Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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July 6, 2020  

Rick Franzblau- Director of Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning, Clemson University (SC)

 
Description
Today we have on Rick Franzblau. Rick is in his first year as the director of olympic sports strength and conditioning. The previous three years he served in the capacity of assistant director of olympic sports strength and conditioning. He is responsible for the supervision of the assistant strength coaches, graduate assistants and volunteer interns. Rick oversees the strength and conditioning for all 14 of the Olympic Sports an he is directly responsible for the strength and conditioning efforts of the baseball, men’s soccer and track and field teams.
On the show we discuss how to match hardware and software, in both hitting and pitching. How what we find on movement screens affects in game performance. How to communicate and collaborate with on field staff and strength staff. We talk deceleration training, proper breathing and so much more. 
Here is Rick Franzblau!
 
Resources
Understand basic concepts of postural restoration institute
Basic anatomy 
 
Contact
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto 
  • Do everything you can to help your athletes achieve their goals.
  • Hardware: the body and how it naturally moves.
  • 1. Lever System: Ratios of the length of your femur to your spine to your tibia
  • These can dictate are you a squatter or a hinge.
  • This will dictate how your forward move is.
  • 2. Wingspan
  • 3. Your structure such as your hips.
  • Humans are born and have a specific way that they will move.
  • Look at passive and active range of motion.
  • Passive: How much I can push you back to.
  • Active: A move back from the passive motion.
  • 4. Movement Capabilities: Movement screenings.
  • 5. Static Posture: How the body’s posture is.
  • All of this will tell you how the athlete is supposed to move.
  • When making a change the athlete needs to know why and how.
  • Possible solutions:
  • 1. Improve an output (exit velocity) or productivity.
  • 2. Improve their efficiency: How hard the athlete is working with success.
  • Example: Effortless velocity throughout time.
  • 3. Health
  • Two options:
  • 1. Once you determine their hardware, perhaps their software needs adjusted.
  • 2. The longer option is the hardware.
  • The older the athlete is the harder it’ll be to change their hardware.
  • “At the end of the day pass and fail doesn’t matter. The three above questions are what matter.”
  • Software is the understood movements and solutions with the hardware (body).
  • Extended postures
  • Example: Ribs are oriented more to the sky.
  • This happens for breathing patterns (not using the diaphragm).
  • This means that these guys lose their glutes in the side to side frame.
  • Changes the forward move and load.
  • These athletes have a lag in their forward move.
  • Players have more of a knee strategy forward move. This creates a problem for balance.
  • This can cause problems in vision and seeing the pitch when hitting.
  • These individuals struggle with the hinge test.
  • “These individuals don’t trust their hips so they don’t hinge.”
  • This effects how you teach stretching and weight room exercises.
  • It’s hard to change hardware but if you get buy in it’ll be an easier process.
  • Have a common language with the player so that both sides have a clear understanding of what to do.
  • After the strength and mobility assessments have a meeting with each athlete.
  • The meeting will be about hip anatomy (this will determine movement solution of the athlete) and parts of the body that determine the athlete’s current movement solutions.
  • “The answer comes down to the skill coach.”
  • With the players who have breathing pattern problems look at how their hips thrust and hinge.
  • You want to make sure that the player is balanced throughout the athletic movement for success.
  • It’s important to talk with the coaches to find out how the athlete is performing.
  • Use data, video, and movement tests.
  • At the younger levels, the players are perpetuating these extended postures because they are trying to get stronger at younger levels.
  • Pitchers have the same problems as hitters.
  • “We are looking at a lot of the same things.”
  • Start with the hips and assess those.
  • If the player doesn’t have a range of motion with their hips then the player is going to have problems with how they move.
  • Check out how the hips go back and how they turn.
  • When you load into your glutes then you’ll create free energy that will go into getting more out of the delivery and more onto the pitch.
  • The players who get more out of their glutes will be able to perform efficiently longer.
  • How you load the hip and stride down the mound is so crucial.
  • You want to have pelvic rotation just like the best hitters for pitchers instead of pushing off the rubber instead.
  • Pre-throwing use J-bands.
  • Post-throwing stretch.
  • Diet is crucial for success for all athletes.
  • Sleep schedule is crucial as well.
  • Look at the arm at front foot strike.
  • Is it up 90 degrees or behind?
  • This will effect how the arm spirals.
  • How does the arm unwind?
  • Is the arm unwinding at the same time that the trunk is rotating.
  • Before every bullpen or game the pitchers are in the weight room for 20 minutes to warm up and get their body and arm prepared.
  • Arm care needs to be holistic.
  • A cookie cutter approach to things is more harmful than good.
  • Example: weighted balls are good for a certain population, but not good for all.
  • Find what cues are valuable for each athlete.
  • Look at each program and see if they are helpful for all athletes or each athlete.
  • You can decelerate by kicking back or scissor movement.
  • Players to do the kick back scissor movement is that players need to be strong physically and tissue wise as well.
  • We have to understand the deceleration pattern of all athletes so we can improve it.
  • You can use medicine ball exercises to bring out the deceleration patterns for each athlete.
  • Single leg strength is important for kick back guys.
  • For pitching it’s about timing your pelvic rotation properly.
  • As the foot plants then the pelvic needs to turn.
  • Understand what deceleration strategies to use.
  • Then you can select drills to help these strategies to work well.
  • When hitting you want your guys to work on trunk and pelvis deceleration.
  • Some guys who decelerate well will counter rotate their hips.
  • Watch the belt buckle of the hitter.
  • If it’s level throughout they are moving pretty well.
  • Breathing needs to be used for mental game and postural related.
  • Long exhales are key.
  • When you let all the air out at the end you feel loose and your abs turn up.
  • It takes the tension out of their body.
  • Players need to understand how to take a deep breath as well.
  • Long exhales will make you more relaxed and help your posture.
  • Breathing through your nose helps the player aerobically.
  • When we are more mobile we will have more slack in our muscles.
  • When we are less mobile we have less slack.
  • You want to have less slack so you’re more athletic in the muscles.
  • You can stretch to gain less slack.
  • Shoulder range of motion: hold them at the elbow and put pressure on the wrist to get an idea of the shoulder range of motion.(passive external shoulder range of motion).
  • To get an idea of a players active range of motion you can have them put their hand on the ground and push up to understand a players active range of motion.
  • For players who are hyper mobile ask and see if that actually bothers their performance.
  • Natural maturation will tighten up the hyper mobile players as well.
  • On a RHH: Fascial accelerators: right shoulder to left hip fascial line. Left shoulder to the right hip.
  • Fascial breaks: left hip to the right shoulder. Left shoulder to the right hip.
  • “It’s like an X.”
  • Fascia is connective tissues that protects organs.
  • It is a supporter in the body.
  • It’s important because it’s trained through elastic movements and patterns across multiple planes.
  • Testosterone helps with explosive movements.
  • It’s something we want to optimize in the afternoon and evening.
  • Explosive workouts before a game will prevent decay in testosterone.
  • Elite explosive athletes will be flat if they don’t do anything.
  • They have to do something every day.
  • Tuck jumps and Plyocare push ups are helpful for pitchers.
  • Small doses of this with position players. Since their workload is quite a bit.
  • “Challenge yourself with everything you do.”
  • Be open minded and continue to learn about things you don’t know.
  • As a coach spend as much time learning about strength as you do content of sport.
June 29, 2020  

