Coach O's Player and Parent Handbook

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I have taken some time to develop my coaching handbook that includes my coaching philosophy in regards to the game of baseball and what would be required of a player both on the field as well as citizenship. I would appreciate any feedback good or bad before I begin to revise and edit. Thanks for reading.
Coach O

Submitted: October 27, 2013

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Submitted: October 27, 2013

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Player Handbook

 

 

People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring.

 

  • Rogers Hornsby

 

 

 

 

Program Overview

 

Many schools out there have a baseball team that has an initial goal of just qualifying for state tournament every 3 – 4 years.  I have been fortunate to have been involved with a program for the past 9  years that not only qualifies for state but is in the conversation to win state every year.  I have been a part of 4 State Championship Games, we have won twice.  What I have learned is that it isn’t the most talented teams that always win.  Talent will only go so far.  But it takes an entire roster of players who play for each other.  It takes a roster of unselfish players to win.  This Team concept is what will league an state championships.  No single player is more important than name on the front of the jersey.  Each player/position will have a role and expectation in order to make the Team successful.  In the event there is a player who is unable to function within this team concept as a role player will struggle to continue with this program.

 

There will be a time when our opponent(s) will be superior; in this circumstance we will operate with the attitude that we will make every routine play either at the plate or in the field.  When we play under this premise, we will be in position at the end of the game to win.  As players learn to play with this attitude the time will come when concept they will see winning results in nearly every game.teams will see us and know that they have already been beaten.  As players embrace this

 

Practice

 

There is no question as to the importance of practice.  The expectation will be that players will improve in at least one skill each day of practice.  Practice is where players will have the opportunity to build upon their strengths, as well as improve their weaknesses.  Practice is the place where players will become teammates, to learn about the game, to learn about theteam, and to learn about themselves.

 

Players spend a majority of time playing in games without the understanding of why fundamentals are used in specific situations.  Games are the reward for players who work hard while in practice.  In the event that players are not prepared to improve, learn, and repeat fundamentals that make up this program will not be rewarded with game participation.

 

Being coachable is the most important trait that a player can have.  A players ability to listen and learn then apply these lessons in practice as well as in games will be successful.  Hustle is the one physical ability that every individual can control.  It does not take talent to hustle, it takes effort and desire.  Practice will be loud and intense.  Players who adopt these 3 concepts, listen, learn, and hustle, will be prepared for anything that may come up on the field and players as well as the team will be able to successfully manage any situation.  We will practice each day as though we are playing for a state title, we play each game as though it is practice.

 

 

 

 

 

Players in this baseball program will look the same at practice.  The expectation will be that players will have the same dress and routine will allow players to understand:

 

  1. No individual is more important than the team.
  2. It takes sacrifice and self discipline to win.
  3. Team success will come before individual success.  If the team is successful, individuals are successful.
  4. It means being on time.  On time means we are on the field, ready to start.  This does not mean we are walking through the gate, in the dugout getting cleats on.  It means we are strarting practice.  Be on the field, in uniform, and prepared for practice on time, or there will be team as well as individual consequences.

 

Coaches will be responsible for setting up equipment as well as preparing the field for practice.  Players will be expected to do their part to maintain the field.  Our motto will be to take care of the field that takes care of us.  Players will be responsible for the maintenance of our field after practice and games.  We will take care of the field before we take care of our own gear.  We will take pride in our field in continuing to make it the best field possible.

Dress

Players will be expected to look the same wearing the team hat for practice and games.  Baseball in the spring can be difficult due to the elements.  Long sleeves and hooded sweatshirts are to be worn until a coach determines that they are not needed.  Players will be expected to be prepared for the elements by carrying jackets, sweatshirts, and long sleeves as part of their equipment.  Dressing in layers is extremely important as it is always possible to remove a layer when appropriate.

Preparation

Throughout the day there can be a variety of stressful and emotional moments that can make it difficult.  Players and coaches should begin to prepare themselves for practice and game in order to achieve optimal performance.  Players should begin thinking about their responsibilities as they are walking from the classroom to the field.  As players take off an article of clothing a problem, or stressful situation is washed away.  As each new article of clothing is put on the player will think of, a skill, fundamental, or approach will become a point of emphasis for that day.  At the end of practice as each piece of clothing is exchanged, a mistake made or poor performance in practice will be left behind.  Once inside the gate of the field all the problems and stressful situations of the day are left behind; inside the gates, there are no problems, it is only baseball, and the world is perfect here.

 

Water may or may not be available during practice.  It is highly recommended that a player bring their own water bottle for practice every day.  A forgotten aspect for performance is eating habits.  Proper nutrition is a valuable piece of performance.It is expected that each player will have had a balanced breakfast and lunch as well as a snack before practice.  This should become an everyday part of preparing for practice or a game.

Do not forget practice attire and gear.  Players are responsible for carrying their own bags and gear, parents are not.  It is the player’s responsibility to make arrangements with coach for storage during the school day in an appropriate area.

