ESCA Camp will take place in Diessen, the Netherlands in October.
Craig Montvidas is the main coordinator of the camp and if you’ve ever talked to him, you know he is the right person to plan and run a camp like this.
Expectations are high, have you ever been to a softball camp? Not like this one, though!
Craig was the Dutch National Team head coach, he coached in the National Pro Fastpitch league in the US, and he is now starting the debut project of the European Softball Coaches Association – the ESCA Camp.
What kind of opportunity is ESCA for you?
Personally, just an opportunity to share my softball experience and knowledge with other coaches in helping them to become better coaches.
Where would you want to take the ESCA?
It would be wonderful if ESCA becomes a modified version of the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) where coaches from all levels have the opportunity to learn from one another sharing their knowledge and experience in helping one another to become better coaches!
How can ESCA help softball in Europe?
The more qualified the level of coaching becomes, then this will directly increase the level of play at all levels, and the more out sport will grow in popularity and numbers.
Are you considering that there are countries on very different levels (and engagement) of softball in various countries?
This is true, no two countries in Europe have similar fastpitch programs, this makes the challenge of developing coaches even more important.
What is the ESCA camp?
The camp will provide players (girls ages 13-20) a unique opportunity to work with excellent instructors prior to the start of their 2018 season. At the same time, participating coaches will be part of the instructional staff as they will be involved in all instructional activities with the core staff! Everyone will be sharing their knowledge with other coaches and players.
What is your role in this project?
I am the coordinator of the ESCA Camp.
My role is to coordinate the camp prior to its start, coordinate all activities and sessions once the camp starts, and eventually evaluate the camp upon conclusion.
What is the aim of this camp?
Perhaps put best… “Getting better together”.
We (the ESF and its players/coaches/administrators/etc.) need to work together to improve the quality of softball in Europe.
Why do you think this concept is the right one, how is it going to differ from traditional camps?
Obviously, there is a number of very well structured camps throughout Europe and the rest of the world. However, there are relatively few camps where all attending coaches are also part of the instructional staff. We also plan on conducting mini-workshops for players with sessions such as “getting softball scholarship in the USA”, “advice on choosing the best bat or glove”, “understanding some of the more difficult softball rules, explained by top umpires”, and “improving mental hitting and pitching skills”, just to name a few.
Players and coaches will receive an evaluation report upon the camp's conclusion, providing them constructive feedback regarding their skills.
How will you assure that the level of the camp is exceptional?
At present, we are putting together a well rounded experienced staff of instructors such as various national team coaches from European countries, USA college coaches, and assistance from National Pro Fastpitch affiliates! This together with excellent lodging facilities, training facilities, medical assistance if necessary, quality meals, and some “good old fun” for everyone, should do the trick!
What is your personal goal with this camp?
Mainly to provide young players ages 13 – 20 a fantastic opportunity to train with other players from other countries with other backgrounds as well as enabling coaches (all levels) to broaden their knowledge of the sport of softball.
Is there something people (players, coaches, parents, fans) can do to make the camp better? To help? To volunteer? To support?
Anyone interested in helping out during the camps is more than welcome to assist in any area whereby they feel they can make a positive contribution. Right now, our first priority is to let everyone know that the ESF/ESCA are scheduled for October of 2017, so please spread the word!
Who was the one softball person, who taught/inspired you the most as a coach?
Actually, the person who inspired me the most as a coach was not a coach himself, but a CEO of a very large and successful business organization. I learned so many important things from him regarding numerous facets similar to coaching.