Nate Fish- The King of Jewish Baseball

This episode is brought to you by Marvbands. Use code AOTC for 10% off of team sets!
 
 
 
 
 
Today we have on The King of Jewish Baseball Nate Fish. 
We go over what he has learned in playing and coaching in 20 plus countries. He also has experience in the world baseball classic, in Cape Cod and starting the national baseball program in Israel. And one of the coolest things about Nate is his experience coaching from little league, to coaching in the minor leagues with the Dodgers. 
 
Contact
 
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto 
  • Fast pitch softball can clean your swing up because the reaction time is less than in baseball.
  • In practices you want high energy and fun experiences.
  • When you’re having fun is where learning happens.
  • When you’re working with fear, the result is not good.
  • Within a stretch routine it may be the only time of the day where everyone on the team is together.
  • When you are stretching you can add in a clap after a stretch.
  • This is similar to football.
  • “You can’t be scared to be a little bit stupid.”
  • “You want to build a program around a shared vision.”
  • When building relationships with players the trust comes first and the love comes second.
  • “Player development is just human development.”
  • People often just need support and understand what their role is so they can do it well.
  • What you know isn’t going to be the difference in player development, it’s the relationship piece.
  • Allow your players to tell stories in the stretch to make a fun environment.
  • The batting cage is where relationships really grow.
  • When coaching in the summer leagues allow your players to find out their routines and processes.
  • It’s like a Professional format.
  • Players can find out a lot of career changing things during that summer.
  • Teach your players to stay rational. Baseball will bring out a ton of mental stress.
  • Don’t dive into telling your hitters to swing one way.
  • Work on them feeling specific movements in the swing and finding out solutions in their own way.
  • Players have to be on time and have a stabilized movement throughout the swing.
  • Commonalities are athleticism, timing, and having the ability to stabilize the pelvis, and staying through your legs.
  • “Get on time for a heater.”
  • Use objectives for your players to do when they are hitting.
  • This allows them to self organize and work on the feels they are searching for.
  • Every athlete’s movements will be unique and different.
  • Technology has allowed for external cues to be the way.
  • Visualization is important to do if you’re in a pandemic, injured, or before you are hitting.
  • It helps build confidence and a plan.
  • Before practice have your players step into the box and have them feel comfortable in the box.
  • Allow them to get set up.
  • As a coach be the pitcher (show a righty or lefty).
  • Have them see the ball out of the hand.
  • Have them visualize taking pitcher.
  • Have them visualize taking swings on pitches.
  • You want them to feel comfortable in the box and feel that they are in control and not the pitcher.
  • “This is hard to quantify.”
  • With that being said it can help prepare the players to have success and put the pressure on the pitcher.
  • When building a culture discuss what’s important, model it, discuss it every day, and explain the importance of everything.
  • “Stars make kids want to do things.”
  • Players are influenced by baseball players who are role models.
  • When introducing baseball to someone, have them go to camps and find those role models.
  • Practice design is super important.
  • Practice design has a lot of variables.
  • You have to factor in age group, amount of teams, amount of time.
  • You need to make sure players are being healthy with their arms.
  • “Any defense is about playing catch.”
  • Spend less time on bunt plays and 1st and 3rd play.
  • You want your players to hit a lot and work on game speed practices.
  • Play the game as much as possible.
  • Do game like situations and live batting practice.
  • “Culture is a by product of your values.”
  • So how you do everything is a showing of how you value things.
  • State what you are about and model it to your players.
  • How you do things is super important with a culture.
  • Don’t teach hands behind the ball. Teach barrel in between your hands and your body instead.
  • Players enjoy energy, enthusiasm, and good BP out of a coach.
  • As a coach a goal of ours is to not over coach.
  • “It’s okay to agree or disagree on things as coaches.” You can learn and grow from each other.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. You learn from failure.
  • “If we haven’t failed lately then we haven’t put ourselves out there.”
  • “The game itself is the best teacher.”
June 21, 2020  