Communication

It is the player’s responsibility to listen to and adhere to announcements in regards to practice and/or games as changes can be made on a day to day basis.  Coaches will also text players; this does not mean that players are to check their phones for messages during class.  If a player is caught with a phone out during class will not only be subject to consequences set forth for by the school as well as individual and team consequences at practice.  Don’t do it.

Defense

Strength, conditioning, and flexibility will be stressed in this Baseball Program.Strength and conditioning will consist of drills and exercises designed specifically for baseball.  These drills are designed in order for players to practice and play defense to the best of their ability.

Defense will be a primary focus of our baseball club.  Pitching is required to do strength and conditioning work, however, there is enough difference with pitching that pitchers will have their own strength and conditioning program.

Playing catch.  Throwing is easily one of the most under practiced skills in baseball.  As a part of our program we will have a system of throwing progressions that focuses on each stage of the throw, these stages are wrist flips, square to target, side to target, step to target, and release and follow through.  This system is designed for safe and proper mechanics in order to prevent arm injury.

Both infielders and outfielders must be fundamentally sound.  Hands and feet need to be in front of the body in order to square up with the ball.  Whatever position a player is in, the proper mechanic must be fundamentally sound in order to be rewarded with playing time.  If a player is not putting forth the effort needed in order to learn and repeat the mechanic consistently, he will lose the proper mechanic as well as the playing time that goes a long with it.

 

 

Infielders.  Infielders need to be in athletic position and be able to see the pitch all the into the hitting zone.  Get outside of the ground ball and come through it.  The player must have a plan before the pitcher begins his wind up.  Anticipate two kinds of hops, short, or long.  Receive the ball out in front by reaching forward and using the legs to lower the body and eyes as low as possible while maintaining an athletic position.  Infielders will have the courage to “Body Up!”  and get in front of a hard hit ball or tough hops.  As a team we all must make sacrifices for the good of the team.  One of these sacrifices is putting your body in harms way to save a run, and/or keep runners from advancing.  We must “Body Up!”A player who shows fear will struggle to find playing time during important innings.

 

Outfielders.  Pre- pitch, athletic position and follow the ball from release through the hitting zone.  An outfielders first step is always, BACK!  Our outfielders must be able to track the ball and gauge where the ball will land as soon as contact as made.  When the ball is on the ground will be rounded in order to prevent the ball from going behind the fielder and to get the body going in the direction of the target back to the infield, either through the cut-off or on a one hop to the appropriate base.  When the baseball is in the air, outfielders will receive the ball above their head, out front and with momentum toward the appropriate cut off and/or base.

Catchers.  Catchers will move their feet to block balls.Catchers will not attempt to glove pitches out of the strike zone.  Catchers will receive the ball with soft hands with a “stick it” mentality.  A catcher must have quick feet and a quick release, in order to be successful in preventing runners from stealing.  A catcher must be part psychologist when working with the pitching staff, and must be able to communicate with coaches any changes to the batters stance.

Mental. There is always something for each position to do before, during and after every single pitch of a baseball game. Pre pitch, backing up a throw to the pitcher or other any other position, thinking about runners, out or situations before they happen so that a player can simply react are all part of the mental game. Players who try to think as a play is happening will not have success. Errors and mistakes will happen. What separates those who will be players from those who think they will be players, is the ability to learn from a mistake and never let it happen again while not allowing the mistake to affect them for any part of the game.A short memory is required to put an individual mistake, team mistake or poor call behind them and move forward. This is the hardest part of the game and those who cannot master this will not find themselves playing any significant innings.  Players in this program must have the ability to act as though, no matter what happens positive or negative, everything was just as we planned.

Before the pitch: Where will you go with ball when it is hit to you? This could consist of up to 6 scenarios which you must go through in your mind before the pitch.  What is the situation and what do we want to have happen during this at bat.

During the pitch: Follow the ball to the hitting zone from the pitcher’s hand. “Creep” into your pre-swing defensive position. Anticipate where batter will hit ball by reading hands or anticipate a throw, move to a position to back up.

After pitch: Move to back up throws from the catcher or a “back pick”. Re-position yourself for next pitch while communicating with team mates.

HITTING

Hitting for the most part is what keeps players interested in the game, it is also the reason most players stop playing the game.  The greatest challenge in sports is hitting a round ball, with a round bat.  A good hitter is only successful 30% of the time.  In most cases 30% is a failing score whether in school or at work.  The mechanics taught will be based on what is needed in order for the TEAM to be successful, followed by individual success.  Training will be altered and tailored to the players as continue to understand and develop an approach and mechanics to be a successful hitter, then expanding on what they can do at the plate. For example, players who show they have power will first learn to stay inside the ball, hit to all fields, put the ball in play with 2 strikes, and then be taught how to drive the ball out of the yard. These steps may take several years not just a single season.

