ACE Coach program hits 20K mark as coach awarded with Pocket Radar prize pack

Aug. 27, 2019, 2:08 p.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY – USA Softball announced today that Dean VanDeWiele (Pierre, S.D.) has won a prize pack after becoming the 20,000th coach to complete the ACE (Aspire, Challenge, Encourage) Coach Education Program this 2019 season. The ACE Coach Education Program is designed to provide softball coaches of all levels, from beginning coaches to experienced veterans, an opportunity to further their education as a coach with the National Governing Body of Softball. For the seventh-straight year, USA Softball has teamed up with Pocket Radar™ to provide coaches with a prize pack. At every 5,000th milestone, USA Softball will award that coach with a brand-new Ball Coach Training Tool, courtesy of Pocket Radar™ ($300 value).

VanDeWiele began his coaching career as a volunteer coach for his daughters’ summer Junior Olympic team in 2011 before he was asked to help coach a travel ball team. During his daughter’s junior year of high school, their travel team joined the high school league without knowing what it was or if they had the talent to compete in the league.

“We decided to put our toes in the water and had 18 girls from 8th-12th grade participate on our first team in 2015,” said VanDeWiele. “Interest increased during our second year as we ended up with 28 high schoolers and added a middle school program as well. It seems the more we learn, the more the girls enjoy the game and want to play it at a higher level. I feel like it’s truly gaining momentum as the kids are now pushing us to teach them more,” he added. “But simply put, my daughter had such enjoyment playing the sport that I felt I needed to ‘pay it forward’ after she graduated so others could experience what she did.”

Having taken the ACE Education courses, VanDeWiele says the videos worked as excellent training tools. “We all think we know the game, only to learn that we don’t know it as well as we thought we did. Thinking about first aid, safety, and personal development are a few of the things we may not put priority on without this program.”

As the National Governing Body of Softball, it is USA Softball’s responsibility to ensure that coaches achieve a certain level of understanding of their duties as a coach of a youth softball team. The ACE Coach Education Program videos and the ACE Coach Program Manual are practical guides to the everyday situations encountered as a youth softball coach.

When asked what he enjoys most about USA Softball, VanDeWiele said, “I really enjoy the emphasis on the personal as well as the physical development. There is as much focus on individuals as there is on wins and losses, which I think is very important. I also see emphasis on the kids having fun. It’s much more of a holistic development theory than just stacking a team for winning at all costs. With this theory, we reach a lot of young ladies that may have been left behind in other programs.” 

It is highly recommended that all coaches wishing to coach at the Championship Play level or those coaches wanting to receive full ACE Coach program benefits become an ACE coach. Coaches can do so online using the ACE Online System on There are four levels to the ACE program and upon successful completion of each level, benefits include RPS Bollinger insurance coverage, a background check clearance and ID card.

VaneWiele’s goals for the 2019 season are to “ensure that the girls know they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. I want to push them as well as teach them that they can achieve great things, but that great things only come with sacrifice. If they know they are playing the best ball they can play and if they are having great memories during their experience in our program, then I’ll have reached my goals.” 

For more information on the ACE Coach Program, please contact your local USA Softball Association Commissioner or visit the ACE Coach Program section  of

About Pocket Radar
From the world’s smallest certified accurate speed radar, to the only radar gun specifically designed for coachingand training, Pocket Radar has engineered a revolutionary product line to fit your speed measurement needs. Each Pocket Radar design includes exceptional performance and technology that fits in the palm of your hand. Pocket Radar products are convenient and rugged enough for everyday use by everyone from pro to amateur, to National Championship winning coaches and anyone interested in speed. For more information about Pocket Radar, visit

About USA Softball
USA Softball (USAS) is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USAS sanctions competition through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro associations.  USAS is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch.  USAS annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships.  The USAS umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game. 

As the NGB for the sport of softball, USAS is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USAS, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit,