Softball University adapting, still teaching during quarantine

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The coaching staff at Softball University is a decorated one. Headlined by former college coaches and national champions, the Seattle-based company has no shortage of qualified experts in their stable.

Former Washington catcher Shawna Wright serves as the organization’s program director, while former Arizona State star Annie Lockwood is the program manager; Lockwood joined the instructional staff after a stint as a Division I assistant coach at South Dakota. Other staff members include former college coaches and alumni from some top-level NCAA programs.

SU instructors work out of a variety of locations in Washington state, and the brand has recently begun expanding down the west coast and into California. Popular for their specialized positional instruction, the COVID-19 pandemic presented an issue; due to stay-at-home regulations, the “usual” was no longer possible. Instead of sitting dormant for an indefinite period of time, though, the Softball University crew let their creative juices flow.

“We’ve recently started up a weekly schedule that’s all online,” Lockwood said. “Different instructors are on different nights, and we give instruction and lessons and tips from every position during the course of a week.”

According to Lockwood, the response to Softball University’s online offerings has been exceptional. “We’ve had a lot of people participate, including some from as far away as Kentucky and South Dakota,” she said. Referring to her time as an assistant coach in South Dakota, she added, “I didn’t even reach out to anybody from South Dakota when we got this going, so to see that on the sign-up list was pretty cool for me.”

During a regular week, Monday nights are all about hitting and outfield work. Lockwood and fellow staff coaches Kellyn Tate and Myranda Bruno handle those duties, while Wright, Lauren Lombardi, and Arista Honey handle Thursday nights, which consist of catching instruction and the infield.

Thanks to the overwhelming response in a short amount of time since the free online lessons began, Lockwood noted that the virtual instruction – which started only as an outreach method during a time of social distancing – could continue even once those requirements are relaxed.

“We’ve gotten such a great response to it, so I could absolutely see us continuing it even after the major part of this scare is over,” Lockwood said.

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