Mechanics…

  1. Soft, on time stride, shift the weight back, front foot is down… strong front side
    1. Players who bend the front knee or hit from front side will not hit on varsity
  2. Natural load, hands move naturally from a “back” position, knob starts on the catcher at the top of the strike zone
  3. Balance- balls of feet, back knee inside back foot
  4. Hands move toward the pitcher not down or over the plate, hands need to stay inside the baseball, no matter the location.
  5. Hands move from point A to point B as quickly as possible in a slightly downward pattern, exploding the top hand through the baseball at contact, extend thru ball
  6. Start the swing by triggering the back knee and hands before anything else
  7. Head remains down on the point of contact until the ball has left the barrel
  8. Swing the bat hard every time, swing only at strikes
  9. Repeat the mechanic

Again, players who cannot keep the weight back (strong front side, no bend or buckling of the front knee) will not be varsity level hitters. Period.

Approach…

  1. Confidence that individual can drive the baseball no matter the ability of the pitcher
  2. Do the job which your abilities dictate (power, single, work count, etc)
  3. Yes, yes yes. Every pitch will be the ball you can drive, expect it then stop if a ball
  4. Look for the ball below the hands, thus allowing for leverage
  5. Productive outs if unable to drive the ball with first two strikes
  6. Individual at bats do not matter, the team concept comes first

This Baseball Program will re-define the term “small ball”. Most teams at any level, when forced to make decisions with the baseball and to make plays to win games, will struggle to do so. We will put the ball in play (no strike outs/pop ups), use all types of bunts, hit n runs, slash and sacrificial batting tools to move runners over and score them from third. Players who do not or will not allow themselves to fit into this concept will not receive any significant playing time.

Team Concept…

  1. Expect each at bat to involve some sort of “small ball”
  2. Understand when you get “green light” to swing, you are expecting to drive a ball (usually at least pitch 1 of an at bat is a player’s to do what they can)
  3. Once a strike is registered, batter looks to become a productive hitter
  4. Two strikes- hitter goes to “pre-set” will make a productive out
    1. Pre-set… widen feet to stride length, turn back foot a bit, no stride, looking outside to hit a ball to the opposite field

3 Phases…

On deck: batter should “time” the pitcher, while working on whatever mechanic they feel is needed. Also, pay attention to what pitches he throws to the batter in front and behind you

Outside the batter’s box: batter should take signals from coach, then just before stepping into the batter’s box, think about what job is asked of you. If there is no “job” on that pitch, what is the situation and how can you be productive in that at bat

In the batter’s box: See ball, hit ball. There can be no thinking inside the box, only reaction

 

 

Mental Approach…

Successful hitters are not affected by past success or failure. They are not affected by the ability (high or low) of the pitcher they face nor are they affected by what the coach has asked them to do (bunt, take or hit n run). Finally, successful hitters are not affected by questionable calls from an umpire. Any lack of mental toughness can and will result in a lack of playing time.

If any of the above were to happen during an at bat, a hitter must be able to step out of the box and relax themselves. Find something you know will be at every ball park, a foul pole, a mark on your bat, etc. Look at that “land mark” take a deep breath and re-apply yourself to the task at hand. Hitters who can do this will have a much greater level of success.

Slumps…

Batting slumps happen for one of three reasons

  1. A very good pitcher or series of very good pitchers, throw the ball so well in a game or over a couple of games that hitters do not have much success and begin to doubt themselves.
  2. A batter hits several balls well but right at the defense. Over a game or games the hitter begins to think he isn’t hitting well and slump sneaks up on him
  3. A batter has been hitting the ball so well that he begins to swing at bad pitches subconsciously believing he can hit those pitches because he is so “hot”. The hitter now is getting himself out but believes it is a slump.

All three scenarios are based on the mental side of baseball. The slumps happened because the batter believes he isn’t hitting the ball well. If a hitter can understand that there will be times when he will struggle, the chances of having fewer slumps increase.

No matter the situation, our players will not allow what happens in one phase of the game to affect another part. Players who are not mentally tough enough to move from one phase to another will not receive significant playing time.

Batting Practice:

BP is to learn proper hitting mechanics. These mechanics are learned by doing exactly the right and same swing over and over again. It takes over 1,000 perfect practice swings to create 1 perfect game swing. Our batting practice will consist of fundamental, mechanical and consistent swing practice. Coaches will be looking to see which players are working at their skills and which are not. Players who do not work at their skills will not be given the opportunity to play in games.

Tee work- Players given tee assignments are expected to take 8-10 perfect swings as hard as they can in order to simulate game situations

Soft toss- Players will be expected to give each other soft toss. Swings should be the same as tee work. Tosses from the 2nd player should be in front and slightly at the hitter. Proper toss is as important as proper swings

Cage/Live BP- Players will receive 10-15 reps at a time in the batting cages and live on the field. Some BP will consist of short work, other times machine BP and sometimes live. Hitters will not complain or take sessions “off” because they do not like the drills. Players should follow these 3 rules:

  1. Swing only at strikes when pitches are thrown from medium or long distances. Short work is designed to hit certain locations so expect to swing at all short tosses.
  2. When a bad mechanic shows itself, use the next 2 pitches to over exaggerate the mechanic (pop ups = 2 ground balls) these 2 swings do not count in your allotted #
  3. Expect to hit each ball down in the cages. Line drives no higher than mid cage and hard GBs will come up during games.

