Hitting coach behind success of softball team


Assistant coach Jamie Pinkerton returns to the dugout during the game against Texas Tech on April 19, 2013, at the Cyclone Sports Complex.  He was the first base coach in the 6-5 win.

Isaac Hunt

The ISU softball team is on pace for a record-setting marks, currently holding a .289 batting average, .431 slugging percentage and has already passed the school record in RBIs with 239.

One man, assistant coach Jamie Pinkerton, is behind the recently successful offense of the Cyclones.

“I think he is such a great coach,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “The years of experience he brings, I think he is great to have on staff. He is a good hitting coach and defensive coach.”

Pinkerton has also helped Iowa State reach school records in fielding percentages with .963.

Although he has coached with players on the U.S. National Team and twice has taken his old team, Arkansas, to the postseason, Pinkerton has settled in Ames as the team’s hitting and infield defensive coach.

With more than 20 years of experience, he has developed coaching habits that bring out the best in his players.

“I’m not going to recruit somebody, bring them in, tear them down, and make them into [something else],” Pinkerton said. “We watch a lot of film. I pay attention to what they are doing, when they are hitting well and when they struggle. Technique-wise, I work with what they are good at.”

Erica Miller, the team’s current leader in RBIs and batting average, said she and Pinkerton see eye-to-eye on a lot of batting techniques. Pinkerton’s coaching has helped refine the little things.

“He looks at a lot of video with me. So, he is able to pick up on whatever I am doing wrong,” Miller said. “From the slightest hip turn to where your hand position is, he is really good at analyzing your swing and helping you when you are struggling.”

Because of a previous friendship with Gemeinhardt-Cesler and family in Minneapolis, Iowa State was able to bring in Pinkerton to Ames soon after he left his post as head coach at Arkansas.

Pinkerton and Gemeinhardt-Cesler’s relationship has since blossomed into a coaching duo that allows both to use their strengths.

“It’s a lot easier for us to play good cop, bad cop,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “He tends to be a little bit more quick-fused than I am, but I think that’s good because I think there is a certain group of people that respond to that.

“There are a lot of different ways people can be coached, and it’s a good balance. He complements me very well.”

Although he may be harder on the players, Pinkerton feels that he has a good relationship with his team, and he has grown as a coach.

“Early on when I was younger, I was hard-core,” Pinkerton said. “I got after them a little bit more. I wouldn’t say I was a yeller, but I got after the players. I think as I have gotten older and more experienced, I have become more of a players’ coach.

“I get after them when I have to, but I sit back and let them play. When I have to push, I push. When I don’t need to push, I just let them play, for lack of better terms. I just go in the moment.”