Softball clinic with Tanya Harding at the Hervey Bay softball grounds.
Softball clinic with Tanya Harding at the Hervey Bay softball grounds. Alistair Brightman

SOFTBALL: Focus on basics key message from Olympian

FOCUS on the basics but expand your knowledge of the game to excel at softball.

That was the key message from former Olympian Tanya Harding who took some of the Fraser Coast's junior players through training clinics yesterday.

The Softball Australia Hall of Famer said the focus of the clinic was to not only work on the basic fundamentals of pitching, but to share some of her story and inspire the next generation.

"A lot of the kids don't understand it's the basic skills elite players do really well," she said.

"It's teaching them to do the right things at an early age so they don't develop the bad habits.

"Pitching is quite a hard skill to learn - it is not a natural action.

"This is about teaching them the right way, and passing on a few fun, easy drills they can then relate to their body movement, like what's happening with their wrist and fingers when they release the ball."

Hervey Bay Softball Association president Donna Jenkins contacted Harding when she learned the four-time Olympic medal-winner ran a clinic in Bundaberg.

Jenkins said the main attraction was to have someone of Harding's calibre teach junior players directly.

"Nobody's achieved more in the sport than she has and it's great it worked out," Jenkins said.

As well as one-on-one coaching, Harding spoke to the juniors about softball's ability to offer players a chance to play in competitions across the world.

In addition to her national duties, Harding has played in competitions in New Zealand and Japan, and said the opportunities were endless.

"When you play sport it's not limited to what you do here," she said. "Even if you don't represent Australia there are heaps of players who have gone across the world who don't have an Australian ranking.

"There's a heaps of kids I've helped get over to the US on scholarship to the college system - that softball is phenomenal."



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