MLB Softball Elite Development Invitational Coaching Program

Nothing brings peace to Tori Tyson like serving her players.

“We have a duty to serve,” Tyson said Saturday during Major League Baseball’s elite softball development invite at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla. “Serving brings me peace. The fact that I can come here and have the chance to serve these student-athletes for some of them in so many different ways. Just to be the number one coach of a minority , and then being able to identify with and see someone who looks like them in a coaching position.

Tyson was hired as the head coach of the Howard University softball team on Nov. 1, 2018. She led Howard, who is affiliated with the Washington Nationals Academy, to two conference championships during his four seasons in bar.

Tyson is one of many coaches who bring strong resumes to Softball EDI, an intense program that mirrors the United States Women’s National Softball Team training camps, giving players the opportunity to see what life is like as they prepare for international competitions and the Olympics.

The roster of coaches also includes Amber Flores and Tiare Jennings, two other coaches who have brought years of softball experience to this event.

Flores was the head coach of the Seminole State Junior College softball team in Oklahoma for 10 seasons. During her playing days at the University of Oklahoma, she was a three-time NCAA All-American and a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year.

“I think whenever you can attract young girls from communities that maybe don’t have the most opportunities or aren’t seen the way they are, sometimes all it takes is one opportunity like this. “Flores said. “Any time you can come together on things like this where you work with the best players, you grow the game.”

Jennings is a two-time Women’s College World Series champion entering her freshman year in Oklahoma. Jennings is also a current member of the U.S. National Softball Team, 2021 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Rookie of the Year, and a two-time first-team All-American.

“That’s something I’ve always wanted to do is grow the game and be there for those people,” Jennings said. “For those girls who don’t have the same opportunity, and that’s all I’m here for.”

Of the players participating in EDI, 65% of players come from an MLB Youth Academy or RBI program. One of those players, Ana Gonzalez, played in the Texas Rangers RBI youth program and academy for three years. For Gonzalez, the opportunity to meet the coaches and his favorite player, Jennings, was surreal.

Of the lessons Gonzalez was able to take with her, the mental aspect of the game as well as how to manage life off the pitch stood out to her the most.

“It’s not just softball, it’s life and your career,” Gonzalez said. “Softball is basically mental. To go through it and have someone tell you about it is really cool.”

Bria Sewell plays for the DC Elite RBI team. She echoed Gonzalez’s sentiment on the coach’s impact on the mental side of the game.

“Don’t take anything for granted,” Sewell said. “There’s always a new way to refresh and start if you mess up.”

Grace Shary is part of the Compton Youth Academy. She previously competed in the Breakthrough Series in 2021, but the event was virtual. Although she learned a lot from the virtual event, she is grateful to be at the event in person.

“A lot of people don’t have that opportunity,” Shary said. “We’re really lucky to have that and just learn from the girls.”

Flores noted the importance of being around college coaches and getting familiar with the recruiting process. These experiences can potentially lead to an opportunity that can help a player level up.

The impact of an opportunity helped Flores get to Oklahoma.

“I see myself a lot in these young women,” Flores said. “I just needed an opportunity. A simple opportunity to change my life, and luckily I was lucky enough to win a scholarship at [Oklahoma]. A lot of these young women just need an opportunity to get out of their neighborhood and change.”

Along with being able to play in front of college coaches, Tyson mentioned how it can help players open up, ask questions they might be afraid to ask other coaches, and learn more about the coaching process. recruitment.

“They hear so many different stories and get so many different examples and are vulnerable,” Tyson said. “A lot of the offline questions I get warm my heart because I know it gives them confidence that, one, going to college is an option, but, two, opening the door to so many different opportunities. “

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