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Program Policies

Park Rapids Fastpitch Policies

The Pride of Panthers Fastpitch Softball:  What it means to be a Panther Fastpitch Player

We are happy to have you and your family as a part of this program.  The support and involvement of players and parents are what make great programs.  Of course being a part of this program requires a great commitment from everyone involved.  The following outlines some expectations for players and parents and explain the important policies that pertain to your role in the program. 


Time Commitment

No matter what the activity, family comes first.  When a player has family commitments, we want and expect the player to make the family their first priority.  That being said, it is our hope that when planning family activities you will also consider the impact the player’s absence will have on our softball family.  When a player in our program is absent, it almost always impacts their teammates in a negative way.  Whether it means a less productive practice or a loss in a game, please keep in mind that there are always several other players and coaches counting on you.  At the varsity level there are times when an entire school and community are counting on you.  Again, we recognize that emergencies do come up and no player will be faulted for absences related this type of situation.  All we ask is that you recognize and respect that there are others counting on you when you commit to being a part of a team your presence is of great importance to your teammates and the program.  Absences that do not follow under the guidelines of an excused absence can affect playing time.


We want our players to excel in everything they do. This includes performing at a high level in the classroom.  Players may occasionally miss class when we are on road trips.  Our players must be responsible and ask for assignments ahead of time.  We will not ask for special privileges or exceptions.  We will be leaders in the classroom.  Get assignments ahead of time and turn in assignments on time.  We will comply with all MSHSL guidelines for academics.   In addition to that,  if a player is deficient in more one or more classes, they will be expected to fix that deficiency before attending practice or games.  The top priority for players is to get a good education. 

On and off the field behavior

Whether we like it or not, coaches and players are role models.  It is undeniable that people at high levels of athletics are admired by others, especially young people.  This is a responsibility we expect our athletes to embrace.    Fastpitch Softball players will be expected to act in a first class manner on and off the field.  Off the field, we expect that our players will be leaders and they will never use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.  Players that are unwilling to sacrifice such things are demonstrating a selfish attitude and a lack of commitment to their teammates.  They are also directly violating the trust and admiration that is given to them by their teammates, school and community.  Our school’s policy will be enforced and upon completion of the suspension, the violating player will need to work to regain the trust of their coaches and teammates.    Therefore, do not do anything to embarrass yourself, your family, this program or this school, or your actions will result in repercussions. 

Mentally Tough Athletes:  This season we will incorporate “winning softball” and "GRIT" programs which is designed to help players compete mentally tough.  Players will be asked to incorporate mental skills and guidelines for fueling the body properly.   The success of this program beings with you as a player. 

Emphasis on winning and playing time

At every level below varsity, the emphasis will be on player development.  However, as players climb up the competitive ladder there will be an increased emphasis on winning.  Upon reaching varsity, winning will absolutely be a primary goal.  While we recognize winning is not the most important aspect of athletics, it certainly enhances the experience for all involved so we will pursue winning vigorously.  In selecting a varsity roster, seniors are given strong consideration for varsity.  This does not mean all seniors are guaranteed playing time.  We will play the players that give us the best chance to win!  Underclassmen will be given an equal chance to make varsity based on two things.  First, athletes will play at a level that will benefit the program the most.  Second they will play at a level that will allow them to develop to their fullest potential.  We will carry anywhere from 10 to 15 players on varsity.   As coaches we are given the task of doing what is best for the team.  Sometimes what is best for the team is not what is best for an individual player.  Every player has the right to an explanation if they are not comfortable with their role on the team.  There are times when athletes do not like the explanation but again, it is our job to do what is best for the program at large, not what is best for an individual player.  We encourage players to discuss concerns and questions with us.  When a player is unclear of their role, the coach will explain it to them.  Players in this situation should ask the coach what they can do to improve their position on the team.  Teams where everyone understands and accepts their role usually turn out to be special teams.  We will do our best to accommodate every player on our team, but we will not accommodate one player at the expense of the rest of the team. 

Think Safety First!

  Safety issues are a greater concern in softball than many other sports due to the nature of swinging bats and thrown softballs.  Keep these safety rules in mind each day during the season.

     1. Always look before swinging a bat!!!  Make sure your area is clear.  Be aware of swinging bats so you do not walk into a swinging bat.

     2. Make eye contact with your partner before releasing the ball when throwing.  Always throw in the same direction, for example, across the width of the gym.

