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The impact a coach can have: Q & A with Women’s National Team athlete Alli Schroder

From September 18-26, Baseball Canada is celebrating National Coaches Week, a Coaches Association of Canada initiative celebrating the positive impact coaches have on athletes and their communities across Canada!

Women’s National Team athlete Alli Schroder is one of those athletes who has been positively impacted by various coaches on her path to reaching the highest levels of her sport.

At 16-years-old, the Castlegar, BC native was on the mound when Canada clinched a bronze medal victory over the Unites States at the 2018 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup and she is currently with the Vancouver Island University baseball program after becoming the first female to sign with a Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC) team earlier this year.

While not on the baseball field or in the classroom, Schroder’s also spent time over the last year on the fire line battling the wildfires that hit parts of British Columbia.

We took some time to chat with Alli to ask her about her career and how coaches have positively impacted her life.

Q: Thinking back to your younger days, was there a coach who really inspired your love for baseball and how did they do so?

A: As a kid, my parents had me in a variety of sports and activities so I could find my passion, therefore having influential coaches at a young age was pivotal in me pursuing baseball to this degree. My two little league coaches; Jason Startup and DJ Ashman ignited my passion and love for the sport and are two individuals I can thank for my pursuit of baseball to this level. Having never blinked an eye at the fact I was a girl, they both made the baseball diamond a safe and enjoyable place that I wanted and loved to be all the time and treated me as nothing less than a baseball player, providing me with fair opportunities due to my talent and abilities, not gender. Due to both of their great baseball knowledge, I was taught a lot of things within the sport that a lot of young ball players aren't taught till much later in their careers which I highly credit much of my early on success to. My little league coaches showed tremendous belief and confidence in me as a baseball player, not a female, which inspired my love for the game at such a young age. 

Q: What type of life skills beyond the baseball field have you learned from coaches?

A: Beyond the baseball diamond, my coaches have taught me self-confidence and the importance of trusting my abilities and skills by always expressing trust and confidence in my talent even when I lacked it in myself. This self-confidence and trust in myself are both very important things that I have been able to transfer off of the diamond into other aspects of my life such as the fire line and classroom. 

Q: How has a coach pushed you to be the best you can be at baseball?

A: Treating me as nothing short or more than a baseball player, is one of the greatest things my coaches have done to push me. This has always kept my head level and gave me the motivation to work as hard as I possibly can both individually and for my team. Never letting up and continuing to push me to the highest degree with the confidence that I have the abilities to succeed is something every one of my coaches have done to push me to be the best I can be at baseball.

Q: What does it mean as a young athlete to have a coach that truly believes in you and your ability to succeed?

A: As a young athlete, it can be difficult to trust your own abilities and express belief in yourself, especially in a game of failure like baseball. When you have external sources like coaches showing their personal belief in you and your ability to succeed, it teaches you that if other people have confidence in you, then there's no reason for you to not believe and trust yourself whether that be on or off the playing field.

Q: Where would you be today without your coaches?

A: Without my coaches, I wouldn’t possess the confidence in myself that I do today whether that be on the ball field, in my line of work (wildfire), or in the classroom. I'm very thankful for every coach I have had that has expressed immense confidence in me and my abilities, as well as inspired my love for the game by pushing me to be the best baseball player I possibly can with disregard to any gender factors.