In 2009 Terra Nova Varsity Softball Coach Donna Tolero loaned her time and talents to organize and manage a new "Mini's" division in the Pacifica Girls Softball League (PGSL).
Beginning with 24 girls, the Mini's quickly gained momentum as a parent-participation introductory division for girls ages 4-6 where participants learn developmentally appropriate skills in a fun and nurturing setting.
With the help of adult/parent helpers and mentors, Mini's rotate through a series of skill stations that focus on catching, throwing, fielding and batting with an emphasis on safety and fostering a love of the sport. Mini's practice and play on Saturday mornings with no mid-week practices.
Girls softball is very different from boys baseball allowing for head first sliding into bases in all divisions including Mini's. Mini's are taught to slide properly and it is common to see young girls dusting off uniforms mid-game.
With increasing popularity of the Mini's division, the league created a new transitional division in 2012. These two divisions account for 53 of the 160+ players in the PGSL today. The Mini's program includes mentors from the teams and girls from the PGSL's older divisions. The opportunity for young girls to see the resulting friendships that develop through softball is important. Older players mentor because they are passionate about the sport and they love working with the Mini's. Peer mentors develop leadership skills and set positive examples for younger girls.
Coach Tolero understands the importance of older girls mentoring younger girls: Donna has been on the field since she was 2 years old watching her mom Jerry Newland coach Bobby Sox and then softball in the 1980's. Mrs. Newland was inducted into the Pacifica Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. Donna has over 10 years of actual game play, 16 years of coaching, holds three distinct softball certifications and was awarded the San Mateo County Softball High School Coach of the Year in 2008.
Coach Tolero welcomes new Mini's throughout the season.