Chapter 14 - Coach Education

Chapter 14



Coaches in softball (and baseball) are unique amongst sports coaches because they have a designated place on the playing field during offensive play (batting) to direct the batters and base runners. During defensive play (fielding) they share the dugout with the players and other team officials. As well, they are in charge of training sessions. A knowledgeable, well-educated coach is a key element in a successful team. The AWSF/ASF embarked on a program of coach education to increase the number of coaches and improve the quality of coaches especially at club and affiliate level. Over time coaching has become a profession for a small number of softball coaches and the programs have expanded to accommodate their special needs.

Rothmans Foundation

Coach education was left to the State/Territory associations until 1964 when the tobacco company, Rothmans of Pall Mall (Australia) set up its National Sport Foundation (generally known as the Rothmans Foundation) to sponsor tours by international coaches, clinics/seminars, training programmes and the production of audio-visual materials. The AWSC was unsuccessful in its first bid for funding because the directors of Rothmans Foundation were unfamiliar with softball, a deficit soon remedied by charismatic leader Esther Deason. A second bid resulted in funds for production of audio-visual materials. NSW coach and physical educator, Joan Fitton, undertook production on behalf of the AWSC only to have the final product poorly edited by non-softballers and not usable.1

Visiting coach

In 1972 the WAWSC lobbied the AWSF to include a case for funding a coach from either Japan or America to visit WA (and the rest of Australia) in its 1972 application to the Rothmans Foundation. This did not happen but it sowed the seeds for the visit of American coach, Charlotte Graham, in 1975. With the national team sliding down the international rankings, it was realized that coaching standards had to be raised across the sport. Graham toured Australia in 1975. The tour was a major learning experience for the ASF, not only in terms of softball specific skills but how to organize such visits to maximize the benefits to Australian softball. Graham traveled Australia on her own and it was left to the State/Territory associations to determine how best to arrange sessions with her. In hindsight, it was realized that an ASF official should have accompanied her. A second tour in 1981 was far more successful. Since then, the focus has shifted to the State associations which have arranged their own visitors usually in conjunction with their State government.


Accreditation is the formal qualification of people to coach. It became a core activity of softball as a result of simultaneous initiatives by government and sport and resulted in an enduring partnership. In 1979 the federal government established the Australian Coaching Council (ACC) which launched its National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) as template for all National Sports Organisations (NSO). Administrative support for the scheme was provided by the Confederation of Australian Sport Coaches Assembly (CASCA). With the establishment of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in 1985 the NCAS came under its umbrella. Funding for coach education was included in the annual grants to NSOs from the ASC.2


The ASF’s initiatives followed its participation in a coaching seminar organized by the newly created federal Department of Tourism and Recreation in 1975. The ASF asked Nancy Whittingham (SA), a member of the 1965 Australian team and Assistant National Coach, to form a national coaching organization. At the Senior Women’s national championships in Adelaide in March 1976, Whittingham brought the State coaches together to explore possibilities. The outcome was the formation of the State Coaches Committee. By 1979 the Committee realized that if it was to have its desired impact on softball it had to be recognized within the ASF Constitution and By-Laws. Whittingham worked with Audrey McLaughlin (Qld), Shirley Schneider (WA) and Pat Shearwood (ACT) to prepare the necessary By-Laws. The Committee then became the National Coaching Advisory Committee (NCAC).3 According to Schneider most time was devoted to discussing:

softball coming into line with other sports throughout Australia in commencing a Coaching Accreditation Scheme which will make the Coaching of Softball more uniform and give everyone an equal opportunity to benefit from new Coaching Skills and methods.4


Six State coaches formed the Design Committee chaired by McLaughlin. They met in Melbourne twice a year to review all the documentation completed between meetings. Schneider reported to the WASA that ‘We had a copy of the Canadian accreditation scheme because that’s where … this idea came from and we were given certain areas to set out lesson plans. I had pitching and catching’. The main document produced was the Instructor’s Manual while the Canadian Participants’ Manual was retained.

The ASF launched its component of the NCAS in January 1981 beginning with Level 1. Accreditation had two components: the General Principles, a theoretical component conducted by the respective State Departments of Sport and Recreation, and Sport Specific component conducted by the State Associations. Both components required written assessments. In addition, coaches had to complete a set number of hours of practical coaching which had to be verified by their clubs. Also included in the scheme was a one-off honorary accreditation for elite and long-serving coaches and retrospective accreditation for people who had undertaken recognized courses. All claims for these had to be lodged by 1 October 1981. Level 2 was introduced by the ASF in 1983. There has been continual refinement of the scheme. A six hour Level 0 Orientation to coaching for beginner coaches who have little or no knowledge of softball was introduced in 1993-94 to help parent-coaches and secondary school students. It was not part of the NCAS. With pitching and catching being dominant components of the sport, a discrete Pitcher/Catchers Instructors course was added in 1994-95 with Level 1 included in the sport specific level 1 while Levels 2-4 were additional accreditation courses in two parts: Part A was for Level 2 accreditation; Part B was for persons aiming to be specialist pitching and catching coaches.


Level 3 proved to be the most challenging to implement. Unlike Levels 1 and 2 which the State associations conducted, Initially, Level 3 was automatically granted to recognized coaches such as long-term State coaches. Once it was accepted that Level 3 was best conducted as a national program, the NCD took responsibility but few coaches aspired to that level. The first course got underway in 1994-95 with four females and seven males enrolling. It comprised a core component of five home study modules plus elective components that were still to be finalised. There was some overlap with Graduate Diploma of Coaching which the ACC had developed for elite coaches. Softball’s NCAC continued to meet annually to iron out teething problems. Not all coaches accepted the new scheme, especially the Level 2 General Principles course. A compromise was reached whereby coaches were issued with a certificate indicating that they had completed Level 2 Sports Specific but were not accredited as Level 2 coaches. This was a short-term solution until accreditation became the norm.  One major refinement occurred during 1994-95 when competency based training (CBT) was introduced into formal vocational education and training across Australia with the key aim of improving the efficiency of the workforce and in turn making Australia more internationally competitive. With coaching now viewed as an occupation CBT was linked to accreditation for both volunteer and paid coaches via the ACC.5


