Nike Softball Camp New Jersey Jackals
IMPROVE YOUR GAME AND HAVE SERIOUS FUN
Nike Softball Camps is looking forward to a great summer at Hinchliffe Stadium! Directing camp will be Nike Softball Camp Director, Jim Whalen. Each day will be filled with softball drills that cover hitting, fielding, base running, and team play to help each camper take their game to the next level!
Nike Softball Camps are a great opportunity for young athletes to make new friends while playing the game they love!
- Nike Sports Camp T-Shirt, Wristband, Sticker, and Potentially Other Prizes!
- Professional Instruction from Coach Whalen and Staff
- Low Camper to Coach Ratios
- Daily Emphasis on Fundamental Development and Team Play
- Excellent Training Facilities
- Players Grouped by Age and Ability
- View More Details ⟩
Director Jim Whalen
The only remaining original Jackals employee, Jim Whalen has been working and directing these camps for over 20 years. Jim was a collegiate pitcher at Montclair State University where he was a member of the 2000 Division III National Championship team. He coached baseball at West Essex High School for 15 years highlighted as the varsity assistant coach on the 2010 team that won the Star Ledger trophy awarded to the number 1 team in the state of New Jersey. Jim was also the head baseball coach at Columbia High School two years.View Jim's Bio ⟩
Jim has taught 6-8 grade Health/Physical Education at Valleyview Middle School in Denville for the past 21 years where he also coached a number of teams including the school’s boys and girls cross country, boys basketball, co-ed volleyball, and girls softball teams.
Head Coach Ashley Martinez
Ashley Martinez was appointed to the role as head coach of the New Jersey City University softball program in July 2018. She joined the Gothic Knights as an assistant coach in September 2017 and excelled in all aspects. A standout outfielder for Dominican College (N.Y.), Martinez is the 17th head coach in the program's history, but just the fifth to serve in the role in a full-time capacity.View Ashley's Bio ⟩
Martinez took over a program that went 4-30 in 2018 and began the upward trajectory immediately. She hit the recruiting trail and began to bring in student-athletes to work toward the goal of improving the program, in addition to running practices, working one-on-one sessions and overall gameday decision-making for the team.
2022: The Gothic Knights, under Martinez guidance, nailed down their first double-digit win season (10) since 2017 as the squad continues its upward trajectory. The highlight of the season came early in the campaign when Jersey City rattled off eight straight victories and nine wins over 10 games, culminating with a 6-5 comeback victory at home over Rutgers-Camden University on Saturday, April 2, for NJCU's first New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) win since April 29, 2017. Individually, then-sophomore pitcher Sidnie Dabbadie had a dominant season in the circle. She led the Gothic Knights with 103 strikeouts over 94.0 innings pitched and a 4.10 ERA. The California native also garnered the program's first NJAC Pitcher of the Week award (March 28, 2022) since March 15, 2010.
2021: After a disappointing and abrupt end to the 2020 campaign following just eight games down in South Carolina, the Gothic Knights returned to action for a shortened 2021 season, and Martinez helped guide NJCU to its first NJAC Tournament bid since 2000. In that First Round single-elimination game at #7-seed Rutgers-Camden on May 4, 2021, then-freshman pitcher Sam Miller tossed a gem, going 6.2 innings without allowing an earned run as NJCU just missed out on advancing in the 2-1 defeat. Then-junior Emma Herrick had a strong season offensively, finishing with a .333 average and a .422 on-base percentage. She was also named NJAC Player of the Week on May 3, 2021, after putting together a near-perfect week, going 6-for-7 with two RBI, a run, was hit three times, had a slugging percentage of .857, an OPS of 1.757 and a .900 on-base percentage.
2020: Martinez' squad traveled down to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to start the eventual-cut-short season. After winning their season-opener, 12-9, over MacMurray College (3/9), NJCU dropped five before picking up two wins on March 12, over Holy Family College (8-2) and Cazenovia College (4-3) to improve to 3-5. Unfortunately, the Gothic Knights were unable to build on that momentum as their season was cut short due to COVID-19.
2019: This was the first season for Martinez at the helm of the program and she took over with the long term goal in mind to improve the program for the future. Building on the foundation, then-sophomore Dulce Almonte had a strong season under the guidance of Martinez, leading the team in batting (.309), walks (10), on-base percentage (.391) and tied for the lead in hits (30). With Almonte, as well as then-graduating seniors Hannah Gavin and Christina Mezey laying the foundation, Martinez has the future set for success. Additionally, then-freshman Laura Ford picked up NJAC Rookie of the Week honors (3/12). Gavin joined Martinez' staff as an assistant prior to the 2020 campaign.
