Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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October 17, 2019  

Larry Day- MiLB Manager, Cleveland Indians

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During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Larry Day, Manager of the Arizona League Indians Red for the Cleveland Indians. Larry shares a wealth of information regarding how he goes about balancing the development of players with winning, how he establishes the team culture with players that are from all over and may not speak English as their first language. Larry Day also provides advice from mentors like Coach Tim Corbin from Vanderbilt University that has been very beneficial to him. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • How did Larry Day get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
  • What set’s Coach Tim Corbin apart as a coach? 
  • What is the reason for the fist bump touches among the players?  
  • What did his process look like when he began his position? 
  • Larry discusses the importance of communication. 
  • What does the process look like for balancing the development of players with winning? 
  • What does a typical day of training look like? 
  • How do they go about culture-building and transitioning players from all over to be ready to be a professional baseball player?  
  • What are some different things that Larry helps grow the coaches he is around every day? 
  • What are some things Larry does to build relationships with his players from different backgrounds?  
  • What are some of the latest things that Larry has learned that he is excited about? 
  • How do we relay complicated details with data for players that don’t naturally speak English?
  • What is something that he does in practice that his players love? 
  • Is there anything that Larry Day believes that other coaches might disagree with?  
  • What are some of his favorite books and resources? 

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Embracing the diversity of different races, cultures, and ages of players helps to establish culture-building.  
  2. Dan Coyle, the author of the book “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups” works with Larry Day’s players. 
  3. Players don’t care what you know until they know that you care. 

 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • (Coach Tim Corbin) “He certainly is elite as it comes to coaching and teaching and that is what he truly is. He is a teacher.” – Larry Day (03:45)
  • “Everything that is executed within that program (Vanderbilt) is 100% intentional. Planned, thought out. prepared.” – Larry Day (06:51)
  • “It comes down to having the ability to pre-plan and pre-communicate.” – Larry Day (10:04)
  • “You have anywhere between 4 to 6 fields with games on potentially 4 to 6 fields. You have morning workouts, and you know how baseball workouts go.There is the defense component, there is the throwing component.” – Larry Day (11:12)
  • “You put that time in 8 days out of a 7-day week to be able to run a clean, productive workout.” – Larry Day (20:29)
  • “The last thing that we want our players to do is be confused, or our coaches to be confused on what the objective is, what we are trying to accomplish, what the objective is for the day or the drill.” – Larry Day (20:42)
  • “We have a learning and development component of our organization that solely targets the continued development of staff.” – Larry Day (25:39)
  • “The smile is international. The ability to non-verbally connect and to have a sense of where your players are at from an emotional, mental, standpoint. You can see the physical.” – Larry Day (30:04)

Resources Mentioned: 

October 15, 2019  

Ari Ronick- MiLB Pitching Coach, Seattle Mariners

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Ari Ronick Minor League Pitching Coach for the Seattle Mariners. Ari has a doctor of physical therapy and a masters of business administration from the University of Montana. On the show Ari discusses how to tackle mobility challenges, addressing player movement, resources that can help with the movement screening process, and ways to shape progress in pitching development.

Episode Highlights: 

  • What are the key reasons that Ari Ronick became a baseball coach? 
  • What does his pitching development look like? 
  • How does Ari address mobility challenges? 
  • What are common problems that Ari sees, and how can we fix them? 
  • What are things that pop out to Ari Ronick when he looks at a video?  
  • Does he start with lower body when addressing player movement?
  • How does Ari handle customizing individual player development in a team setting? 
  • What are great ways to go about teaching players new pitches?
  • What is his postseason routine like? 
  • How do you prepare players in between starts? 
  • What things has he recently learned?
  • How often does his pitchers know what their strengths are? 
  • What is something that his players love to do in practice? 
  • What are his thoughts on the long toss and weighted balls? 
  • What would we notice during Ari’s practices that he typically does? 
  • Which resources have been helpful to Ari?

