Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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June 3, 2021  

Eric Horner on how the JUCO grind develops better players, people and students.


Eric Horner is in his first season as head coach of the Johnson County Community College baseball team, and his 18th with the program. He is just the fourth head coach in the 47-year history of the program. He replaced NJCAA and ABCA Hall of Fame coach Kent Shelley who retired at the end of the 2020 season. Horner served 17 seasons as an assistant coach with the Cavaliers, 13 as the top assistant to coach Shelley, and was instrumental in the success of the program that racked up incredible numbers. In 17 years, Horner helped guide Johnson County to five 30-win seasons, eight 40-win seasons and one 50-win campaign. In 2020 the Cavaliers were on pace to add to that list before the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short with a 20-3 mark. In his 17 years as a recruiting coordinator, Horner recruited and coached 123 all-conference selections, including a record 14 in 2017, 27 All-Region VI selections, 10 NJCAA All-Americans, one Region VI Player of the Year, three conference Players of the Year, one conference Pitcher of the Year, two JUCO All-Stars, two Rawlings Big Stick Award winners, two Rawlings Gold Glove winners and 2020 three Baseball Blog All-Americans, including the National Player of the Year. Additionally, seventy-six players went on to the NCAA Division I level, 87 to the NCAA Division II level, 20 have gone to NAIA programs, and another 20 have gone on to professional baseball. 

So on the show we go over his transition from being an assistant at Johnson to being the head coach, we tallk the JUCO grind and how that develops baseball players, and then we dive deep into developing the person, the player, and the student. 


Time Stamps

1:00- Transitioning from Assistant to Head Coach

3:00- Preparing for a playoff run

4:50- Preparing for the fall

11:00- What the fall looks like at JCC

14:30- Whats a Cavalier look like?

19:00- Pitching Development in the Fall

23:00- Team Development 

32:00- Pre season/In season and Practice Plans

44:00- After Season Wrap-ups

47:00- Quick Hitters








May 20, 2021  

Eric Borba on championship standards and individual player development.

Go to WhatAboutBaseball.com/curve to get your special offer. Thats 20% off AND free shipping. 
Today we have on Eric Borba, head baseball coach at Orange Lutheran Highschool. 
Eric is in his 13th year there after leaving a very successful program at De LaSalle High School where he was the head coach from 2004-08. 

Over 13 years, Borba has proven himself to be one of the elite coaches and programs in high school baseball. He has also been a frequent coach for several teams for team USA. On the show we discuss the standards that it takes to be a player and a coach at Orange Lutheran, and we dig heavily into player development.

- FCA Coaches Bible
- Leading with the heart- Coach K
May 13, 2021  

Derek Sullivan on a year of individualized player development

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Derek Sullivan begins his eighth season as the Head Coach of the Panthers, his 16th year as a member of the coaching staff, and his 19th involved in the City College program. In addition to his coaching duties, he also teaches full-time in the Kinesiology, Health, and Athletics Division.

In his seven years as the head coach, Coach Sullivan has had 90 players transfer to four-year universities. Having a commitment to prepare for the next level, both on the field and off, is a huge part of becoming a “Sac City Guy”.

While at City, Coach Sullivan has amassed an overall record of 191-108 (.639 winning %). The Panthers have qualified for the postseason in six of his seven years, won three Super Regionals two Sectionals and finished 3rd in California in 2019 and as the State Runner-Up in 2018! 

“Sully” returned to the coach for the Panthers in 2005 after playing for ABCA Hall of Fame coach, Ed Blankmeyer, at St. John’s University in 2003 and 2004.

On the show, Derek fills us in on what a "sac city guy" is and we spend a bulk of our time on going through a year of individual player development. This episode is so good with Derek Sullivan!


Time Stamps
1:00- Sac City History
6:20- First 100 days/Vision of the program
12:30- "Sac City Guy" Standards
20:00- "Whats a big leaguer look like?"
28:20:- Team Building activities
35:00- Outline of Player Development
43:00- Offseason-Pre Season
48:30- In season-Post Season
1:00:00- Self Reflection after the season
1:05:00- Last Things 
Sleep Research and studies
Mans Search for meaning- Victor Frankl
Heads Up Baseball 2.0
Old School vs New School- Eugene Bleecker
May 6, 2021  

Mitch Thompson on culture, practice design and making the big time where you are.