Before NJCU:Martinez served as an assistant coach for the NJ Pride 18U Gold — New Jersey’s oldest club softball program — from 2012-15. The NJ Pride has produced dozens of college players and, while there, Martinez worked on fundamentals, oversaw infield, outfield and hitting drills and individual swing breakdowns.
A 2012 graduate of Dominican in Orangeburg, N.Y. with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a minor in Communication, she excelled in the classroom as a student-athlete with a 3.3 grade point average. Martinez also has business experience, most recently as a sales analyst for Gallo Wine Sales of New Jersey (2016-18).
At Division II Dominican, Martinez was a four-year performer from 2009-12, playing in 205 career games as an outfielder for the Chargers and her leadership resulted in being named a two-year team captain. She was a key member of the 2010 program that won 39 games and was inducted into the Dominican Athletics Hall of Fame in April 2018
A member of the Dominican 100-hit club (131 career hits), she ranks in the top 10 in school history in doubles (26). Martinez had four NCAA Division II regional appearances during her time at Dominican and helped the program win three consecutive Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012. She was named to the 2011 CACC All-Tournament Team. Dominican won 150 games during her four years, including an 88-14 CACC record. She also played in nine NCAA Division II Tournament games.
The Bloomfield, N.J. native is a 2008 graduate of Bloomfield High School where was a three-sport athlete in softball, cross country/track & field. As a softball senior in 2008 the team MVP was named First Team All-Essex County, First Team All-League and Third Team All-State. She helped the Bengals win the 2005 Essex County cross country championship. As a freshman, she broke the county junior varsity cross country record.
Martinez resides in Middletown, N.J., with her partner, as well as their two dogs and two cats.
Assistant Softball Coach/Hitting Instructor Jack Smithlin
Jack Smithlin, a legendary North Jersey Hall-of-Fame coach with 40 years of varsity coaching experience in two sports and retired educator, is the new assistant softball coach and hitting instructor for the New Jersey City University softball program, third-year head coach Ashley Martinez has announced. Smithlin, 69, will be the program’s top assistant during the 2021 campaign.View Jack's Bio ⟩
Smithlin, a 2013 inductee into the Fair Lawn High School Athletics Hall of Fame, had a long and successful career coaching at Fair Lawn, Park Ridge and Wood-Ridge, winning the 1996 Bergen County softball title with the Fair Lawn Cutters. He never had a losing season as a coach in the three districts.
“I have known Ashley for some time, and I fell in love with her enthusiasm, her personality and her drive to succeed,” said Smithlin about joining the program. “She is a great person, and this program has some great kids. It will be fun coaching alongside a coach who makes me feel years younger. It is a pleasure to be a part of her program. I am looking forward to making a difference with this program.”
Smithlin spent the 2020 season as an assistant softball coach and hitting coach at Montclair State University, working alongside Red Hawks coach Anita Kubicka.
Martinez said: “Jack has been a tremendous addition to our program. In the short time that he has been with us, he has managed to connect with each player in a deep and meaningful way that goes beyond the game of softball. At NJCU we pride ourselves on contributing to the holistic development of our student athletes. Jack’s knowledge and experience is undeniable. The way he can connect almost any part of the game to the inner workings of life is the highlight. Our team works together to be the best we can. With Jack, we are that, and we are blessed to have him as a Gothic Knight.”
During his storied softball coaching career, Smithlin was named the Group 4 State Coach of the Year, Bergen County Coach of the Year and All-Area Coach of the Year. He earned six Bergen County Scholastic League (BCSL) citations as Coach of the Year — four times in the Olympic League and twice in the National League. Smithlin has also been honored by various local publications as their Softball Coach of the Year — 4-time Shopper News Coach of the Year, 2-time Herald News Coach of the Year and 1-time Ridgewood News Coach of the Year.
He led his teams to Bergen County, North Bergen Interscholastic Athletic League (NBIAL) and two BCSL Olympic League championships. Smithlin produced a combined 288-103 record in 16 seasons as a high school varsity head coach.
Smithlin began coaching at Fair Lawn in 1986. He coached varsity girls soccer for 13 seasons, leading the Cutters to their first state and county tournaments in their history. He finished his FLHS soccer coaching tenure with a 92-86-11 ledger.