Joe Espada- Bench Coach, Houston Astros

This episode is brought to you by Marvbands. Use code AOTC for 10% off of team sets!
 
 
 
 
 
Today we have on Joe Espada, Bench Coach for the Houston Astros. Joe grew up in Puerto Rico and attended college the University of Mobile before being drafted 45th overall in the 1996 draft by the Oakland A’s. Joe played 10 years in the Minors before retiring and getting into coaching. He got his first coaching job in 2006 with the Marlins and was named the big league 3B coach in 2010. In 2014 he was hired by Brian Cashman and became an assistant to the GM and the infield coach with the Yankees, and in 2017 he was hired by the Astros to be the bench coach. On the show we discuss lessons learned throughout his professional career, we discuss how working in the Yankees front office helped him become a better on field coach and we dive deep into how to learn about and build the culture in the clubhouse.
 
Resources
  • Extreme ownership- Jocko Willink 
  • Measure what matters- John Doerr
  • We’re all in this together- Mike Robbins

Contact

show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

  • When you get into coaching, put your ego to the side and focus on helping the players with your experiences and things you’ve learned.
  • “Share your stories so that others don’t make the same mistakes.”
  • “The best coaches put their players first.”
  • “It’s about the players, not about you.”
  • Players want to see you as genuine and they want to see empathy and humility.
  • The most important thing is to earn the trust of the players.
  • If your patient and your timing is right you’ll earn trust of the players.
  • The best leaders listen well and speak last.
  • The ones that do that earn the trust of the players and people will follow you because of that.
  • “Players want to know how you are going to bring the best out of me?”
  • When players know you care about their careers and the team then they’ll understand that you have their best interests in mind. They’ll trust you because of this.
  • “Do more listening than talking.”
  • Don’t break the ice on how you played.
  • A lot of players don’t want to hear that.
  • Without trust teamwork cannot be built.
  • Listen to the players and their stories so that you can relate to them better.
  • “When things aren’t good at home, they aren’t going to be good at the field.”
  • We need to take time to understand the language and culture if our players.
  • You want to have a human connection so that you can help the players grow and get away from their anxieties at home.
  • Have a conversation about personal life will help grow relationships and help them feel better because it unloads the weight of the world off of their shoulders.
  • Allows the player to perform the best of their ability.
  • Culture is talked about a lot, but are we actually doing things to help create and continue the culture that we want.
  • You need more than talent to win a championship.
  • Three things that create championships:
  • 1. Embrace technology and use new ways to develop players.
  • They adapt quickly to changes in the game.
  • 2. Hire smart and can understand technology and the human side of things.
  • Make sure we put our egos at the door and provide the best data to our players so when we go to the field we are prepared and on the same page.
  • The best teams have a culture of openness to where you can voice your opinion.
  • When we are shifting we must be able to sell what we are teaching.
  • We cannot sell our teaching unless there is trust.
  • When communicating it must be crystal clear with everyone.
  • The best way to sell shifting is to see the results.
  • Balls were hit and people were in front of the ball.
  • Players were able to make more routine plays.
  • Less balls were in the outfield.
  • Hitters hit into tendencies.
  • Hitters are stubborn and don’t change so much.
  • You can’t let the one ball that gets away from the shift to have you change from the plan.
  • We must be rational and not emotional.
  • In the season make sure your players make throws in the shifted positions.
  • Do bunt plays and pickoffs to show shift coverage.
  • Have presentations on cuts and relays as well.
  • Do the presentations before the season starts.
  • As a bench coach get there day ready.
  • Type of the lineup from the manager.
  • Get the pre game schedule ready.
  • Put out any fires before it gets to the managers office.
  • Watch film and find out a relief rotation.
  • Have visualization an hour to an hour and a half before the game.
  • Have a set routine for your guys so that they have something to look forward to every day.
  • Put things on your schedule if its important.
  • Try learning how to learn Spanish with ELL athletes.
  • This creates friendships and respect.
  • “Challenge the players to teach the coaches in regards to a foreign language.”
  • If you prepare well before a game it will slow down the game for you as a coach.
  • Do homework prior to the game.
  • Visualize good and bad scenarios so you are prepared.
  • As a bench coach you get to ask the manager and position coach on decisions to help both groups.
  • The bench coach is often the swing vote.
  • Timing is crucial to understand adjustments.
  • Players adjust when they are ready.
  • The way to go to the next level is to put players first and dominating your role.
  • Put your ambitions to the side and live in the moment.
  • Be yourself, do your job, and be honest.
  • “Do your job today and tomorrow takes care of itself.”
  • Have your players doing game speed drills.
  • Don’t be afraid to have your players re-do a rep they misplayed in practice.
  • When warming up between innings, have the players make one long throw just in case a throw they will need to make in that half inning.
  • “The best investment you can make is yourself.”
  • “You can always improve yourself.”
  • Use Zoom to teach mechanics and fundamentals of baseball in a quarantine situation.
June 14, 2020  

Andy Haines- MLB Hitting Coach, Milwaukee Brewers

This episode is brought to you by Marvbands. Use code AOTC for 10% off of team sets!
 
