A famous quote from the movie A League of Their Own says, “There’s no crying in baseball.” That movie may be on to something. When it comes to Adna girls youth sports, it’s all about learning a love for the game and having fun while playing. Josh VonMoos is a volunteer coach for girls youth fastpitch and basketball, and believes that sports—above all else and especially when you’re young—should be fun.
Josh shares a special bond with Adna because it is the place where he grew up. He is an Adna High School graduate, and now he and his wife Lisa are raising their family there as well. For Josh, playing sports was a part of growing up, especially football, baseball and basketball.
“It’s a nice small town,” he says. “People know each other. It is close knit. Everyone wants to be a part of the community.”
When it comes to his daughters, Karlee and Ashlee, Josh strives to help foster their love of sports and being part of a team. One way he has done that is through coaching Adna youth leagues for fastpitch and basketball for the past six years and counting. Because Adna is such a small town, the team you start with keeps the same roster as the years go by, which serves to set Adna apart from many other larger towns and cities.
“The teams more or less stay the same. You get to know the kids better year after year,” Josh explains.
Much of Josh’s coaching inspiration comes from his own personal experiences as an athlete as well as memories of good coaches that inspired him along the way. Josh shares, “When I played, I felt like it was all about winning and, when that happened, it wasn’t much fun playing.”
Josh knows that when it comes to coaching youth sports, it is as much about teaching the fundamentals of the game as it is about having fun. Adna youth sports league plays against teams from Pe Ell, Onalaska and Winlock. As many residents know, Pe Ell and Adna are long-time sports rivals.
While the rivalry is there, Josh adds, “We try not to get into the rivalry too much. We try to keep it about having fun. We try to strike a balance between having fun and winning.”
That is why as a coach, Josh strives to make having fun while playing the game the number one priority for the players. “I try to do the same things for my kids as some of my old coaches did for me,” he says.
That includes encouraging the kids when they are feeling down, focusing on personal and team improvement, and remembering to have fun. “Sometimes it can be hard coaching because the kids can be so hard on themselves,” he says. “And I think it’s even more important when coaching girls to build self-confidence because of all the negative messages that are out there.”
One of Josh’s favorite coaches he played for growing up was Bruce Pocklington. Josh explains, “He was a really hard coach, but be also taught you more than baseball. It was life lessons. He cared about us on and off the field. I try to take that and do the same things with the girls.”
Along with teaching fundamentals and how to have fun with the game, Josh works to help build and encourage the girls’ self-confidence. He finds that so often the players get down on themselves or beat themselves up if they make a mistake. But Josh says that the focus in youth sports, and the focus of his role as coach, is to foster and inspire improvement and a love for playing the game.
“Everyone really likes him because he is so good with the girls,” adds his wife Lisa. “And he is very fair about playing time. He just wants the girls to be able to have a good time and not make it so competitive at this age.”
Josh says, “It’s important to encourage them, even when they’re feeling down. I encourage them to try to forget and move on. Just try to get better for next time.”
Of course just like many youth sports leagues in the area, the entire league relies on volunteer support. Everything from coaching to umpiring to refereeing (depending on the sport) to field maintenance rely solely on coordinated volunteer efforts.
“We always need volunteers who are willing to spend time helping with the kids or helping with field maintenance,” Josh says.
One of the best parts about coaching youth sports for Josh is seeing the kids excited and watching them improve their skills from year to year. “Seeing the kids excited is my favorite part over everything. It is exciting to see their excitement as they get a hit.”