What got you into coaching?
Coaching and teaching is the culmination of my deep love and passion and intellectual curiosity and fascination around baseball and performance. Inspiring and instructing ballplayers of all ages to become better than even they believe they can be is incredibly satisfying and has been at the heart of what our organization has done now for nearly 15 years. I began as the coach of an 8U team 16 years ago and fell in love with how it felt to coach - it's a very different experience from how it felt to play. Playing involved making a mark on the game - coaching is helping others to do that while learning some valuable life lessons on- and off-the-field.
Tell us about your style of teaching.
Technology enables our organization to display and quantify performance and progress - and regardless of which technology is being used or applied to a particular lesson, what we've learned in the last 15 years of applying different technologies has made us smarter and more efficient coaches. The right tech enables our players to develop and achieve better results, faster. Our favorite technologies include HitTrax, Blast Motion, K-Motion, Rapsodo, PitchLogic, Pocket Radar, and most recently Uplift Labs. On the video side, no app has ever offered as much as Onform, as it has enabled us to communicate more quickly and effectively with players, while offering the highest quality and easiest to use video functionality. It's also been the most efficient solution we've ever used for individual coach/player/team training.
Describe for us how you manage your weekly coaching.
With 13 full time instructors and coaches and each of them managing teams, classes, and individual lessons and a total of nearly 1,000 players that we see each week, having structured training plans in place and the ability to provide "homework" to players has been game changing for us. OnForm has been a critical part of making our coaching and training platform scalable and uniform across all of the coaches in our organization - and has also provided a terrific and easy to use experience for players at every age and skill level.
When it comes to adding players and teams, we immediately integrate them on to our tech platform to make their training most effective whether they are in The Arena, on the field, or at home.
Do you have any specific areas you focus on more than just general coaching?
We do - we have one of the most highly trained and certified coaching staffs in the industry, with specializations in hitting, pitching, and position specific training. Our work in healthy throwing and pitching has been an integral part of our organization and our reputation, and our hitting program is an exciting one as we've managed to train players as young as 3 years old up through the pros using our models and methods.
What are some common questions from your students and how you could answer them:
1. I only have 10min whats the best warm up?
A dynamic warmup and some live swings against pitches or bullpen work with a sense of game situation or live ground balls are fly balls are the best way to get prepped for a game. We don't think that the first pitch, batter, or ground ball or fly ball that a player sees should be in the game.
2. How do I record video for my coach?
We like both face-on and 90 degrees from face on (next to the catcher for hitters or behind the mound for pitchers) as those two angles tell much of the story, especially when used together. Top down is also very helpful, but harder to get without a drone or special mount. Slow motion is best with a lot of light because we can always speed it up from there, but we prefer high frame rates to tell an accurate story.
3. How best to practice after a lesson?
We implore our players to focus on process over outcome. We want to improve the process so that over time and on average, the output and the outcomes will improve. Also, reps aren't the answer - the quality of each rep can't be overstated. We also love the concept of random training - don't do the same thing over and over exclusively- begin to increase stress load by changing a variable - such as tee height after every swing once a player feels proficient in the swing.