Players who cannot consistently hit the ball hard during BP and tee work cannot honestly expect to have success in games. If you can hit the ball hard over and over in BP, do not expect to be given the opportunity to hit in games.

PITCHING:

Everything begins (and ends) with pitching. A pitcher, who works quickly, throwing a lot of strikes, will keep his defense interested and will allow himself to have success that day. Pitchers who work slowly and struggle to throw strikes cause the defense to “fall asleep” as well as allowing hitters to “sit” on pitches or hitter’s counts. Success will be fleeting those days.

Only those pitchers, who can continuously throw strikes, will take the mound for this Baseball program.

Approach…

  1. Throw 1st pitch strikes.
  2. Throw all pitches for strikes, throw all pitches for strikes in all counts
  3. Aggressively attack the “good” part of the strike zone (corners/down)
  4. Use in/out and up/down
  5. Know the situation. This includes what batter is standing on deck, the weather and what we would most like to happen during this at bat
  6. Pitch count is a mental weakness. We watch for fatigue, which leads to mechanical breakdown, which leads to injury. Pitch count does not lead to injury.
  7. Errors and bad calls will not affect our pitchers
  8. Change speeds, create movement
  9. Pitch to your strengths and the hitter’s weakness
  10. Make a big pitch in a big situation
  11. Understand the “grind” which is pitching, embrace it and work toward it

 

It is important for pitchers to “attack” the strike zone and have the ability to throw all pitches for strikes in all counts. Pitchers do not have to light up the radar guns in order to be successful and get batters out. If a pitcher understands what he does well and what he does not do well, he can use his strengths against a batter’s weaknesses to get the result we are looking for. Change speeds, create movement, keep the ball on the corners consistently and pitchers will have success.

Starting pitchers must have 3 pitches which they can throw for strikes with movement and a difference in speed

Relief pitchers must throw at least 1 pitch VERY well or two pitches well.

Mechanics…

  1. Balance
  2. Break on time/ over the rubber
  3. Glide (in theory) should be ¾ of pitcher’s height
  4. Stay back as long as you can
  5. Reach on every pitch
  6. Allow the front knee to bend, thus allowing the body to lower and bring the pitch down. This is related to a soft front foot and chest to knee.
  7. Understand your release point for every pitch
  8. Make all pitches look the same (arm speed)
  9. Finish down (bent front knee)
  10. Repeat the mechanic

3 Phases…

Off the mound: Look around, communicate with infielders on picks and coverage. Think about the situation and what to do with the ball if it comes to you. Will you pick to a base?

 

On the mound: Understand what we want to happen during this at bat. Take a second to think about how you can get a double play ball, where you want the ball hit and what type of batter is up and who is on deck. Think about how you will change your timing.

On the rubber: What pitch is called? What is the release point? What mechanic do you need to complete to locate the pitch to its best spot? Go to work.

Holding runners:

Pitchers cannot become distracted by runners but must also always be aware of them. Change your timing, your looks and the velocity with which you throw the ball on a pick. As you receive the ball from the catcher, sometimes get right back on the mound, other times, walk around the mound. This too changes your timing.

At 1st…

Step off/throw- change your velocity

Switch feet/throw- change your velocity

Balk move- always throw hard

At 2nd…

Pinwheel- balance/down/turn- change velocity

Step off- change timing

Daylight- Spin to glove side

If a middle infielder flashes sign for daylight and breaks but it surprises you, do not pitch. Step off and start again. We don’t want an infielder out of position

At 3rd…

Step off- to show a simple pick and let runners know you are aware of them

45 degree- to pick a runner off

1st/3rd…

“Show me” pick- allows opponent to see the move

“Hard”- is designed to actually get an out

Picks need to always be thrown to the tag side of the base and waist high or lower in order to get outs. Picks are designed to keep runners off balance and not get any sense of timing. Outs come from their mistakes or great foot speed on your part.

Defense:

Pitchers are the 9th defender. They are expected to make plays and know where to go with the ball. Do not assume you are simply there to throw strikes.

 

Defense will be the “life blood” of our program. If we can make every routine play and every routine throw then we will be in every game. If we are in every game, we will have an opportunity to win that game. If you can play defense, you will have an opportunity to play varsity baseball. If you cannot play defense, you will probably never play at that level.

BASEBALL IQ:

A player’s knowledge of the game of baseball is important. It is important to the RCHS Baseball program and it is important to coaches at the next level. A player’s baseball IQ is just as important a skill as the ability to field or hit. If a player does not show enough baseball IQ to contribute positively to the baseball team will not play significant innings.

Examples…

Outfielders need to know where to throw the baseball from the outfield with runners on base.

Infielders need to know how and when to attempt to get the lead runner on a fielder’s choice.

Hitters need to understand when to run to 1st base on a dropped 3rd strike.

Base runners need to know when to advance two bases versus when to go station to station.

Infielders should relay pitching location and pitch to each other as well as outfield before the pitch happens.

Outfielders should know the angle and distance they need to be effective in backing up a play. Anticipate throws and back picks.

 

Players who are not in the game should have knowledge of what the situation is as to understand “big” moments in a game and to show emotion which can or cannot change momentum in a game.

