This week, the National Fastpitch Alliance (“NFA”) National Championship takes place in Gulfport, Mississippi and will feature top club teams across the nation in the 18U, 16U, 14U, 12U and 10U age divisions.
It kicks off Monday with free recruiting camps for the 18U, 16U and 14U-age players and will include On Deck Measurement testing.
Tuesday the pool games start and Wednesday through Saturday it gets serious with bracket play beginning and champions crowned Thursday (10U), Friday (12) and Saturday (14U, 16U and 18U).
Scroll Down to Read the Story We Did Earlier on the NFA National Championship
"The National Fastpitch Alliance is very excited to be working together with India and Slapper Nation in an effort to provide players all across the country with amazing opportunities through the game of softball,” said Dale Palmer, NFA Executive Director said.
“India brings so much to what we are doing because of her passion for young girls and her mission to grow the game by sharing her knowledge. We feel that our relationship with India is perfect in that we share the common passion of being in the kid business above all."
Below is a video of India talking about her teaming with NFA and a Q&A we did with her recently about the partnership:
How did you first hear about National Fastpitch Alliance and get connected?
Word spreads fast when great ideas are in the works. I have a best friend and colleague, Natalie Brock, who told me about the National Fastpitch Alliance. Natalie is Softball Specialist for BSN Sports and shared with me how she is getting involved and partnering with NFA. I always value Natalie’s conversations and advice, and she advised I give Chad (Hewitt) a call. That is how the original connection took place. After speaking with Chad about NFA, I immediately saw the value in their organization and I love that they are working to bring the value and thrill back to travel…making it feel like less of a business and more like a competition.
What will be your role with NFA?
My role, I just want to be present actually. I want to show my face and let the softball world know I stand with NFA and their vision. At times I may simply have a booth spreading information on speed game from the defensive and/or offensive side. At times I may be participating in a clinic or camp.
Then at other time I may just circulate talking to parents and athletes. I see myself in more of a role fulfilling “What can India do for you” (with the you being softball athletes and parents/coaches), rather than a role of “What can NFA do for India”.
What lead to you wanting to get involved… was it your love of teaching and working with younger athletes? Or did you see the need for proper training and teaching at this level?
I am getting involved because I have a passion for softball in the most genuine and grounded sense. NFA will allow me to simply be present. Some of the other organizations have gotten so business structured and corporate that the travel ball coaches and parents cannot and do not engage with people like me.
I played at the highest level, went to the Women’s College World Series three times, made 1st Team All-America, played in the National Pro Fastpitch league, have coached at the University of Tennessee for the past two seasons and own the only slaphitting company in the nation.
Meanwhile, here I am partnering and showing my face to the community in a very approachable way. That is what it is all about to me. Being a direct resource to help these athletes and coaches find out how I did it, how I found success, how I went through recruiting, etc.
This is the vision NFA has for their events and I stand with them in this. Ground level engagement; I am never too big or too successful to give back to the game what it has given me. This game has blessed me for years and years and I owe it to the game to return that graciousness.
What message or philosophy do you want to get across to the younger athletes of today?
My “sweet spot” for young people: you will reap the rewards of your hard work and dedication to the game. If you set your personal standard high, you will be rewarded in the end. Strive for the dream school, observe their playing style, find a player on that roster and study them, chase them, and work to be better than them. When you do this, you will get your dream school.
Sometimes that dream school is the school you envisioned and sometimes it’s a different school you didn’t realize at first. But you will find your fit. Keep your eyes open and your mind open… don’t have tunnel vision. Know what academics appeal to you even if you don’t know the major you would like to pursue. Do not choose a school that does not align with your professional future.
Take your opinion of a great softball program beyond what you see on television and go with the school that feels right. I just want young people to have a clear view and realize there are so many great programs that aren’t featured on television everyday. Be open mentally and work hard physically. Do this and you will be rewarded with a great fit of a school for you in the end.
How have you seen the sport and the athletes of today versus when you played a decade ago?
Athletics have changed a lot since I played. Specifically, and most recently, because of the addition of the transfer portal. That did not exist when I played. You could transfer but it wasn’t so easy or convenient then. Loyalty is being questioned on the athlete’s end with the portal, but on the flip side, as coaches if we ensure the student-athlete experience is positive, the portal wouldn’t affect our programs.
Today it is a nonnegotiable to make sure the athletes feel valued and are respected. I support and love this change to the game. We are coaching a different generation today but it’s not a bad one by any means. Parents are more involved in college athletics because parenting has changed. The parents are more connected to their kids and coaches have to find the medium here, which can be a challenge at times.
The important thing to notice is that just as the game is evolving and the kids are, coaches must keep up or get knocked out. The best change to the game today is the amount of media exposure. How awesome to see softball on television day in and day out. It has opened up careers for our women in sports with tons of options like broadcasting, statistics and film. It has also increased coaching salaries and softball budgets for programs. I love where softball is going and I plan to stick around for a while helping it flourish.
