The European Softball Federation held a coaching course in The Netherlands ©ESF

Eight different countries were represented at a European Softball Federation (ESF) coaching course in The Netherlands.

The five-day camp was the first of many courses held by the European Softball Coaches Association (ESCA).

Representatives from Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland joined the Dutch hosts in Diessen.

It comes after the ESCA was established by the ESF last year.

Coaches and players learned different and new things from five instructors who were on hand to teach their skills, with the course featuring training sessions and workshops.

Topics included "how to choose your glove or a bat", "scouting your opponent", "offensive/defensive strategies", "how to communicate with umpires" and "virtual reality training".

Initial feedback has reportedly been "overwhelmingly positive".

Eight countries were represented at the camp  ©ESF
Eight countries were represented at the camp ©ESF

"I am proud and happy that the whole of Softball Europe is working together on growing the sport," said Gabriel Waage, the ESF's President.

"We wish to organise these international camps every year, so everyone who wants to improve themselves gets the chance."

Craig Montvidas, an American who lives in The Netherlands, was one of the five instructors and served as course director.

"We were able to run the training sessions almost on an individual level with the number of players and coaches we've had," he said. 

"Every camper was given special attention. 

"I believe, it was a great beneficial experience for the campers. 

"For the staff it was also a useful warm-up before the second camp."

Softball for women, and baseball for men, will make their return to the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020.