Players should understand how to prepare themselves as a pinch runner, hitter or relief pitcher. These are all situations which require routine as well as baseball IQ. Unprepared players cannot and will not receive significant playing time.

BASE RUNNING:

This Baseball Program will run the bases aggressively but with intelligence. There will be no excuse for base running mistakes as they are based mainly on hustle, baseball IQ and simply paying attention. Base runners should expect to go 2 bases on any hit and run for a double on pop ups to the infield or outfield.

From 1st:

When the pitcher toes the rubber, primary lead (even with back corner of 1st base), looking at pitcher’s feet (reading front and back feet), add secondary lead (shuffle, shuffle),  while reading angle of ball out of the pitcher’s hand, anticipate ball in play or ball in the dirt.

Should be picking up timing of pitcher, weight shift, “tells”, consistent looks while continuing to “add” to the primary lead.

1 way leads and “jab steps” against left hand pitchers

From 2nd:

When pitcher toes rubber, primary lead (back toward left/center field), walk in/angle as pitcher sets (never look back at base), when pitcher starts to plate- secondary lead (shuffle shuffle), read angle of ball from pitcher’s hand, anticipate.

Should be picking up timing, weight shift, number of looks and “peeking” to see if catcher is giving away pitch or location as to relay that info to our hitters

From 3rd:

We will take a short lead with as much possible momentum toward home plate. Read ball angle from pitcher’s hand, anticipating ball in dirt or “down angle” off the bat.

1st/3rd:

The runner at 1st will increase their lead by ½ in order to take an extra second to read a possible “flip flop” move from pitcher. The runner at 3rd will also increase by ½ in order to maintain the interest of the pitcher, using jab step to draw a “flip flop”

 

Base runners must be paying attention at all times, be aware of possible picks, the number of outs and positioning of the defense around them. Failure to do will result in a loss of playing time.

Character:

Players/families who feel that baseball is an individual sport or that they will “go through the motions” until summer comes along where they can play for someone else need to understand that they will not be part of the this Baseball Program. Only players/families, who understand that playing here is a privilege and not a right, will have the opportunity to wear the a uniform. Included in this is a player/family’s understanding that how a player carries themselves at school and in the community will impact them on the field. Every action has a consequence. Good actions have good consequences just as poor actions receive harsh consequences. Players who have poor judgment or character will not be part of the this Baseball program. This includes the field, school and the community from their first day of school to their last.

Leadership:

Teams full of talent cannot win without leadership. Teams with average talent who have leaders can win more than anyone expects. This is true at any level. Not every player is a leader and not every leader is a good one. The best players are not always the leader nor are the average players always followers. During your time here, try to understand what you are in regard to leadership. Once you understand, apply that to your role on the team. No matter what type of leader you are on the field, you are expected to be a leader in the school and community. Teachers should not have to talk to coaches about the way you carry or conduct yourself in the school. Class mates should know that when they see you in the class or community, you will be making good decisions and they can feel comfortable following you.

If you cannot commit yourself to these ideals, you should think about whether or not this is the program for you.

Family:

This Baseball Program has no issue at all when players put family and school before baseball. However, there is a fine line between putting those ideals first and using them as an excuse. Treat your family well and understand they are there for you. Also understand that there are times when a family’s passion for their child or sibling can be a bit much. This Baseball program expects players to speak for themselves and take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof. Sometimes we need to stand up and speak to family as much as we need to speak to instructors, administrators, class mates and supervisors. It can be tough but often the best thing that can happen.

Criticism:

You and only you know if you have given your best effort. There are even times when we do not realize our effort could have been greater until after the fact. Take the time during practice, games and even school to assess whether or not your best effort is being given. When you give your best effort, you can succeed or fail and be comfortable with the result because you know you have given your best. In that line of thinking, allow coaches (and others) to be critical of your work. This includes fundamentals and results on the field. It is not meant to crush you but to allow you to see a flaw. Only when we see a flaw can we fix it. There will be times that a coach challenges you, your effort or your mechanics. Take it as just that… a challenge. Rise to it, accept it and prove that challenge to be unfit. If you feel you have been challenged far too many times, at a moment in time, away from the field, talk to that coach and try to get some understanding. Being told “no” is a good thing. It forces us to make a choice… quit and admit something is too difficult or that you are not good enough, or step up and prove that “no” to have been wrong. If no one ever wanted something more or to be better than someone else, we would all pretty much be the same. How would that be?

Relationships:

Whether you want to believe it or not, what people think of you and how they relate to you based on that opinion, matters. This doesn’t mean people have to like you or everything you do. They must however, respect you. If you treat people (team mates, class mates, teachers, etc) poorly, that is how you should be treated. Young adults should not expect respect immediately, particularly from adults; that is something that is earned. That said, adults should not expect that respect be maintained. They must earn it just like everyone else.

