CHATHAM, NJ - Joelle Della Volpe intends to bring power hitting to the Chatham High softball team as the Lady Cougars' new head coach. And she's not going to wait very long to get started.
"I was a power hitter in college and I've worked with Rob Crews," Della Volpe said. "I use the same hitting techniques they use at Michigan State and Arizona. You can take the smallest girl on the team and, with the right technique, she can hit it out.
"I'll be evaluating their swings as soon as I can. A lot of girls swing from their chest. They don't finish their swing through the zone. I'm going to look at everyone's swing and focus on their weaknesses. We'll work on them and their weaknesses will become their strengths."
Della Volpe wants Chatham to play fall ball and she intends to bring in Parisi Speed School to help with speed and strength training. She also intends to hold camps in the summer and have the Chatham team play in summer leagues.
"I'm a rules person and I like things being done to the T," she said. "I'm the kind of coach that will dive to show them how it's done. I get my uniform dirty. I think it's important to be able to show them how it's done."
Della Volpe, 35, also plans on working with the girls on mental preparation.
"The mental approach is part of it," Della Volpe said. "They'll be learning how to mentally prepare as they ride on the team bus to the game."
Della Volpe comes in with no preconceptions about the players on the team. Everyone will start out with the same chance to earn a starting position.
"It doesn't matter what year you are, the best girls are going to play," Della Volpe said. "I'm here to build the program. I' in it for the long haul."
Della Volpe coached the last 10 seasons at Hackensack High, where her team reached the semifinals of the highly competitive Bergen County Tournament in 2012. She is a graduate of Belleville High, where she played volleyball, soccer, basketball and softball.
Della Volpe was a four-time Division 3 All-America and a three-time NCAA All-Star selection as a third baseman at Western Connecticut State University, where she earned her degree in 2001.