Go to WhatAboutBaseball.com/curve to get your special offer. Thats 20% off AND free shipping. 
Among the most highly respected coaches and recruiters in college baseball, Mitch Thompson is beginning his 8th year as head coach at McLennan Community College.
Thompson was named McLennan head coach before the 2014 season and immediately began rebuilding the program to prominence, National Runner Up in 2015. 5th place in 2017.
Had the top JUCOMLB Draft pick in two of the last three years.  They are also one of only 7 Division 1 JC’s to have 40 or more wins in each of the last 5 years.
Before being named McLennan head coach, Thompson spent one season as the South Texas area scouting supervisor for the Kansas City Royals organization after spending nearly two decades on staff at Baylor University (1995-2012) where he was the Bears’ hitting instructor and primary recruiter. 
Mitch also began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for legendary coach Ron Polk at Mississippi State.
on the show we discuss building the culture at a JUCO, we talk practice development/design, and how to make the big time where you are.
Time stamps
3:00- Vision of the program
5:00- Big time is where you are
10- Rules and s
13:30- Building the culture at McLennan
23:37- Offseason Calendar
30:00- Developing a team offense.
34:05- Pre Season- In season Practices
46:00- Last Things
Ron Polks Baseball Handbook
ABCA Conventions
The Travelers Gift- Andy Andrews
April 29, 2021  

Larry Vucan on holistic championship program building.

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Larry Vucan- Head Baseball Coach, Southlake Carroll (TX)
Larry took over in 2017 as the head coach at Carroll since he took over, they reached the final four 3 times in his first 4 years and won back to back Texas High School 6A State Baseball Championships in 2018 and 2019 He was 
Named Dallas/Ft. Worth High School Coach of the Year 2017 and 2019
A little background on Larry 
He is a native of El Paso. Played Collegiately at New Mexico Highlands University. and Played professionally in the Italian Baseball League in Trieste, Italy and then Coached and Managed there.
On the show we discuss how to communicate throughout a large program (they have 5 total HS teams) Larry goes in depth over his player evaluation system and we discuss how to get teams ready for post season play
Here is Larry Vucan
0:30- Playing in Italy
2:30- Vision of the program
26:35- Developing a player evaluation system
37:34- Pre-Season
42:03- In-Season Advice
55:00- Last Things
John Wooden
Augie Garrido
April 22, 2021  

Wes Carroll on building a culture of family, relationship building, and crucial conversations.

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Wes Carroll heads into his 14th season as head baseball coach at the University of Evansville as the Aces usher in a new era of Evansville Baseball and has taken the program to new heights. Carroll learned the “the Purple Aces’ way” growing up just a few minutes from campus in nearby Newburgh, Indiana. He watched his older brother and former Major League infielder, Jamey Carroll, excel at shortstop, and later got to experience the success the program is capable of first-hand as a four-year starter for the Purple Aces and a member of UE’s 2000 NCAA Tournament team.  

Following his college career at Evansville, Carroll was drafted in the 37th round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Carroll spent the next five years playing Minor League Baseball for the Phillies, and later, for the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals organization. As a part of the now-Nationals organization, Carroll played parts of two seasons at the AAA level.  He retired from the professional ranks in the spring of 2006, but not before he was able to play alongside his older brother, Jamey, in two spring training games for the Washington Nationals.

Carroll then returned to his alma mater in the summer of 2006 as an assistant coach with the Purple Aces’ program and was named the 12th head coach in UE baseball history on July 2, 2008. 

On the show we discuss how to create a family culture, a year of player development, and change he made from when he started as a 28 year old head coach.

Time stamps

  • 1:00- Sports Family/Growing up and coming back to Evansville
  • 9:00- Changes he has made in his career
  • 22:00- Our culture is family
  • 28:30- Fall Development
  • 37:00- Pre Season
  • 51:00- In Season 
  • 1:00:00- Resources
  • Mental Game of Baseball- HA Dorfmann
  • Anything Jon Gordon
April 15, 2021  

Matt Parker on how to implement championship culture and standards.

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Matt Parker started in 2018 as head coach of Eastern baseball. Year one they were 25-23, last years COVID year was 19-4, nationally ranked and leading league when shutdown and this year they are 26-3, nationally ranked, and were leading the league at the time.
Before Eastern, Matt over and took the Oklahoma Wesleyan baseball program to new heights, breaking program records and turned the Eagles into an NAIA regional power and national contender. They won four conference championships and two NAIA World Series appearances. He was a three-time conference Coach of the Year and two-time ABCA Region Coach of the Year.