 
 
 
 
Today we have on Andy Haines, MLB hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. Andy is in his his second season in the Brewers organization. Prior to joining the Brewers, spent one season as assistant hitting coach with the Chicago Cubs...Under Haines (and hitting coach Chili Davis), the Cubs led the National League in batting average and ranked second in on-base percentage in 2018...Served Chicago as minor league hitting coordinator from 2016-17... Spent eight seasons with the Miami Marlins, where he joined the organization in 2008 as Rookie GCLMarlins hitting coach. On the show we discuss the differences in working with big leaguers and minor leaguers and amateurs, we go over gameplanning, pre game routines and it all ties back into gaining trust with players. You’re going to love this episode with Andy Haines
 
Resources
Intangibles- Joan Ryan
Its your ship- Captain D. Michael Abrashoff
Obstacle is the way- Ryan Holiday
 
Contact 
 
Show notes from Zach Casto
 
  • The best coaches are good teachers.
  • You will grow along with your players.
  • The more an athlete plays, the game will teach the athlete about himself.
  • The player will understand himself well the longer he plays.
  • “The problems the players has when younger are the same ones he will have when he’s older.”
  • You need to strengthen the weaknesses and maintain the strengths.
  • This is difficult so it requires patience.
  • Ask for the players to want to get better each day and be willing to be coachable.
  • One of the best things you can do for an athlete who is struggling is to ask them about experiences other than baseball.
  • This shows that you aren’t worried.
  • Think about on a daily basis on ways to improve each of your group of players every day.
  • “The teacher will show up when the student is ready.”
  • Understand your players when they are at their best and worst.
  • This helps you ready their body language and actions.
  • If you don’t have an answer to a question, tell the athlete you aren’t sure but tomorrow I will be.
  • Be authentic with players and honest.
  • You want to show confidence.
  • Allow the players to provide answers and their opinion on things in order to help them become their own best coach.
  • Players want an impactful coach and someone who is in there with them.
  • Great leaders are great communicators (verbal and nonverbal).
  • Great leaders are also authentic.
  • Be willing to tell your players that you don’t know and you’ll find out.
  • Follow through with finding out and give the answer.
  • Players will trust you more if you do this.
  • Test your players by asking them questions to gain their input.
  • This shows that you’re invested.
  • The hardest guy to help is the athlete who is an elite player.
  • Data tells you what direction to go, but it does not tell you what to do.
  • Data will tell you where the player is at and where he needs to go. But we need to realize what to do next to help the player go in the right direction.
  • You can improve a player based off of player comparison.
  • Example: Show the top 10 players in one area and compare it to the player you’re with and ask them why they are struggling in that area.
  • We also have to have a lot of content knowledge in order to give a prescription and piece of advice that is going to help the player.
  • As coaches it is our job to keep pushing our players to be their best as consistently as possible.
  • Understand that hitting is reactionary so it’ll be different for each player.
  • Technology tells a story and which direction to go.
  • Find the most consistent mistakes based off of data and work on that.
  • Players need to find ways to solve problems that the game presents.
  • Find out the area of where the hitter hits the ball the hardest.
  • If there is data on a hitter’s weakness then the pitching staff will pitch to the weakness and not mess around.
  • On the other hand, understand the pitch profile of the pitcher and work on that in the cage to work it off of the machine.
  • Players have two choices, hit to his strengths or fight based off of how the hitter will be attacked.
  • Ensure that one on one discussions have intent and helpful.
  • Players need to have conviction, sticking with that, and also letting the last pitch go and have a plan to go for the next pitch.
  • Hitters and always turn around a two strike count into a hitter’s count.
  • “When guys are going well challenge them. When guys are not going well coddle them more.”
  • Players need to focus on their timing, rhythm, and pitch selection when struggling rather than their swing.
  • “You can’t let the results dictate everything.”
  • Don’t back off on them either. Always keep the energy.
  • Hitting the ball in the air is prevalent due to shifts.
  • Try to hit line drives over the infielders heads and into the outfield. Trying to hit the outfield grass on a line.
  • Watch how the defense is playing you. This can tell you how you’ll be pitched and how to keep the inning going to get a hit.
  • “Getting on base is king.”
  • Find a way to get on base no matter how it is.
  • On base percentage is super important.
  • Hits go up when hitters aren’t shifted on.
  • Players need to be invested in their process and routines.
  • Have the players show you the routine and process.
  • Let them perform their routine until they struggle. When they struggle go in and adjust their routine to help them.
  • “Have clarity every day regardless of the results.”
  • Don’t overwork to create problems that aren’t there.
  • Be available for your players and let them know your hours so that they can come in and get extra work in.
  • It takes everyone to develop a hitter.
  • Be holistic about it.
  • Find out the best way for each hitter.
  • Each body is different than the others.
  • Stay current but also make sure the new ideas used are clearly understood.
  • You can’t underestimate the importance we hold with our athletes.
  • “Treat a person as they should be and watch who they become.”
 
