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Friends rediscover love of sports through coaching


By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

Little League is the best time for the youth of a community. These young players are getting stronger, learning the game and new skills, and making friends. Two of this year’s coaches have been together since
Little League and throughout high school. Abby Cornett and Natalie Winters have played together for as long as they can remember.
Cornett and Winters were a part of the elite athletes that dominated basketball and softball during their senior year. They graduated in 2020, and needless to say, they accomplished a lot together and individually. They are both in college now, Winters at ETSU and Cornett at NESCC.
As busy students who also work, coaching never crossed their minds but right before the basketball season started, they were asked to coach, so these two best friends became basketball coaches for the 9-10-year-old age group. The new coaches were quickly hooked. “Coaching is an experience like no other,” Winters said. “There is no better feeling than watching the kids take what we teach them in practice and implement those skills into a game.”
Cornett agreed with her friend and added, “it was so much fun watching those players grow from the start. I hope to keep coaching. It has become a big part of my heart.”
As the basketball season ended, the youth league was having sign-ups for baseball/softball in the gym, so naturally, the duo said, “why not” and thus landed a volunteer coaching job for the Angels coach pitch team that starts from ages kindergarten through 3rd grade.
As they transition from basketball to coach-pitch, it is nice to hear these coaching partners discuss the importance of developing skills and watching the players fall in love with the sport and not just a win/lose a game. To the credit of those who influenced them, they understand the true meaning of little league sports. “Seeing the joy in our players and what they experience on the court or field reminds me of why I began playing in the first place, and it has truly taught me that sports have made such an impact in my life, and I hope to be an advocate for kids who want to get involved,” Winters said.
Cornett strongly agrees with Winters and adds, “it is just nice coaching with Natalie,” her coaching buddy agrees, “there is no place I would rather be than on the sidelines coaching with Abby.”