In order to earn respect, a player must show up to work like everyone else on his team and in the program. This includes fall, winter spring and summer workouts. Players, who are not around during these times… for any reason, must understand they must re-earn the trust and respect of their team mates. This is an everyday event. Even a single day off can result in coaches or players losing the trust and respect that had been earned. This is simply a fact of life. This is not only true of youth and players but of adults and coaches as well. The Baseball Staff will strive to gain and maintain these values every day.

 

Getting Better: the country, there needs to be time and effort put in by individuals on their own time. The cages and side mounds are always available for players. Players are welcome to get in touch with me Coach Owen as well, he will be available as often as he possibly can. Efforts above and beyond will always pay dividends.

As the climate here offers such a tough spring schedule, summer time is the most opportune time for players and coaches to get on the same page and to work to make the individual and the program better. Coaches cannot make players who are not around, better. Players who are not around cannot make the program better. This is where the give and take of what this baseball program is offering, comes in. Very few, if any high school programs in this state are offering the possibility of the entire program being allowed the opportunity to “custom fit” what players/families want in their baseball. None, a little, exposure, whatever it is the individual wants is now offered. To return the effort in what Coach Owen has worked so hard to offer, please look at and understand what the summer program looks like and again, understand… loyalty is as much a part of the this program as any other virtue. (see summer ball in the parent/player hand book)

Conclusion:

This baseball staff will always be there for individuals to talk to, gain knowledge from and to gain support from. A player/family who has given everything to his program, team mates and coaches will always receive everything in return from them.

In the eyes of Coach Owen, the baseball program is about all the virtues, concepts and ideals mentioned in both the parent/player handbook and the player’s handbook. These ideals are based on the foundations and life lessons which organized sports were originally base upon while understanding and adjusting for modern sports and society. Individuals who can buy in or at least understand and make an effort to work within these ideals will have the ultimate amount of success both on and off the field.

 

Good Luck and Good Baseball

 

 

 

 

 

Player/Parent Handbook

 

 

People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball.  I’ll tell you what I do.  I stare out the window and wait for spring.

  • Rogers Hornsby

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLAYER’S ROLES/EXPECTATIONS:

Student athletes who participate in this baseball program need to first understand that it is a privilege to be part of the program… at any level. In order to maintain that privilege, players must meet the following expectations.

  1.  Baseball players must be positive role models and participants in the school building.  This means dress appropriately, follow the rules set down by the school as well as the district and will treat other students with the respect and positivity they deserve.
  2.  Baseball players must understand that they are students first and athletes second. This means maintaining a GPA which falls in accordance with the school and/or district, this may also include any adjustments made by coaching staff.This includes attendance as well as rules set down by those entities (cell phone policies, testing policies, dress code, etc.).
  3. Baseball players must be positive role models in the community. This means dress appropriately, following the rules of the community and actively participating in the community, both when asked by authority figures and on their own accord.
  4. Baseball players must be a positive member of this program. This means no matter the role, age, or experience with in the program, these players will remain positive and positively active within the program. Players need to take part in cultivating younger players, help to maintain the field and work positively within the parameters of the program.

If at any time, the baseball coaches feel a player brings a negative personality, actions or role to the baseball program, the school, or the community around the school, that player can be released from his privilege and may no longer be welcome as a part of the this baseball program.

The baseball coaches understand what it means to be a teen-ager. We have been there, work with teens every day and have teens of our own. However,  the excuse of “everybody does it” or “it’s just what teen- agers do” will not be accepted here. These players want to be looked at as responsible young adults and with respect. In order to receive that type of attention or accolades, players must earn it. There must be an understanding of how and when to say “no” to the juvenile decisions which are made. It is very important to the coaching staff that the baseball players show respect for the program, team mates, families and themselves by making quality and sometimes difficult decisions. That too is part of becoming a responsible person. MIP’s, DUI’s theft, forgery, lying, or any criminal activity cannot and will not be tolerated by the baseball program.

 

STANDARDS FOR STARTERS/ROLE PLAYERS-1

OVER ALL:

Players who wish to start must first follow the guidelines set for players in this baseball program. That is, citizenship, grade point/attendance and positivity are a must. In addition, players who wish to start at any of the three levels of this baseball program must show effort at all levels aforementioned but above and beyond on the field. That includes but is not limited to… hustle at every and any given moment, additional time before, after and away from baseball practices and games and an overall “team first” attitude. This will include off season time (fall, winter and summer).

PITCHERS:

Starting pitchers must have the ability to throw 2 or more pitches at any time of any count for strikes. Velocity is not the only determining factor. Pitchers must have a tougher mental attitude than any other player on the field. This would include how they handle base runners, opponent adversity, team mate’s miscues and umpire decisions.

Starting pitchers must have knowledge of how to hold runners with a change of timing and “looks” as well as knowledge of how to approach their position defensively.

  1. Ability to throw multiple pitches
  2. Pitches must have movement
  3. Command of all pitches
  4. Mental toughness
  5. Defensive ability/presence

INFIELDERS/OUTFIELDERS:

Starting infielders/outfielders must have the fundamentals of their given position. This includes foot speed, agility and arm strength. The most basic mechanics must be mastered by those who wish to compete for a starting infield/outfield positions or they will not even be considered for the position. Defensive players in this baseball program must perform and understand that every routine play is expected to be made and great plays are simply a bonus. Players who look to make things look “difficult” to make themselves look better should begin to look elsewhere to play.