All accreditation courses were rewritten to be outcomes based. The coach was assessed on his or her ability to demonstrate the competencies defined by the objectives of the course.  In 2002 the ASC Coaching and Officiating Unit replaced the ACC and took responsibility for coordinating activities within the NCAS and National Officiating Accreditation Scheme (for umpires and scorers). By 2005 the NCAS was redrafted to comprise six levels which aligned accreditation in coaching, scoring and umpiring. For coaches Levels 1 to 3 focus on teaching the skills of game during practice (Practice Coach); Levels 4 and 5 concentrate on organising and leading the team during games (Game Coach) and Level 6 is for coaches wishing to work at high performance (National/International Coach).  At the end of the 1980s the need for coaches to update was apparent and accreditation for life was no longer realistic. Initially coaches had to attend relevant lectures and have their logbook signed by the lecturer/event co-ordinator. While it had been anticipated that not all coaches would re-accredit, the impact of this new policy revealed prior data to be inflated by the inclusion of non-active coaches. In August 1995 the NCD reported to the ASF Board that softball – like all sports – had experienced a significant decline in accredited coaches from 2073 to 777 (670 Level 1 and 107 Level 2) or almost two-thirds. As with accreditation, re-accreditation requirements were subject to refinement. By August 1998 the ASF had determined that accredited coaches could update by either undertaking the next level of accreditation, or accumulating 100 points by participating in activities listed in each of the listed categories: Coaching practice (head coach to lecturer); Coaching principles (attend/present) and Softball specific (seminars/clinics; attend/present). Coaches were allowed four years to reach their 100 points with a minimum of 20 points in each category with verification by State Association and validation by using ACC log book (signed/stamped by coordinator/lecturer). Documentation for each level included a Coaching Resource Manual, an Instructor’s Guide and a Learning Assessment Workbook. Web-based delivery became available for coaches unable to attend courses.


As well coaches had to agree to abide by the Codes of Ethics and Behaviours for Coaches. This in turn meant that the ASF and State Associations had to have a set of procedures to follow for the resolution of complaints against coaches for breaches of the Codes. The ASF provided Guidelines for the management of complaints for harassment. By 1998 the fee to register with the ACC was $15 which included an ID card and insurance.  Quality control became an underlying component of accreditation with regular reviews by the ACC. As well course presenters had to reach prescribed standards. The first Teach the Teacher seminar was held in Melbourne in 1986. Equivalency was available for coaches who were qualified teachers. Another aspect of quality control was the decision of the ASF and subsequently the State associations to require all coaches of representative teams to hold appropriate accreditation or to provide evidence that the coach was working towards it.   The actual number of accredited coaches has generally been tabled in the ASF Year Books although the format has changed. Sometimes the report has presented numbers of coaches, other times the data has been presented in terms of number of courses. As well, there have been variations in separating active from non-active coaches, and indicating the numbers that have re-accredited or should do so. In the 1992-93 Year Book, the NCD reported a 9% increase, all in Level 1. The figure increased slightly to 9.4% for Level 1 and 9.04% for Level in the 1993-94 season. Since then the overall trend has been downwards as is the case with player numbers. The States with the highest number of accreditations are those whose teams have dominated national championships, namely NSW and Queensland. One fillip for softball was the ACC awarding the 100,000th accreditation to Carol Flegg of NSW when she completed Level 1.6


National Coaching Director

Concurrently with the development of coach accreditation the ASF argued its case to the federal government for funding for a National Coaching Director (NCD). The ASF’s persistence paid off when funding became available in 1982. Jim Gibson, a former New Zealand coach and NCD, was appointed in 1983. Along with fostering the NCAS, Gibson toured the Australia and attended national championships to assess the current status of coaching in Australia. He conducted under age talent camps. His major venture was a National Coaching Seminar which he conducted at Monash University. Each State/Territory association was represented by four of its elite coaches including its State Coaching Director (SCD). Following Gibson, Canadian Dave Pearce was employed on a short-term contract from December 1988 to March 1989. He worked on Levels 2 and 3, player development clinics and reviewing literature and videos. Al Pezino, an American, worked as NCD from 1990 to 1991. The NCD was a conduit between the ASF, the ACC and the SCDs but was not responsible for national teams. That job belonged to the respective national coaches who, when time permitted contributed their expertise to clinics and seminars. The NCD oversaw the production of education packages, regular newsletters, maintenance of the register of accredited coaches and conduct of seminars for elite coaches. Robyn Peters, a former NSW physical education teacher followed Pezino. Peters had served on the ASF Coaching, Planning and Review Committee before her appointment. One of her major contributions was the editing of the Level 2 manual. Peters worked for the ASF until 2000 when she was replaced by Chet Gray. He was based in the Melbourne office. In July 2005 the role of the Coaching Operations Manager was expanded to include the Development portfolio and the new position of Game Development Manager created. In this new role Gray saw the key challenges being softball club development/membership growth by linking all development projects, resources and new initiatives together into an inclusive educational and awareness program which has continued to the present.


Coaching Committee

The original State Coaches Committtee set up by Whittingham became the Coaching, Planning and Review Committee. Its main responsibility was updating Level 1 and 2 accreditation policies and courses in preparation for their submission to the ACC. The committee was restructured in July 1988 to become the National Coaching Planning and Review Committee. Joan Fitton (NSW) chaired it with Judy Phelps (NSW), Peter Phillips (Vic) and Robyn Peters (NSW) as members. Their task was to assist the NCD, a task of considerable difficulty since the position was vacant apart from the short-term served by Dave Pearce. The committee was revamped in 1994 and the National Coaching Committee become the overseer of coach education and elite development. Fitton continued as Convenor with other members being coaches of national teams. It assisted the NCD plan the future direction of coaching and advised on coaching programs and projects. A specific interest was the Sport Research Meeting which considered projects likely to assist the Senior women’s team win at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.


State Coaching Directors Annual Meeting

State Coaching Directors (SCDs) met once a year with the NCD and concentrated on the NCAS. The evolution of coach education was rapid and by the 1986-87 season, the ASF required the SCDs to submit 5 year plans for clinics for specific skills and for specific locations, the latter being dependent upon affiliates being financially registered with the WASA/ASF. The National Coaching Development Plan for 1993 to 1997 focused on four areas: administration, coach education, coaching profession and coaching programs. The inclusion of coaching profession recognized that like many sports the ASF now employed coaches full-time for the Senior Women’s team and at the AIS while the State associations employed SCDs. This in turn led to serious consideration of career pathways and emphasis on the need for career coaches to be fully accredited. With the merger of coaching and development in 2005 the annual meeting drew together the SCDs, SDOs and SEO for single workshop. Together they cared for 120 associations, 650 clubs and 38,000 members. Subsequently, budget constraints at both national and State level have seen an increase in electronic communication and reduction in face-to-face meetings.


Developing a structure for the education of coaches in WA has generally mirrored national developments which is understandable given that considerable funding has been provided by the ASF. However, the WASA has also been the beneficiary of funds from the State Department/Ministry of Sport and Recreation and Healthway.


