Little League® Diamond Leader Discussions: Rachel Perkins

For more than 30 years, Rachel Perkins has dedicated her life to youth sports. A former softball player herself, Ms. Perkins has carried her love and passion for the game onto the field as a volunteer Little League coach.

Over the years, Ms. Perkins coached both baseball and softball, umpired, and trained other volunteers who also wanted to coach. Inspired by her son, Ms. Perkins worked with a close friend to establish the Hawthorne (Calif.) National Wiseburn Little League’s Challenger Division. For more than 13 years, Ms. Perkins dedicated her time to giving players of all capabilities the opportunity to feel the joys of baseball.

“We had a blast,” said Ms. Perkins. “It wasn’t about winning or lost, but it was about making sure every player had a chance to hold a bat even if they used walkers or sat in wheelchairs. We just wanted them to have fun.”

Today, Ms. Perkins is the Safety Officer for California District 37 and continues to volunteer as an umpire to fill in volunteer gaps in local leagues.

Recognized as the June 2024 Little League Diamond Leader of the Month, as part of the Girls with Game 50 Celebration, Ms. Perkins recently shared her experience in a Diamond Leader Discussion:    

From your experience with the Little League Diamond Leader Training Program, why do you think it is important for not just coaches, but for all volunteers to take the training?     

“The Diamond Leader training touches on all things related to the importance of making sure the young athletes are receiving what they need from the coaches to allow them to build their self-esteem. When I first started, I was a tough coach who wanted to win at all costs, and there are coaches out there who are still like that. But, checking to see if your player is emotionally okay both on and off the field, that’s the important piece of coaching that can sometimes be overlooked. What we do with the children now will impact our future and that is why the Diamond Leader training for all volunteers is important.”

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Little League Softball® World Series, and 50 years of girls being allowed to participate in the Little League program. What does the Girls with Game 50 celebration mean to you as a female playing an active role in the program? 

“I am so happy we are celebrating Girls with Game and I think it is phenomenal, but I am hoping to still see female involvement grow. You look at the growth and excitement surrounding women’s basketball right now and that is what I wish for for softball, specifically for Little League softball. With how big the Little League Softball World Series is getting and with events like the Athletes Unlimited Pro Games, we could see more growth. The AU Pro Games are phenomenal because now hopefully you are inspiring the next generation of little girls to sign up for Little League softball with the dream to be like the professional players.” 

What does it mean to you to be a Diamond Leader and why should others strive to be the same?     

“Number one, the Diamond Leader training was great. There are so many different sections of it that allows everyone to learn something whether they are a District Administrator, coach, or parent. It’s important because what we do with the community’s youth now will impact everyone’s future, not just their future. From the tee ballers to senior league, taking the lessons of the field and instilling in them the importance of community and volunteerism is important. If we want programs like Little League to continue in the future, we need to lead by example both on and off the field.” 

The Little League Diamond Leader program, which was first piloted with nearly 1,000 Little League volunteers throughout the 2022 season, was created as part of the Susan Crown Exchange’s Million Coaches Challenge and developed in coordination with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. Focused on ensuring children have a positive, well-rounded experience on and off the field, the Little League Diamond Leader Training Program is a FREE educational resource that provides coaches with an understanding of the impact that mental, social, and emotional well-being has in youth sports through detailed information, interactive scenarios, and a variety of additional resources. Learn more and become a Diamond Leader yourself by visiting 

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NOTE: The Little League Diamond Leader Discussions is a piece of the #GWG50 Celebration in 2024, with interviews of select Girls with Game who have completed the Little League Diamond Leader training program and exemplify their learnings at their local fields. To learn more about this initiative, visit The #GWG50 celebration is proudly supported by DICK’S Sporting Goods, a long-time Little League partner that is committed to creating opportunities for girls and women in sports and will be activating around key events and milestones this year.