Tough love helps develop softball players

The Ice Girls softball camp is developing better players for higher levels

MARLAYNA MARTIN watches as Emilia Chick

MARLAYNA MARTIN watches as Emilia Chick

Marlayna Martin has felt the tough love from coach Jeff Korven in the Boston Pizza Ice Girls softball camp.

That’s the way Korven rolls. Blunt and striving for perfection. Martin, who played for the Summerland Scorch last spring, attests that his methods work. She has seen improvements in her swing, fielding the ball and throwing.

“He wants us to do everything right,” said Martin, who represented the Thompson-Okanagan zone at the 2016 Abbotsford B.C. Summer Games in softball. “He has to be tough on us, so we have to run a lot. We have to do a lot of lines. I think it gets us ready for college if we want to play college or university ball. That’s how tough they are going to be.”

Korven is working with girls aged 12 to 16 and is determined to develop them into quality rep players. His camp, which began on Aug. 7 and wraps up on Sept. 7 at Columbia Park field, started with a focus on conditioning. During a three-hour session, Korven had the players work on their conditioning for a couple hours each time in four sessions. The final hour touched on technique. The final weeks of the camp reverses. Every session concludes with an exhibition game.

“I would say every girl has improved dramatically. We’re working mainly with house players,” said Korven, who is assisted by Ron Huston and Craig Denton.

Jordyn Hamilton, who played for the Power U16 team this past season, said the camp has been hard.

“I can tell it’s really developing everyone’s skills a lot,” said Hamilton, a catcher. “I think all of the intense coaching, everything is really complex. I learn pretty well from him. The atmosphere is pretty fun. Just knowing that I am getting better every day is motivating.”

Going into the camp Hamilton wanted to get more velocity and distance on her throws and learn to catch better.

EMILY PHILLIPS shows off her arm during the Boston Pizza Ice Girls softball camp.

“I like how much you learn. How much better I’m getting,” she said. “My swing has gotten a lot better. My fielding of the ball and throwing.”

Korven will be involved with the Power U16B rep team if the association can get enough players.

The association is holding tryouts at Columbia Field on Sept. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. Korven is running the tryouts for girls born from 2001 to 2003. The team will be created with players from Penticton, Summerland, Oliver and Keremeos. Korven would like to see between 12 to 14 players.

“If we have 12 committed players, we’re golden,” said Korven. “If we only have 10 committed and two possibles, then we have to go to 14.”

Those interested in trying out are asked to contact Kory Phillips at 250-770-8235 or email at md984@hotmail.com.

“Hopefully down the road we can put together a 16U rep team in the Okanagan and we can keep these girls home,” said Korven.