Justine Siegal coaches men
Justine Siegal is billed by her team, The Brockton Rox, as the first woman to coach men’s professional baseball (they play in the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball or Can-Am League). She is also founder of BaseBall for All, which supports female players and provides baseball instruction around the world (Siegal coached last year in India and Hong Kong). Siegal coaches for the Springfield College Baseball team – and is a Ph.D. candidate in sports psychology. She spoke during her daily commute from Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA.
FGN: How long have you been playing baseball?
JS: I started playing when I was five. I played men’s professional baseball until I was 22.
FGN: You coach for a men’s professional team, the Brockton Rox. What do you do?
JS: I’m a rookie coach. I just started. I’ve been throwing a lot of batting practice.
FGN: How have the players reacted?
JS: So far, everyone who has spoken to me has been very supportive. I tell them I am there to help them become better baseball players and help the team win a championship – just like every coach there.
FGN: What are your career ambitions?
JS: One of my goals is to be a college baseball coach. No woman has ever been a head college baseball coach.
FGN: Why do so few girls try baseball?
JS: There is a lot of pressure on girls to play softball. I played baseball a long time – I played through high school – and I felt like every day someone was asking me to play softball instead. And I was on the baseball team! In my mind, it’s because those in power don’t want girls to play baseball. It’s considered a boy’s game.
FGN: Why do many girls switch from baseball to softball when they reach middle school?
JS: The girls who play baseball are great athletes so a college scholarship in softball is a real possibility; a scholarship in baseball is a possibility, but the [chances] are lower. It’s sad to me when girls switch when they don’t want to. One of my goals is to help them over the hump. I tell the girls, “Why can’t it be you? Why can’t you make it?” We keep taking ourselves out of the game.
FGN: What is the role of the coach in all this?