     3. Have hair pulled back and no jewelry.  

     4. Receive instruction from your coach before running the pitching machine.

     5. Wear helmets anytime you are being pitched to, tossing to a hitting partner, or using the pitching machine.  Wear protective gear while catching for a pitcher.

Practice Tidbits

 Come to practice prepared.  Besides your glove and spikes, make sure you have inside and outside practice clothes available every day. Forgetting equipment or clothes is not an acceptable excuse.  We encourage the use of batting gloves, sliding shorts, and knee guards.  Anything that can give us an edge in the game we encourage.  

 Practice times vary until we are able to get outside.  Once outside, practice will be 3:15-5:30 for the JV team.  Varsity may go as late as 5:45.  Do not schedule work times before 5:45.  There will be consequences for late comers.  Missed practices pre-season are also expected to be made up. If you cannot attend practice, inform your coach personally. Telling someone else to tell your coach is not acceptable.  You can contact Mrs. Goeden at Ext. 447.  Leave a message. Practice with your team cannot be duplicated.  Absences will be dealt with on an individual basis.

 Equipment responsibilities in softball can be overwhelming if left to a few, so we will all pitch in and help.  Catchers will be responsible for catching gear, Pitchers for softballs and first aid kit, Infield players for helmets, and Outfield players for bats.  If you play more than one position, go by your primary position.  Team captains will oversee care of all equipment.  All players are expected to change in the PE locker room.  Lock up all valuables or keep them in my office.  Take all spikes off and pound them off outside.  Offenders, if caught tracking in mud, will serve time sweeping and mopping!

Game Day

 On stated days we will wear game jerseys to school.  Players need to change before leaving school for away games.  No changing on the bus!  Preparing mentally for the game is a personal thing but should not be taken lightly.  Visualization techniques have been proven to improve play and again should not be trivialized.  Only in special circumstances will you be allowed to ride home from games with your parents.  A team should stay together from start to finish.  Plans to ride home with anyone besides parents must be cleared through Mr. Schumacher and Mrs. Goeden before leaving school for a game. Treat game officials, coaches, and players with respect.  Always leave your area better than you found it including fields, locker rooms, dug outs, and the bus.

Healthy Athletes

Success is tied with a players’ health.  Dress appropriately.  Many of our practices and games are in chilly weather. Watch what you eat and do eat breakfast and lunch.  Fuel your body with proper foods.  No pop and limit sugar, especially on game days. 

Your body heals and renews during sleep.  Adequate rest is important.  Curfews include 10:00 week nights, and the night before a game, and midnight on weekends throughout the season.  Special curfews will be enforced the night before tournaments.  Let your coach know about injuries so we can attend to them.  We can refer you to our trainer.

Lettering & Goals

Varsity players must play in 20 innings or one inning per regular season game.  Exceptions may be granted to seniors who show quality character and commitment.   Also, a player must not have any MSHSL rules violations during the length of the season and complete the season in good standing.  Be prepared to set goals for yourself and for your team for the season.  Goals are our way of measuring progress for our athletes and our program.  The criteria for setting goals include being specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and your goals need a timeline.  Keep these in mind as you set your goals for the season.

Cell phones

 Cell phones are not allowed in the locker room. Be aware that communicating via any social media such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, text, and  email  whether words, pictures, or gestures of any type,  whether  it be malicious, vindictive, or degrading,  these types of messages will not be tolerated.  The District 309 policy concerning social media will be followed and can be accessed through the Panther Guide pages 16 and 25.


In order for the coaching staff to do the best job we can for you, it is crucial for you as a player to keep all lines of communication open.  Work out small problems before they become big ones.  Our program incorporates the 24 hour rule.  If you are upset about something that happened, give it 24 hours.  If it still bothers you, talk to your captain or coach about it.  If not, let it go.  Our second communication rule incorporates the NPGC rule.  Let’s help each other follow this rule one day at a time.

Coaches note:

Recognize that the policies and procedures established here are not comprehensive.  Sometimes, unforeseen situations transpire so we reserve the right to adapt or add to policies as we see fit.  All district and MSHSL policies and decisions supersede the policies of the softball program.  Now that we have shared formalities, we would like to again extend a welcome to Panther Fastpitch.  We look forward to an exciting and rewarding season.  GO PANTHERS!

Panther Fastpitch Coaching staff,

Marion Goeden   237-6447 or 732-8160

Ken Tretbar

Ken Bynum

Kevin Cederstrom