3 Key Points:

  1. Find some objectives that you can improve in that can be tracked.  
  2. FMS (Functional Movement Screen) and OnBaseU can help with the movement screening process. 
  3. Physical stress theory means that demands that are put on the body lead to adaptations. 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I grew up in a family where I was the youngest of three boys. It was a baseball household. We were playing all the time as a kid. I played through highschool, through college and as long as I could professionally.” – Ari Ronick (00:28)
  • “Coaching, it allows me to use two skillsets, to see pitching through the lens of a player, someone who pitched, and as a physical therapist.” – Ari Ronick (01:23)
  • “Everyday I get to breakdown human movement. I get to watch how people throw. In physical therapy, our mission is to optimize movement to improve the human experience.” – Ari Ronick (01:35)
  • “I’m going to start by looking at a range of motion. I’m going to look at strength. I’m going to look at a quick movement screen.” – Ari Ronick (04:24)
  • “What we are ultimately looking for here is, are they able to throw in a way that leads to a favorable pitch? Whether that be velocity movement, command, whatever it happens to be. Do these translate to a change on the baseball field?” – Ari Ronick (07:19)
  • “A good place to start is always with using strengthening, either or gain length, or to add the muscle that you might need to even get to that position as a player.” – Ari Ronick (09:35)
  • “What I find with pitching videos is we just want to make everything so perfect that we lose track that the body is pretty complicated. It’s a complex movement and players are going to move in the way that they most efficiently can often times.” – Ari Ronick (11:31)
  • “This past season I’ve spent a lot of time learning about pitch characteristics and how that can relate to in-game strategy.” – Ari Ronick (27:05)

Resources Mentioned: 

October 13, 2019  
October 10, 2019  

Adam Moseley- Head Baseball Coach, Hoover HS (AL)

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During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Adam Moseley, Head Baseball Coach at Hoover High School in Hoover, Alabama. Coach Moseley, who was awarded as the World Champion 2018 USA Baseball 15u Pitching Coach, offers an informative discussion about what it takes for him to develop fantastic pitchers, establishing the team culture for new players, getting to know his players better, 

Episode Highlights: 

  • How did Adam Moseley get involved in baseball?   
  • What does Adam’s fall training season look like?  
  • What has Adam Moseley done to be able to develop great pitchers? 
  • What type of environment does Adam set up to integrate new players into the team culture? 
  • Are there any specific things that Coach Moseley requires his players to do?  
  • What are some different strategies for getting to know each player better? 
  • How does he develop his assistant coaches? 
  • What are some different things that Adam does during interviews of potential hires?  
  • What different rules and standards does he have in his program? 
  • What does a typical spring training plan look like? 
  • How does Coach Moseley deal with parents or players complaining about playing time? 
  • What advice does Adam have for first-year head coaches?  
  • What is the latest thing that he has learned that he is excited about?  
  • What is something that he does in practice that his players love? 
  • What is something that he believes that other coaches may disagree with? 
  • What are three things that would stand out during Coach Moseley’s baseball practices?  
  • What are some of Adam’s favorite books and resources that he has learned the most from? 

3 Key Points:

  1. Coaches have to be able to trust their kids.  
  2. Coach Moseley talks to each player every two weeks and keeps an updated chart of all of his players where he adds the date and discussions he has had with them. 
  3. If winning isn’t fun, then why are you doing it? 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I’ve been at Hoover (High School) for five years. This will be my 6th year, and we’ve had a pretty fun run here. We’ve had a lot of college players and a lot of great young men that we’ve been able to coach.” – Adam Moseley 
  • “In Alabama, we have some different rules, I know every state does. Essentially, we can spend as much time as we want in strength training and conditioning with our kids. There really isn’t a limit on that.” – Adam Moseley 
  • “We hire out a company called Godspeed. The guy’s name is Lance Rhodes and he started this business years ago. He is a Hoover graduate. Almost every NFL guy that lives in Birmingham, it seems like, trains with him.” – Adam Moseley 
  • “The best athlete on the mound means that in the 7th inning of the biggest game of the year he’s able to make the adjustment that he has to make to get the guy out, whether it is all working for him, or it is not.” – Adam Moseley 
  • “If you are doing the same drills for everybody, 25% of them are getting better, 25% of them are not getting any better, 25% are getting worse, and 25% are hurt.” – Adam Moseley
  • “Any time you start sharing sweat, and you are all sweating together, I think the culture builds right away.” – Adam Moseley 
  • “First and foremost, I think it goes into who you are hiring. You need to hire guys that fit the development profile that you are looking for. I want to hire a guy that wants to be a life-long learner.” – Adam Moseley 
  • “I’m not a big, giant ‘rule sheet’ guy. Our program is not full of tons of rules. To me, the more rules you put out there, the more that they start looking for ways they can get around them.” – Adam Moseley 