  1. Basic Fundamentals
  2. Make every routine play
  3. Foot speed/agility over others competing for that position
  4. Mental toughness if a mistake or bad call is made
  5. No fear of hard hit ground balls or poorly conditioned fields.  “Body Up”

 

 

STANDARDS FOR STARTERS/ROLE PLAYERS-2

 

HITTERS:

Players who wish to compete for a position in this program’s batting order must have a number of abilities and approaches in order to fill that position. First, they must have the ability to handle failure. Beyond that, players must have balance (to hit to all fields, recognize pitches and drive the baseball), hand/eye coordination (to get barrel of bat to baseball), an understanding of the strike zone (to recognize strikes and hit, while not chasing bad pitches continually), no fear of being hit by pitch and the ability to hit the ball to all fields.

Above all else, players who cannot keep their weight back… meaning not lunge at the baseball, push to a pitched baseball or get out on their front foot will not be hitting for this baseball  program. This is the most fundamental of all hitting techniques and a high school player who cannot master this mechanic has no chance at all of hitting in the line up and no chance of hitting in a line up beyond high school.

 

NOTES:

Players who wish to participate at any level of this program and particularly the varsity level have to be coachable. It is the  Baseball Coaching Staff who makes the decision as to who makes the team(s) as well as who is in the line ups. Summer coaches, youth coaches, private instructors and fathers no longer make the line-up. Players who struggle to take instruction on different mechanics, look to the stands for “coaching”, argue that “the guy I go to lessons…” will have a difficult time playing in this program.

It must be understood that the mechanics which are taught,  are taught for…

  1. The overall success of the baseball program.
  2. The most consistent success of the individual player.

It is understood there might be a mechanic which allows occasional greater success but we are not looking for occasional success. We are looking for consistent, continual success by the individual and the program.

Players who are SS in high school become LF or 2B. 3B become 1B. OF become P and so on. Players who cannot allow themselves to be moved from positions or be taught different techniques and mechanics will have little success in any program. There must be an attempt by the players to learn, for an extended period of time. If, after some time it doesn’t work, the coaching staff will look at making further adjustments, including the possibility of returning to original mechanics.

 

EXPECTATIONS-3

PARENTS ROLES/EXPECTATIONS:

There is no doubt that the life’s blood of any athletic program is the parents. It is the parents who support the players and the program through efforts in transportation, finances, contributions and organization. This baseball coaching staff recognizes this.

There does need to be an understanding of several issues in order to have success as a program and an amicable relationship between parents and coaches.

  1. Chain of command.

Please understand that it is our job as professional coaches, to make the decisions which are made on a daily basis. Some are made at the spur of the moment based on a “gut” feeling or in response to a competitive issue. Not all these decisions will sit well with all parties involved. This is where the coaching staff needs parents to let these decisions and actions to take place. There will be times when this can and will be tough on a parent. These are often the moments which allow a player to achieve their greatest level of success, grow up emotionally or get through a physical/mental hurdle.

We ask that you take time to let these moments take place. That may be days or even weeks. Please let the processes play out before making your own decision to come forward and question that decision or action.

On the field, it is the coaches who are in charge. In the home, each family has their own leader. Please allow the leaders of our “family” make our decisions. This leads to #2…

  1. Communication.

It is easy for adults to want to “speak” for youth. It happens every day. For the purposes of this baseball program, it is asked that families allow the student/athlete to speak for themselves. While this can be difficult for the player and the family, it is important to allow the player to grow and stand for themselves. In many cases, players do not feel the same way as a parent might and have no issue with a decision or an action. Please allow this process to happen.

Once a player has spoken with a coach, if they are not satisfied with the communication they had with said coach, they then need to talk to the head coach. If there is still a misunderstanding or the communication has been unsatisfactory, the player and parent can then speak with the head coach and any other coach necessary. If at this point communication is unsatisfactory, those parties can meet with the athletic director and coach(s).

 

 

EXPECTATIONS-4

  1. SUPPORT.

Parents can support in a number of ways. This program asks that families participate in a positive manner at all times and as much as possible. There will be fundraisers, banquets, transportation needs, communication needs and field maintenance days which will need as much parental participation as possible. Reaching out into the community by families is always a helpful resource. Please know that these items are always a need and a welcome resource.

Along those lines, it is necessary to know that while there will be individuals who have access to these resources beyond those of other individuals and even coaches, it is the  Coaching Staff who makes the final decision on all incoming resources and where any allocations will be used. At no time will the interests of individuals take precedence over the Baseball Program nor will those resources have any influence on who is on a team or how much an individual player participates in games.

Whether it is recognized or not, what parents say has a great deal of influence on teens and particularly athletes. A player who hears that his coach made a good decision or is doing a good job will allow that player to believe in what he is being taught and will lead to greater team and individual success. When that same player hears that a coach makes a poor decision or action, there will be just the opposite effect.