National Fastpitch Alliance Announces NFA Championship July 15-20, 2019 in Gulfport, Mississippi
originally posted on January 11, 2019 on Extra Inning Softball
The National Fastpitch Alliance (NFA)--a newly-formed event organization created to produce lower costing club events with “the same quality exposure to college coaches as events charging $1,000 or more”--has announced it will produce its first National Championship to be held July 15-20, 2019, in Gulfport, Mississippi and surrounding areas.
According to Chad Hewitt, the Director of Camps and Special Events Coordinator for the NFA, “The NFA is an alliance of teams and organizations who want to make elite level softball and college recruiting about getting girls recruited and helping minimize out of pocket expenses.”
NATIONAL FASTPITCH ALLIANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
The first National Fastpitch Alliance Championship will cover ages 8U through 18U and will be held in complexes in Gulfport, Biloxi, D’Iberville and Ocean Springs.
The cost for teams will be $795 for ages 14U, 16U and 18U; $500 for 10U and 12U and $400 for 8U. Hewitt says 90 teams have already confirmed to compete.
“We anticipate our showcase events to range between $100-$150/game guaranteed,” the NFA Director adds.
“The 14U through 18U teams will all play at the Gulfport Sportsplex,” Hewitt said. “Each other age division will have its own complex and we plan to finish all Saturday play at Gulfport.”
The NFA will produce the one event in 2019 with plans for more events in the future including qualifiers and showcases.
EXTENDED PLAYING TIMES FOR GAMES
In addition to the lower cost-per team, the Hewitt says another big advantage to the events will be longer games.
“We will offer complete seven-inning games for bracket play and a 1:40 finish for pool games,” he says.
Other benefits per the NFA executive: no stay-to-play hotel rates and a free recruiting camp for every uncommitted player in the 14U-to-18 age divisions.
“The NFA tournament host may work with local hotels to negotiate a lower rate for those in their event and ask teams to try those hotels first in order to acquire comp rooms,” Hewitt explains, “but these rates will always be lower over the entire stay than what you get walking up off the street.”
“You will not be required to stay here in order to play, but we would appreciate the consideration as we are constantly working to save everyone money while hosting a top-notch event.”
FREE RECRUITING CAMP (Uncommitted Players 14U-18U)
The recruiting camp will be hosted by more than 40 college coaches from Power 5 schools as well as other DI and Div. 2, 3, NAIA and Junior College coaches.
“If your team is in the event, you attend free,” Hewitt continues. “The focus of the NFA is to do what is best for the player and we spend the money made from the event to do what it takes to make that evident for the player.”
PURPOSE FOR THE NFA & ITS EVENTS
In an already crowded fastpitch travel ball market, NFA Executive Director Dale Palmer stresses that the Alliance was created to be run by experienced club coaches who are “focused on getting their student-athletes developed and recruited without the extreme financial burden.”
“We are committed to providing student-athletes, travel organizations, and college coaches a first-class event at an affordable price,” Palmer continues.
“At NFA, our focus is to eliminate the so-called ‘required’ inflated costs that inevitably burdens the parents which include, but are not limited to, third-party stay-to-play mandatory hotel accommodation programs, tournament insurance requirements, player registration costs, and most importantly the overpriced entry fees that originated in the inaugural year around $700 and have since risen to over $1200-to-$2500.”
“Unfortunately, none of these expenses help a travel team or parents get their daughters recruited.”
“At NFA, we are in the kid business and not the bottom line business. Obviously, we will have expenses that must be covered but we are using partnerships and sponsorships to offset most of those expenses and using our low-entry fees to cover only what is left.”
“The choice is up to the travel coaches; however, we’ve seen incredible support from our initial conversations with many of the top organizations and college coaches advising them of our new opportunity.”
CONFIRMED UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES ATTENDING
Note: A dozen universities and colleges, including programs in the Big Ten and Big 12, are tentatively scheduled to attend. The list will be updated in the future as more schools confirm.
- Adams State University (CO)
- Auburn University (AL)
- Auburn University at Montgomery (AL)
- Ball State University (IN)
- Central Christian University (KS)
- Colorado Christian University
- Columbia State JC (TN)
- Delta State University (MS)
- Geneva College (PA)
- Jacksonville University (FL)
- James Madison University (VA)
- Louisiana Tech University
- Luna College (NM)
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Montevallo University (AL)
- Oklahoma State University
- Regis University (CO)
- Saginaw Valley State (MI)
- Southwest Christian University (OK)
- Texas A&M University-Commerce
- Trevecca Nazarene University (TN)
- University of Alabama
- University of Alabama-Birmingham
- University of California Riverside
- University of Illinois
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette
- University of Oregon
- University of Pittsburgh (PA)
- University of Texas at Tyler
- Utah State University Eastern
- Virginia Tech University
- Wallace State JC (AL)
For more information on the event, e-mail Chad Hewitt at firstname.lastname@example.org