> Shared Leadership > Tommy John Surgery > Speeding up the Game
AT The Ready Preparing for upcoming safety changes
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CONTENTS | BASEBALL Edition | PREseason 2011 | Vol. XIX, No. 2
23 COVER STORY 14 AT THE READY
LEADERSHIP 23 UNITED WE LEAD
Equipment changes designed to improve safety are coming and could affect the way baseball is played and viewed. Are you prepared?
If you’re counting on team captains to make a difference on your squad, consider this concept: shared leadership.
An athletic trainer for one of the nation’s top college programs offers his insights into Tommy John surgery and the challenging rehabilitation process it requires.
Q&A 11 KIRK BOCK
College players now on the clock … Avoiding crossed signals … Old uniforms turn into a fundraising opportunity … Why lefty pitchers face greater risk of a specific injury … Florida adds division for small, rural high schools ... Three questions on switching conferences.
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Mailing lists for Coaching Management Baseball are provided by the Clell Wade Coaches Directory. The Coaching Management Baseball edition is published in February, September, and November by MAG, Inc. and is distributed free to college and high school coaches in the United States and Canada.
With two state titles in the last three seasons, Kirk Bock, Head Coach at Bryant (Ark.) High School, has carried on the legacy of winning established by his father.
On the cover
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 36 38 41 42
SPORTS MEDICINE 29 WHEN ELBOWS FAIL
University of Oklahoma hitter Cameron Seitzer gets ready for a pitch in a game last season. This spring, all college players need to be ready for new bat regulations. Story begins on page 14. Photo by Ty Russell.
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Coaching Management 1
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BULLETIN BOARD PREseason 2011
3 NCAA adopts timing rules
3 Sending the
Watching the Clock In a move aimed at speeding up the pace of play, the NCAA has implemented rules that more strictly govern the amount of time between pitches and innings. The goal is to reduce the length of games and make them more appealing for fans in all three divisions. When the 2011 season opens in February, pitchers will continue to be required to start their delivery within 20 seconds of receiving the ball when runners are not on base. Umpires, however, will now be required to use a timing device to monitor the time between pitches and strictly enforce the limit. Schools may choose to display a countdown clock, although this will not be mandatory. The penalty for an infrac-
An NCAA rules change for 2011 requires umpires to strictly enforce the 20-second time limit between pitches. The Southeastern Conference experimented with the rule during its tournament last year, as shown below.
4 Old jerseys make new money
tion is a ball added to the count if the pitcher is at fault, or a strike added if the batter causes the delay. In addition, umpires will be responsible for enforcing a 90-second limit between innings during non-televised games. The NCAA recommends a 108second limit for televised games, but allows longer breaks as required by television broadcast contracts. The Southeastern Conference experimented with the new rules during its tournament last year and despite some early concerns, the time limits were not a significant factor in the games. “Our biggest concern was how this would affect the rhythm of our pitchers and how we wanted to play,” says University of Alabama Head Coach Mitch Gaspard. “The unknown was scarier than the reality once we got out on the field. No one ever looked up at the clock and said, ‘Uh oh, I’ve only got six seconds left.’” Although none of the Alabama pitchers needed to adjust their deliveries, Gaspard knows that won’t always be the case. “In the past, we have had pitchers who operated at a much slower pace and liked to walk around the mound,” he says. “Those kinds of pitchers need to understand that there’s now a time limit on them.”
7 Leveling the
9 Three Qs for
To prepare his pitchers for the SEC tournament, Gaspard started clocking them well beforehand. “We used a stopwatch throughout the year,” he says. “We timed our pitchers at least once or twice during their appearances on the mound, just to make sure each of them was in line with the time limit.” Much of the onus for making sure pitches are delivered on time will fall on coaches. “It’s important for the pitching coach to make sure he’s on the same page as the pitcher and catcher, and he’s giving the signals quickly,” Gaspard says. “Some coaches take a while to get their signal in, which could slow everything down. But if a pitching coach is on top of things, has a plan, and signals quickly, there should be no problems.” Overall, Gaspard believes the initiative is a positive one for the game. “Everyone wants to play at a speedier pace, and this will get us moving toward that goal,” he says. “One of the keys for all of us involved with college baseball is to promote our sport and get as much television coverage as we can. Obviously, if we can play our games in two hours, 45 minutes instead of three hours, 15 minutes, that makes the sport more attractive to television. “This is not meant to be a huge change,” Gaspard continues. “It’s a way to change some behaviors without having to point a finger at those individuals or schools that play at a very slow pace.” Coaching Tools
A Different Kind of Sign Language
marvin gentry/us presswire
Max Luckhurst, Head Coach at Campolindo High School in Moraga, Calif., had a problem. Every week, it seemed, players missed multiple signs, resulting in miscues and unnecessary outs. Prior to the 2008 season, Luckhurst heard about a system where a coach would call out a three digit number to send in a play instead of using hand signals. The player then consults a printed chart secured in a wristband to determine the call. He met with University of California Head Coach Dave Esquer, who had been using the system, and decided to try it out. “In the heat of a game, it can be challenging to go through a sign sequence,” Luckhurst says. “It may be that I was going too fast, the players didn’t remember the signs, or they were not CoachesNetwork.com
Coaching Management 3
paying attention, but they would miss them. We’ve missed only three signs in the two years since we’ve started using the system.” The charts have a grid with numbers running both horizontally and vertically on the edges with plays on the inside squares where the two numbers intersect. The first two digits are on the horizontal side and the last is on the vertical side. So if the coach yells out “423,” the player finds the 42 in the top row, the 3 in the far left column, and gets the sign from there. Plays are designated by customized abbreviations, so if the box says “HR” that would stand for hit and run. The abbreviation “B” in the box may mean bunt, while “S” could indicate a steal. Luckhurst also uses the system to call pitches. Instead of an abbreviation, the pitching system assigns a letter for each
At Campolindo High School, in Moraga, Calif., coaches relay plays through three-digit numbers instead of traditional hand signals. Players decipher the numbers by looking at a chart worn on their forearm.
