ACS: Jackie Barley, Walsh University Softball

Jackie Barley
Walsh University Softball
Hometown: Tecumseh, Ohio
Education: Madonna University
Twitter: @coachjbarley
Email: jbarley [at]
Official bio

The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.

When I was a kid I always coached myself in every sport that I played–I was the coach and the player at the same time. I was a gym rat and was always outside with some sort of ball, stick or cone. I wanted to be the best at everything I did and I am super competitive, so I would be hard on myself and had to figure out how to be the best in pressure situations. Once I was old enough for organized sports I would do what my coaches asked of me and soaked up everything they said, but I was always putting in extra work on my own. I enjoyed practice–the process–just as much as playing games. I always had great coaches that were fantastic teachers of the game, so wanting to follow in their footsteps was a no-brainer.

Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.

I enjoy watching and playing a variety of sports and observing different people in leadership positions. Coaching is coaching, and at it’s core it is teaching. I believe it is all transferable and applicable to our sport, and specifically our program.

If you could go back to your rookie coach self and give one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell myself to not be a perfectionist. Softball is a game of failure and so is coaching. The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. Not everything is going to be perfect and that is fine. It reminds me of the quote, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” Coaching is frustrating if you try to be perfect at everything–you can’t control everything and it’s never going to go according to plan, but that does not mean that you don’t have a plan and prepare to the best of your ability.

Best career or work advice you ever received.

“You can’t turn a show pony into a workhorse.” This is reflective of the tough and gritty player I try to recruit–someone who works hard and gets the job done, not someone who looks the part but isn’t willing to put extra effort in, because hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level.

Nick Saban. He once dreamed of being the head coach at his alma mater but was passed up for someone else. He questioned his future in coaching but didn’t give up on his dream. Look at what he has done at Alabama–he surrounds himself with people who buy into his culture and vision of hard work and accountability. He rejuvenated the program and redefined the culture. Nick Saban is the ultimate success story.

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