National Fitness Council

Education of coaches has been part of WA softball since the 1950s. The first coaches were local baseball players who played their own sport in winter and then ‘helped out the girls’ in summer. With the rapid

growth of softball and the enthusiasm of ‘the girls’ it was not long before more coaches were needed and that ‘the girls’were quite capable of coaching at club level. State teams remained the domain of male coaches until Shirley Roberts stepped forward in 1967.

Fortunately, the NFC supported courses for coaches and in its 1954 Annual Report noted that softball had 30 people enrolled in its “Schools for coaches”. Well-established women’s sports attracted substantially more participants – women’s hockey (60), women’s basketball (95) – but given its youth softball was rapidly gaining support.7



Another course was planned for the following season but it seems that it did not proceed because there was simply so much going on that it was difficult to set time aside. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that coach education once more became an agenda item when the NFC through the Associated Sporting Committee offered courses drawing on the expertise of the physical education staff at the University of Western Australia, most of whom had recently arrived from the USA. These courses were the forerunners of the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme and were described by Murray Phillips (2000) in his history of coaching in Australia as a ‘shining light in coach education’.  A recommendation from Shirley Schneider to hold a coaches and scorers seminar in 1974 resulted in a coaching clinic conducted one night per week for seven weeks. There was minimal support from the clubs but a strong response from primary schools resulting in a field day at Yokine Reserve which was attended by 200 primary school girls. Field days were seen as a critical factor in the growth of softball in the metropolitan area. In retrospect this would now be a development activity rather than coaching.  In 1977 the WASA approached former State coach, Max Kitchens, to draft a format for coaching clinics and followed up in early 1978 by publishing 250 manuals at $2 each with help from the Community Recreation Council, the forerunner of the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation (DYSR).


Life Member: 1969

Hall of Fame: Administration: First inductee: 2007

I guess it was because it was the first premiership in softball I’d ever been involved with, and the team that we had were just terrific people … We had lots of fun together. We all … we grew up together. It was one of those things.


Hell’s Angels




State Teams

Player Senior women: 1960, 61, 63, 66, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74

Assistant Coach Senior Women: 1975, 79

Coach Senior Women: 1976-78, 1980-1993

Selector Senior Women: 1973-1993

Australian Team

Assistant Coach Senior women: 1982 Tour of New Zealand

Selector: 1978 to 2004


Registrar: 1970-71

President: 1971-72 to 1974-75, 1976-77

Senior Vice President: 1997-99

Vice President: 1999-2011

Coaching Director: 1981-2000

Convenor of National Championships: 1974 to 2008

Acting Executive Director: 2006 to 2007


Coaching Accreditation Committee: 1976-1984

Selector: 1978-1983, 1993-2005

Accreditation: Level 5 Coaching


ASF Service Award: 1993

City of Stirling Silver Certificate: 1996

Australian Sports Medal: 2000

ASF Life Member: 2000

WA Sports Federation Skilled Service to Sport Award: 2004

National Senior Award for Volunteer in Sport: 2006

Shirley Schneider has been described as “Mrs Softball-Through-and-Through”, someone who has her fingers on the pulse of softball right across WA and Australia.9 She earned the accolade by devoting her life to softball. At times her dedication has been sorely tested but her love of softball has always risen above the challenges and criticisms thrown at her. Over five decades Shirley has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of softball as a player, coach, coaching director, selector and administrator. Usually she was involved in some aspect of each of these simultaneously and at all three levels of competition – club, State and national. One long standing Board Member described her as ‘the Bible of softball’.10


Shirley first played softball a student at Girdlestone Girls’ School in the early 1950s. She began playing club softball with Hell’s Angels in 1953 as a means to keeping fit during summer for basketball (netball) which she played in winter. She began in C grade and won the batting average. The following year she played several games in A Reserve grade and was promoted to A grade. Initially, Shirley played first base, right field and third base. State Coach, Max Kitchens, suggested that Shirley try pitching in the 1960-61 season. She pitched to catcher Nina Menner when the Hell’s’ Angels won its first A grade premiership in the 1960-61 season breaking the stranglehold of Nedlands Rookies and Blue Jays. In 1969 Shirley left Angels stung by the words of its new coach who declared that she and several other players were too old. She became a founding member of Demons Softball Club formed by John Claxton who had recently arrived in WA from South Australia. Its A grade team won successive premierships in the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons proving that age was not an issue. Shirley continued to play with Demons until its 1981-82 premiership season although she had returned to the outfield with occasional matches on first base. Shirley was selected in her first State team in 1960 as a specialist right fielder and gained valuable experience playing against South Africa in Perth before the WA team traveled to Melbourne for the national championships. Between 1960 and 1974 Shirley represented WA nine times. She played in national grand finals in 1960, 1961, 1963 and 1971 but unfortunately WA did not win. In her final appearance for WA in 1974 she pitched 26 innings for and earned run average of 1.0 and she batted 12 times for an average of .250, the sixth best average for the WA team.


When Veterans softball began in WA in 1993 at the Australian Masters Games Shirley was a member of the original Legends team. Unfortunately she only managed to play half of the first game because she pulled a ‘hammy’ chasing a ball in the outfield. She did, however, receive a gold medal as a member of the overall winning team. She fully recovered to take her place in the team for the Masters Games in Brisbane (1994) and Melbourne (1995). Shirley’s coaching career began at Hell’s’ Angels and she coached its C grade team for the 1961-62 season. The team was undefeated throughout the qualifying rounds but lost the grand final which Shirley missed because she was in hospital for the birth of her daughter. When John Claxton left Demons in 1976 Shirley took the reigns as A grade coach and continued until 1990 with a premiership in the 1981-82 season. When the State Softball League began in 1991 Shirley was the inaugural coach of the Wanneroo Twins women’s team. Twins was the new name for Demons in the State League. Shirley spent three seasons with the Twins. From club coach she progressed to State coach gaining initial experience as Assistant Coach of the Senior Women’s team to John Claxton in 1975. In an unusual move Shirley was made playing Assistant Coach and captain but she did not take to the diamond. She became Senior State Coach in 1976 and held the position until 1993 apart from 1979 when she was again assistant to Claxton. As well Shirley gained international experience. In 1982 she toured New Zealand as Assistant Coach to Australian Coach, Margaret Reynolds. For Shirley ‘that was a thrill, and an experience to see how other countries operate and how they play the game … That was an enjoyable part of my life. We went from one end of New Zealand to the other by train’. She also coached the WA team when the WASA hosted international teams including China, Canada, New Zealand and Japan. Shirley also coordinated national coaching clinics held in Perth under the auspices of the ASF. The first one was in January 1981 immediately following the Under 16 national championship.


