Little League® Diamond Leader Discussions: Vanessa Arnn

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As a child, Vanessa Arnn started her Little League® journey on a Tee Ball field, but when it was time to move up to the next division of play, softball wasn’t an option available in her local league. So, Mrs. Arnn picked up a baseball and played a few seasons with the kids from her community until she was finally able to trade it in for a softball.  

Fast forward years later when she was signing her own daughter up for her first Tee Ball Division team with Childress (Texas) Little League. As they began the registration process, her daughter had just one request for Mrs. Arnn and her husband – sign up to be her coach. Though Mrs. Arnn had many years of playing softball under her belt, including the year she met her husband on a community league co-ed softball team, coaching the sport was new for her.  

While she didn’t believe she had the necessary experience, Mrs. Arnn accepted her daughter’s request and signed up to coach. Over the next six years, as Mrs. Arnn’s daughter moved up through the divisions of play, so did she. Now, both are stepping onto the field this spring season for their first Minor League softball practices and games.  

“Even at the older level, I like to be the coach that focuses on skills, but also has fun. When it is hot out, we bring water balloons for the end of practice or pay for the team to have time at the local pool. Coaching is a rewarding experience. I don’t stress out about winning as long as they are learning the skills and having fun.”  

Recognized as the May 2024 Little League Diamond Leader of the Month, as part of the Girls with Game 50 Celebration, Mrs. Arnn 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 gives you a broader idea of what to do when you’re coaching. I never thought to ask my team what they expect from softball until I saw that training video. So, at the start of this season, I asked them to share with me what they wanted to gain from the season and what they expected from the coaches, including myself, and I loved what I learned from them. Putting what you learn from the training into action and thinking outside the box can give you those great moments with your players… I think more coaches and volunteers need to take the Diamond Leader training because Little League is not all about winning or losing. It is about working together as a team, building each other up, and coming together to learn the skills so they can get to where they eventually want to be as athletes.

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 think it is wonderful when you have a female coach for a female player to look up to. They get to see a woman in a leadership role and, especially with my daughter, I hope when she’s playing that she sees me coaching and thinks to herself about eventually coaching one day, too, so that she can be the one to step up and be a role model and lead the next generation of girls.

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

I just want to tell other women who think they can’t do this – you can. As women, we need to set an example and step into leadership roles for the next generation of girls that we are trying to raise. We need to teach them that they, too, can be a leader, to never stop trying to learn new things, to always look out for each other, and to help each other.

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  

Become a Diamond Leader

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.