Softball has always been a part of Bethany Loether's life.
“I have had a glove in my hand for as long as I can remember,” she said. “It's fun to whip the ball around and I loved the time spent playing catch with my dad.”
Now she continues to share her love of game with the next generation, taking the helm of the Watertown-Mayer softball program.
“I like the challenge of it,” she said of coaching. “I like encouraging confidence and integrity – that's the fun part.
A big part of Loether's focus is on developing confidence in players and equiping with skills that will help them off the field. After all, she got in to coaching because of the affect her previous coaches had on her.
“I have had a lot of coaches over the year that have impacted me,” Loether said.
Wins and losses will come as they may, but hard work and character-building is something a team can control.
“Big picture, the goal is for kids to be of high integrity, have good work ethic and be a unit that can appreciate everybody, no matter what their role is,” said Loether.
The new head of the varsity program, Loether has a unique perspective of a player's role on a team. Coming out of Winona Cotter, Loether was as star on the softball field, earning her acclaim and eventually a spot on the University of Minnesota softball team.
Playing for the Gophers was not only a high honor, it gave Loether a new challenge. Much like any other high school standout, Loether had the role of star player, but on the Gophers team, everybody was the star of their team. She worked her way from the bench to become captain for her senior year, giving her a unique perspective of what it is like to play every role for a team.
“I worked hard and developed my way there,” she said. “That helped my understanding of both sides better and my understanding of my players.”
Loether aims to bring this experience to her players as she implements a team-first attitude that places value on every player on the roster. Confidence and integrity are two areas Loether would like to impact on players, which she has started to see at lower levels. Having coached the seventh grade team at Watertown-Mayer for 4 years, Loether has enjoyed seeing changes in excitement and confidence from her players, which is her goal when coaching.
“It's more of an outlet,” she said of softball. “It doesn't matter who your friends are, or the kind of day you had, when you go on the field you get to be yourself.”