Rainbow Wahine Softball head coach Bob Coolen joined The Sports Animals to discuss the team and NCAA NIL.
Coolen says that he felt that the recent discussion about changing the way the NCAA defines its athletes could negatively impact college-level athletics and suggests that students who are making more than their teammates due to “their name or likeness” would create “a rift in the team”. He adds that student athletes who become “employees” are given that extra pressure to perform. “What do you do with an employee who fails to perform properly? I would have to get rid of them.” It opens a “pandora’s box” and would create an unhealthy environment that would directly pit players who play sports to fill a void in their lives versus players who are going on to play in the NBA, NFL etc.
They become scrutinized as an employee and not just as a student athlete anymore.
Coolen says that the team has looked great against Big West play. He says the team overall has improved greatly. “Our pitching is better, our hitting is better. We are hitting our spots better, our pitchers went from around 50% to 70% or 80% accuracy.” This helps the entire team because now we know where the ball should be going most of the time.
Another big thing is Coolen’s approach to practices. He says that he doesn’t try to keep the kids out on the field for more than two and a half hours and that they work on situations that they see in their film review much more than they used to. He puts more emphasis on being ‘situationally’ ready than being game ready.