June 8, 2020  

Anthony Iapoce- MLB Hitting Coach, Chicago Cubs

This episode is brought to you by Marvbands. Use code AOTC for 10% off of team sets!

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Today we have on the Chicago cubs major league hitting coach, Anthony Iapoce. Anthony was named the Cubs major league hitting coach in October, 2018 after three seasons as the hitting coach with the Texas Rangers ... prior to joining Texas, he spent the previous three years in the Cubs organization as a Special Assistant to the GM while overseeing the club's minor league hitting program from 2013-15 ... Has been in a coaching/player development capacity since the 2006 season. On the show we talk about working with some of the best players in the world and how we can be an advocate for them. We talk about daily routines, which includes game planning and preparation and we get into how we can best serve all of our players. This episode is so good with Anthony Iapoce!
 
Resources
Creativity inc
Biographies
 
Contact 
 
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto
 
  • As a coach be able to talk and help out everyone in the program that you work with.
  • Be preparedness and patience will create trust from the players.
  • You don’t want to change a swing at first.
  • Listen and watch.
  • “Players will tell you about how they want to be coached.”
  • Be patient enough for when players ask you for help, then you have a plethora of resources to help them.
  • You can learn through the honest conversations that you have with the players that they will tell you how they want to be coached.
  • This helps the athlete become their own best coach.
  • When players talk to you, you want them to be completely honest.
  • When things go well, congratulate the player.
  • Players need to trust their process and not focus completely on mechanics.
  • It’s a one pitch at a time approach with adjustments.
  • Before, after, and during the the game have a stream of communication from the whole team.
  • “Don’t underestimate that players know how to practice and can manage their thoughts.”
  • “The drill doesn’t help the player, it’s the thought process during the drill.”
  • It can be a thought process or a target on the field.
  • In practice help the player think properly.
  • Don’t ever assume that your players have heard what you’ve said constantly. Go in every day expecting that they know nothing.
  • “The more accountable a player is the quicker they will improve.”
  • What a player feels is the most important thing for them.
  • You manage this by a certain set of drills.
  • Again, the focus is the thought behind the drill.
  • Players need to practice getting hits when they aren’t on time.
  • This is possible.
  • What your thoughts are and what they are actually doing are two different things.
  • Celebrate the little victories such as a good take, a walk, a good swing.
  • Baseball beats up the player enough.
  • The hardest thing a player goes through is letting the team and themselves down.
  • Have the player focus on helping the team win and being selfless.
  • Get back to when the player feels the most confident. Get back to that place and start a connection there. So the player can feel that great feeling.
  • Preach to players to buy into a team concept of hitting.
  • Example: teach the importance of selfless at bats. Such as hitting the ball the opposite field.
  • The routine starts as soon as you get to the field.
  • What they eat, what they do, and how they prepare for the game has to be set for the player to feel confident and comfortable.
  • Each player has their set routine.
  • In the cage with a tee, Cubs player would hit off of a high tee first to get prepared for the mass amounts of high fastballs that they will see in a game.
  • Being thrown BP, work on low in the zone and working your way back up in the zone.
  • Depending on preference, players will use a set of resources to get prepared for who they are facing.
  • Example: some players will use a high velocity pitching machine, do a short bat drill, tosses.
  • You want cage flow and a set of drills so that everyone isn’t just standing around.
  • Players will appreciate organization and preparedness.
  • All great conversations happen by players talking to each other.
  • This builds an understanding between players and coaches.
  • Get to know the players:
  • Give them an assignment of using Google Earth and take a picture of the town or city the player was from. The player will talk about the town he was in.
  • Respect everyone’s cage time because everyone has a tight schedule and wants to get better that day.
  • The next best thing for coaching is really good people who can coach in everything.
  • You have to be a hybrid coach and be able to do everything.
  • Learn from experiences and formulate how you want to coach.
 

 

June 4, 2020  

George Lombard- First Base Coach, Los Angeles Dodgers

This episode is brought to you by Marvbands. Use code AOTC for 10% off of team sets!

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Youtube

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Today we have on George Lombard. First base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. George has been a member of the dodgers for 5 years, after previously serving various roles in the Braves and Red Sox Minor League Systems. George’s story is one word, powerful. His mom was a civil rights activist with Martin Luther King jr. His grandfather was the dean of Harvard business school for 40 years. George was an all American running back and signed at the university of Georgia before ultimately deciding to pursue baseball which led to playing 6+ years in the big leagues.

