Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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22: Zach Brandon- Mental Conditioning Coach, IMG Academy (FL)

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Quotes
  • Our approach to teaching a new skill is education, application and support. We start with why its important, then we apply it to practice and then from there we figure out what works and what doesn’t for each kid.
  • We say the breath is the MVP of the mental game. We spend a lot of time on teaching it.
  • a concept that Ken Ravizza and Tom Hansen discuss.
    1. Learn it
    2. Do it
    3. Own it
      We invest a lot of time learning it, but can we actually practice the skills? We need to create a practice environment that does that.
  • Theres a difference between a jungle tiger and a zoo tiger. Whats the life of a zoo tiger like? Spoon-fed, easy and comfortable. What’s life like in the jungle? Its stressful and your survival is on the line. Now lets compare it to baseball, which one is practice and which one is the game? We need to be able to create more jungle tigers and put our players in stressful situations.
  • There’s a lot of time to think in baseball. Your mind can be your best friend of your work enemy. It can be a weapon or a weakness. 
  • In order to get behavior change, we have to get repetition and progression of skills. If I’m a coach and I do session in the classroom once a week, thats better than nothing. In that setting we expect the players to transfer those skills over to the field. If we only do those sessions in the classroom, we’re going to be setup for disappointment. 
Resources
 
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21: James Vilade- Assistant Baseball Coach, Oklahoma State University

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Quotes
  • Being a cowboy is being a part of one of the greatest programs in the history of college baseball
  • We hang our hat on player development. There’s not a team in the big 12 that has had more draft picks than us in the last 5 years
  • Our demand in practice is energy. You’ve gotta come out prepared to play and practice with an intensity thats going to match game speed.
  • The guys really embrace the fact that the daily competition is that internal check to task yourself to be at your best and to be at a high level every single practice.
  • No matter what spreadsheet you get or saber-metrics stats you use, our number one statistic is “who is our there competing for a spot every single day.” Thats how you win and job and impact the game.
  • Two big things for me as an infield coach are leadership and communication. If we’re constantly communicating were playing the game in a progressive way. If we’re playing the game in a progressive way then we aren’t going to worry about what happened last inning, were going to keep competing.
  • If the players don’t trust you, they’re not going to care what you tell them. It doesn’t matter if you have the best information in the world if your players not trust you. 
Resources
  • Other Coaches 
Contact

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20: Tom Held- Head Baseball Coach, Defiance HS (OH)

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  • "We've been doing an overload and underload throwing program for 22-23 years. We call it the Nate Smith throwing program. We use a tennis ball, a softball, and a baseball."
  • We throw more than any program than i've ever run into. But i've always had the belief that we pitch too much and we dont throw enough.
  • We have a much higher focus on individual player development than team development.
  • We don't allow headphones in our program.That way they cant just sit there by themselves. They have to communicate and they have to talk to each other.
  • Everyday after practice we line up and shake hands with a firm handshake and looking each other in the eye. IF we had a bad day at practice or if we got onto a kid, we have a chance to read that kid and leave on a positive note.
  • Our culture is #1 and our alumni are a close second. I have a text group from every year from 99 on that we reach out to on a consistent basis. We have an alumni fantasy baseball league. We want them to stay involved because they’re the ones that build the program. The players are the reason any coach has success
  • In our program #1 is velocity, #2 is velocity and #3 is velocity. And the reason is that we've never had a kid that throws 80-82 that got a college scholarship. So that's our philosophy with player developmentt 
 Resources
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19: Kai Correa- Cleveland Indians MiLB Infield Instructor and Founder of #FridayFielders

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Quotes
  • I want them to be in competition with themselves to be perfect. That's the only way we're going to field at a really high clip and win games.
  • Some elements that I like to include every single day that I don't think coaches do enough of
          1. Stretching and catching regardless of position
          2. Stretching and picking regardless of position
          3. Catching infield fly balls (GB to FB ratio is 4 to 1 in MLB)
          4. Picking and tagging.
          5. Redirecting the baseball
  • I partner the old with the young. Its always an old guy and a young guy. I want to empower my older guys to provide input. Catch play, picks, footwork. Always an old guy with a young guy. I think that builds leadership, but I also think it builds ownership.
  • On purpose, every single week, I pick a part of practice to watch from the dugout. If ive done my job and we've truly built a unit, the show is going to go on without me. 
  • If you're not willing to have a dialogue with your players about why you're doing something, then you need to take a long look in the mirror to make sure that what you're doing is not just something that your comfortable with and that its the best way to do it.
 
Resources
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18: Jeremy Sheetinger on Essential Networking Strategies

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Quotes
  • I'm anti glancing blows. Networking is about developing true meaningful relationships
  • (on how to remember names) Try and say someone's name 2 times in 20 seconds and 3 times in 30 seconds. There's power in saying someone's name that cannot be manufactured any other way.
  • As long as no one cares who gets the credit, we're going to change the game of baseball.
 
