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RHS’ Coach John Smith speaks at All-Star Week softball clinic

Kalli Beth Daniel to play for All-Star team

By Bernie Moussad / bernie.moussad@fct.wpengine.com

After having such a successful softball season this last year, Coach John Smith of the Russellville Lady Tigers is currently on his way to Montgomery to speak in front of his softball peers.
In the month of June, Coach Smith received a call asking if he would like to speak at the All-Star Week conference. “I wasn’t sure if they were just desperate for speakers or what,” Smith said jokingly. “I’m very excited for this opportunity. It’s kind of nerve-wracking, but all I can do is share what we do. It might work for some of those coaches, and it might not work for others.”
Smith said he tries to live by the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He does his best to see the results that his girls put out on that field. They might be using the wrong technique or stance, but if they get the results that his team needs, then he won’t change it. “If a girl is hitting four or five hundred, why change that? She might be using the wrong technique, but if it works, then just leave her be.”
Another thing Smith stresses is player discipline. “If they’re playing because they want to, then they’ll work hard. I don’t make my girls run laps often after a practice because if they have worked hard during the practice and given it their all, then there’s no need to make them run after.”
He will be presenting all of the above techniques and tools at this event and hopes to help other coaches see the same results Smith has seen in his program.
Not only will Russellville be represented by Smith but also a Lady Golden Tiger, Kalli Beth Daniel.
She was selected for the All-Star team and will be given the opportunity to play in Montgomery with girls from all over the state. Coaches are asked each year to select players from their team that they believe should make the state team, and Daniel is that player for Russellville.
The day she found out, she was beyond excited. “I got a notification on Twitter that Coach Heaton had tagged me in something. So I was like, ‘Oh boy. What could this be?’ When I opened it, it said I had made the All-Star team.”
After overcoming the initial shock, Daniel called all of her family members to tell them her incredible news. One of the best parts for her is that her brothers, who had previously played on the Russellville baseball team, had never made it on All-Stars. “I’m very competitive with my brothers, so when I found out I made it, I was happy that I’d done something that neither of them had done.”
Daniel said she believes this happened because she decided to make a change this season. She had always played on right-handed but had decided to try giving the left hand a go, and it really paid off. She worked with her family and coaches to get used to playing in this new way, and her game really improved. She said she wants to encourage other players to try new things while they can because “you never know what could work.” She also wants to urge these players to thank everyone who has helped them along the way. “Some people do not get any help and are just not as fortunate as others,” said Daniel.
She is nervous to be going to Montgomery to play, but she feels “as soon as I start playing, it will just be another game.”
This will not only be another game but also an opportunity for Daniel to be seen by other coaches who are looking to recruit the top players in the state for their colleges. She said she hopes to be noticed and to hopefully make the outlook of her future even brighter.
She most looks forward to meeting new people and new coaches. It will be a chance for her to make connections that can last a lifetime.
Smith said Daniel is ready for the next level. “She’s been a consistent player and an amazing athlete. We’re excited for Kalli Beth.” Daniel already has been invited to come visit multiple colleges and has already received an offer to play at Delta State University.

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