Resources
 
Contact
 
Show notes from Zach Casto
  • You want to be the kind of coach that the players know that you. Care and love your players.
  • These are the coaches who are difference makers.
  • Often times the most influential person in your life is a good model of a good coach.
  • Stand up for what you believe and always do the right thing.
  • “Always look to make a difference in the lives of others.”
  • There will always be people who will help you out. Try to stay as positive as possible.
  • Always recognize those who have helped you.
  • You want to be the kind of coach that is positive and picks up players when they are at their lowest.
  • You also want to keep those same players grounded when they are playing at their best.
  • “Everyone in baseball should have the experience of being a hitting coach”
  • Push your players and peers to go after their goals.
  • Example: Get their bachelors degree.
  • A coaches role is to make a difference in the lives of their players.
  • You can make a difference every single day.
  • “You can make a difference every day.”
  • Special players make special teams.
  • The best coaches allow their assistants and players be themselves.
  • They try to eliminate distractions so that you can compete and teach at your best.
  • Players trust coaches who are transformational coaches.
  • Getting guys to believe in you will run through a wall for you.
  • They will feel free and focus at their best.
  • We want our players to believe in you so much that they can grow to be their best version of themselves.
  • The game of baseball is a tough game. It has a lot of ups and downs. As coaches we need to always be that steadying force.
  • We have to be consistent with our actions to build the trust of your players.
  • You need to be reliable.
  • It takes time to build trust.
  • Example: It could take 5 years.
  • Team bonding experiences and asking the players how they are and their family consistently shows that you care about the person.
  • To be successful it takes the help of multiple people.
  • You need to find out how much information you need to give to each player.
  • Some players are sponges whereas some players only need a few pieces of information.
  • When you have player meetings keep things as simple as possible.
  • The coaching staff needs to do all of the data collection.
  • The better prepared you are, the better the information will be dispersed, and the more confident the players will be to compete.
  • You want your best players and veteran players to buy in.
  • That’s when a strong culture will start to be implemented.
  • Players don’t like the term rules. Use responsibility instead.
  • As a first base coach talk to the base runner on their right side.
  • Go over information on the kind of pitcher they will be leading off against.
  • Green pitchers are slow.
  • Yellow are in between.
  • Red pitchers have really good moves and are quick to the plate.
  • Keep the players updated on the pop time of the catcher and if he likes to back pick.
  • Follow the scoreboard and make the proper decisions based off of that.
  • “When a pitcher gets the count to two strikes there is a good chance he goes offspeed. Look for the ball in the dirt.”
  • You want your base runners to take the extra 90 feet.
  • You want to win every dirt ball read situation.
  • You want your base runners to be aggressive and to also do the fundamentals properly.
  • If the players do that and get thrown out so what.
  • Focus on the process and not the results.
  • The Best pitchers have a balk move. Let the umpire be aware of that move.
  • As a first base coach understand what the third base coach likes to do.
  • Stay on the same page with the other base coach.
  • Before we can help a player we must know the player.
  • We must understand the culture and background of the player.
  • This allows us to empathize and understand where the player comes from.
  • The great team are all selfless and have a common goal.
  • Example: you don’t run the bases for yourself, you run the bases for your teammates.
  • “Every play matters.”
  • To create selfless players, it starts with actions.
  • “Keep them on track with the process and controlling things they can control.”
June 1, 2020  

Andy Barkett- 2018 World Series Champion Assistant MLB Hitting Coach, Boston Red Sox

This episode is brought to you by Marvbands. Use code AOTC for 10% off of team sets!

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Today we have on 2018 World Series champion, Andy Barkett. Andy was an assistant MLB hitting coach with the Boston Red Sox in 2018-2019. On the show, we talk about how to earn trust with our players, why learning their routines is important, we discuss game-planning, approach and why Andy thinks that hitting coaches are basically part time psychologists. You’re gonna love this episode with Andy Barkett!

Contact 

@abarkett17

Foundations of Coaching Professional Hitters

https://bsbliq.com/courses/foundations-of-being-a-professional-hitting-coach/

Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

  • Players will always remember what you did for them.
  • Those individuals will be their influences in life.
  • There is people along the way to help their players in life and in the field.
  • The best teams put their egos to the side.
  • They also learn, grow, and work together
  • Playing everyone’s playlist during batting practice helps build conversations amongst the players.
  • When the players are comfortable together they will coach each other.
  • When in the cage the preparation needs to be based on who you’re facing.
  • It will also be about guys focusing on zoning in on their damage zones.
  • “Pass the baton.”
  • This means everyone doing their job in the offense to keep the inning going.
  • These are unselfish at bats.
  • Every team is different every year.
  • When you have a team mentality, the chance for pressure to take away your at bat goes away.
  • The hardest part is getting everyone to put their egos to the side.
  • It’s a process that has to happen every year.
  • To establish trust with all of the players: be authentic, transparent, and show that you don’t know all the answers.
  • Ask the players for answers.
  • This shows you value their input.
  • Ask the players about how their life and families are going and doing.
  • If the players thoughts aren’t focused then the results of the athlete will be sporadic.
  • Find out what’s going on, talk to them, and get them focused.
  • Players want coaches who are invested in their careers.
  • “When you see the players singing each other’s songs, you’ll know they are focused and comfortable around each other.”
  • What separates players is the work ethic, lack of complacency, and search for greatness.
  • Example: JD Martinez practices bad at bats and simulated them after the game to realize how to adjust.
  • The best players have their own process and are always working.
  • They trust their process as well.
  • The hitting coach needs to especially be an offensive coordinator.
  • There should be a constant stream of information between the hitters and hitting coach.
  • Players want to know what exactly they need to know to have success.
  • They need to know where to attack each pitcher.
  • Example: anything low stay off, anything high smash it.
  • You need to be able to verbalize the plan based off of the language of the player.
  • It’s important for the coach to talk to the players about their processes.
  • The athlete must have a why behind everything they do.
  • As coaches we need to learn the processes of each player.
  • You want to serve the players as best as you can.
  • Players and coaches need to speak ideas freely because it’s about helping the team as a whole.
  • Don’t waste time. Have a plan and stick to it.
  • Players appreciate this.
  • You want a barbershop mentality.
  • This means you accommodate for all of the processes of the player and as they come in the cage will he set up for the individual hitter
  • To gain the trust of everyone it comes down to communication
  • Players need to know you’re there to help the player better.
  • “You need to remember you’re serving the players.”
  • When players are struggling they want their coaches to be positive and tell stories and advice to relate to them.
  • “The biggest opponent in baseball is self doubt.”
  • A plan in a game will stay the same, but the approach can be adjustable.
  • “The game is the best teacher.”
  • This will help the athlete learn their feels and where to adjust and work.
  • In the middle of the game, talk to your players about what you see and have the players discuss about the adjustment being made.
  • For competition have game like at bats with the machine.
  • Keep points within the game like at bats.
  • This creates competition and game like experiences for players to create feels.
  • “Find time every day to improve yourself as a coach and as a person.” 
May 28, 2020  

