Social Media

Written By Bill Plummer

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Social Media

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Caution and care needed by players in responding to the Social Media.

Coaching Division One softball, or for that matter any college or professional sport, has never been a slam dunk. As softball has developed, with it has come better coaching techniques, better equipment to help in the coaching and of course better athletes. In addition as technology has developed, so has more ways for people to communicate with one another, thus allowing people to communicate or comment on what is happening in sports or any field for that matter.

Time has become of the essence for many people, especially softball coaches who have only so many hours to work with their teams to prepare them for the season. Years ago the coaches had a captive audience and didn't have to worry about interference and could get a lot of work accomplished in their practice sessions. That isn't the case anymore. With the advent of Social Media, coaches have to be more concerned than ever about what their athletes are doing off the field let alone on the field. Away from the field the athletes should be accountable to themselves as well as to the university or college they play for, their coaches and their families.

In many cases these athletes are accountable and do what is expected of them, on and off the field. Of course there are exceptions and some athletes unfortunately get caught up in the Social Media trap. What happens is some fan or student will tweet them a message about them or their team and it won't be flattering in the least. It hits a nerve with the athlete who fires back a message and they develop a dialogue that doesn't do anyone any good.

The first mistake was commenting and answering the tweet. Fans are going to comment on players and teams forever and it is the disciplined, sensible athlete who knows better than to answer a tweet from an overzealous fan who may not have played college athletics or participated in a sport of any kind. But of course they know what the athlete and coach should do to be successful. Many fans couldn't coach their way out of paper bag even if you showed them how to get out of the bag. They have no clue what it takes to coach a college team in any sport, let alone softball. But they don't think about that and will voice their opinion on what their local college softball or football team should be doing and who should be playing, etc.

Fans are needed and of course there are many loyal fans who understand their role in sports and will support their favorite college softball or football team. Fans unfortunately lose perspective and can voice their opinion on what their local college softball or football team should be doing. It may not be correct, however, because the coaches are the ones charged with the responsibility of developing the team to its full potential. Of course injuries can and often happen and players may leave school or transfer, thus effecting the overall outcome. No one said it was easy and it never has been easy, but Social Media hasn't made it easier by any means, and how a coach handles the Social Media will have an impact on what kind of year his or her team will have.

While Social Media and the internet can be helpful to disseminate much information quickly to a lot of people, it can also be an outlet for misuse and misconduct. This certainly doesn't reflect favorably and players embarrass themselves by commenting through Social Media on the internet. This is where the coaches have to have a policy regarding the use of the internet and the Social Media available on the internet. There is nothing wrong with posting appropriate and positive comments about your local college softball team, but extreme care should be utilized in choosing what and where to post. If you have a doubt about you are going to post, don't do it.

As Chamberlain goes so do the Oklahoma Sooners As Lauren Chamberlain goes, so does the University of Oklahoma softball team. Through the team's first 14 games Chamberlain wasn't going anywhere as he watched her batting average drop to .171 (6-35) with one homers and six runs batted in. In recent weeks, however, Chamberlain is back to her normal self, creating havoc for opposing pitchers and leading the Sooners to wins. In the past five weeks, or last nine games, the OU team captain is hitting .545 (12-22) with five homers, three doubles, a triple, 10 RBI, 18 runs scored and three stolen bases. She has drawn 16 walks to go with a .737 and 1.455 slugging percentage in those games.

In a recent 1-0 win over Tulsa, Chamberlain accounted for the game's only run with a homer into the bleachers in left field. It was her 66th career homer and her sixth of the season. She now is tied with two others for 17th all-time in NCAA Division I history.

In the win over Tulsa, it was a classic pitchers duel with Tulsa ace and two-time All-American Aime Creger facing Sooner sophomore transfer Kelsey Stevens.

The win was Oklahoma’s second over a ranked opponent that year and extended the team’s winning streak to four games. After starting the season 5-4, the Sooners had won 12 of their past 14 contests heading into a showdown at No. 23/24 Louisiana-Lafayette (15-5-1).

“I think this was one of the [Sooners’] best all-around games,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “[Kelsey Stevens] was in championship-form right there, phenomenal display of pitching out of this young woman, who has been working really hard to get to that point, against a really good Tulsa team that can swing.”

Stevens, who has gotten the start in six of OU’s seven matchups against ranked opponents this year, was at her best and improved to 11-3 on the season. She established a season high with 11 strikeouts, one off her career-best mark of 12, which she has done twice. The Albuquerque, N.M., native allowed just two walks and gave up two hits in 23 at-bats (.087) to limit a Golden Hurricane squad that came in with a .336 team batting average.

“We had a good game plan from the start,” Stevens said. “We knew their hitters and I was just really trying to get ahead of the batter and throw strikes.”

Oklahoma needed the lights-out performance from Stevens because Creger was nearly as good for Tulsa. Like Stevens, Creger struck out 11 and walked two, but she allowed four hits, one of which was a solo home run by Chamberlain, to drop to 8-1 on the year.

“They have one of the best pitchers in the country and we know that and she's going to strike you out quite a few times and we knew that, as well,” Gasso said. “Once we got through the lineup, you could see things start to change and some more tougher at-bats. You saw these guys battling with two strikes. That's the View From Here

Bill Plummer Bill Plummer A graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than four decades. For 30years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian. In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show Manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2009, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2014, ” A Series of Their Own. The History of the Women's College World Series.” He has been elected to five halls of fame, including the ASA National. In 1996, he served as the Information Manager for the debut of softball in the Olympics.

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