Former student athlete Angie Hummeldorf knows the value of impactful coaching.
As a leader in high school and college sports, she often reflected on her coaches over the years.
“They played a huge role in my success then and now,” she said.
They instilled more than basic knowledge of the game. It was about character as well.
Four years ago was a turning point in Hummeldorf’s career. That was when she stepped in as Richmond Hill High School’s head softball coach. This presented the opportunity for her to lay the foundation of what would become a transformational four-year ride.
Now, the Lady Wildcats are united and ready for the state playoffs.
“Over the years as a player and coach I’ve realized instilling character is a huge part of what creates success at this level,” she said.
With Hummeldorf’s focus on what she calls the “foundational four,” this character-based framework has finally come to life with this program and created an atmosphere for success on the team.
Players have grown to value and implement these four principles:
1. Put the team first;
2. Play and live with discipline;
3. Choose your attitude; and
4. Maximize your effort.
Hummeldorf said having the opportunity to pick the team early allowed her to fulfill a specific dream — to focus on building a true team out of a collection of individual players.
She selected this year’s team in in May, which allowed this group of Lady Wildcats the opportunity to spend time on Georgia Southern University’s ropes course — something that had never been done by a Richmond Hill High softball team.
Team selections are usually in August, which means there is too little time for anything besides practice.
“‘Foundational four’ has always been spoken; wherein this year, they have really gotten it and are applying it,” Hummeldorf said.
Uniting as a team came more naturally after stepping off the field and focusing on working together.
“The more experience you get, the better it will be for you and the team,” she said. “For the past four years, I’ve had 12-13 players maximum on varsity. It helps them see how to be successful. I try to keep a minimal roster. Everyone is playing, and that is important.”
In October, the Hummeldorfs will celebrate their son Chase’s second birthday. Angie Hummeldorf admits that having a child has greatly impacted her view on coaching.
“Before, I used the term ‘family’ because these players are like daughters, and I want to see them succeed,” she said. “Now, it has a much deeper meaning. I can see the parent point of view so much better now.
She added that the birth of her son has helped her grow as a coach.
No matter what happens in the classroom or off the field, the RHHS Lady Wildcat coaching staff wants these players to know that when they step out on the diamond, it’s “go time.” The players having the right attitude, working together and giving their maximum effort are crucial for the outcome of the game.
With five seniors on an otherwise fairly young team, Hummeldorf knows each new year presents new challenges. For now, the players are soaking up the success and ready to take this season as far as they can.
With a berth in the state playoffs, the Lady Wildcats will continue to stand on a foundation that was laid four years ago. As the seniors step on the field and wrap up their high school athletic careers, Hummeldorf couldn’t be prouder.
“Many of these girls have played together since elementary school,” she said. “They are on travel teams and are truly committed to softball.”
Four years ago, Hummeldorf and this group of seniors began a journey. As the 2015 season comes to close, Hummeldorf and her team know they played united and left it all on the field.