In 1988, he added junior varsity softball coaching duties and led the JV squad for three seasons, guiding the Cutters to two county finals — twice falling to Immaculate Heart Academy. In 1991 he was promoted to varsity head coach and during the next nine seasons, never had a losing season — finishing with a 121-56 record. His teams reached the county and state tournaments eight times and qualified for two Bergen County finals, including the 1996 championship squad which upset IHA, 6-3, when they were ranked No. 1 in the nation. FLHS also reached two state sectional finals, won one league title and finished second four times. Smithlin also served as an assistant boys wrestling coach for several seasons at FLHS.
He later moved to Wood-Ridge and Park Ridge High Schools, coaching seven more seasons on the varsity level.
On the soccer pitch, Smithlin guided his teams to three BCSL Olympic League championships, was voted BCSL Olympic Coach of the Year three times and had a career record of 274-109-18 as a girls soccer coach.
He began his coaching career at Pope Pius XII Regional High School in Passaic, N.J., where he posted a 72-27-8 record in six seasons and won two league championships coaching boys soccer.
Outside of high school and college coaching, Smithlin is a long-time hitting instructor and clinician in the sports of softball and baseball. He has also worked with the Nike Softball Camp as a director and head hitting instructor. He has managed multiple symposiums on Sports Psychology and Sports Parenting. Additionally, he has been a host on WGBB Sports Talk 1240 on Long Island and a guest on WFAN on The Sports Edge, hosted by Rick Wolff.
A 1975 graduate of William Paterson University, he played two seasons of soccer for the Pioneers and served as a kicker on the football team for the late Coach Jack Stephans — a Hall-of-Fame coach at NJCU (then Jersey City State).
Smithlin retired in December 2019 after a 44-year career teaching Physical Education and Health at the high school and middle school levels. He currently serves on the FLHS Hall of Fame Committee alongside Ira Thor — chair of NJCU's Athletics Hall of Fame, former assistant athletic director at NJCU and himself a member of the FLHS Hall of Fame [2010, member of the 1995 boys volleyball team].
He is one of two members of his family inducted into the Fair Lawn Hall of Fame, joining his son Zack (2011 inductee) — a former standout centerfielder for FLHS and Penn State who graduated as the Nittany Lions’ all-time leader in stolen basesand played in the minor leagues, and was all-state for the Cutters in baseball and track and All-County in football. His wife, Sue, was a two-time Bergen County Coach of the Year in gymnastics and their youngest son, Alex, was All County in soccer and All Conference in track and baseball. The Smithlins have one grandchild.
Assistant Softball Coach Hannah Gavin
Hannah Gavin (B.S. ’19, MBA ’21), a home-grown talent with a decorated history at New Jersey City University, was appointed to the newly-created role of Athletic Academic Success Advisor with NJCU Athletics in August of 2021. She has also served as an assistant coach on the Gothic Knights’ softball staff since the 2020 season.View Hannah's Bio ⟩
As the Academic Success Advisor, Gavin plays a key role in the long-term success of the department and its student-athletes, serving as the primary academic advisor. She assists with registration, engagement, enrollment management, implementation and adaptation of new and current processes in order to ensure academic success, student retention, degree completion and much more. Additionally, she is the liaison between the department and the University Advisement Center and attends all UAC meetings while maintaining relationships with Admissions, ResLife, Enrollment, Financial Aid and many other departments across campus.
On the softball side, Gavin manages academic success, retention and progress toward graduation for her student-athletes. She also focuses on the physical and mental training for her athletes to ensure they are prepared for game action. Additionally, Gavin manages the @NJCUSoftball social media accounts.
Previously, from the Fall of 2019 to the Spring of 2021, Gavin served as a graduate assistant under the supervision of Associate Director of Athletics, Dr. Danielle Beam, working directly with the Rising Knight Institute in addition to her softball coaching duties. In February of 2020, Gavin helped organize National Women and Girls in Sports Day programming for over 200 female athletes. She also assisted with the first NJCU Athletics career fair, as well as other virtual career engagement programming. Gavin managed RKI documents for several programs and worked closely with the UAC to monitor and ensure the academic success of student-athletes.
