In this week’s edition of Meet the Instructor, Maine Hits is happy to introduce the owner and director of softball, Danica Gleason. Danica is a decorated athlete that has participated at the Division l and lll levels with Tennessee State University and Saint Joseph’s College.  Gleason started to leave her mark in the softball community during high school, where she played for the South Portland Riots. 

During her high school career, Gleason was a four-year SMAA first-team All-State selection and a class A state champion. In 2013 Gleason earned multiple outstanding awards for her competitive play including:

SMAA Defensive Player of the Year

SMAA Offensive Player of the Year

SMAA Player of the Year

Miss Maine Softball

Portland Press Herald Player of the Year

Forecaster Spring Athlete of the Year

After an impressive high school career, Danica continued to leave her mark throughout college. At Saint Joseph’s College, Gleason was the 2014 GNAC Rookie of the Year and GNAC second-team All-conference selection before she decided to transfer to Tennessee State University.

While playing for Tennessee Danica lead her team in doubles, triples, and home runs in 2017 and showed great versatility playing all nine positions. 

In addition to her successful career as an athlete, Gleason is bring her talent and knowledge into the coaching department. In her first season as a head coach Gleason lead her 14U team to a 22-10-1 record, including one semi-final match, three championship games, and two tournament titles.

Gleason attends coaching conferences throughout New England to bring the best and most up-to-date information to her organization, staff, and players. She not only shares her knowledge with her 16U team, but she also takes the time to participate in the 14U and 12U practices, advancing the hitting of athletes of all ages.

Here are some questions that might help you get to know Danica.

HOW LONG HAS SOFTBALL BEEN APART OF YOUR LIFE?

Softball has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. My dad was still playing baseball when I was young, so I ended up spending a lot of time in the stands watching him play. My brother’s career started not too long after that, giving me a new family member to watch from the stands, and that’s where I became a fan of the game. 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN COACHING FOR?

I started my coaching pursuit in high school, where I took part in the South Portland youth basketball development program. I switched my coaching focus to softball in 2014 with a 14U travel team, and I have coached every year since, at the 16U, 18U, and showcase levels.  In 2017-2018 I made the jump to coaching college softball. I started at the University of New England before moving to my current position with the Bates College Bobcats.  

HOW DO YOU KNOW AS A COACH IF YOU ARE DOING AN EFFECTIVE JOB? WHAT ARE YOUR MEASURES?

I know I am coaching effectively if my players want to put the work in and get excited about the game. When a player asks me what they should be working on and makes sure they’re doing things right, I know I’m doing a good job. I also like to keep track of a player’s growth throughout the year, and as we all know, stats never lie. 

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN SUCCESS IN YOUR PROFESSION?

I maintain success the same way you do in all professions. I do my best to learn something new every day. I read a lot of books on coaching philosophies and attend workshops and conferences.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?

What I enjoy most is seeing things click. It is so rewarding to see players enjoy the success that they have worked hard to create for themselves.. I also enjoy traveling and building relationships with people throughout the sport and profession.