As Carroll County’s new softball coach, Rick Nester plans to use similar philosophies that helped legendary coach Bill Worrell build a baseball powerhouse at the school.
Nester, who played baseball for Worrell at CCHS in the late 1970s, also brings 29 years of coaching experience to the position. Having coached baseball and football in several different capacities since 1984 in Carroll County schools, Nester will apply the same principles he learned from Worrell.
“I played under Coach Worrell, who at one point was in the top five in the state of Virginia in number of wins in baseball. What he taught us and what I have always tried to teach on the ball field is an emphasis on the little things,” Nester said. “If you continue to do the little things right, you will be successful. That is how I’ve always coached. Don’t take anything off, give it 100 percent, and at end of day you will be okay.”
Nester replaces Mark Harmon, who took over the program last season. The new softball coach said basic fundamentals will be stressed every day in practice and during the course of games. He also plans to bring the same aggressive style of base running that was a staple of Worrell’s baseball teams at Carroll County.
“One of the biggest things I stress, which I think is neglected in softball, is the base running aspect of the game offensively where teams don’t take advantages of the opportunities they get to move up 60 feet,” Nester said. “I want them to learn it because if they have to wait for a coach to tell them to go, it can be too late. They will make mistakes on the bases, but I want them to learn from those mistakes. It will be an aggressive style we will play every game.”
With softball lending itself more to “smallball” than the game of baseball, Nester believes that style of play is the best way to apply pressure to opposing defenses.
“We are going to put pressure on the other team when we are on the offensive side. They will have to cover the bases, and when the ball is in play they have to make sure every base is covered,” Nester said. “We will put pressure on them with different things you can do on the bases and with bunting. We aren’t going to sit back and take what is given to us. We are going to dictate the game.”
A three-sport athlete in football, baseball and wrestling at Carroll County, Nester will continue to serve as the head coach of Carroll’s 8th grade football team. He will adjust his schedule, however, and implement the aid of his assistants to make sure the softball program continues to develop during the fall season. While Nester will be Carroll’s fourth softball coach in four seasons, he said he plans to continue coaching softball long-term.
“I don’t see anything in the future that is going to change my mind in continuing on doing this. I told (CCHS Principal Chuck) Thompson I want to take this and run with it and do it as long as I can do it. If it is until I retire, that is my goal,” Nester said. “I am looking forward to be able to do this and I don’t want this to be a one- or two-year thing. I want to take these girls and work through the program just like I have done in the other sports.”
Nester is extremely excited about the opportunity to take charge of Carroll’s softball program. He thinks the program has plenty of young talent to build on beginning with this season.
“I’m pretty excited about this. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with this group of girls,” Nester said. “The seniors down to the freshmen class are some very talented girls. It looks like a good cycle of girls even younger than that coming up as well. I want them to know we are going out on that field to win the game and every decision will be made in the best interest of the team as a whole. That is how decisions will always be made, and daily during practice and during games it is my job to increase their level and their ability on the ball field.
“I want them to be a better player on the field and a better person off the field. I want to make sure they have fun every day because if they are not having fun they lose interest in the game. The winning will take care of itself with working hard, but if they are not having fun there is something wrong there. There is no reason you can’t have fun and be successful while stressing the importance of hard work at the same time.”
Nester expects those philosophies to pay dividends from the very start. And he won’t be shy about letting the girls know it either.
“I am going to show them the sign on the wall in the gym. There hasn’t been a softball number go up on the wall for district champs, but that is their goal,” Nester said. “Also this is our last year in the Southwest District. Let’s make sure we take it and it goes on our wall this year.”