In the late 1980s sensing the direction other States and national teams were heading with an increased focus on strength and fitness, Shirley attempted to secure copies of the fitness programmes circulated to eastern states associations for the preparation of Australian players. She also recruited a fitness adviser to assist in the preparation of the Senior women’s team but not all players were ready to accept the sport demanded much greater levels of physical fitness. In 1992 the ASF established its Academy for women players identified as potential Australian representatives and appointed coaches in each State to work under the direction of the Head Coach of the Australian team, Margaret Reynolds, and the National Director of Coaching, Robyn Peters. Shirley and Bob McKibbin were appointed for WA. The appointments attracted criticism in The West Australian which failed to understand that the appointments were made by the ASF not the WASA.11 The ASF funded its Academy from its grant from the Australian Sports Commission. During Shirley’s tenure as WA Senior Women’s coach there was a distinct ‘changing of the guard’ in national softball. Victoria and the ACT held sway until 1982 when Queensland and then NSW emerged as power States. Having been consistent grand finalists and national champions four times in the 1950s WA had


slid down the national rankings by the mid-1970s to usually finish in fourth or fifth position but dropped as low as seventh. The best result under Shirley’s leadership was third at the 1992 carnival held in front of a home crowd at Mirrabooka. This lead to an expectation that WA could recapture its form of the 1950s and 1960s and again challenge the top teams. However, the following year in Hobart WA failed dismally finishing seventh. Throughout her tenure as State coach Shirley was plagued by controversy. A grade players declined to stand for State selection and in one instance circulated a petition requesting the WAWSA Board of Management to replace Shirley with John Claxton who was thought by the players to be more successful at Nedlands Rookies than Shirley was at Demons. There was also a wide spread belief in Australian sport that male coaches were better than female coaches in all sports except netball. The Board stood by Shirley. However, by 1993 circumstances had changed. Seventh place by a team that struggled to bond left the Board with no option but to conduct an inquiry. Shirley was relieved of her position. Interestingly, the numerous people who were her Assistant Coaches recognized that she was the best equipped person in WA to oversee the team at the national championships. Coaches appointed after Shirley have not been able to lift WA to a higher national standard.


In hindsight it appears that Shirley was a scapegoat for the overall woes of softball in WA which were not clearly articulated at the time. The failure of the women’s team was a symptom but was treated as the sole cause. The glory days of the 1950s lingered as a benchmark which was always out of reach. Few WA players made Australian teams. Numerous attempts were made to remedy the situation. The State Softball Centre opened at Mirrabooka in 1991 and provided players with an international standard diamond. To maximise use of the new facility, the State Softball League began in 1991. Its specific purpose was to give WA’s elite players more experience in pressure matches prior to the national championships. As with many new initiatives there were considerable teething problems and the major aim was not fulfilled for either the women’s State team – or the men’s which was also slipping down their national rankings after having dominated the 1980s. Neither the new venue or the State League stimulated community interest in softball with most spectators drawn from the softball community. As well, by the 1990s there were clear signs that participation in the premier women’s club competition, the Summer Competition at Yokine Reserve was declining. During the 1980s there were in excess of 100 senior teams competing each Saturday afternoon but by the 1992-93 season there were only 84. This could be attributed to the emergence of alternative competitions in the outer suburbs of Perth and the introduction of all day trading on Saturdays which saw many young people forego sport in preference to earning money. Despite the best intentions of softball administrators the overall effect was a lowered morale across the Association. It seemed that the more that the WA administrators did to lift softball, the lower it sank. The Senior Women’s team bore the brunt of the criticism and the coach, as is often the case in under performing teams, was the principal target.


Shirley was totally devastated. The pain she experienced was gut-wrenching. Her initial reaction was to sever all her connections with the sport. This caused even greater problem for the Board because Shirley was also the State Coaching Director and was the vital link in coach education between the ASF, the WASA and WA clubs. The Board could not afford to lose Shirley’s encyclopedic knowledge of the sport and her tireless promotion of it. The Board refused to accept Shirley’s letter and asked her to reconsider. Her love of softball won through and she directed her enormous energy into coach education, convening national championships in Perth, selection of Australian teams and the administration of WASA. During the 1960s and 1970s the AWSF made several attempts to help coaches by providing resources sponsored by Rothman’s Tobacco Company but the real impetus to develop a comprehensive program for coach education came from a seminar conducted by the federal Department of Tourism and Recreation in 1975. AWSF officials realized that softball needed more video-based instructional materials and some form of national organization for coaches. At the Senior Women’s national championships held in Adelaide in March 1976, South Australian coach Nancy Whittingham brought the State coaches together to explore possibilities. Shirley represented WA at this meeting. The outcome was the formation of the State Coaches Committee. By 1979 the Committee realized that if it was to have its desired impact on softball it had to be recognized within the ASF Constitution and By-Laws. Shirley worked with Audrey McLaughlin (Qld), Nancy Whittingham (SA) and Pat Shearwood (ACT) to prepare the necessary By-Laws. The Committee then became the National Coaching Advisory Committee (NCAC).12


Shirley used her report to the WAWSA Management Committee on the performance of the 1980 State Senior Women’s team to outline topics discussed at the NCAC meetings. Most time was devoted to discussing ‘softball coming into line with other sports throughout Australia in commencing a Coaching Accreditation Scheme which will make the Coaching of Softball more uniform and give everyone an equal opportunity to benefit from new Coaching Skills and methods’. Shirley was one of six State coaches to form the Design Committee to advance coach accreditation. ‘We had a copy of the Canadian accreditation scheme because that’s where all this idea came from and we were given certain areas to set out lesson plans. I had pitching and catching’. Audrey McLaughlin chaired the Design Committee which met in Melbourne twice a year to review all the documentation completed between meetings. The main document produced was the Instructor’s Manual while the Canadian Participants’ Manual was retained. The ASF launched its National Coach Accreditation Scheme in January 1981 beginning with Level I. Accreditation had two components: the general theoretical component conducted by the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) and sport specific component conducted by the WASA. Both components required written assessments. In addition, coaches had to complete a set number of hours of practical coaching. Level II was introduced by the ASF in 1983. Also included in the scheme was a one-off honorary accreditation for elite and long-serving coaches and retrospective accreditation for people who had undertaken recognized courses. As the scheme was implemented it became ASF and WASA policy to require coaches seeking appointment to representative teams to have accreditation. By the 1990s coach accreditation was such a well established component of sport that it was necessary for coaches to regularly upgrade their accreditation to retain registration. Such an ambitious scheme required detailed record keeping and Shirley took that on in WA.


