UTRECHT / AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - The Dutch National Softball Team continues its schedule of three practices a week to prepare for the international season 2009.
On two recent days, February 10 and 11, some special guests were at the practice sessions in Utrecht and Amsterdam.
On February 10, Jim McCarthy joined Patrick van Balkom for the strength and conditioning drills before and after the practice sessions.
Like Patrick, Jim is affiliated with the NOC*NSF (Dutch Olympic Committee) as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and he worked with the team before on January 31, when the players of the national squad got a conditioning day at Sportcentrum Papendal in Arnhem.
Also on February 10, the team was joined by special guests Jasmin Carlson and Loes van der Vliet, who are members of the regional Cadets-team in Central Holland (Midden-Nederland Cadets).
In the wintermonths, Jasmin (who plays for Hilversum Hurricanes) and Loes (who plays for Centrals) were amongst 56 talented players, who participated in the Softball School in Bussum, organized by HCAW.
Craig Montvidas led that school and was named Head Coach of the Dutch National Team during that period in November/December last year.
After completion of the school, he invited Jasmin and Loes to participate in a practice of the Dutch National Softball Team, as they showed the right mentality and attitude to practice and playing.
So, on Tuesday, the two talented juniors joined the players of the National Team (who gave advice) and worked out with them during the entire 3-hour practice session.
You can find out more of the Midden-Nederland Cadets and their games in 2008 on their own website.
On February 11, three umpires were the special guests, as they participated in the practices for the first time.
In Amsterdam, Hans Hornstra, Jac van Riel and Albert Tolen went through the mechanics, saw live pitching, judged pitched balls and made the calls during an intersquad game.
All three are experienced umpires, who officiate in the Dutch Major League of both women and men softball.
On four more practices in the coming weeks, umpires will join the Dutch National Team to prepare themselves for the upcoming season.
During the practice sessions, Head Coach Craig Montvidas has been assisted by several coaches so far.
The coaching staff of the Dutch National Team will be completed on a later date.
At the end of January, Hayley Scott was on a 3-day visit in the Netherlands and assisted Coach Montvidas on Tuesday, January 27 (at Utrecht) and Wednesday, January 28 (at Amsterdam).
Hayley (on the photo left during practice in Amsterdam) was the Assistant Coach of Montvidas when he was Manager of the National Team of Great Britain and she succeeded him after the 2007 season.
On some of the other practice days, Montvidas was assisted by Mary-Ann Hatt (far right photo), who was a member of the National Team's coaching staff from 2005-2008 and participated last year with the squad in the Olympic Games in Beijing (China).
Besides that, Mary-Ann played in the Dutch big league for ADO, HHC (Sparks) and HCAW from 1987-1996 and in the National Team in 1994.
This season, Mary-Ann returns to clubcoaching, as she was named Head Coach of Gryphons.
Former National Baseball Team-pitcher Bertil Haage (pictured second from right) assisted when the practices were held on Sundays in Enschede.
Bertil played his entire career for Tex Town Tigers, with whom he played in the Dutch Major League, but also was a pitcher for the Dutch National Team.
He is the father of infielder Femke Haage, who plays for Terrasvogels and also has played in the National Team.
Two other former National Team-players, Erica Bol (photo left) and Diana Remmers-Verhoef (photo right), also assisted during the indoor sessions.
Erica played in the Dutch big league for Twins and Zwijndrecht between 1995-2004, while playing for the national team in 1997-1999.
Diana played on the highest level from 1984-1993 for Terrasvogels and Twins and was a member of the national squad in 1987-1990.
Both played for Montvidas when he was coaching Twins in the nineties, while Erica also played for him when he was the Head Coach of the Netherlands National Team in 1997-1999.
When Diana made her national team-debut in 1987, Montvidas was a member of the coachingstaff.
Last week, on Tuesday, February 10, at Sportcentrum Galgenwaard in Utrecht, Tim Verbrugge (pictured left) gave a helping hand, while Peter van Dalen (photo second from left) assisted on Wednesday, February 11 at Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam.
Tim Verbrugge plays in the Men Softball big league for Storks and also is a member of the Dutch National Men Softball Team, with whom he participated last year in the European Championships in Copenhagen (Denmark).