Prior to Oklahoma Wesleyan, Parker spent three seasons as an assistant at California Baptist University, two seasons as an assistant coach at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, and he also spent the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach at Henderson State University.

On the show we talk about how he implemented a championship vision to 2 programs on 2 different levels which includes standards on and off the field, consistent self reflection, and building players not only on the field, but off the field and in the classroom.

Time stamps
1:30- Vision when you started (at both OKWU and Eastern)
10:20- Developing Arms
25:00- Standards 
30:00- Offseason Calendar 
53:00- In season Changes
102:00- Last things
Core Velo Belts
Clean Fuego Balls
Mind Gym- Gary Mack
April 8, 2021  

Freddy Hilliard on defining and teaching core values and having a “no rules” rule.

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Freddy Hilliard is in his 11th season as Head Baseball Coach at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, Pennsylvania.  

In his time at Malvern Prep, he has amassed a school record for wins with a 282-71 record and has led the Friars to 7 league championships  and 6 State titles including the previous 3 in a row to go along with 8 straight seasons of making the state final.  Coach Hilliard has been named Coach of the Year 3 separate times during his tenure, and his teams have been nationally recognized both with preseason and postseason national rankings in several publications 7 times.  

Coach Hilliard has helped mentor over 65 players onto the collegiate baseball ranks including 40 that have gone on to play at the division one level.  He has also had a player of his selected by MLB in 3 of the previous 4 drafts. 

On the show we discuss the meaning behind Malvern having "no rules",  defining and teaching core values, and practice organization.
Time Stamps
1:00- Vision of the program
7:00- Making the switch from assistant to head coach
10:20- "Our rule is we have no rules"
13:50- Core Values
20:00- Offseason Calendar
30:00- Practice Design
50:00- Lightning Section
April 1, 2021  

Matt Hobbs on recruiting, assessments, and a deep dive into pitching development

Go to WhatAboutBaseball.com/curve to get your special offer. Thats 20% off AND free shipping. 

Matt Hobbs is in his third season as the Arkansas pitching coach in 2020, joining the Razorbacks in November 2018.

Matt helped craft the Razorback pitching staff into one of the top groups in the country in his first year on the Hill in 2019. and In a shortened season, the Hogs put together a 3.68 ERA and an 11-5 record with three saves and one shutout. Arkansas racked up 143 strikeouts in 142.0 innings

Hobbs has coached eight players that have been drafted in the top-10 rounds, including 2018 first-round pick Griffin Roberts, and has helped develop a total of seven big leaguers.

Before Arkansas, Hobbs was the Pitching coach at Wake Forest and in each of his first three years in Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons improved in ERA, strikeouts , walks per nine and opponent batting average 

Hobbs pitched at Missouri from 1999-2002, where he won 13 games and struck out 125 batters. Hobbs was drafted twice, first by the San Diego Padres in 2001 and then by the Kansas City Royals in 2002.

On the show we talk all things pitching development, including who they like to recruit, what pitching assessments they use, and how they use tech for offseason development and measuring in season progress.

Time Stamps

5:00- Things he has changed from 2020
14:00- How has player development changed?
21:30- Recruiting talk
27- Assessments 
30:30- Readiness Scores
36:00- Recovery 
42:00- In season development
58:00- Using tech for development
1:07:00- Last Things
March 25, 2021  

Tanner Reklaitis on the systems approach, power laws and the what, why and how of coaching

On today show we have on Tanner Reklaitis
Tanner works as the Director of Operations at Tread Athletics. He also writes a weekly email newsletter for coaches called Monday Morning Edge which will have you thinking every Monday morning. His work is focused on helping coaches succeed in the 21st century. Previously, he worked at Driveline Baseball and was a Minor League Pitching Coach for the Los Angeles Angels. 
On the show we discuss the systems approach, power laws and the what, why and how of coaching. 
Time Stamps
  • :30- Journey to Tread
  • 2:00- Systems approach
  • 1940- The Power Law
  • 29:00- What, why and how of coaching
  • 35:20- Studying coaches in other sports 
  • 40:20- The Importance of communication
  • 43:50- Getting players to own their career
  • 55:- Last things
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