John Impson will join an exclusive club when he takes the field as the new Vanoss softball coach this fall.
The school’s head baseball coach for the last six years, Impson will be part of a select fraternity of coaches who have made the switch from baseball to softball. He admitted the change has been sort of a culture shock, but he said he expects to be successful by applying baseball principles in his new job.
“It’s going to be a little different situation,” Impson said. “There’s a difference between coaching boys and girls, but I’m still going to coach fundamentals. We’ve been practicing and playing in the Roff league all summer, so I’m just going to try to work my way through it.”
Vanoss has enjoyed relatively little softball success in the past decade, and the Lady Wolves will be young again this fall, with only two seniors and five juniors on the roster. Impson said steady improvement for his new team is his No. 1 goal heading into his first fast-pitch season.
“I think we’re going to improve,” Impson predicted. “You can’t expect to go to the state tournament right off the bat, but the main thing is we want to learn to compete. I’ve stressed with the girls that we want to do the little things and compete in every ball game.”
Impson said junior Autumn Lavielle and senior Danaka Mowdy will pitch the bulk of his team’s innings this fall. He admitted that the learning curve will be steep for coach and players in 2011, but he said he’s optimistic.
“I’ve just been trying to learn as much as I can about them this summer,” he said. “We’re really working on getting better defensively. They’re learning. They’ve done well as far as learning what I want them to, but there’s just so much they have to learn.”
The Lady Wolves’ schedule probably won’t be a confidence builder. Vanoss will play traditional powers Latta, Tupelo, Stonewall and Moss this fall, along with Asher and old rival Stratford.
“We’re going to play everybody in the area, so we’ll be seeing some real good teams,” he said.
Impson said that no matter how well his Vanoss girls do this fall, it will be tough for him not to look back from time to time.
“It will be real tough looking over there and watching the boys,” he said. “It will be hard not to be around (baseball) all the time.”