Peter van Dalen played in the Baseball big league from 1980-1993 for Haarlem Nicols, Kinheim and HCAW and played in the Dutch National Baseball Team from 1985-1989, participating in two European Championships.
When Peter played for HCAW in 1986-1987, Montvidas was the Head Coach of the women squad of the Bussum-club.
Currently, Peter is a member of the coaching staff of the Dutch National Junior Baseball Team, which in 2009 will participate in the European Championships in Bonn (Germany).
Michael Laarman, Assistant Coach of Terrasvogels since 2007, came by on February 11 to watch the team practice in Amsterdam.
Michael currently leads the indoor practices of Terrasvogels.
Below are some photos of the practice sessions on February 10 (Utrecht) and February 11 (Amsterdam).
Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jim McCarthy of the NOC*NSF explains during a drill
Saskia Kosterink, Solange Starrenburg and Nathalie Gosewehr listen
Virginie Anneveld, Kirsten Scheele, Chantal Versluis and Karin Tuk
perform a running drill, while Conditioning Trainer Jim McCarthy (NOC*NSF) looks on
Head Coach Craig Montvidas talks to the team before the start of the practice session in
Utrecht with Tim Verbrugge, who assisted him, on the left. Sitting at right are the Cadets.
Head Coach Craig Montvidas and Physical Therapist Sanne Oude Egberink follow the action
NOC*NSF Strength & Conditioning Specialists Patrick van Balkom (left) and Jim McCarthy
go over their schedule for the after-practice drills
Head Coach Craig Montvidas tells what he wants Annemiek van Riessen and Daisy Verstappen to do
Another meeting in which Head Coach Craig Montvidas explains the set up of another drill
Midden-Nederland Cadets Loes van der Vliet (top left) and Jasmin Carlson (top right)
participated with the Dutch National Team in the practice session in Utrecht
Areke Spel and Saskia Kosterink look on in the top right photo
Pitchers Kirsten Scheele, Ginger de Weert and Dagmar Bloeming during a pitching session
Solange Starrenburg and Nathalie Gosewehr are waiting their turn to bat
Judith Diepeveen at work at a hitting station
Tim Verbrugge, who assisted during the practice in Utrecht on February 10,
tosses a ball to Shannah van der Kaaij during a hitting-drill
Ginger de Weert, Anne Blaauwgeers, Saskia Kosterink, Shannah van der Kaaij, Dagmar Bloeming,
Karin Tuk and Chantal Versluis during a conditioning drill at the end of the practice session
Virginie Anneveld, Kirsten Scheele and Nadine Marinus also at work during the conditioning drill
Head Coach Craig Montvidas with Cadets Loes van der Vliet (center)
and Jasmin Carlson (right), who joined the team in Utrecht
Umpires participated for the first time in a practice session on February 11 in Amsterdam
From left to right: Jac van Riel behind Karin Tuk, Hans Hornstra behind Anne Blaauwgeers
and Albert Tolen behind Nathalie Gosewehr.
Daisy Verstappen looks on during a hitting drill, waiting her turn to bat
Britt Vonk at bat, with Anne Blaauwgeers doing the catching
Head Coach Craig Montvidas keeps a close eye on all the action
A break in the action for Catcher Karin Tuk, Umpire Jac van Riel and Pitcher Ginger de Weert
Terrasvogels-Coach Michael Laarman was an interested visitor in Amsterdam
At right is Solange Starrenburg
Nadine Marinus swings at a hitting station
Merel Oosterveld is ready to hit at another station. Waiting to bat is Judith Diepeveen
Nathalie Gosewehr does the catching and Umpire Albert Tolen judges the ball
Former national baseball team-player Peter van Dalen, who assisted during the practice
on February 11, gives hitting advice to Annemiek van Riessen
Umpires Albert Tolen, Jac van Riel and Hans Hornstra made the calls during an intersquad game
Physical Therapist Anouk Fermont has her own special ways to look for tape
Pitchers Ginger de Weert and Rebecca Soumeru have a relaxing moment
during the intersquad game on February 11
As always, the practice session ends with a team-meeting