GB Women appoint Hitting Coach for 2019 season

Tue 30 Apr 2019

The GB Women’s Fastpitch Team has appointed a new Hitting Coach for the 2019 season, which includes the European Women’s Championship and Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier, in an attempt to enhance the team’s offensive potential.

More than 20 applications for the position were received, and the Appointment Panel selected an experienced Florida-based American coach, Linda Derk.

Linda has 33 years’ experience of coaching and developing successful programmes at all levels of softball, including high school, college, professional and international.

She first came in contact with the GB programme early this year when she supported the GB Tryout and Training Camp held in Plant City, Florida at the beginning of January after being recommended by former ISF Coaching Director Cindy Bristow.

Now that the GB Women’s Team has made final selections for this summer’s tournaments, Linda’s job will be to work with the athletes remotely over the next two months, using WhatsApp and Blast Sensor technology that will allow her to analyse swings and feed back to athletes about technique in a way that has not been possible for GB teams in the past.

Linda will also attend this summer's important competitions and work with the GB players at first hand.

GB Women’s Team Head Coach Rachael Watkeys said, “We were overwhelmed with the number of applicants for the Hitting Coach role and after interviewing a number of exceptional candidates we felt that Linda would be the best fit for our team.  Linda will now coordinate the team’s hitting programme with support from [Assistant Coach] Liz Knight and myself.  Linda brings with her a wealth of coaching experience and we are really excited to have her on board.”


Background

The experience that Linda Derk will bring to the GB programme includes coaching at a variety of US colleges, including Indiana State, the US Military Academy at West Point, Temple University, Drexel University, East Stroudsburg University and Palm Beach State.

She has also coached the Tampa Bay Firestix to a Women's Pro Softball League Championship and coached on the 2000 Pro/Olympic Tour.

Linda coached until recently at Admiral Farragut Academy High School in Florida, where she started the programme and has led the team to a 115-52 record, seven straight post-season appearances, three straight district championships, two regional championships, and a State Championship in 2018.

Her club team, Florida Fury, had 100% recruitment of players to two-year and four-year colleges from 2010-2015 and the team reached the top 16 in the ASA Nationals in 2012.

Linda currently owns and runs her own fastpitch softball consultancy business offering diverse products and services related to player, coach and team development, such as private instruction (all skills), group sessions, team practices, camps, tournaments, motivational speaking, sponsorship, recruiting, marketing, live radio and television broadcasts and more.

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