The Rockmart High School Lady Jacket Softball Camp has become an anticipated event for players looking to refine their skills and strengthen their abilities.
But more than that, the annual camp, which held its ninth edition last week, has become a place where girls begin their relationship with the Lady Jacket softball program as current players help instruct those on the path to possibly play at the high school level.
Luke said that 15 of the players which were helping out at the camp attended the camp when they were growing up.
“I keep telling the kids that come that you are the future of the program because eventually they are going to be sitting in the same seats, teaching,” Luke said. “And that’s how you continue to be a competitive program like we’ve been.”
A successful team over the past 12 years that has won region championships and had numerous players given postseason honors, Rockmart went 27-9 last season and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
“We work hard all summer long and these same kids come to our camp and they’re so focused and wanting to know what’s going on in our program,” Luke said. “When you have that consistently ... that’s what makes us competitive.”
Around 30 girls attended this year’s camp that saw participants run through drills on Rockmart High School’s softball field as well as take batting practice inside the indoor hitting complex.
At certain times, Luke gets the attention of all of the participants and drills them on the fundamentals of hitting – where their toes should be pointed; what position their hips or hands should be in.
A majority of them spout off the answers immediately and Luke praises them at the end of the day.
After all, this is just the second day of the four-day camp.
“Softball is a big deal around here and if they can learn one thing, that’s what matters,” Luke said. “A lot of these girls come each year and each year you can learn something new.”
A by-product of the camp has been building up the high school players as role models for the girls that come out each year and raising the awareness of the program.
“We’ve been doing it for a while and it’s a big deal for these girls because they get to be with our girls,” Luke said. “When they see those girls play at our games, that’s their girl and it strengthens that bond.”
Luke said this year’ camp has served as both a learning experience for the girls that attended and a welcomed refresher for his players that are getting ready to start the new season in August.
“We have a young group for our team this year anyway,” Luke said. “It’s important to be taught something but, at the same time, to be able to teach it. Because when you’re able to teach what you’re learning it is a reinforcement behavior for the girls.”
The community that his team has developed over the years is getting another boost by way of a Rockmart-Cedartown softball alumni game on July 30.
“We’re going to bring back the rivalry,” Luke said. “It’s going to be a great fundraiser for us both and then we can honor a lot of coaches that have been here.”
Luke can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.