This Fabian Barlow interview on the Australian Missionary News IPTV (Television on the Internet) can be found at tv.bushorchestra.com/Sport/videopages/fabian_barlow.html
Mark Tronson asked Fabian Barlow how he developed his love of softball. He replied that, through his family in New Zealand, it became part of his family culture. His father played and coached softball, his two elder brothers played and his mother was a board member of the local softball association.
Fabian rose in the ranks to play at the top level in New Zealand, then in the South Island Team. When he noticed that the Victorian Institute of Sport was looking for a technical coach, he applied and got the job. His path to coaching was surprisingly quick.
Eighteen months later, after the Athens Olympics, the then Australian and AIS Softball head coach retired from the position. After consultation with Peter Spence, the CEO of the Victorian Institute of Sport, Fabian Barlow succeeded in becoming head coach of the Australian and AIS Softball squad.
For the past five years, he has been innovative in development of this squad.
Mark Tronson probed further on the issue of stress, which is always a problem for head coaches. For example, at an Olympics there is a 'unique pressure'; the head coach has a much wider brief than just 'winning the game'. At the Beijing Olympics, as well as his normal habit of going for long walks between matches, Fabian Barlow explained that he also went to other sporting events in Beijing to alleviate the pressures.
Even during 'down time' on an international tour, such as the recent visits to USA and Canada, Fabian Barlow is mindful of the interests of his softball team, which is made up of young women.
Of course, they need recreation and he recommends they read a variety of books, but now that they can almost always access the internet easily, they find their own amusement and communication with their families is no longer an issue. They do still like to 'shop'.
Fabian manages to interest them in some other sport-fun activities with some competitive activities between two 'teams' to ensure their lives are not solely focused on Softball in that 'family' fun sports are also important. A bit like the cricketers when they kick a footie around or play 'touch'.
Fabian Barlow did however acknowledge that Respite is the most valuable component of his life, and one that he guards jealously. Coaches in particular are under pressure, there is huge expectation, and respite is invaluable.
He told Mark Tronson that he is a family man with two young children, that puts a lot of pressure on his partner when he is away for weeks and months at a time. Getting away from softball means getting away from softball entirely, and a chance to recharge his batteries.
This interview was held immediately after Mark and Delma Tronson's annual presentation of the value of Respite to the Australian and AIS Softball squad. Fabian Barlow thanked them on camera on his own behalf and that of the AIS for this invaluable component to their program.