take place on Friday, November 24, 2017, at 7:00 pm, and is worth 2 NCCP PD Points!

Building Champions session will be offered In-Person or via Webinar!

Gold Medal Profile

Softball Canada Women’s National Team has created an athlete development assessment tool called the Gold Medal Profile.  This tool can be used to assess female athlete skills beginning at the Learn2Train (U12) stage of development.  Come and listen to how to use this value instrument to your athletes reach their full potential.

Softball Canada Regional Skills Development Academy (RSDA)

The focus of the Regional Skills Development Academy is to create an aligned talent development path that raises the standard of softball skills across Canada and prepares female athletes to compete at:

  • Softball Canada Canadian Championships
  • Canada Summer Games
  • National Colligate Athletic Association
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
  • National Junior College Athletic Association
  • USports
  • Team Canada-Women’

Mark Smith

Mark Smith the High-Performance Director for Softball Canada’s Women’s National Team program, an NCCP Competition-High Performance, Softball (highest level in the NCCP) while also continuing in his position as Head Coach of the Women’s National Team is appearing at the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium – Burlington, ON.

Coach Smith has led the Women’s National Team program since 2009 and will take on additional duties as a result of softball’s return to the 2020 Olympic Games program.

Smith has led the Women’s National Team to a number of great results since taking over the program in 2009, highlighted by two bronze-medal finishes at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championships (in 2010 and 2016), a silver medal at the 2011 Pan American Games and the gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. Prior to coaching with the Women’s program, he coached at the Junior Men’s and Men’s National Team level from 1999 to 2009 after a Hall of Fame playing career with the Canadian Men’s National Team that spanned from 1979 to 1996. He was recently named the recipient of the Coaching Association of Canada’s 2016 Jack Donohue Coach of the Year Award.

Melissa Basilio

Melissa Basilio has been apart of the Softball Canada Women’s National Team Coaches Staff since 2009.  Melissa attended 4 years at University of Delaware and was named Second Team All-Colonial Association (2002-2003).  Those same years she was co-captain.  Melissa was an outstanding defensive third baseman and was known for her quick glove and strong arm.  Her Coaching resume includes:  Winthrop Eagles, Assistant Coach with the Markham Tigers and Assistant Coach with St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School.

This information session is ideal for Coaches to attend to help identify if they have athletes looking to further their playing careers at the highest level of play.

To register for the FREE “Building Champions” session, click here!

For more information on #GITG17 and NCCP PD Point opportunities, click here!

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Mike Crawford announced as panelist for Get in the Game Symposium

Mike Crawford joins both sessions at #GITG17!

The 2017 U21 Team Ontario Gold Medalist Pitching Coach and Softball Ontario’s Regional Pitching Instructor joins the Coaches Corner and the Pitch Perfect sessions at the Get in the Game Symposium. Mike has 12 rings from Softball Canada’s Canadian Championships, ASA American Championships, a World Masters, and several Ontario Provincial championships. He was on the 40-man roster with Team Canada that won gold medals in Mexico in 1993 and Dominican Republic in 2003 in the Pan Am Games. Last September, Mike was inducted into the Ontario Master’s Hall of Fame. Softball Ontario is ecstatic to have Mike join both sessions to share his wealth of knowledge and his experiences.

Don’t miss Mike Crawford at the Get in the Game Symposium in Burlington, ON!

For more information on the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium, click here!

Both sessions are NOW available via webinar! To register for in-person or webinar’s click the ball below!

Todd Martin announced as panelist for Get in the Game Symposium

Todd Martin, a softball legend, has been announced to the Pitch Perfect panel at the Get in the Game Symposium – Session #2 Pitch Perfect.

Todd was a member of a Team Canada-Senior Men’s from 1998 to 2009 (11 years) and in his career, he captured a Gold Medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, MB. During Todd’s career, he collected the following accolades: 6-time ISC World Champion; 3-time ISC World Most Valuable Pitcher,4-time ASA American National Champion and 3-time ASA Most Valuable Pitcher and 6-times a Softball Canada Canadian Champion. Todd recently obtained his NCCP Competition-Introduction, Softball certified status and coaches his daughter’s team-the Aurora Diggers.

One of Todd’s proudest moments is the opportunity to work with Team Canada – Women’s Pitcher- Jenna Ciara.  “She’s probably the most talented that I’ve worked with, and I’m pretty excited to see what she can do on the mound.”

Join Todd and the rest of the lineup in Burlington as he lends his expertise about Pitching and the great sport of Softball!

For more information on the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium, click here!


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Jessica Mancini announced as panelist for Get in the Game Symposium

Jessica Mancini joins the Coaches Corner at the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium in Burlington, ON.

Jessica played collegiate Softball on a scholarship at Spring Arbor University in Michigan from 2001-2005. During that time, Jessica was a part of winning several regional championships and captured the 2005 National Championship. In addition to Jessica’s playing career, she was a member of the 2013 Team Ontario Training staff, Assistant Coach with University of Waterloo Women’s Fast Pitch Team as well as an instructor at several PWSA Skills Camps, Colour Your Dream development clinics and Softball Ontario’s Softball Performance Centre program. In 2017, Jessica obtained her Competition-Development, Softball Certified status and brought home the Bronze medal with Team Ontario from the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, ON. Mancini is a registered physiotherapist in Hamilton, ON with a special interest in sports injuries and concussion management.

Softball Ontario is excited to have Coach Mancini join our lineup of terrific speakers for the Symposium!

For more information on the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium, click here!

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Robin Mackin announced as panelist for Get in the Game Symposium

Ontario pitching star, Robin Mackin will join the line-up at the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium for Session #2 – Pitch Perfect.

Robin began her National Team involvement in 2005 as a member of the Elite team, she then moved to the Senior team in 2006, helping Canada capture silver at the Canada Cup and qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games with a fifth-place finish at the ISF XI Women’s World Championship. In 2007, she led Team Canada to a silver medal at the XV Pan American Games and a gold medal at the XXIV Summer Universiade. In 2007, Robin was also named to the, ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team, and to the, Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America Third Team. One of Robin’s proudest moments is where she was named a member of the Team Canada Olympic roster for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where Canada finished 4th.

Softball Ontario is honoured to welcome this Softball Olympian, #15 to Get in the Game Symposium squad!

For more information on the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium, click here!

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Tyler Randerson announced as panelist for Get in the Game Symposium

Softball Ontario announced today, that Tyler Randerson will join the line-up at the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium for Session #2 – Pitch Perfect.

Randerson is one of the most promising pitching prospects in the Softball Canada and ISC. A two-time member of the U21 Men’s National Team, Tyler helped lead Canada to a 2016 ISF Bronze Medal. Randerson followed up 2016 with a spectacular 2017 season winning gold at the Canada Games with Team Ontario, and was named to the Senior Men’s National Team for the Pan-American Games Qualifier in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic where Canada captured 6th. Dedicated to all facets of the sport, Tyler is excited to join the panel to share his story and will be sharing tips and strategies to help younger pitchers. We are excited for Tyler to join our All-Star lineup in Burlington!

For more information on the 10th Annual Get in the Game Symposium, click here!

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