What makes a coach a good coach? Is it his players, his techniques, his character, or a combination of things? Coach Jerry Foster believe the latter. His creed is motivating his players, while being not only their biggest critic, but also their most supportive fan and strongest allie.
“With me, if the players are willing to work hard, I’m willing to push them where they need to go,” said Foster. “I also try to be someone they can talk to about life situations. Some of these kids can’t talk to a parent about certain things and I want them to feel like they can confide in me. It’s so much more than coaching softball.”
Foster is in his first year as president of the Union County Dixie Girls League and resides in Union with his wife, Monica and stepdaughter, Chelise Moorman. He became involved in Dixie Youth approximately seven years ago when Chelise signed up to play. Foster said that midway through the season the coach quit, and he was asked to take over the team.
“I really didn’t know what I was doing or getting myself into,” laughed Foster. “I noticed that my girls were tossing the ball up to batters and these other teams were slinging it.”
Foster then began attending pitching camps with some of the players and was introduced to travel ball through a fellow coach attending one of the camps. Foster was intrigued. He began helping coach the Palmetto Gators travel team, and later, the Carolina Rage out of Greenwood. Foster said he tries to incorporate some of what he’s learned in travel ball into Dixie Girls.
“If they want to play collegiate ball, these days, they really need to practice year-round,” said Foster. “After the season is over, they put their gloves down and don’t pick them back up till the spring. My goal is to get Dixie to extend the season into the fall. The girls would really benefit from that in the long run.”
Foster coached the Dixie Belles to a state championship last year and took them to the Dixie Girls World Series where they finished third. This year, hoping for back to back state titles, and another shot at the World Series, Foster’s girls went to Florence where they were eliminated after a disappointing two losses and one win.
Foster played in the Dixie Youth World Series in 1982 under coach Donnie Vinson, and said he was thrilled last year when he got the opportunity to take a team himself.
“I never thought I’d get to experience that again. So when our girls won state last year and got to go, I was very excited,” said Foster, “I wanted the girls to experience that this year, and I’ll hope for the same thing next year.”
Foster said he tries not to wear his emotions on his sleeve while coaching, because he knows the girls feed off of his energy, adding, “some people don’t understand how invested you get in a sport or a team, or how much of yourself that you put into coaching when you really love it.”