ASA slowpitch coaches plan UK tour

Wed 22 May 2013

Two high-level American slowpitch coaches with national and international experience will tour the UK from June 20 through July 3 to provide coach-training for team representatives from slowpitch leagues around the country. 

The tour is being supported by the American Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and the British Softball Federation, and has come about through an arrangement between the ASA and the European Softball Federation to help the development of softball in Europe.

Leagues and tournaments

The two coaches, Steve Shortland from Texas and Cheryl Trapnell from Florida, will run evening clinics at leagues in London and around the country during their visit, and will also spend time working with teams at the Pioneers Tournament in Canterbury on 22-23 June and the Leeds Tournament on 29-30 June.

But unlike the Combat coaches who toured the UK in 2011, also under the ASA-ESF Agreement, Steve and Cheryl will be running coaching rather than player clinics, and will work with teams at tournaments on strategy and game management during competition.

At the Pioneers Tournament, Steve and Cheryl also hope to do some work with members of the GB Slowpitch Team coaching staff.  GB Slowpitch Team Manager and Assistant Coach Sara Vertigan said: “The GB players get bored unless we change it up and it would be good to see what the ASA guys use to coach the same disciplines and how they work with the players.”

Specifically, Sara would like the coaches to address topics such as hitting for power, pitch selection, footwork for infield and outfield and how to deal with “resistant” players in working with the GB coaches.

For the league clinics, teams are being asked to send members who already hold coaching qualifications or who take a coaching role with their team, and the emphasis will be on teaching them how to run effective practice sessions, how to teach techniques and skills and how to check to ensure that learning has been received and understood.

Coaching coaches

BSUK National Development Manager Will Lintern, who is helping to shape the programme that the ASA coaches will carry out, said: “While this is not a formal Coach Ed programme, we want some elements of coach education and development to foster the lasting impact we are all aiming for.”

Each league the coaches visit will be able to have a say in the specific subjects covered, but Will is keen that one of topics taught at all sessions goes back to basics.  “I'd be keen for them to cover how to play catch and how to develop the basic and advanced skills of throwing and catching,” Will said.  “Generally, this is not done at all well, or involves standing in lines with lots of static throws.  I would love to see the coaches present some creative and innovative techniques for developing throwing and catching skills, possibly position-specific.

“I would also like to see some elements of checking learning,” Will added, “so that we know, and the coaches know, that the attendees have really understood why certain drills were being done, or why certain techniques are being taught.  This can be done by facilitating some group discussion about what worked well, and what the attendees felt were the key learning points.”


Steve Shortland and Cheryl Trapnell will arrive in the UK on the morning of June 20, and will run clinics in London for the Greater London Softball Mixed League and London corporate leagues on June 20 and 21.

The coaches will spend part of the weekend of June 22-23 at the Pioneers Tournament in Canterbury, and will then hold a combined evening clinic for the Windsor and Oxford Leagues on Monday, June 24.

During the rest of that week, clinics will be held for the Solent, Bristol, East Midlands and Manchester Leagues before the coaches again work with teams on game management at the Leeds Tournament on June 29-30.

After a day's break for rest and sightseeing, the coaches will work with the Edinburgh and Central Scotland Leagues on July 2 and 3 before flying back to the United States on July 4.


Steve and Cheryl will come to the UK with impressive resumes, as set out below:

Steve “Pup” Shortland (San Antonio, Texas)

  • Retired U.S. Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Officer.
  • 36 years slowpitch experience.
  • Five-time US Men’s National Slowpitch Team Head Coach (2009-present).
  • 11-time All-Air Force Men’s Team Head Coach (2002-present).
  • Eight Armed Forces gold medals and two silver medals.
  • Most decorated coach in men’s military softball history.
  • 10-time All-Armed Forces Men’s Team Head Coach (2002-2011).
  • 2005 ASA “Major” runner-up.
  • Numerous awards as a player at multiple levels through Major, 1980-present.
  • Allied Member, ASA National Council.

Cheryl “Trap” Trapnell (Ft Walton Beach, Florida)

  • Retired U.S. Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Officer.
  • 38 years slowpitch experience.
  • Four-time All-Air Force Women’s Team Head Coach.
  • Three Armed Forces gold medals and one silver medal.
  • Three-time All-Armed Forces Women’s Team Head Coach.
  • Two-time ASA Women’s Open runner-up.
  • Six Armed Forces gold medals as a player.
  • Nine First Team ASA All-American selections; two Second Team All-American selections.

The British Softball Federation Executive is hoping that tours such as this, coming on the heels of the Combat Tour two years ago, can continue to raise the level of softball played and coached in the UK.

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