With such intricate knowledge of the national scheme, it was logical for Shirley to guide WA through this new development. She had been serving unofficially as Coach Advisor since 1974 and in 1980 the WA Management Committee officially endorsed her in this position. She conducted courses for coaches in metropolitan and country regions, established a library of softball texts, the purchased and distributed coaching manuals, promoted softball to schools and teacher training courses, chaired a WA-based Coaches and Development Committee comprising the coaches and assistant coaches of the three State teams and coordinated coaching initiatives of the ASF such as the tour of New Zealand coach Bill Massey to assist pitchers. Shirley gave monthly reports to the WASA Management Committee initially as a Life Member because there was still no designated place in the Minutes for the Coaching Advisor. While the ASF oversaw the scheme, the State associations had to secure local funding to implement it. Shirley then engaged in a considerable amount of liaison with the Department of Sport and Recreation to obtain funding for country clinics for courses and equipment. In July 1981 the Management Committee advised through the Minutes that it would be calling for nominations for Coaching Director. Twenty-five specific duties were listed – all to be undertaken by a volunteer! Undaunted by the list Shirley applied and was successful. She did relinquish her position as one of WA’s two delegates to ASF meetings. From 1983-84 onwards Shirley also provided a comprehensive summary of the activities of the WA Coaches and Development Committee clearly indicating commitment to the whole State although not all rural efforts came to fruition or were appreciated.


In 1983 the ASF finally persuaded the Australian Sports Commission that it fulfilled the criteria to warrant funding of a National Coaching Director. Jim Gibson was appointed in April and became the conduit between the State Coaching Directors and the ASF. In September he convened a seminar in Melbourne for elite coaches. Shirley was one of four representatives from WA.  By 1986 each State association was required by the ASF to have a five-year coaching plan. Templates were provided and Shirley prepared one on behalf of the WASA with a focus on country clinics. The ASF stipulated that such clinics could only be delivered to affiliates that were registered with their State association and had paid individual registration fees to the ASF. This caused considerable tension with affiliates which did not necessarily feel they were receiving an adequate return or place the same emphasis on these initiatives. Shirley often found herself defending the ASF’s policy while trying to garner support to improve softball in country WA. ‘They’re all nice to have those plans but you’ve got the have the bodies to be able to carry them out… People didn’t want to follow plans, they just wanted to go off and do their own thing’.  The Coach in Residence Scheme sponsored by ALCOA and administered by DSR gave sports organizations the opportunity to bring elite international coaches to WA. However, it took up to 12 months planning and negotiating to gain funding and secure a suitable coach. Shirley could see the potential benefits to WA softball so willingly took on the enormous amount of paperwork because ‘I think the more ideas you get from different people, the better off you are’. Because of their international success Americans and Canadians were preferred. Shirley successfully negotiated for Carol Spanks (USA), Bob Harrow (Canada) and Dave Pearce (Canada) to visit. Pearce visited on four occasions. The enthusiasm of Shirley and the WASA was not always matched by WA coaches, players or affiliate associations and the number of participants often fell short of what was expected. For Shirley working with international people taught her that to:

be the best you’ve got to work hard at it. Sometimes the old way is the best way. You should always try other methods and experiment yourself to make sure the new method is the right method. We need here in Western Australia more exposure to international players for the benefit of our players.


The partnership with DSR in Perth and the regions saw softball became a regular participant in multi-sport clinics which were usually targeted at primary school children to give them a chance to try new sports. Shirley had to recruit co-ordinators and experienced players to teach the children. As promotional initiatives increased Shirley became proficient at recruiting and delegating. Unexpectedly in 1990 DSR provided funds in its annual grant to softball for the employment of the State Coaching Director. Shirley became an employee of the WASA. In 1992 supervision of the softball academies came under the State Coaching Director’s umbrella. From one national level academy in 1992 this concept quickly developed to have three tiers – national, State and regional by 1997-98 with specific age group academies in some seasons. She continued in this position until 2000 when she did not seek reappointment believing that ‘someone else might come in with some new ideas’. It was not, however, the end of her commitment to softball.  


From the outset Shirley was involved in the administration of Hell’s’ Angels and was club secretary from 1959 to 1961. Likewise when she joined Demons she took on various administrative duties including Secretary for the 1969-70 season. As a new club Demons had to undertake fund raising to purchase equipment and cover costs. Shirley and Lorraine Page took on the distribution of pamphlets for a house cladding business. Over the course of two years they raised over $8,000 for Demons at a rate of $10 per 1,000 pamphlets. Demons was able to buy a pitching machine. Shirley and husband Bob would fold the pamphlets while they watched TV and then Shirley, Lorraine, some Demons players and the Schneider and Page children riding their tricycles, would drop pamphlets in letter boxes across whole suburbs. In the 1970s Shirley and Lorraine took on the contract for the cleaning of the change rooms and meeting room at Yokine Reserve to raise funds for Demons. They split the money three-ways. She joined the WAWSA Executive and State Carnival Committee in 1962 to help plan the 1963 national championships in Perth. For a couple of seasons she was Registrar for the Association. After matches were completed on Saturday afternoons, Shirley would cross check the score cards against the lists of registered players for each team in each grade. She devised a card system that also had the potential to record people’s service to the Association in addition to their playing details.


In 1971 Shirley became President of the WAWSA and held the position until 1974. Her main goals were to improve the status and increase the membership. She was also a member of the State team in 1971, 1973 and 1974. She had a year on the Executive and returned to the presidency for the 1975-75 season. After her presidency Shirley remained on the Board until 2011. While she was President the WAWSA began its relocation from Langley Park to Yokine Reserve, a move which had been initiated by her predecessor, Dick Watters. Shirley represented softball on the Yokine Reserve Development Committee of the City of Stirling to establish the playing fields at Yokine. This involved close collaboration with the Women’s and Men’s Hockey Associations which used the reserve in winter. Ever ready to secure the best deal for softball Shirley also took on the job of Secretary of the Yokine Advisory Committee as it subsequently became known. The committee oversaw usage of the Reserve and issued permits to users. Shirley had a special affection for the Reserve. She married childhood sweetheart Bob Schneider in 1959. In 1960 they purchased a block of land opposite the burnt out Scaddan Pine Plantation which became Yokine Reserve. ‘We knew it was always going to be classified as an A Reserve, that’s one of the reasons we brought our block when we did, mainly we couldn’t get built out by multi-storey flats … we wanted to be able to run free’. With full insight into conduct of softball across Australia and in WA Shirley realized that the WAWSA Constitution was in need of serious updating when the WA Men’s Softball League amalgamated with the WAWSA and formed the WASA. She chaired the Association Restructuring and Constitution Committee with Lorraine Malcolm and Bill Grice supporting her from 1983 to 1987. The new Constitution introduced in 1987 saw the creation of the Summer (women) and Winter (men) competitions. The specialist director positions for coaching, umpiring and junior development became two-year appointments subject to election at each alternate AGM. The Constitution included a proviso that precluded Shirley from voting on matters related to her portfolio when she became a professional staff member in 1990. Shirley became Senior Vice President in 1997 which reverted to Vice President following another structural review in 1999 and she held that position until 2011.