Resources Mentioned: 

October 6, 2019  
October 3, 2019  

Randy Sullivan- CEO, Florida Baseball Ranch

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During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Randy Sullivan, Owner and CEO of Sullivan Rehab Services, The ARMory Power Pitching Academy, and The Florida Baseball Ranch, Baseball Player Development Specialist, and Physical Therapist. Randy discusses his concept of linking hardware to software, constraint-based training, and the differences between the old school versus the new school. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Randy Sullivan talks about the Skill Acquisition Conference.  
  • What are some things that he took and utilized from last years’ Skill Acquisition Conference?
  • What are the difference between coaching hitters and coaching pitchers? 
  • What does Randy mean by ‘linking hardware to software?”
  • Does Randy see the Bernstein Principle getting used out of context? 
  • What was Randy Sullivan’s blog post addressing the old school versus the new school about?  
  • Coaches need to help players sift through the data that matters and doesn’t matter. 
  • What is involved in Randy’s constraint-based training?  
  • How is Randy Sullivan teaching and training for timing?  
  • What are ways to be able to take action and perception and match them together? 
  • In any given hitting session, Randy wants 15% of his player’s swings to be against the fastest pitches, 15% against the slowest pitches, 15% against their 2-strike approach. The rest will be variable. 
  • What is the latest thing Randy has learned that he is excited about?
  • What is something that his players do in training that they love? 
  • We need to stop labeling kids as having mental disorders. 
  • Every player has potential.  

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Randy Sullivan’s concept of linking hardware to software is to understand a player’s particular body abilities to apply the right customized techniques to make them a better player.  
  2. The way to change movement is through manipulating sensory information. 
  3. Data is just telling you how you are doing. Intent alone without any guidance isn’t going to solve problems. 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “When there is time pressure, you kind of have to revert to our more primitive sensory stream which is, you’ve got to move. You know? Like when you touch a slug with a stick, he moves.” – Randy Sullivan (08:45)
  • “One thing we all have to remember is that, coaches have been teaching human movement since the game began. Since anything began. And so, all we are doing is kind of refining the things that we are already doing.” – Randy Sullivan (09:49)
  • “Hitting is probably more complex because you have to respond to sensory information and it is a little more complex than teaching pitching.” – Randy Sullivan (11:31)
  • “In nature, we want to accomplish important goals and we want to do it. Complex organisms are inherently lazy. They have to be. They have to conserve energy.” – Randy Sullivan (13:33)
  • “This generation of player is not afraid of hard work. This generation of player is afraid of things that may make them think they are stupid. They’ve got more information than they have ever had before.” – Randy Sullivan (20:35)
  • “It’s not that we are teaching you a new way to throw or hit. What we are teaching is a new way to view throwing and hitting, which leads to a new way to teach throwing and hitting.” – Randy Sullivan (29:33)
  • “You can never repeat a movement, that ever single throw and every single swing is going to be different.” – Randy Sullivan (31:34)
  • “There is no good drill for everything.” – Randy Sullivan (34:55)

Resources Mentioned: 

 

September 29, 2019  
September 26, 2019  

Cliff Godwin- Head Baseball Coach, East Carolina University (NC)

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During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Cliff Godwin, Head Baseball Coach East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Coach Godwin’s coaching experience spans across many collegiate programs in the assistant coach capacity including University of Notre Dame, Louisiana State University, University of Central Florida, and Ole Miss. Learn about practice design, hitting routines, advice for assistant coaches, and how he molds a positive, family-orientated team culture. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • How did Cliff Godwin get involved in baseball?   
  • How much have mentors benefited Cliff Godwin?
  • What were some of Cliff’s first steps as a coach? 
  • What does Cliff Godwin’s fall training season look like?  
  • How did he execute his vision?
  • What do the conversations about striving for excellence about look like? 
  • What are his players doing for competition? 
  • What advice does Cliff Godwin have assistant coaches?  
  • How does Coach Godwin implement efficiency and practice design for spring training?
  • What does his BP drills look like? 
  • What does his interview process look like?  
  • What is the latest thing that he has learned that he is excited about? 
  • What is something that he does in practice that his players love? 
  • What is something that Cliff Godwin believes that other coaches may disagree with? 
  • What are three things that would stand out during Cliff Godwin’s baseball practices?  
  • What are some of Cliff’s favorite books and resources that he has learned the most from? 