Hunter Mense- MiLB Hitting Coordinator, Toronto Blue Jays

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Today we have on the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Hitting Coordinator, Hunter Mense. Born in Liberty, MO, Hunter attended the University of Missouri. And was drafted in the 17th round by the Florida Marlins. After his playing career, he went back to Missouri and served in several roles- undergrad and graduate volunteer assistant coach, and color commentator on the team’s radio broadcasts and then made the jump back to pro ball with the padres for 1 season, then the bluejays as the AA hitting coach and now as the hitting coordinator.

On the show, we discuss what the process of making changes with players looks/sounds like, we go over the process of experimentation coupled with communication, and we discuss his role as a coordinator  which essentially coaches coach’s. 

You’re gonna love this episode with Hunter Mense!

Resources

Range- David Epstein

Instagram and Twitter Relationships

Contact

Twitter

Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

  • The passion for the game can influence how others can fall in love with the game as well.
  • You can also help out players by sharing your experiences and shortcomings and help them adjust through your experiences.
  • Empower your players as much as possible to help them learn how to figure things out on their own.
  • You want them to be their own best coach.
  • Relationship communication is the most important piece to have to create improvement.
  • You want to have constant communication that is clear for minimal problems to occur.
  • We have to get buy in from a player before the adjustment will be successful.
  • Before there is a change have a conversation with the hitting coach and head coach.
  • Ask the player questions to see how he feels and what his opinion is on the change.
  • “If analytics are used right, it can help create the buy in of the player.”
  • Therefore, use analytics to be the evidence to create buy in with the player.
  • The analytics can allow the hitter to formulate why he’s not having success.
  • Have the player discuss the reason why he’s struggling. This can help everyone involved to help create a process to where the player will improve.
  • This helps them buy into the process and to be invested.
  • This puts the player in the role of taking accountability for their careers.
  • It takes a lot of listening and learning about the athlete to help the player grow.
  • Go through a set of drills with each player and find out what drills would work best for each player.
  • This is an ongoing process.
  • This process can create a common team verbiage through the drills as well.
  • Video each player’s swing.
  • Watch it with the coaching staff.
  • Find out things the player does and doesn’t do well.
  • Find out what to change.
  • Follow this up with metrics for evidence along with the video.
  • This gets all of the coaches on the same page and helps the athlete understand that the coaches are caring for the improvement of the player.
  • The changes made are movement or process made changes than overall swing changes.
  • “You may have to prepare 6 months for a 6 minute conversation.”
  • The goal for a staff is to simplify the information given to the players.
  • The information given to hitters is:
  • Velocity and what kind of fastball (rising, flat, or sinking).
  • We want our guys to have success with doing damage to a fastball.
  • Once this has been answered, then find out the offspeed pitches thrown.
  • “Be a master of yourself.”
  • The player needs to know where they do damage and where they swing and miss.
  • This helps the player creating a plan based off of the information given.
  • This also helps the athlete find out what pitchers he hits well and what pitchers he struggles with.
  • When a player struggles it’s often not about the pitcher the player is facing. It’s about one thing that can remind the player of what he did when he was doing well.
  • It’s a nugget or cue that can help the player realize what works for them.
  • “It’s a little reminder to help them realize what they are doing.”
  • We also have to recognize how we present things to players.
  • Present it respectfully and confidently.
  • Tone matters.
  • With struggling hitters:
  • 1. Find out what’s wrong.
  • 2. What was going right physically and mentally when the hitter was having success.
  • 3. Why were these aspects were going successful.
  • 4. Watch video of when the athlete was going well and not.
  • 5. Diagnose and come up with a game plan with the player.
  • 6. Ask if the player wants to make a change.
  • 7. Go to the cage.
  • “If you simply ask a player to come in tomorrow to get some work in, that means so much to the player.”
  • This shows that you care about them.
  • Go with feels. The player focuses on feels when things are going well or not.
  • Feels are the biggest solution for the athlete can understand what they need. (This helps them become their own best coach).
  • Any competition and playing a game gets the players excited.
 
May 24, 2020  

Chuck Box- Head Baseball Coach, Hartfield Academy HS (MS)

 
Today we have on Chuck Box, Head Baseball Coach and assistant athletic director at Hartfield Academy. We flipped the script a little today, and so Chuck takes us through an entire year of what they do at Hartfield. We go over individual player development plans, schedules, culture building and so much more. If you want a practical episode, this one is for you. Here is Chuck Box!
 