A four-year member of the Gothic Knights’ softball program, Gavin earned her undergraduate degree in business management from NJCU in 2019. She served as a three-year team captain and ended her career as a member of the illustrious 100-hit club (114). Her career line ended with a .294 batting average with 137 starts in 138 games played. She scored 73 runs, collected 53 RBI, notched 27 doubles, seven home runs and five triples and drew 32 walks. Off the field, she was a two-time Academic All-New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) selection, earning first team honors as a senior.
Originally from South Jersey, Gavin resides in her native Bordentown. In 2021, she graduated from NJCU’s school of business with her MBA.
Instruction will focus primarily on hitting, specific position fielding, base-running, and game situations. In addition, pitchers will have the opportunity to work with pitching instructors. You can expect high demand on these first-come-first-serve camper spots, so please be sure to register early.
Please note: The following information may be subject to change.
2023 CAMP INFORMATION
THIS PROGRAM HAS CONCLUDED FOR THE SEASON. PLEASE JOIN OUR PRIORITY LIST TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN THIS PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE FOR REGISTRATION.
- Age Group: 7-15
- Camp Type: Day Camp
- Schedule: 9:00am-1:00pm, Monday-Friday
- Check-In: Begins 30 minutes prior to the camp start time.
- Meals: Lunch is not provided. Please bring a snack/lunch to camp each day.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE FEE?
- Daily Softball Instruction
- Supervision: Campers are supervised by staff during camp hours
- Nike Sports Camp T-Shirt, Wristband, Sticker, and Potentially Other Prizes!
INSTRUCTION & FACILITY
Ratio: 1:10 staff to camper ratio
Groupings: Campers are initially grouped by age and moved around accordingly based on skill level.
Facility: Outdoor Fields. Indoor facilities are available during inclement weather conditions.
PREPARE FOR CAMP: COMPLETE YOUR PRE-CAMP CHECKLIST
To view your customer account, complete your mandatory forms, pay balance dues, and review important camp information, visit Pre-Camp Checklist.
All necessary camp information is on this page. If there are any imperative changes prior to camp start, registered campers will be notified via email and this webpage will be updated!
CHECKLIST OF THINGS TO BRING:
Below is a suggested list of clothes, equipment and personal items. US Sports Camps is NOT responsible for lost or stolen articles or money.
Small gym bag/backpack
Athletic clothing: t-shirt, shorts, softball pants (recommended)
Cleats & sneakers
Catchers gear (if applicable)
Packed lunch and snacks
Most camps have an athletic trainer on-site to help with illness or injury. In case of an emergency, campers will be transported to the nearest hospital.
Nike Softball Camps does not provide transportation from airports, train stations or bus depots. If you have a child flying to camp, please arrange a shuttle or taxi service.
If you have a group of campers registering for the same camp, each camper is eligible for a discount. Please have someone contact the US Sports Camps office at 1-800-645-3226 with the names of each camper in the group and we will create a unique discount code for your group. Campers may then register individually through the website at their convenience and apply the offer code during checkout. *Discount amount varies by program. Please call for details.
For information regarding our cancellation policy and all other company policies, please visit USSC Policies.
NIKE SOFTBALL CAMP FAQ
For general questions about our softball camps please see our FAQ page.
Camps are open to any and all entrants, limited only by number, age, grade level and/or gender.
Sample Daily Schedule
- 8:45am Arrival
- 9:00am Stretching, Warm Up, Throw
- 9:30am Defensive Skills - Video Taping
- 10:30am Offensive Skills - Video Taping
- 11:30am Snack Break
- 12:00pm Games - Video Review
- 1:00pm Campers Depart
July 21, 2022: My daughter had an amazing experience. This was her first overnight camp and we didn't hear from her because she was having so much fun.
July 16, 2023: My daughter loved the staff! The coaches made my daughter feel welcomed and had her engaged.
July 17, 2023: My child was able to learn different techniques and her softball IQ continue to grow.
August 2, 2023: My daughter enjoyed some new drills/exposure to new drills
July 16, 2023: Working with college softball players to improve skills
July 18, 2023: The coaches passion, and knowledge of the game!
August 2, 2023: Fun environment while enhancing the skills
My daughter absolutely loved the camp! She had never played softball before, and now she is eager to learn more and play! Even the coach asked if she really had no experience!!
— Parent of Attendee from This Camp in 2022
SECURE YOUR SPOT – CAMPS SELL OUT!
Last year over 650 Sports Camps sold out, leaving 7,000+ campers on the waitlist. Due to high demand, early registration for our first-come-first-serve camps is strongly recommended.