IT was a game time for coaches from Asia to acquire as much knowledge from the Japanese experts in the game of softball with the start of a coaching clinic organised by Softball Asia in collaboration with the Japan Softball Association (SA-JSA) this morning in Kuala Lumpur.

The course instructors are reputable and experienced coaches from Japan and which saw coaches from five countries participate, namely, from Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Philippines Hong Kong and Malaysia.

There are  a total of 42 participants.

The course is conducted by Reika Utsugi, (Japan’s National Women head coach) who played for Japan. Originally from China, she was naturalised as a Japanese citizen in 1995. She played for the Japanese teams that won silver medal at the 2000 Olympics and bronze at 2004 Olympics and was the manager of the 2020 Olympics team that won gold.

Datuk Low Beng Choo, Softball Asia president, addressing the participants

The other instructors are Yukiko Ueno (Pitcher – Japan National Team – 2 time Olympic gold medal team), Urara Fujimoto (Outfielder), Yu Yamamoto, while Aiko Nakamura is the interpreter.

This is not a Coaching Certification Seminar.

Participants of the Coaching Clinic

Coaches who wish to obtain WBSC-SA Coaching Certification should attend the SA Coaching Certification Seminar (Level 1 & 2) which will be held in Pattaya Thailand from 17 – 20 February 2024.

coaching clinic in Kuala Lumpur is intended for coaches of national (senior and junior) teams, as well as national athletes (Senior and U18) who wish to attend to refine their skills and have more in-depth knowledge and a golden opportunity for participants to share experiences with the Japan National Team Head Coach and some of the JPN national team athletes.

Paticipants of the Softball Asia – Japan Softball Association Coaching Clinic

This clinic is open to both men and women teams coaches as well as male and female athletes.

Datuk Low Beng Choo, Softball Asia president and secretary-general of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), officially declared the clinic open this morning and expressed her gratitude and thanks to the delegation for making time and giving their consent to conduct this clinic.

“We are lucky to have an experienced and knowledgeable team to conduct this clinic. The coaches should use this golden opportunity to gather as much knowledge from this clinic.”

from left to right Urara Fujimoto, Yukiko Ueno, Reika Utsudi, Datuk Low Beng Choo,(SA President) Aiko Nakamura, Sally Lim (SA secretary) and Yu Yamamoto

The various topics which will be touched on during the three-day course will include the role of the head coach, athletes preparation, catching, throwing and fielding and pitching methods, batting and stretching and warm-up of teams.

The course will involve theory and practical sessions.

Utsugi who started the clinic this morning touching on the role of a head coach which involved on duties, responsibilities, expectations, goals, the leadership role, communication with athletes, staff, officials and others.

She also touched on preparations, training programs and methods, and also competition, during competition and post competition roles.

 One important aspect Utsugi emphasised was a Japanese saying that: “If there is no human skills, there is no development.”

 “Players may have the skills, but interaction as coaches with the players to assist them in what ever way, is utmost important for end results,” she said.

 Tomorrow and the final day, the theory sessions will be conducted at the National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil.