Woodinville coach leads energetic Summer Camp in Preston

  • Written by Derek Johnson
As you enter the Field of Champions facility, you feel the energy. Music booms from speakers. Coaches shout encouragement. Girls run around doing drills. There’s a familiar vibe in the air. Yes, it’s just like a Woodinville Falcon practice - except the players are younger.
Woodinville coach Dani Tachell founded this camp five summers ago in Preston (fifteen minutes from her home). It started with 12 girls. Now in 2018, the camp will be held three times – June, July and August. Over 20 kids signed up for each month (and there’s room for more).
DSC 3278Elyse Bruce prepares to swing while Riley Baumann plays catcher. (Photo by Derek Johnson)Assisting Tachell were Eastlake coach Stephanie Fox, Issaquah catcher Cora Erickson, and Tachell’s sister and fellow Woodinville coach, Makenna Weir. 
“Our objective is to have a fast-paced, high-energy, competitive environment,” Weir said. “A place where we teach them self-confidence and how to be a good teammate.”
At one point, the girls engaged in goal-setting. They split into groups and sat on the ground. They wrote for a few minutes. Then, one-by-one, they stood to make their announcements.
It turns out there were two types of goals. The first was a “big scary goal” for the long-term ambitious future. The second was a more modest goal set for the following day.
“We have these ideas of what we want and think oh gosh that would be cool,” Tachell said. “But to announce them and make them real, people can hold you accountable... When they bring them to life and we talk about them, they can start putting purpose into their work. Understanding why they’re going to practice, why they’re pitching to their dad in the backyard other than it being fun. What are they working toward? Now they can have more motivation to do the work. And then they feel so much better when they know they accomplished a goal. It inspires them to create more goals. And that has been a big portion of my work with goals. Creating purpose.”
When Tachell herself was a girl, her dreams were to play softball at UCLA and in the Olympics.
“You don’t always get your big scary goal,” Tachell said. “I played college ball for Boston College and I played overseas [Switzerland]. So that was a nice miss. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”
The afternoon concluded with a game of Whiffle ball. 10-year old Clara Connor stood out, and it wasn’t just due to her bright purple pants. The left-handed hitter’s smooth swing peppered the room with scorching line drives.
“I have played softball for four years,” Connor said. “My favorite player is Felix Hernandez. I also pitch and play catcher.”
DSC 3304Woodinville coaches and sisters Makenna Weir (left) and Dani Tachell (Photo by Derek Johnson) A couple of Woodinville girls were in the mix. 7-year old Kinzie Boughton has an aunt who played with Dani Tachell on Woodinville’s 2005 State Championship Team.
“I enjoyed Whiffle ball and playing with the other girls,” Boughton said. “My goal one day, I want to be on Dani’s and Mak’s team.”
Sage Hiley also hails from Woodinville. The soft-spoken 11-year old was asked what part of her game she wants to develop.  
“I’m working on keeping my back elbow up,” Hiley said. “Then I don’t go under and pop it up. I hit line drives and stuff.”
Makenna Weir was asked what new kids can expect from the camp.
“On day one the girls are a little shy,” Weir said. “Nobody really knows anybody. But you know Dani and I, we’re pretty loud and energized and in-your-face. We tried to put together a coaching staff that has high energy that trickles down to the girls. So on day one, the girls are only shy for about 10 minutes. And then they’re giggling and laughing and getting to know each other. Of course we want them to be disciplined and respectful and listen to coach. But also have fun while you’re here.”
Camp #2:  July 16 - 19
Camp #3:  August 13 - 16
9:00 a.m. - 2 p.m.
For more information contact Dani Tachell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 206-919-8854


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