Resources
 
Contact
  • Cell 502-767-7680
 

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17: Cody Atkinson- Hitting Coach, University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley

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Quotes
  • We call ourselves the valley boys. Because we represent the valley. We're getting out on that field every single day and sweating in this heat and working hard and doing all the extra things so when the valley comes and watches us play, they can be proud.
  • We have our players back and we continually let them know that we love them and are there for them
  • Are you an OKG?  Our kinda guy. I'm not a salesman. I'm going to show you everything we do and our vision with development focus. I'm going to get the guys that are in on this thing and the guys that arent, I don't want.
  • Culture coaches when the coaches aren't around. We're going to recruit personality and character before skill. We think we can take anyone and make them better.
  • We believe in having short, efficient practices. We come in, go as hard as we can, and leave. We don't condition because you should be so tired from practice 
  • We don't clone people here. We don't cookie cut. We try and help each player find his best swing.
  • You decide NOT to swing, you dont decide to swing. This is a HUGE deal for us.You step into the box swinging at the pitch
  • Hitters make themselves. We don't make them, They do the work and they stand in the box. We can help them but we dont make them.
 
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16: Brent Robison- Pitching Coach, Tulsa Union HS (OK)

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Quotes
  • One of the first conversations we have is where does your arm hurt? We have to start with the pain
  • A lot of what we do is player led. Guys tend to figure out things more when they have to teach other people what the ultimate goal of the activity is. 
  • Every year i have someone who doesn't fit the ideal mold, so it keeps pushing me to try and reach everyone in the program.
  • If I have 13 pitchers, I should have 13 pitching programs.
  • Every time a bullpen is thrown, they're competing against someone for something. If we're asking them to compete in games, then practice should be a competition. 
  • Our goal has always been to help the players become better people. Learning life lessons will help them to become better baseball players.
  • Start looking at players as individuals. One size doesn't fit all, and one size doesn't even fit one guy for very long.
 
Resources 
 
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15: Zach Dechant- Director of Strength and Conditioning, TCU Baseball

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Quotes
  • Our kids are at their strongest in season Were not training to be good in the offseason, were training to be at our best in season. So it drives me crazy when you see kids not lifting in season, it makes no sense.
  • All of our incoming freshman are in a developmental group that focuses on 5 major movements

    1. Squat patterning (front squat) 2. Hip Hinge 3. Pushup 4. Horizontal Pull 5. Iso Core Series

  • We do alot of speed work, and to be fast you have to train fast.
     
  • We train on gameday. And i see no reason that HS kids cant either. HS kids arent developed enough to get fatigued if they are working out in the morning and getting 10-12 hours of recovery time. You'll find the more consistent your workouts are. the less theyll get sore. You can develop so much in your in season period
  • Everybody wants to train the pretty muscles, the mirror muscles, chest, abs. Performance happens on the backside. You want to keep kids strong and healthy? It all happens on the backside. Scaps glutes and hamstrings are the powerhouse of athletic performance 
  • There is not a lot of agility that goes on in baseball, its mostly reacting to a stimulus (the baseball) Everything is a straight line. There no cone drills, latter drills in baseball. Its all a straight line to a point, so that what we incorporate into our speed development program.

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14: Ben Sartor- Pitching Coach, Flower Mound HS (TX)

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Quotes
  • There's a lot of pressure at Flower Mound high school. But it's pressure to not just do well, it's pressure to win, it's pressure to go deep in the playoffs and to get a division 1 scholarship.
  • We take 30 minutes a day in the fall to install the mental game, and it's crucial for us
  • If you make it fun the kids are going to have fun if you think it's boring the kids are obviously going to think it's boring.
  • We put a lot of pressure on our kids in practice which is more gamelike. We want them to be used to that pressure 
  • I am a big field guy, so if your offer still want you to get out the 300 get after it man. If you want to do that for days in a row, go. If you aren't feels good, feed it.
  • When it's game day, all I want you to do is compete. I don't wanna talk mechanics. Just go compete
  • Make the best job the one that you're at. You get to play baseball everyday. You get to hit fungo everyday. My son is a bat boy and they pay me to do it. I've got the best job in the world 
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13: Joe Ferraro- Head Baseball Coach, Bronxville HS (NY) and Host of the 1% Better Podcast

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Quotes
  • Our culture playbook is resilience, communication, focus and joy.
  • One of the things we say about communication, is we have difficult conversations in person, not text. That doesnt fly in our program
  • Communication is not so that you can be understood, but so that you cannot be misunderstood.
  • If we're not going to be world class on the field right now, then we need to be world class in everything else.
  • If you want a head coaching job, you need to double down on relationship building. Kids want someone who can give them a clear vision, but they wont care unless they trust you.
  • When you are trying to change the culture we want them quantum leaps. Slow down. Progress and speed have nothing to do with one another.
Resources
 
 
 
 
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Contact Info for Jonathan

Twitter

@j_gelnar7

Email

jgelnar7@gmail.com