Southeast High School senior Zoey Ball is a member of the FFA and Student Council, plays volleyball, basketball and softball, and is a musician – she just recently took 1st Place in the 14-17 age group at the Fort Scott Idol. This summer she has taken on a new role.
Zoey is an assistant coach for the Southeast Girl’s Softball Association 12 and Under team. She said normally the SGSA pays high school girls to umpire but this year they asked if anyone would be interested in helping coach.
“I really enjoy softball and since I wasn’t playing in the summer it would still be a way to be connected to the field,” Zoey said. “It’s been fun. It’s been a learning experience for both us. I have work going on too, so I’m there when I can be, and we’re learning together. It’s fun to see them learn.”
The coaches for the 12 and Under team are Bryan and Amy Zortz – their daughter Skylar is on the team.
“We wanted help with coaching because as the girls get older in softball, and their skills need to be honed, we are volunteer coaches, and don’t necessarily know the ‘fine points’ of things like pitching, catching, etc.,” Amy said. “We can teach the basics, but as the girls get more involved there are specifics we just can’t teach because we don’t have the experience.”
Amy said most of the girls will eventually play high school softball, and being on that team, Zoey is able to bring those experiences with her. Specifically, she has brought some of the high school’s warm-up drills and skill drills down to the younger girls to help them fine-tune their basic skills.
“She knows what the high school coaches expect as far as skills, that way we can put the younger girls on the right path to doing things the correct way for the high school team,” Amy said.
Zoey is helping the youngsters with fundamentals
“Next thing is catching in the outfield with two hands no matter what – no matter what, two hands – it drives me nuts, it’s my pet peeve,” she said.
While Zoey said she enjoys teaching the game she now understands the frustrations of her own coaches.
“It’s aggravating if you say it so many times, it’s like ‘come on girls, I’ve said it five times, let’s go’ – I know now, it’s a role switch with Coach (Mike) Bowman, like I know how he’s feeling,” Zoey said.
And there is also the insight of teaching a skill that you yourself have only recently learned.
“I don’t think I slid until I was a freshman, I was too scared and then when I tried I just flopped on the base. I don’t think I ever actually did slide – and it was always me in a key situation – ‘Zoey you have to slide’ – and I’d just fall. I think I just now mastered sliding this year and I’m going to be a senior, so it’s been kind of ironic that I’m telling girls to slide because they have to and I would have never slid at that age.”