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto
  • Your work is a melting pot of a ton of great things.
  • 10 Phases in a year.
  • 2 Phases are rest and recovery.
  • The fall has 3 phases.
  • Phase 1: Movement, Strength, and Toughness.
  • Total body assessment and hitting assessment during this time.
  • It’s the time to assess.
  • Start your throwing programs during this time.
  • The goal should be at their best in May.
  • “Get better everyday. If we get better everyday we will be pretty good in the end.”
  • The first 5-6 weeks is strength testing.
  • Then progress into throwing and skill work.
  • After Thanksgiving is a mini camp.
  • Install all of your stuff during this time.
  • It allows the first time in spring practice to go into the drills without having to re-teach.
  • Lifting 3 days a week and throwing progression 5 days a week.
  • You want your guys to throw over the winter break to be ready for the spring.
  • “If you have to talk about culture a lot, you probably don’t have it.”
  • Culture looks different for everyone.
  • Culture involves everything that you do.
  • As the leader of the program you have to model and hammer what needs to be done.
  • Ask your players what these four areas look like: Succeeding Academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually.
  • If the players can define these four areas, then they will have a better picture of what they need to do to help the culture.
  • Once everyone has an idea of the culture that you want, it will be in everyone’s DNA.
  • The standard is: “If you want to be mediocre, don’t come here.”
  • Create a program to help your players learn how to become quality young men.
  • Bring in guest speakers:
  • 1. Specific speakers: Example: speaking on nutrition.
  • 2. Successful leaders. (Successful coaches).
  • Discuss with your players how to be polite and treat women well.
  • Have your players use journals to take notes.
  • Give the notes back to the players so that they can continue their lifelong learning.
  • Meet 3 days a week in the classroom setting.
  • In the beginning of the season discuss leadership and life skills.
  • As you get closer to the season focus on baseball skills.
  • Allow the guest speakers to come and throw out the first pitch and be on the guest pass for all home games in the season.
  • Give your players opportunities to learn about different jobs.
  • Also give players conditioning week goals to challenge the players.
  • This helps the players become stronger mentally in order to win games when the young gets tough.
  • Words matter. What we say can go over the heads of our players.
  • Take a few classroom sessions to go over team verbiage and standards.
  • Assign words to the players to present to the team.
  • Example: Find our what the term “What you permit your promote.”
  • When the players start saying what you say that means they are all in with those terms.
  • The players and coaches must adjust to the standards of the culture.
  • Talk with the players and have them define when practice begins.
  • If the players don’t meet the standard of that the locker should look like give them an eviction notice.
  • Give them 24 hours to clean out and get out.
  • Give them 2-3 days to not have a locker to value what they had.
  • If you don’t stay on the culture with the players, then the players will settle to be mediocre.
  • When players pout, give them a 25 pound vest to wear.
  • Body language matters.
  • Measure toughness and body language.
  • Follow Blast Metrics for hitting.
  • For high school assistants
  • Look at community volunteers, student assistants, and retired people.
  • Be the kind of person people want to work for.
  • “Good people attract good people.”
  • Clearly define roles for everyone and get out of their ways.
  • A mix of old school and new school is best.
  • Practice what happens most in a game.
  • Practice what matters most in your system.
  • Hitting, throwing,and catching is what happens the most.
  • Plan out your week one day a week.
  • Script it out and then adjust it as the week goes along.
  • Have a mini camp with middle school players.
  • This helps them understand what the experience will be like.
  • The biggest adjustment will be the speed of practice and the game.
  • During BP have base running to be a component of it in order to work in game reads.
  • Pitching Plans:
  • Day 3: Drill Day
  • Day 4: Pen Day
  • Have a mental component to practice. Have that be at the beginning of practice every day.
  • Have a master schedule of practice with drills being summarized for coaches and players to understand.
  • Mental Skills practices: 2 days of visualization, 2 days of mental imagery, and 2 days of self affirmations.
  • Have a mental release station.
  • Have one station per practice where the players practice their releases.
  • The reason why frustration happen is because players don’t know how to release their frustration to be ready for the next pitch.
  • Be where your feet are.
  • “Where you are is your interview.”
 
Full Video
 
Contact
Cell- 601-896-4177
May 20, 2020  

Tony Vitello- Head Baseball Coach, University of Tennessee

 
Today we have on the Tennessee Volunteers head coach Tony Vitello
Vitello arrived on Rocky Top following four seasons as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Arkansas. His rise to the head coaching ranks also included stops at Missouri (his alma mater) and TCU. After leading the program back to the NCAA Tournament in 2019, Vitello and the Vols looked poised to take another step forward in 2020 after a strong start to the season. The Vols were ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation after a 13-0 start to the year and were 15-2 heading into SEC play before the season was halted and eventually canceled due to COVID-19) global health crisis. 
Prior to the season being canceled, Tennessee led the country in total runs and runs per game while ranking second in home runs, slugging percentage, walks, and on-base percentage. 
 
On the show, we discuss what he looks for on the recruiting trail, how to get players to own their career, and we go over what they do for competition everyday and how that propelled them into leading the country in runs in 2020. 
 
Here is Tony Vitello
 
Resources
Heads up baseball- Ken Ravizza
Mind Gym- Gary Mack
Joe Rogan Podcast
Trevor Moawad