Experience the Power of Sport at Be The Best

Experience the Power of Sport at Be The Best

Wilmington, NC – We are excited to announce the upcoming Be The Best Baseball and Softball Convention, taking place on January 13-15, 2023 at the Wilmington Convention Center. This is a unique opportunity for players, coaches, and industry experts from across the country to come together and learn from top coaches in the industry.

The Be The Best Convention is hosting its 50th-anniversary staple event, and we are honored to have several high-profile coaches presenting on a variety of professional development topics, including leadership, culture building, and branding. Speakers include UNCW‘s legendary baseball coach Mark Scalf (’92-’19), Carol Hutchins (Michigan Hall of Fame Head Coach 85-’22), and Tyler Gillum (Head Coach of the Savannah Bananas).

“I am a long-time fan of Be The Best and am excited to see old friends in a new home,” says Carol Hutchins. “It’s always a special weekend with a perfect balance of fun and learning. Wilmington is a great place for this convention!”

The Savannah Bananas baseball team, led by Head Coach Tyler Gillum, is also making waves in the industry with their innovative branding strategy. They have been praised for their unique approach to building a successful team and fan base, and attendees of Be The Best will have the opportunity to learn from their success.

Local businesses focused on growth will want to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from these notable speakers. And, as an added bonus, local businesses are also invited to take part in a business-centered Power Breakfast on Saturday, January 14th, 2023.

In addition to being an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn and grow, Be The Best will also be a boost for the Wilmington economy. Sports events like this have the ability to bring in significant tourism and support local businesses.

Sponsorship opportunities, and Power Breakfast tickets are available for local businesses and organizations looking to support Be The Best and be a part of this exciting event.

Students with a valid ID can get a reduced rate of just $10 admission using code: ‘student’. For those looking to volunteer or work the event, email: info@bethebest.com. For more information, please visit our website at www.bethebest.com or call (910) 839-7131.

Be The Best Releases Schedule for Baseball and Softball Convention Friday, January 13 – Sunday, January 15, 2023

Be The Best Releases Schedule for Baseball and Softball Convention Friday, January 13 – Sunday, January 15, 2023

Wilmington, NC – With Be The Best and Title IX both celebrating 50th-year anniversaries, the annual convention has switched things up a bit and is heading to Wilmington, NC. Though the location has changed, Be The Best remains committed to bringing the best of the best to the speaker stage for a weekend of unforgettable conversations, connections, and learning experiences.

Over the course of the weekend, baseball and softball are equally represented with many speakers sharing insights and skills that are relevant to both sports.

The weekend kicks off Friday morning at 9 am with two veteran coaches discussing different ways of doing what’s always been done. Darren Fenster of the Boston Red Sox talks about how the cookie-cutter approach just may not be the way to go. And Doug Gillis, the Virginia Tech coach known for developing some of the country’s best softball pitchers, tackles the topic of how angles and power lines have been taught incorrectly for decades.

Throughout the morning, speakers cover everything from team offense and outfield ABCs to building champions and what makes a great competitor.

Friday afternoon is filled with the highly acclaimed Rap Sessions which are rapid-fire, shorter sessions, filled with invaluable information. Among many others, Patrick Anderson of the St. Louis Cardinals organization wreaks havoc on the base paths, and softball’s winningest coach, Carol Hutchins, fields Q&As. The importance of self-awareness is brought to light by sports research scientist, Cheryl McCormick, and Josh Bloomer, USC’s new hitting coach talks about what teams look for when it comes to recruiting.

Friday comes to an end with the ever-popular Coaches VIP Party, a time for everyone to kick back with a few drinks, make new friends, and have some fun.

Among scores of others, Saturday’s sessions bring one of softball’s most beloved coaches, John Tschida, to the stage covering throwing fundamentals; Savannah BananasTyler Gillum introduces infield throwing programs and progressions; UNCW softball’s recently retired coach, Kristy Norton, talks about building the ultimate championship team and former Olympian mindset coach, Joey Lye talks about coaching the female athlete.

