The last stop on the ABCA Barnstorming tour was at Cal St Fullerton this past Sunday and it was better than I expected and I went it looking to learn a lot. Held inside the hitting facility down the RF line we listened to seven speakers ranging from practice organization and having fun to simplifying drills and focusing on mental practice with your team. Overall it was a great day to learn more about the game and how to be a better coach. We'll be attending the 2017 ABCA Convention in Anaheim from January 5-8 to listen to clinicians and speakers all across the board in professional and amateur baseball.
I wanted to recap and share some highlights from each speaker and post some photos of the notes they passed out and what I gathered from their talks. Below is a summary of the day:
Rick Vanderhook | Cal St Fullerton Head Coach
- Catch play is all about defense - it is the move overlooked part of practice. Warmup to throw, not throw to warmup.
- Everything is routine oriented. Once players know where and what they do then they need to "DO what they are supposed to do"
- Infields need to line themselves up. You won't be able to hear "left or right" in a big game.
- Infield fungo should be 90 seconds each drill then switch. infielders need to learn to throw from different angles.
- alignment and cuts is a relay race. outfielders need to take care of the ball. fullerton won 2 college world series because of dropped balls before a throw back into the cutoff man!
- college freshman need two above average pitches for a strike - a fastball and a change up.
- high school catcher's don't throw 1.7 to second base. mlb average last year was 1.92 for 2016. catchers need to throw a 2.0 to second and let pitchers handle keeping them close.
Dan Keller | Lifeletics and Dugout Captain
- When doing drills follow these steps: 1. Discuss 2. Give example 3. Repetition 4. competition 5. have fun
- know why you coach or why you play. almost all players will not be in the mlb so they need to learn life skills.
Scott Picker | Former Cypress College Head Coach
- ask players for feedback. ask players to give a starting lineup offensively and defensively.
- his personal philosophy is never play double play depth unless it ends an inning with risp. allow more range for middle iNF.
Blake Hawksworth | Cal St Fullerton Assistant Coach
- goal: 2 strikes out of first 3 pitches.
- keep the routine. pace of catch play is deliberate.
Don Sneddon | Santa Ana College Head Coach
- simplify everything. players must trust the coach and trust the drill.
- have a minimum play level. a standard of play. when it's early or the team is down they need to go up to that level. when there is too much adrenaline in a big game they need to go back down to that level.
- find a way to get ready to play every day. physically and mentally.
- know how to fail .body image is huge! control your body.
- players must have confidence in 1&3, Bunt D, Alignment.
Alan Jaeger | Jaeger Sports
- breathing and moving creates energy.
- impact the person, not just the athlete.
- you become what you practice. practice to get into the zone.
- the zone is: non future/past, pure immersion, empty and quiet, opposite of life
- 2 parts to the mental game: 1. Game management 2. mental practice
- identify your process and be great at it. everything else is secondary. everything else is drama.
- drama is endless. the zone is confined and knowable. figure out what needs to happen to execute successfully.
- if overthinking or stressing out - you are not in the zone. the zone does not allow drama.
- athletes need to be able to default to their process to get into the zone.
- Coach Reinsel
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