3 Key Points:

  1. Always give your best because someone who can help you later could be watching you. 
  2. If you aren’t falling short of your goals than you aren’t setting your goals high enough. 
  3. The P.I.R.A.T.E.S acronym is: Purpose, Integrity, Responsible, Attitude, Toughness, Excellence, Self-less.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “You never know who is watching. We all as coaches tell our players that.” – Cliff Godwin (06:38)
  • “My vision was very ambitious. I don’t think that you can set goals too high.” – Cliff Godwin (08:43)
  • “We have not had below a 3.4 team GPA in the past two years. How about that?” – Cliff Godwin (11:11)
  • “You can get your players to do anything, you just can’t get them to do everything.” – Cliff Godwin (11:23)
  • “First of all, in the fall, we compete at something every day, whether it be in the weight room or skill instruction.” – Cliff Godwin (26:41)
  • “Accept all the players. Tell them that they are your players, and go with it.” – Cliff Godwin (29:46)
  • “I think that it is important just to have your assistants feel like this is a family atmosphere.” – Cliff Godwin (34:24)
  • “I am very lucky now that in this stage in my career that there are a bunch of guys in the profession that I really trust.” – Cliff Godwin (44:56)

Resources Mentioned: 

September 22, 2019  
September 19, 2019  

Mike Glavine- Head Baseball Coach, Northeastern University (MA)

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During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Mike Glavine, Head Baseball Coach at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Mike shares advice on how he transitioned into his head coach position at Northeastern University, the power that can be found with indoor practices, typical practice plans, and his players getting to play the Boston Red Sox. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • How did Mike Glavine get involved in baseball?  
  • Does he teach his brother’s change-up? 
  • How does it feel to coach at North Eastern as an alumni?
  • What were some of the first things that Mike did as a coach?
  • What does Mike’s fall training season look like?  
  • What are some things that Coach Glavine does to establish the culture of the team?
  • How does he get to know his players better? 
  • How does he keep competition strong on the team? 
  • In what ways does Mike handle the weather changes?  
  • Are they leveraging technology during indoor practices? 
  • How is he preparing his team to play the Red Sox? 
  • What does a typical practice plan look like? 
  • What do post-season player meetings look like? 
  • What are some different things that Mike Glavine does during interviews of potential hires?  
  • What would Mike do differently as a head coach? 
  • What is the latest thing that Mike Glavine has learned that he is excited about?  
  • What is something that Mike does in practice that his players love? 
  • How does he develop his assistant coaches? 
  • What is something that Mike believes that other coaches may disagree with?
  • What are some of Mike’s favorite books and resources that he has learned the most from? 
  • What are three things that would stand out during Mike Glavine’s baseball practices?  

3 Key Points:

  1. Mike Glavine’s two key components for coaching are preparing the team and developing the team. 
  2. Mike’s typical practices run around 2 and a half hours and finish with a competition where something is at stake for the losing side. 
  3. Give your players goals and honest feedback on what they can work on. 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I think really what I want to do is build on what Coach McPhee has established during his 29-year career here at Northeastern. But then give it a fresh look, a reboot, a restart, reengage with everybody.” – Mike Glavine (09:38)
  • “We’ll start fall baseball, and with that, it’s aggressive like most programs. We’ll go six days a week. We’ll have our day off. We’ll hit the 20 hours during the week. We’ll spend time in the weight room.” – Mike Glavine (13:49)
  • “Competition right? It's such a key word, and a great word in sports. It’s something that we focus on all the time.” – Mike Glavine (28:21)
  • “I have learned to love the indoor practices. Because it forces you as coaching staff to get more creative and maybe work on things more on the inside part of your season that you would never work on as much.” – Mike Glavine (33:16)
  • “To me, this game, so much of it is about feel and instincts and what might feel right to Player X might not feel right to Player Y.” – Mike Glavine (39:59)
  • “The guys really appreciate honesty. They want to know where they stand.” – Mike Glavine (52:40)
  • “The summer allows them (players) a fresh start, a re-group. So that when they come into the fall, you know, they are ready to go.” – Mike Glavine (52:51)
  • “How is this coach going to be with me as the head coach? Is he going to be able to handle me? Is he someone that will talk baseball with me all the time? I love to talk baseball?” – Mike Glavine (59:59)

Resources Mentioned: 

Mike Glavine’s Email: @m.glavine@northeastern.edu