Coach Irene Rivera hears the constant under tossing of the air resistant ball and the sound of the wooden bat swinging across the air as she watches her softball players improve their pitching skills on the field.
Rivera is the new assistant coach to Granada Hills Charter High School (GHC)’s softball team this year. She is also a GHC alumnus. Coming back from college allowed her to continue her coaching career and accomplish the goals that she set herself in childhood.
“I knew I wanted to continue my coaching career and I just thought, why not come back to my alma mater? I already knew coach Garcia from when he coached me my senior year. So to me, it was an easy phone call to make and ask if he needed some help,” Rivera said.
Rivera first started playing the sport at six years old. She quickly fell in love with the sport and dreamed of making the high school softball team. She tried out in freshman year and made the varsity team, playing for the team between 2012 and 2015.
“As a young girl playing softball, you always think about playing for your high school team. That’s simply the dream to make your team and continue to play at the next level. So after making it the first year, it was all about staying on that team and developing my skills along with trying to get to a college team,” Rivera said.
During her time playing for GHC, she learned to overcome adversity and never backed down in a game. She played multiple positions both in and out of the field, however her primary position was catching. Because she had experience in many positions, she is able to teach pitchers and catchers at the GHC. Although she specialized in catching, Rivera also learned pitching techniques and received feedback from the pitching coaches while working with the pitchers and coaches as a catcher. These experiences made her feel comfortable to pitch at GHC.
“I think I had always wanted to become a softball coach,” Rivera said.
As a coach, she has run softball camps with her teammates and has taught different kinds of techniques to younger softball players. This further allowed her to advance from giving one-on-one catching lessons during her senior year in college to coaching a whole team in Sweden afterward.
“It is important to learn quickly that softball is not about yourself but your team. And the sooner you realize that the more success you will see on and off the field,” Rivera said.
Rivera hopes to pass the same knowledge that she learned from her softball experience to a younger generation. This motivates her to proceed with her passion for coaching softball, and she hopes to inspire softball players through her lectures.
“Coach Irene talks about her traveling around the world and teaches us lessons for us to appreciate the sport. She is a very passionate coach with a unique personality,” senior Gabriella said.
Be sure to cheer Coach Rivera and the team on at the Cypress Tournament on February 22.