Ward has been coaching the 10 and under East Cobb Edge softball team for two years. “On the field I am proud of many things that these girls have done, but I focus on three key points with the girls before every game.
- “Hustle: It is one of the only things in the game that you can control, and it is a team rule for each of the girls. Once they step foot on the field they have to run full speed to their positions and give 100% until they step off.
- “Mental focus: I teach the girls that they are going to make errors, especially playing the aggressive type of softball I teach offensively and defensively, but when you do make the play be prepared for the opportunity that presents itself. We work a lot on situational plays and awareness on the field so they do not have to depend on coaches to tell them what to do.
- “Have fun: If we are not having fun playing the game then it is not a game anymore. It takes a lot of time and effort to be good at something, so if it is not fun then it will seem like a job, which will make playing the game that much harder.”
Ward said he is proud not only because all of his players have gone on to make their local high school programs, but also because they all made academic honor roll. That’s part of Ward’s goal — to be an influence on and off the field.
“(Coaching) allows me to make an impact on our youth today and teach them skills that will translate for the rest of their lives. I tell the parents of the players before the year starts that one of my goals is to teach life lessons to the girls which will prepare them to be successful in the future,” he said. “The skills of work ethic, goal setting, overcoming failure, and being competitive in life. If I am successful in teaching that, and I am able to help prepare these girls for their futures as well off the field, it is a successful year for me.”
As the Braves Softball Coach of the Week, Ward will receive a $100 Kroger gift card and a baseball autographed by a Braves player.