Advising on equipment requirements for both playing and administration often fell to Shirley until professional staff were employed. Having focused on business studies at school and worked in secretarial/managerial roles Shirley was an adept typist on manual then electric typewriters. Copies were made using stencils and on an old Gestner duplicator. With the development and expansion of coaching accreditation the ASF usually only supplied master copies and duplication for course attendees was left up to the State associations. Shirley did this as well as all the necessary paperwork for the 1987 constitutional review. When computers were introduced in the late 1980s she quickly became adept at a variety of applications. As softball became more dependent on government grants to cover its expenses, the WASA was required to prepare and submit budgets to organizations such as the Department of Sport and Recreation and Healthway (the Health Promotion Foundation) launched by the WA government in 1989 to use taxes on tobacco products to buy out sponsorship of sport (and The Arts) by tobacco companies. Along with budgeting the Association was required to create Development Plans to complement those of the Australian Softball Federation and submit them annually to DSR. Shirley took responsibility for these from 1989 to 1995. She was referred to as the Grants Officer but no such position was formally recognised in the Constitution. Among the activities funded by Healthway was a program for the promotion of softball in schools. Shirley designed it and was Co-ordinator from 1992 to 1995. The sums of money involved were now into six figures. The Healthway Metropolitan School Program quickly accumulated some impressive statistics. In Term 4 of 1994 coaches visited 29 schools conducting in the vicinity of 250 hours of coaching sessions. In Term 1 of 1995 21 schools received approximately 135 hours of coaching. In addition two clinics were conducted at Exmouth Primary School along with 2 full-day clinics for the Exmouth Ladies’ Association. Funding ceased after three years and the WASA carried the program itself. In the 1996-97 season the WASA still managed to provide a limited program to 20 schools with most receiving an average of 5 lessons.


The WASA was forced to reduce its staff in 2005 when it was finally realized that its financial position had become precarious. Shirley was asked to take on the position of Acting General Manager ‘just for three months’ but ended up staying two years during which time it is estimated that she saved the association in excess of $50,000 through careful management and calling in all outstanding debts. When the Association was back on a sound financial footing and ‘back in the black’ Shirley stepped aside and a new General Manager was employed.  From her own highs and lows in softball Shirley was acutely aware that the records of the WASA be conserved and she made it her personal responsibility beginning in the early 1970s to preserve photographs of all WA teams. These were first displayed in the meeting rooms at Yokine Reserve in 1974 and then transferred to the State Softball Centre at Mirrabooka where they adorn the corridors to the team rooms and offices. She has also overseen the collection and display of memorabilia and established a database of all trophies in all grades and ensured that player lists and cap numbers are accurate.  From her first experience in 1963 Shirley was always a willing volunteer when WA hosted a national championship. With the addition of Under 16 and Under 19 girls’ teams and the introduction of men’s softball, the frequency with which WA hosted a national event increased rapidly in the 1990s until 2007 when the ASF changed from a rotation system to a tendering process. With her experience at national championships as a player and coach Shirley fully understood the attention to detail needed by the WASA when its hosted national carnivals. From 1974 onwards she has been the Convenor of the majority of carnivals held in WA for both women and men and across all age divisions. She also oversaw the hosting of international teams including New Zealand men for the Test Series against Australia in 1991 to celebrate the opening of the State Softball Centre at Mirrabooka. She continued as convenor through until 2011 and drafted successful tenders for the hosting of the Under 16 Girls’ national championships 2009 and the Round Three of the 2010-11 Senior women’s championship. For Shirley convening national championships provided a great deal of ‘job satisfaction’.


National championships also saw Shirley don yet another hat, that of National Selector. Shirley was a State Selector from 1973 to 1993. In 1978 she became a Selector for Australian women’s teams initially working with Audrey McLaughlin and Myrtle Edwards at the championship in Hobart. Apart from a brief period when the National Coaching Director was a National Selector, Shirley undertook this task for all age divisions through until 2004 including the selection of the teams for the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games working with Audrey McLaughlin and Bob Crudington, the National Coach. One of the challenges for Shirley was to interpret the reams of data and reports following each overseas trip made by the team. Audrey and Bob traveled with the team and had first hand observations to substantiate the data. Eventually it was decided that Shirley too should travel with the team to training camps at the AIS in Australia and to tournaments in the Netherlands, USA, Japan, Canada and New Zealand. At her own expense she was a passionate supporter of the Australian team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. For Shirley her great enjoyment from selecting came in seeing young players progress through the ranks from Under 16 to Olympic medalists.  Shirley was also a Selector for the Australian Under 19 men’s team in 1990 but she had to withdraw just prior to the commencement of the national championships in Perth when her son Karl was seriously injured in a car accident. A side effect was an opportunity for Bob McKibbin to become an Australian selector.  In a career marked by highs and lows Shirley’s efforts on behalf of softball have been recognized at club, State and national levels. She was awarded Life Membership of both Hell’s Angels and Demons clubs. In 1969 her dedication to fund raising and committee work on behalf of the Association was acknowledged with her appointment as a Life Member. It was another bitter sweet moment. At the 1969 AGM three nominations for Life Membership were submitted including Shirley Schneider. These were referred to the Life Membership Committee. At a special Council meeting in October the Chair of the Life Membership Committee gave a verbal report on Schneider’s nomination but it was not accepted by the Council. Demons wrote to the Council appealing against this decision because they believed that the President had erred when instructing new club, Hellenes, not to vote. A further special meeting was called for December based on a technicality that the October Special meeting had not been formally closed. This time the vote granted Life Membership to Shirley:

Well, that was another of my disappointments, I guess. My nomination for Life Member was originally opposed by a few people which I guess took the thrill out of it. But I felt it was a privilege and an honour … But people did support me and it was a technicality that it was sort of voted out on. I felt it was a great honour to join some people … like Val Johnson in particular who was our first President of Western Australia, Max Kitchens, Bill Beecham or Bill Wells as he’s known, Rona Trotter and Joy Marsland, excellent people, and Flo Ireland, excellent people that worked very hard for softball.


