Leo Cassel-Siskind Capstone

For the past six years, I have coached softball at Fairmount Sports Association (FSA). When choosing my Senior Capstone, I knew the greatest impact I could make on my community would be to expand on the work that I had already done with the league. Starting in the fall, I became commissioner of FSA’s intramural softball program. Every Saturday and Sunday from Labor Day to Thanksgiving I organized a range of clinics and games. Based on advice from fellow players and coaches and feedback from the girls I coached, I worked to improve my knowledge as a coach and how I communicated with people of different ages and skill levels. One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding replacements and keeping things running smoothly after I sustained a serious concussion in October and couldn’t coach for three weeks. I continued to coach this spring, working primarily with the Flash, a 10 to 12-year-old softball team which has made massive improvements in the first part of the season. I have also contributed both to the SLA softball team by helping coach practices and my sister’s FSA travel team by helping coach tournament games. Coaching softball at FSA has allowed me to give back to an organization that gave me so much in the nine years I played there. I have deepened my knowledge of the sport, improved my communication skills, and helped to improve the softball league in order to put it on an equal level as FSA’s baseball league.

The two photos above are of me coaching. The first shows me coaching my current team, the Flash. The image shows me speaking to the girls right before one of our games. The image below shows my previous team dumping the water cooler on my head just after winning the championship.

“7 Great Reasons Why Exercise Matters.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 14 Dec. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389.

I’m using this as an introductory resource to show off the benefit of exercise and risks of not getting enough. Exercise is imperative to being both physically and mentally healthy in life and I am using this to show how important it is not only that they join sports leagues in the first place, but that they stick with them. I know of many friends that had a bad experience with a ineffective or mean coach and I want to balance my coaching style so that they want to quit, but enjoy their experience and want to continue with it.


“CDC | Physical Activity | Facts | Healthy Schools.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm.

This source has many similarities to my first source, but shows a lot of the risks to both not being active and not taking proper caution when being active. You use calories when you’re running around and that means you have to eat not only more, but better. The risks to not being active are much worse and only minor precautions are necessary to make sure that one is going to be their safest playing sports. I want to be more informed about the benefits to playing and also prepared in case something does happen when I am coaching.

Interview with my baseball coach (not sure exactly how to cite this)**

My former baseball coach is a certified PIAA coach who has been coaching for the past 15 years. He has had a lot of experience working with kids of all ages and talent levels. By interviewing him I was able to get a first hand account of the best techniques and drills to help players get better. Even more importantly, he gave advice on how to communicate with players and their parents. 

Interview with student (again, I don’t this can be cited)**

For my project I interviewed a friend of mine who has been active on both the SLA baseball and SLA basketball team (he has also been playing sports his entire life). I met with him to discuss his experiences with coaches and what methods of coaching have had the greatest impact on both his enjoyment of the sport and his skill. 

Interview with someone I had previously coached (again, I don’t think this can be cited)**

For this source I’m going to use someone who actually is now a freshman at SLA. She and my sister were on the team that I originally coached five years ago and I have coached her more previously and she became an assistant coach on the 7-9 team that I coached in the spring of 2018. She can give me feedback (hopefully honest) on my coaching and will have different perspectives having been coached by me at different ages and working with me as an assistant coach. While again I haven’t been able to interview her yet, she’s been flexible about when we could meet.


“Coaching Through Conflict: Effective Communication Strategies.” Association for Applied Sport Psychology: Sport Imagery Training, appliedsportpsych.org/resources/resources-for-coaches/coaching-through-conflict-effective-communication-strategies/.

Kids, especially as they become teenagers, and their parents are very often not easy to deal with. Kids don’t want to practice, want to play the position they want, and sometimes be on their phones in the dugout. Parents want to believe the best in their kids and sometimes take that mindset too far in that they want their kids to get opportunities that as the coach I may believe they aren’t ready for. This article gives me the official way to deal with these conflicts so that I can diffuse situations before they deteriorate. While I luckily have not had many bad incidents over the years they do and can always come up.


Klika, Author Brett Klika Contributor Brett. “Top 10 Reasons Children Should Exercise.” ACE, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6441/top-10-reasons-children-should-exercise.

What you do in your childhood is of course well known to have an effect on the rest of your life and the article shows many of the scientifically proven examples of that. It also shows the effects in the classroom and other parts of your life. One’s mental state is greatly affected by whether or not they get at least some exercise and again this article shows me some of the consequences to not doing that. 


“What Makes a Good Coach? (for Teens).” Edited by D'Arcy Lyness, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Nov. 2015, kidshealth.org/en/teens/good-coach.html.

This source gives data taken from surveys on what the most important factors of a coach are. One of the keys to the source is that winning is supposed to be a secondary thought to team morale which is true. I personally agree with this as a coach, but I also believe that winning is part of a good team morale and the challenge is a good thing. Regardless, this information provides a very interesting and informative check on some of the practices that I’ve believed in. It also talked about tough but fair which is something I really do live by as a coach and overall it can provide a good balance to individual feedback that I get from other coaches and players.


“Effective Coaching: Improving Teacher Practice and Outcomes for All Learners.” National Center for Systematic Improvement, 2014, www.air.org/sites/default/files/NCSI_Effective-Coaching-Brief-508.pdf.

This source discusses how to find a balance of helping a player get better and also be nice and positive. While it may start out being the goal for every coach it becomes challenging when people don’t listen or simply continue to struggle. I think that knowing how to restrain yourself as they discuss in the article is essential as a coach because you are responsible (as it states in the article) for being the bigger person and calming down tougher things on the team. While I may have other similar sources this talks about you not as an individual coach but as being part of a greater coaching community. 


“The Science of Coaching Work/Life Balance.” International Coach Federation, 7 Dec. 2017, coachfederation.org/blog/the-science-of-coaching-worklife-balance.

Coaching is challenging. I will be the first person to admit that, but it is also rewarding. I love doing it the whole time I am there, but there are other factors to contend with especially for someone that spends over 24 hours a week coaching and doing other volunteering in the spring. How to stay on top of everything has always been hard for me and I think this article teaches me how to take more responsibility for all of the things I need to do by telling stories of people who have been there before.