Name: Caitlin Melnychenko
Team I coach: Notre Dame Prep varsity softball
How long have you been coaching? Seven years
How many in your current position? Two years as head coach
Why did you get into coaching? I loved playing softball in high school, club and college, and I really enjoy being around teenagers.
What is your coaching philosophy? Focus on the basics and have fun.
What about coaching is the most fun to you? Watching the girls have a great time and seeing a player be successful at some component of the game that she’s been working hard on.
What are the components to a successful team? Team chemistry, a positive attitude, a desire to get better and an understanding of the fundamentals and being successful in those areas.
Why do you think sports are important to a high school? Sports help create well-rounded individuals who learn how to succeed in all aspects of life, how to overcome adversity and how to work with others. They help establish life-long friendships, cherished memories and make even the most difficult of times just a little easier to deal with.
Describe the moment you fell in love with the sport you coach: I don’t know if I can give one specific memory because I have so many throughout my club, high school and college years. Each team I played on was special in its own way, so I became a better player and person with each group. One of my most cherished softball memories is winning the Desert Mountain Invitational with Chaparral in 2008.
What advice would you give to athletes just starting out in your sport? Just have fun and learn. Softball is such an amazing sport that can provide you with so many great opportunities, both on the field and off.
If you weren’t coaching the sport you are, what sport would you want to coach? Why? I would probably be coaching soccer since I really enjoyed playing that when I was a kid. I used to love being the goalie and getting to kick it as hard and as far as I could.
Which coach in sports, current or retired, is one you look up to the most? Why? I enjoy listening to coaches from all sports and figuring out what I can use with my teams. I really admire and respect the other coaches at NDP. I work with a great group of coaches who are always willing to share drills and advice so we can create the most successful programs we possibly can. The softball coaches that I have learned the most from are Patty Gasso (Oklahoma), Mike Candrea (Arizona), the Myers family (ASU/Auburn) and Tim Walton (Florida).
When you are not coaching, what are you doing? When I’m not coaching, I am teaching freshman and senior English at NDP, spending time with family and friends, catching up on the latest movies, traveling and taking pictures.
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