When State Softball League commenced in 1992, the medal for the Most Valuable Player in the women’s grand final was named in honour of Shirley.  In 2000 Shirley achieved a unique place in ASF history when she became the first person who was not an Australian player or ASF administrator to be awarded Life Membership. Previously in 1993 she had received an ASF Service Award.  In 2004 she won the Skilled Service to Sport Award presented at the annual Western Australian Sports Star of the Year conducted by the WA Sports Federation.  Her major rivals for the award that year were Don Smart from hockey and Peter Frame from basketball.  It was fitting that Schneider was the first inductee into the WA Softball Hall of Fame in December 2007. She was inducted as an administrator. Mrs Softball’s life apart from softball revolves around husband, Bob, and their children Christine and Karl born in 1962 and 1964 respectively. Except when her children were young, Shirley also worked part-time as a clerical assistant. During the 1960s she worked for Poon Brothers, food wholesalers and distributors for companies working in the Pilbara and northern Western Australia. In 1972 she switched to Lynroy Butchers who also distributed products to the Pilbara. She finally retired in 1997. Christine played softball with Demons. Her grand-daughter Sarah and grandson Shane play with Morley Eagles. Bob played cricket but always supported Shirley in her softball endeavours. At times he has marked diamonds and attended to maintenance work as well as being a groundsman during national championships. Shirley and Bob shared a passion for traveling and collecting carnival glass. Sadly Bob passed away in 2009.

DYSR held its first general principles coaching session in June 1979 at a cost of $5 per person. All sports were invited to send representatives. Schneider was authorized to liaise with DYSR to conduct softball specific clinics. As a member of the ASF’s National Coaching Committee Schneider was at the cutting edge of the development of coach accreditation. In June 1981 Schneider presented the Management Committee with three lists of people who had: (1) been granted honorary accreditation; (2) received retrospective accreditation; and (3) successfully completed Level 1. The honorary accreditations went to John Claxton, Shirley Schneider, Denis Bromilow, Bob McKibbin, Joy Marsland, Pat Grice and Don Leyland. As the scheme settled into a routine, DYSR clarified its requirements by stressing that funding was only available for coach education, not the coaching of players. This was a key distinction for country centres. If they wished to continue having players coached then they had tocover the costs. DYSR also introduced detailed accountability whereby reports had to be submitted by the lecturers and country centres. ASF and DYSR policies merged on the point of handling requests for clinics. Funding was made available twice a year so applications were needed three months ahead of the proposed clinic. All had to be processed by the State/Territory Coaching Committee and SCD. Participants also had to pay for courses. There was consistent demand for Level I courses but it took several attempts to recruit sufficient people to conduct a viable Level II course. Twelve participants successfully completed it in October 1984.  The conduct of clinics fell mainly to the State coaches and assistant coaches plus holders of the highest level of accreditation. Country centres could request specific individuals but they had to be vetted by the Coaching Committee/SCD. All lecturers had their expenses reimbursed.  A side issue to emerge was the need for the WASA to expand its equipment to included items such as overhead projectors for use at clinics.  By the 1990s accreditation was accepted as part of sport and the ASF and WASA were able to regulate the appointment of coaches to those who had qualified. As a stopgap measure the WASA agreed in 1994 that non-accredited persons could be appointed assistant coaches for a period of 12 months on the proviso that they complete all requirement for Level 1. Failure to do so would terminate the appointment.  The WASA benefited from both ASF and WA Ministry of Sport and Recreation efforts to train the trainer. In October 1990 MSR conducted a 5-day Presenters Course to help develop skills in the use overhead projectors, videos and other teaching aids. Lorraine Page and Shirley Schneider attended.


State Coaching Director

Shirley Schneider became the person responsible for coach education because of her position as Senior State coach, her passion for coaching and her involvement in the ASF’s coaching committee. Initially she reported to the Management Committee as a Life Member. In July 1981 the WASA advertised the criteria for the three-year term for applicants for Coaching Co-ordinator. Twenty-five items were listed reflecting how the WASA was beginning to understand the scope of the position and implementing the prevailing business practices. Schneider was the only applicant.

Besideso fulfilling the extensive set of criteria, she had also taken responsibility on behalf of the WASA for grant applications. As well as DYSR, funding was also available from the Sports Instant Lottery Fund (SILF). Schneider was required to work closely with President Reg Page since it was DYSR’s policy to work directly with association presidents. In 1984 DYSR changed the grants to a dollar-for-dollar basis to reduce dependency on them and increased accountability.


In 1983-84 Schneider submitted her first detailed account of the activities of the Coaching Committee for inclusion in the WASA Annual Report. It highlighted the sheer volume of work that was being undertaken by a small, dedicated group. With the appointment of the NCD, the State associations followed suit changing the title from Coaching Co-ordinator to State Coaching Director (SCD) which the WASA confirmed in its restructured constitution in 1987. Schneider continued as a volunteer SCD until 1991 when the State DSR added funding for the position to the annual allocation without the WASA having to argue a case. The job expanded to include the Coach-in-Residence scheme and a huge amount of administration attached to application for grants and liaison with affiliates. One highlight for Schneider occurred in 1995 when she conducted Orientation course for Garnduwa Amboorny Wirnan Aboriginal Corporation in Broome. In 1998 in line with the increasing business-like approach to sport the job advertisement for the SCD was far more succinct than the original one in 1981. It simply stated that the successful applicant would have to initiate and develop plans to develop the level of coaching in WA whilst possessing sound written and oral communication skills and have a sound knowledge of sport in WA and Australia. Again, the position was part-time with a view to increasing hours as role expanded. Schneider was again successful.  After 20 years in the position Schneider stepped down in 2000 and was replaced by Joanne Donnan, a former State and national team member, WASA Board member and ITC Coach.


Coaching Committee

With the escalation in coach education the WASA accepted that a specific committee was the most efficient means of handling all matters that arose. Clubs were asked to recommend potential members. To give the committee some status it was also suggested in 1983 that it be given responsibility for the appointment of coaching staff for State teams and players and coaching staff for the Metropolitan teams in the State Championships. However, the thought of yet another committee seemed to be deterrent and despite frequent calls from Schneider for the committee to be activated, the work fell to her.

When the WASA was restructured in 1987 the realm of the Coaching Committee was extended to include all current State coaches, one nominee from each near metropolitan affiliate and a representative from the Summer and Winter Competitions. However, theory and practice were two different elements. At the 1989 AGM Schneider linked the failure to fully establish the Coaching and Junior Development Committees to the decline in junior softball in both numbers and skills.


Strategic Planning

With funding available from a number of sources such as the ASF and DYSR, it became necessary to plan ahead to meet the set dates for grant applications. Thus in 1987 a four-year plan was drawn up to rotate clinics around affiliates that maintained registration with the ASF. Affiliates could apply to have seminars at different times but were responsible for funding travel and accommodation. DYSR had established regional offices and funding was available through these as well. Over time DYSR attached more accountability requirements to its grants and in 1988 required a Code of Conduct from applicants.