Sunday wraps up with one of the sport’s most captivating baseball coaches, Jeremy Sheetinger talking about team culture and Andrew Bartman covering life off the field.

After a weekend spent with Be The Best in Wilmington, you’re pretty much guaranteed to emerge as a better player, parent, or coach. After all, there’s a reason this convention has been around for 50 years.

Click here for the full schedule and visit www.bethebest.com for more information and tickets.



Wilmington, NCBe The Best is excited to announce a unique partnership with Youth Connecting Foundation (YCF) as the longest-running baseball and softball coaches convention comes to Wilmington in January.

“Joining forces with Be The Best makes perfect sense,” says Ricky Holden, founder and CEO of Youth Connecting Foundation. “We are both fully committed to making a positive difference in the community through the integration of athletics, youth and personal development.”

Youth Connecting Foundation was founded in 2018 after Holden returned to the states from serving in the Air Force. His vision for creating programming for inner-city youth and teens was fueled by his passion for athletics and mentorship. Over the past five years, YCF has helped countless youth navigate their challenges through programs designed to develop integrated solutions and deliver reliable solutions to those who need them most. YCF has established multiple sustainable non-profits, for-profits and events and programs that bring positivity to the community.

“When I heard that Be The Best was going to be celebrating their 50th anniversary in Wilmington, I knew this was something we wanted to be a part of,” says Holden. “North Carolina is our home base and we welcome the opportunity to work with other like-minded organizations.”

As the nation’s longest-running baseball and softball coaches convention, Be The Best is committed to the education and development of youth in sports. Hundreds of coaches, players and sports enthusiasts from across the country attend this annual event. Known for its interactive and casual format, Be The Best levels the playing field, giving attendees an opportunity to connect with the speakers that include college coaches, professional coaches, former Olympiads and sports specialists. Topics covered range from skills and drills to conquering the mind game and building your best brand.

“With Ricky Holden and YCF in our orbit, there’s no limit to the good we can do for kids,” says Diego Ibarra, co-owner of Be The Best. “Sports are not only empowering but they consistently instill important lessons that follow players and coaches off the field into real life. “

For 50 years, Be The Best Baseball and Softball Coaches Convention has preserved the founding concept of providing an affordable, accessible convention created for coaches, by coaches. Now powered by Alphas Alliance, a woman and minority owned and operated business, Be The Best will be held for the first time in Wilmington, NC from January 13-15, 2023.

For more information, please visit www.bethebest.com or call (910) 839-7131.



Wilmington, NCBe The Best is excited to announce the addition of Carol “Hutch” Hutchins, to the speaker line-up at their annual baseball and softball coaches convention, held in Wilmington, NC from January 13-15, 2023.

Hutchins served 38 seasons at the helm of the University of Michigan softball team, solidifying the school’s spot as one of the top programs in the country. She retired this past August as the winningest coach in NCAA softball history with a career record of 1,707-55-5 (.755). She also holds the distinction of being the winningest coach – male or female – in Michigan’s history. She was the first collegiate coach to reach 1,500 wins in 2017 and two years later, the first to 1,600.

“We are so honored that Hutch chose to share her expertise and insights with us at Be The Best,” says Diego Ibarra, co-founder of Be The Best and Alphas Alliance. “I guarantee that every person who hears her speak will pick up something that will help them in life as well as in the game. Hutch is the best of the best.”

As head softball coach at the University of Michigan, Hutch led the team to the NCAA Women’s College World Series 12 times. In 2005, Michigan became the first program east of the Mississippi River to claim the NCAA Championship when they defeated UCLA. As a coach, Hutch boasts 22 Big Ten regular season titles, 10 Big Ten Tournament championships and qualified for the NCAA Tournament 29 times.

With Hutch at the helm, Michigan received 69 All-American citations (23 being first-team), while 14 earned Academic All-American honors. Also granted under her tutelage were 20 Big Ten Player of the Year awards, 16 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year awards, 13 Big Ten Freshman of the Year awards, 202 Academic All-Big Ten awards, 212 All-Big Ten citations, and 154 All-Midwest or All-Great Lakes Region certificates.

