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Jacksonville Venom




Jacksonville Venom Girls Fastpitch Softball

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Posted Feb 10/11 - Practice Scheduled
Voluntary practice this Saturday at 3pm at Flynn Park.
Welcome to the Jacksonville Venom Home Page!

A Message From Coach For Prospective Players & Parents

Hello players and parents,

My name is Coach Mike Flanagan. I am the father of three children; two girls (19 and 11) and one boy (5). My experience with sports began before I could walk, watching my father play fast pitch softball in Ohio and traveling all over the Midwest to his tournaments. At the age of twelve, we moved to Jacksonville where I played baseball and football at MAA, DuPont and Wolfson. After graduating, I was offered a baseball scholarship to UCF and I was also offered an opportunity to play in the Cincinnati Reds organization. I chose option B. I also played 15 years of travel softball while also being a coach and umpire. I have seen all sides of this sport and athletics have allowed me to travel a large part of the U.S.Softball could help your children do the same.

This is an outline of my plans, philosophies and goals for the coming year:


Above all, school comes first. These are important transition years for our girls. No grades, no play. I will ask for parentsí help in this matter. If a girl isnít traveling because of academics I would still like them at practices but the times we would be playing games can be used to make up studies.However, this is up to the parents' discretion.

Practice/schedule for fall 2010:

We will try to have 10 practices a month. If that that sounds like a lot, that's just 2-3 a week, including weekends. We will not waste our time and money playing a lot of practice tournaments in the fall. If you are concerned that it is not enough time spent on softball, practices will consist of intensive training on refining and introducing new skills. I've played/coached every position and can further your child's development at any position. We will play scrimmage games with other local teams until I'm sure what we've learned can translate to a tournament. Playing tournaments when the team isn't ready can be detrimental to their confidence and it can also lead to repeated mistakes and cause bad habits to rear their ugly heads. It's quality, not quantity with me.

Practice/schedule and travel for spring 2011:

We will have a full schedule of approximately 10 tournaments before the World Series. If we go to Disnet for their World Series then we will target a few more USSSA tournaments to gain more points for seeding purposes.


Every girl will get individual attention as well as part of a group and team. When the Assistants are set, I prefer them to coach the bases during a game. I'll send in signals, but they will have a lot of leeway. This way I can focus on the entire team and not get "lost" in the situation. We will call bunt plays on defense, call location and change of pace pitches all through the catcher. We will have at least one bunt for hit each game and put as much pressure on the opposition's defense as possible. Defense is huge with me, but that only keeps you in a game. My goal is to have everyone taken a side each practice and get at least 50 swings in. Soft toss, tee, coach pitch, machine, live pitching at times. I have some good drills with the tee.


We won't play tournaments just for the sake of playing tournaments. We'll try to stay local in the fall. I am not a deep pocketed coach/parent. I believe in fund-raising and sponsorships are great. We, as a team, will try to set up several ways to raise money. When we do travel, it can get expensive but if we stay together we can block off discount rates. This is especially true when we travel with other local teams.We'll try to find the best value for the money when it comes to tournaments and accommodations.

Why travel ball?

There are several reasons why travel ball is better than rec ball. If you are thinking forward to the future, more college scouts follow travel ball than school ball. After all, why would a scout travel to each high school to look at one girl when they can go to a travel tournament and see them all at once?Most rec leagues are good for beginning players or parents who want their child to be more active without a major time commitment. Many are coached by devoted parents who are there for their children, but may not have strong coaching experience. My oldest daughter chose not to play travel ball at this age, only school ball. In the next six years, she had 5 different coaches and wasn't able to get back into to travel ball because teams were set. She regrets it now.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to email me at or call me at 904-520-3046.

Thank you,

Coach Mike


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