National coaching seminar

WA sent four representatives to the first seminar in 1983. Shirley Schneider as SCD was an automatic selection. Graeme Rector was the only nominee from the WAMSL and was approved. Bob McKibbin and Reg Page were selected by a secret ballot. According to a report in Softball News, ‘Father of the Chapel, Reg Page, and Bob McKibbon [sic] led a totally dedicated social group’. These became annual events usually in conjunction with a national meeting of SCDs. The numbers varied from year to year according to funding arrangements.


Visiting coaches/Coach-in-residence

The WASA has accessed a number of funding sources to host interstate and international coaches. Initially the ASF provided assistance. Charlotte Graham visited Perth in November 1975. Her itinerary was arranged by Shirley Schneider, Peggy Beckett and Nox Bailey. The Junior State team formed a guard of honour for her at Perth Airport. She conducted clinics for clubs and schools and attended several social functions. Shirley Schneider provided accommodation and transport and was reimbursed $10 per day.  New Zealand men’s head coach, Bill Massey, visited Perth in September 1983. He delivered a theory lecture and held practical sessions with pitchers. Unfortunately, not all coaches availed themselves of the opportunity to attend practical sessions. NCD Jim Gibson’s visit to WA in 1984 was postponed because of the national airline strike and rescheduled for late 1985. As well the ASF sponsored a pitching clinic in 1986 with Jim Szpunar (SA) working with 10 WA pitchers. He was followed during the 1991-92 season by Ken Arthur, a former New Zealand and NSW coach who also held pitching clinics.


The hosting of international coaches became more regular and efficient in 1980 when DYSR obtained substantial sponsorship and instigated the ALCOA Coach-in-residence scheme which enabled State Sporting Associations to bring leading international coaches to WA for extended tours. A maximum sum of $10,000 per annum was available to associations. The WASA gained a grant to host Carol Spanks in October 1985. She had coached the American team to victory at the South Pacific Classic in Melbourne earlier in the year. In WA she worked with metropolitan and country coaches. WASA’s next application in 1987 was for $7,170 of which DYSR was prepared to contribute $4,750. The WASA decided that it would pursue the application and offset the deficit by charging participants a small fee. Contact was made with Mike Walsh in New Zealand but he was unavailable. An approach was then made to Bob Harrow, a Canadian who had previously toured the Eastern States with the Canadian team which played in the 1985 South Pacific Classic in Melbourne. He visited WA in August-September 1987 after which he took a permanent position with the ACT Softball Association.


After 18 months of planning Canadian coach, Dave Pearce, arrived in Perth in September 1991. Plans to prepare manuals in advance were thwarted but a 63-page booklet was eventually printed along with manuals for pitchers and catchers. Pearce worked hard during his month-long visit conducting a variety of clinics with players and coaches in both metropolitan and country areas such as Karratha and Busselton. The number of participants availing themselves of his expertise fluctuated but the overall consensus of those who made the effort to attend was that it was extremely worthwhile. SCD Schneider realized that Pearce had just touched the tip of the iceberg and that there was so much more that could be learned from him. Thus plans were laid for another tour. During the 1990s Pearce returned to WA several times. In September 1993 he was in WA for a month and held clinics across the State. While Pearce worked with coaches many players benefited as well as they were necessary for the practical components of each clinic. Pearce made another trip to WA in 1995. During his month-long visit he participated in a Live-in Seminar for country coaches, Level 2 courses, pitching and catching clinics, hitting clinics, plus work with ITC players, promising female and male pitchers and WA members of national squads. The specialist skill clinics (pitching, catching and hitting) were pilot runs for schemes developed by the ASF and gave valuable feedback to the ASF. His 1999 tour of six weeks was funded on a cost share for country centres and $4500 from MSR. Pearce undertook a private Australia-wide tour in 2000 on a user pays basis.  A new approach was used in late 1998 when Karla Ward, a Canadian import player served as Coach-in-residence. Her focus was on the pitchers of the Girls’ Under 16 team, U19, Senior and WAIS Squad plus clincs in Kalamunda, SEMSA, Yokine.



The establishment of DYSR and local government recreation departments along with the WASA’s own initiatives saw an increasing demand for clinics. Those lead by the WAWSA often focused on a specific skill such as pitching while other clinics tended to cover the whole game. In July 1976 Shirley Schneider conducted a pitching clinic at Yokine Reserve and visited Dampier to assist their clubs. Pitching clinics continued as WA, like Australia, attempted to redress the shortage of elite pitchers. Fourteen pitchers attended.  Other members of the Management Committee became involved with Country Secretary, Roma Piercy, fielding many requests from rural associations. To share the workload it was decided that all such requests should be processed by the Committee to ensure the best representative was chosen. With the formalisation of accreditation, country centres were urged provide Shirley Schneider with accurate data about the number of teams so that applications could be lodged for financial assistance from DYSR to present Level 1 in the country. To cover all the requisite material the courses had to run Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday, an intense workload for both the presenters and the participants.


Library/Coaches Publication Service

With accreditation gaining acceptance an array of literature became available. Driven by Shirley Schneider, the WAWSA established a collection of coaching manuals including those from Canada which were used by the ASF to draft its NCAS. Coaches and clubs could borrow the manuals from Schneider.

In December 1993 Joanne Donnan established the Coaches Publication Service. Donnan’s preference had been to form a Coaches Association but there was little support. It seemed coaches were reluctant to share ideas and were already committed to club duties.


WA Coaching Foundation

The Western Australian Coaching Foundation ran from 1993 to 2000. Funded by grants from Healthway it attended to coach education formerly conducted by DSR.


[i]See Embrey, L. (1995). Batter Up! p. 115.

[i]Of all the aspects of softball covered in this text, coaching seems to have the most acronyms. As Murray Phillips (2000) noted in his text From sidelines to centre field, “but to omit them would leave big gaps in the history and development of sport, we would miss the symbiotic relationship with government and, most importantly, the essence of the growth of coaching in Australia would be lost.” (p. 91).

[i]See Embrey, L. (1995). Batter Up! The history of softball in Australia. Bayswater, Vic: Australian Softball Federation, p. 115.


[i]ASF 1994 State Coaching Directors Workshop Report.

[i]Batter Up

[i]National Fitness Council of Western Australia Annual Report 1954, p. 2.

[i]Phillips, M. (2000.) From sidelines to centre field. A history of sports coaching in Australia. Sydney: NSW. University of New South Wales Press, p. 86.

[i]Connie Montgomery, Interview, August 2008.

[i]Alf Bunting, Interview, July 2007.

[i]Wake, Lisa (1992, February 25). Flak flies over softball appointments. The West Australian, p. 83.

[i]See Embrey, L. (1995). Batter Up! The history of softball in Australia. Bayswater, Vic: Australian Softball Federation, p. 115.