I played softball for 17 years. From the time I joined my first tee ball team, I knew I loved the game. But now, in 2017, after playing in 22 states across the country and 158 starts at Macalester College throughout four years, I felt like I was at the end of my softball road. I thought about the beer leagues of the future, and couldn’t see myself doing it. I made softball a huge part of my identity, and was in no way ready to give it up. I’d spent thousands of hours training, building my skills, being coached by the best, and playing alongside inspiring athletes.
I felt compelled to do something with all that knowledge. I reflect on my time growing up playing competitive softball– none of my coaches were women. While I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything, I had no strong female role models in the athletic sphere. I wasn’t coached by a female until I arrived at Macalester.
My coaches were guys. They yelled. They handed out pushups. They made us run laps for being late. We ran sprints like football players and were taught to be fearless. All valuable and experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. But I always wondered, where were the fearless young adult women? They could push me too. They could help me succeed. They had been successful themselves; they had built mental toughness and met their goals. Where were they? Why weren’t they teaching me?
That’s when I knew, for a sport that had given me so much, I was obligated to give back to it. And I did that by developing not just young athletes, but developing leaders and growing young girls’ confidence. I had the softball knowledge, I just had to put it in motion. I found young energetic girls, set expectations for them, and taught them to expect nothing but the best from themselves and to realize their own self-worth and capabilities.
The best moments I’ve had in my four years of coaching were not winning games or state championships (although those were fantastic memories), but the moments where parents came up to me after games and said, “My girl is more confident because of you.”
And so now here, in 2017, when I felt my softball window closing with the end of my collegiate career, I look forward knowing there is so much more work to be done. There is a whole new generation of young female athletes out there, and they need empowering female leaders in their lives. They need someone to show them what persistence looks like, teach them that success is an attitude, and that leaders lead with energy and sportsmanship. That’s why I founded CNC Fastpitch.
I want to help girls grow. I want to help them realize they have potential, and are capable of reaching places they didn’t believe they could. I want to teach them confidence. Because that confidence will carry them through life long after their time on the diamond ends.
CNC Fastpitch is on a mission to use softball as a way to teach that confidence. We know softball. We know the intricacies, footwork, and fundamentals. We want to share our knowledge. We want to teach you the game at the highest level. We want to help you set goals, dream of bigger ones, and get you there. We are young, energetic, and eager to start working with you.
–Coach Nikki Caicedo, Founder