What It's Like For Sydney Romero To Coach At Duke
Sydney Romero is in the midst of her first year as an assistant softball coach at Duke University. For the Blue Devils, she works closely with hitters and is the team's infield instructor.
After a successful college playing career, Romero spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of Oklahoma.
Since her college softball career ended with the Sooners in 2019, Romero has played professional softball and even competed in the Tokyo Olympics with Team Mexico, while also working on the coaching side of the game.
Read Softball America's full conversation with Romero below.
Softball America: Why did you choose to join the coaching staff at Duke?
Sydney Romero: I knew the moment I talked to Coach Young my answer would be yes. I would say the deciding factor was when she asked me if working with hitters was something I was interested in. Hitting is something that I love learning, talking and helping people with. I knew it was the route I wanted to go in coaching, and I remember feeling very humbled and excited that she presented me with the opportunity to live my dream here at Duke, but most importantly, trusting me.
SA: What was your first semester coaching at Duke like?
SR: My athletes have been the best part. Change is hard, and my athletes have been more than welcoming and have accepted me for who I am, and it means the world to me. They make every single day fun, challenging and worth it. The transition has been very smooth, and I am exactly where I need to be.
SA: What is your coaching style?
SR: I would say I am more on the stern side. I can get my point across and express things in ways maybe some are not used to, in a good way. Truthfully, I can say I am definitely still learning who I am as a coach, and who I want to be. But I will say, my goal is to be myself and allow my players to play freely, yet hold them to a high standard, create a competitive atmosphere and continue to give my all every single day.
SA: What lessons do you take from being a player to being a coach?
SR: That confidence is a big source of your success. What you tell yourself, what you listen to, outside factors, mental well-being, so many things play a factor in softball more than we realize or will ever believe until we look back and realize how we overcame those moments. Aside from internal things, I have understood that what has worked for me as a player will not work for someone else or everyone. So, I am being open-minded and figuring out different ways to help my players, yet still giving feedback and insightful information. I am always in a mindset of wanting to become better.
SA: What has been most challenging from your transition from player to coach?
SR: Having no control. Watching from the side is completely different than playing. I am more nervous as a coach than I ever was as a player. As a player, I loved being in control, I wanted to be the one up to bat in a big game or be the one to make a big play. As a coach, I can only verbally give positive talk, help or give any information that I believe would help. I am not playing, so I am not in control of outcomes, and that was a little bit hard for me in the fall.
SA: What are your goals for your first year at Duke?
SR: Well, I love winning. But, who doesn't want to win? I want to compete at a very high level. There are many steps during the process of becoming really good, and I want to help my athletes be the best human beings that they can be, as well as providing them with the opportunity to become the best softball player they can be. But my ultimate goal is allowing my athletes to be who they are freely, with them having nothing to lose, but everything to gain.