Players who come home to families who remind them to “keep working at the new mechanic”, “the coach knows what he’s doing, trust it and you’ll be fine” or even “keep working a little longer and we’ll see about things” will give much greater levels of success than negative reinforcement or “counter coaching”.

 

Attitudes come from across the kitchen table.

Please keep this in mind before you speak to or around your players.

Again, there will be times when it is more difficult than a parent thinks they can handle to listen to what a coach is saying or see the challenges being placed in front of their child. No one wants to hear their child told “No” or “you aren’t good enough”. However, it is often these moments which make the greatest positive impact on people when it is reinforced that they now need to make a decision and go forward, rather than going backward or quitting.

The bottom line is this… if the Baseball Program receives positive support from the parents; this program will take off and will be able to compete at the highest level. This support may come in the form of money, time, effort or simply saying nothing. As long as it is positive, the sky is the limit.

CONSEQUENCES-1

ON FIELD INCIDENTS:

Players who cannot control their emotions or actions on the field in respect to their team mates, umpires, opponents or adversity, are subject to suspensions/consequences of differing lengths and conditions. These differences will be determined by a player’s previous actions or history of occurrences. Some examples of incidents are…

Foul language

Altercations with players, umpires, fans

Failure to meet team/ individual expectations in regard to hustle, execution or attitude

Attendance, tardiness

Examples of suspensions…

Removal from current game

Removal from current game plus additional games

Indefinite suspension from program

Conditioning

 

OFF FIELD INCIDENTS:

Players involved in situations off the field are also subject to consequences or suspensions. These situations can range in seriousness but result in the player’s failure to represent themselves,  baseball program and the school in the way it is expected. Some examples of off field incidents are…

MIP

DUI

Criminal activities (players could be given indefinite suspension until all details are represented)

Failure to represent individual or the school positively in the community

Failure to represent individual or school positively in school/grades

Tobacco/alcohol

Examples of suspensions range from conditioning to indefinite suspension from team.

 

GRADES-1

POLICY:

CDE/DCSD/CHSAA policies for grade expectations are as follows…

  1. Player shall not have more than 1 F at any grade check period. If more than 1 F, that player will not be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities for a set period of time.

 Baseball Program policies for grade expectations are as follows…

  1. Players who have more than 1 F per policy listed above, player will not be eligible for period of time as stated by school student handbook. These players may still participate in practices or may be sent to a study hall or home until said grade(s) are raised to an acceptable level while still receiving a conditioning consequence in addition.
  2. Players who have only 1 F or no F but are not reaching a level of success deemed possible by the Baseball Staff and/or subject teacher can be suspended and/or given consequences similar to those in the school grade policy 1.

In simple terms… not everyone is an “A” student. While there are few excuses for an individual not to achieve the mandated level of grade success, there are cases where a student may not grasp the concepts of a certain subject. While excuses will not be tolerated, if a teacher feels the student is working at a high level but the results do not indicate this, a decision can be made to bypass school policy #2. No matter how a student is working, if 2 Fs come up on any given grade check, that player will remain ineligible until the set time frame.

In order to support the students and parents, if at any time a parent feels their student is not making satisfactory progress in the class room and determines that player should be suspended (by the parent) or be removed from the team, the staff will fully support that family. However, please understand that missed practice time will equal lost playing time and players who are removed from the program by a parent, will not be invited/allowed back the remainder of that school year.

The Baseball staff reserves the right to institute “study hall” time before or after practice for teams or individuals if necessary. Players who do not participate when asked to can and will be subject to consequences listed above.

This Baseball staff understands that grades are a priority. It must also be understood that practice time (spring, summer, winter, fall) are important as well. Players must learn to time manage and be responsible and diligent in taking care of all their business. This includes tests, homework and group school projects. Missing practice time will result in lost playing time.

PROGRAM RULES-1

OVER VIEW:

Baseball players are expected to use common sense and follow know rules and policies in their everyday decision making. Simply put, players should not take part in an action which will bring discredit to them, their family, school and team mates. We will enforce the district and school policies on tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Any player who goes against these rules is subject to consequences up to removal from the team.

GENERAL RULES:

  1. No alcohol, tobacco or drugs of any kind
  2. No profanity
  3. Communicate with team coach/head coach on all issues (practices, grades playing time, etc.)
  4. Be on time
  5. Be a good listener/learner. On the field and in the classroom
  6. Stay out of the equipment room/storage units and “tower” unless asked to by a coach
  7. Hustle all the time
  8. Be a leader in the community and school. Know what being an athlete means.
  9. Treat family members, teachers, team mates and fellow students as they should be treated… in reality, better than yourself.
  10. Treat all equipment (school’s, other’s, team’s) as if it’s yours
  11. Represent the school as highly as you can. This means on road trips, games for other sports and in the community. If you are wearing Program Baseball gear, you represent coach Owen as well.
  12. Take care of training room issues and grade issues on your time. Advisement is for this and the time allotted after school before practice is your time.
  13. No phones. Period.

BUS/TRAVEL:

All rules listed above…

Travel shirts, no hats when eating on road unless


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