However, Hutchins confesses that her “greatest joy and the ultimate reward has not been measured by wins and championships. Success is measured by the many, many people who fill your life.”

Former players have gone on to excel at the international and professional levels, medaling in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, WBSC World Championship, World Cup of Softball, Japan Cup, U.S. Pan American Games, Junior Pan American Games, Junior World Championship, Canada Cup, International Cup, and World University Games.

Inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006, Hutchins earned 18 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors, eight NFCA Regional Coach of the Year awards, and two NFCA National Coach of the Year honors. In 2016, she was named the inaugural recipient of espnW’s Pat Summitt Coaching Award, presented to the coach who “exemplifies the character and courage” of the late University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach.

A strong advocate for gender equality in sports, Hutch is a recipient of the Nell Jackson Award, considered the highest honor the Michigan State Varsity “S” Club can give a female alumna for professional accomplishments and community service. She was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, and the Greater Lansing Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

“There’s so much more to softball than teaching skills,” Hutchins says. “Developing strong women who can go out into the world and make a difference is even more important than winning championships.”

On October 10, it was announced that Hutchins would receive a WeCOACH Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious award is presented to women in sports who succeed at the highest levels in their respective careers, while also displaying an unwavering commitment, pioneering spirit, and trailblazing leadership to empower and pave the way for girls and women in all sports and levels to break through for many generations to come.

Hutch is no stranger to Be The Best. She has shared her inspirations at the convention many times over the years and recognizes the value of the interactive format that allows connections to be created and relationships solidified.

Be The Best, now owned and operated by Alphas Alliance,  traditionally attracts about 1,500 attendees who come together each year to interact with former professional and Olympic athletes, college coaches, and other baseball and softball professionals who share their experience and expertise. Speaker topics include everything from how to build a championship program and making sense of the mental game to pitching mechanics and defense skills.

For sponsorship opportunities, tickets, and general information on the convention and speakers, please email info@bethebest.com

A Coach’s Journey: Laura Horstkamp

A Coach’s Journey: Laura Horstkamp

Laura Horstkamp
 Independent Trainer,

Sometimes the best way forward is backwards. 

Laura Horstkamp started her coaching career at the college level. From there, she moved on to high school. Then to travel ball. And now, it’s private lessons and guest instruction. Which, self-admittedly, is all kinda backwards.

Laura, who started playing softball when she was ten years old, lucked into coaching. She wasn’t looking for a job. She was simply playing in a slowpitch game against the head coach of a local D3 college. That coach liked what she saw and asked Laura to join her staff. The next 13 years wrote themselves.

A good coach, Laura believes, goes above and beyond the basic teaching of skills. You have to be able to lead, inspire and develop your athletes. You have to cultivate a culture of strong women by fostering an environment of constant learning and trust. And, it’s your responsibility as a coach to make sure your players have the right mindset, constantly striving to improve and progress. Because progress, no matter how small, is still progress. 

Laura loves coaching. She loves teaching. She loves inspiring. And she loves seeing the results. Sure, she’s had her share of somewhat unmemorable moments. Like the game in which her team gave up something like 20 runs. 

But, her truest victories and greatest gifts come from seeing first-hand the impact she’s had on the players she has coached. One of her former students is now giving lessons herself and continually acknowledges the influence Laura has had on her coaching career. She has learned from Laura how to customize training and practice drills to each individual’s style of learning and the importance of meeting kids where they are. 

And that makes the coach in Laura proud. 

Laura Horstkamp has no children of her own. But hundreds have benefitted from knowing her, both as a coach and a person. When you get a Snapchat on Mother’s Day, from someone who’s not your kid saying how much you mean to them, you know you’ve made it.

Even if you kinda did it backwards.

In keeping with the tradition that Be the Best is a convention created for coaches by coaches, we’ve asked for inspirations and stories from your contemporaries. Click here to share something about your coaching journey. Don’t worry about making it sound good — you coach the kids, we‘ll work the words.