The Nor-Cal Valley Stompers is the “A” Travel Ball division of the San Ramon Valley Girls Athletic League (SRVGAL). SRVGAL is the “largest girl’s softball organization west of the Mississippi” and has been in existence for about 45 years. SRVGAL has always maintained strong representation in ASA “B” travel softball with their “Stompers” program. Ten years ago, SRVGAL initiated the “Nor-Cal Valley Stomper” program to address the needs of players who wanted to play at a more competitive level of play that’s called “A” ball. Since that time, the Nor-Cal Valley Stompers has grown to become a respected program in Northern California. Our Stomper program is one of the few programs to offer travel teams in the “B” and “C” levels.
Program Objectives and Approach
Our program is designed to contribute to the development of positive, confident, respectful, and hard-working young adults that will be able to understand the correlation between effort and reward. We will teach our players the fundamental skills and advanced strategy that defines a higher-level softball program. Our theory is that teaching the game inherently promotes “on-field success”. Our players will develop the physical, mental, and emotional skills to play the game at the next level. We will focus on skills development and the importance of consistency. We will coach and teach at a higher level, support our girls as they grow to young adults and treat each player with respect. We will hold the player accountable within the context of effort, focus, and respect for the program and their teammates. We will promote the triangle of respect. One side of the triangle being respect for peers, the other side of the triangle being respect for authorities, and the base or foundation of the triangle being respect for yourself.
For our program to be successful, it is imperative that players and parents understand the level of commitment required. We can assure you that your daughter will receive the highest level of instruction we can provide. We will do our best to utilize as many avenues of development available to us that are within our budget. As we move through the season, you might see us utilizing other coaches, clinics, and maybe even a couple of older players in our program.
This program is intended to be a full schedule of softball activities. Accordingly, we discourage players from supplementing their schedule with recreational softball leagues. This will inevitably create a prioritization issue that isn’t fair to your daughter or her teammates on either team. We realize that some players play other sports. We certainly encourage these activities as long as they do not create exceptions to our team time. Please understand, that we do carry primarily “softball-only” players who deserve for you and your daughter to respect that priority.
If you commit to the team and then later decide to leave before the conclusion of the season, you will probably not be able to be return that same season. This is unless there are mitigating circumstances that are approved. The intent here is to keep the team intact and to avoid that revolving door syndrome. In return, you and your daughter will enjoy the same level of commitment from us. Once the team is selected, we will not recruit players to join the team unless a situation such as an injury roster opening occurs which dictates a new player being added for the good of the team.
The program is designed to attract players who have the greatest developmental potential with a reasonable strong existing skill set. We place a strong weight on a player’s attitude and willingness to work hard and get better. We want our players to be aggressive players with above average attitudinal and mental capabilities. Since we expect our players to learn the game at a high level, their mental approach and work ethic is integral to their success.
There is no guarantee of playing time or position for any player. Playing time is based on a player’s skill set, their effort and attitude during practice, as well as their success in games. A player demonstrating less effort in practice will have her playing time impacted. For some games, not all players will play. But over the course of a weekend, everyone will get the appropriate playing opportunities.
The manner in which playing time is distributed may be impacted by external factor too. Considerations will be given to the skill level of the team that we are facing and the game situation. There will be situations such as Sunday bracket play where playing time may not be evenly distributed. While it is unreasonable to expect or assume equal playing time for all players, we recognize and appreciate that it is difficult for a player to develop her skills on the bench. We understand the importance of providing every player with adequate playing time to develop her skills, providing that she expends the necessary effort.
Instruction & Practice
We believe skill development is a function of repetition. Therefore, we utilize repetitive drills in most phases of our practices. We have found that this muscle memory training is the most effective mechanism for teaching strong softball fundamentals. The more you can practice with your daughter outside of our program, the better.
We encourage individual instruction with other skilled coaches. This type of instruction accelerates development, both physically and mentally which we can’t provide on our limited meeting times. This opportunity is strictly your decision but is supported and encouraged by our coaches. For all practices, you must be at practice on time (this really means to be ready to start 15 minutes before practice begins), with your equipment. We know there are times that things come up, but being late all the time or not hustling to a field will not work.
Our core practice philosophy is “we practice like we play”. This means that players are expected to work with a sense of urgency, always running on and off the field and between stations. They are expected to run hard, slide, wear all game equipment; including facemasks, helmets when hitting, sliders, cleats, batting gloves, knee pads, visors, etc. In order for them to perform at peak performance during practice, and in a game, players are expected to be properly fueled and hydrated before hitting the field. We also expect them to bring athletic appropriate snack and drinks to the field in order to keep their energy up during the workouts. Nutrition will become apart of our instructional program, and we expect the players to be pro-active.
Position assignments for each game will be made based on each player’s abilities, opportunities to develop position depth, and the line-up that makes the team appropriately competitive. During competitive game situations, we will do our best not to play players in positions that have not been practicing. Playing position decisions will be based on the judgment of the coaching staff. Obviously, only a limited number of players will play the pitcher and catcher positions, as these require a unique skill set. Batting lineups will always be a function of doing what is best for the team. I will do my best to communicate with each player and give her a clear understanding on where we see the best position(s) to both develop individually as well as to help the team.
If you are concerned about any aspect of the program, we urge you to communicate with your daughter’s coach. This should be done outside the presence of your daughter or other parents. If concerns arise during a game, please wait until 24 hours after the game to discuss the situation. Playing time or lineup issues are generally something that should not be discussed. We are committed to providing you with a forum for your concerns provided that it is handled in a calm and respectful manner. Nor Cal Valley Stomper program is a “drama free environment”. A primary goal of our program is to provide a unified environment that is enjoyable for the players, parents and coaches. If recurring conflicts with a player or parent cannot be solved, it is possible that we may need to evaluate whether or not this is the right fit for you or your daughter.
Providing instruction from the stands is strictly prohibited as it undermines the coaching staff’s role and it places your daughter in a compromising position. We believe that PLAYERS PLAY, COACHES COACH AND PARENTS WATCH.
One of the benefits of this type of team is that you get to go places to play softball. We will try to minimize the travel but, we may have some tournaments that will require overnight stay by the entire team. When that occurs, we will try to stay at the same hotel. We do this for the purpose of allowing our players to build the team culture and camaraderie off the field.
A team budget is provided for each season that includes the team cost and the individual player cost. The budget will include tournament fees, equipment expense, registration fees, insurance, and facility expense, among other items.
Budgets and expenses are divided among all of the parents equally, including coaches with daughters, at the beginning of the season. You understand that by committing to the team, you are committing to your daughter’s full single season expense – e.g. Spring and Summer, or Fall. Since all money is committed at the beginning of each season, we will not be able issue any refunds.
Travel expenses are the responsibility of the parents and are not considered in the team budget. We will make every effort to keep our cost down, and provide your daughter the highest level of playing experience by keeping the majority of the tournaments local or with in a one-hour drive. Our team will seek team sponsorships and fundraising throughout the year to offset travel expenses, pay for additional training, and/or to offset unforeseen expenses.