4 Coaching Management
plays, so a sacrifice bunt could be given a dozen or more different numbers. The software also provides pre-formatted printable charts for players and coaches. Luckhurst says the only real drawback is opposing teams that make fun of the system. “We’ll play teams and they’ll yell out random numbers,” he says. “I think they do it because it’s not traditional and something they’re not used to, but if it draws that much attention from the other teams, that just helps us. They’re the ones missing signs.”
Old Uniforms Find New Purpose
Sometimes, a new fundraiser can arise from something old. That was the case at Jeffersonville (Ind.) High School, where jerseys that spent decades in storage are helping raise money for a new baseball practice facility. “Some of our old jerseys had been sitting in the equipment room since long before I started,” says Al Rabe, who is entering his 18th year as Head Coach at Jeffersonville. “A former player who is in the booster club suggested selling them. He thought people would appreciate the chance to buy their old jerseys, and it would be a great way to raise a little money—besides, what else were we going to do with them?” A quick inventory turned up more than 65 jerseys from between 1971 and 2000, and a committee was formed to locate the players who wore them. Boosters used old yearbooks, photos, programs, and scorecards to check the players’ numbers, then contacted old friends and alumni to spread the word. “The hardest part was going back and finding which jersey matched which year,” says Assistant Coach Kevin Burke, who also chairs the baseball booster club’s Building Committee. “Just like most programs, our varsity team wears the same uniforms for four or five years. After that, they get handed down to the j.v. team, then to the freshmen, and eventually they are retired. We had to literally go back to pictures on the wall to determine when each of these jerseys were worn.” The local newspaper ran a story about the jersey sale, a notice was placed on the booster club’s Facebook page, and before long, orders starting coming in. Alumni and their family members from as far away as Florida and Georgia asked about the uniforms, and even though boosters weren’t able to satisfy every request, they sold more than half of the jerseys—including one to John Schnatter, who played shortstop in the early 1980s before becoming the founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza. “When you get older, having that piece of your past becomes important,” says Rabe. “John Schnatter is worth millions of dollars, and he still wanted his old uniform back. That’s a neat thing, and it gives you a sense of what it means to be a Jeff High baseball player. That kind of enthusiasm shows how much pride alumni have in this program.” Other, unclaimed jerseys were bought by local businesses, and with jerseys priced at $25 apiece, the fundraiser brought in more than $1,000. That, combined with CoachesNetwork.com
type of pitch and a number for location. So “C4” would mean a changeup on the inside part of the plate and “F2” could be an outside fastball. In addition to being easier for players to use than a traditional hand-based system, Luckhurst says the system is essentially pick-proof. “Because I can assign as many numbers as I want to a sign, I never have to say the same number twice during a game,” he says. “I may yell out ‘423’ for a steal, but that’s one of 15 numbers I have allocated for steal. And it’s impos-
sible to pick a catcher’s sign because I’ll have 65 numbers for a fastball.” While simple and steal-proof, Luckhurst is quick to point out the system isn’t mistake-proof. If a player reads the vertical side first, or looks at the wrong number, he’ll locate the wrong play. So at the beginning of the season, Luckhurst drills players on how to read the card properly. “When it’s raining early in the season, we’ll go inside a classroom and give them written tests on the abbreviations,” he says. “Since safety squeeze and suicide squeeze could both be ‘SS,’ I may have to use ‘ZZ’ for one, so I make sure they memorize all the abbreviations. They have to get 100 percent correct on the written test three times before they get their uniform.” Software programs are available to automate the generation of numbers and charts. Own The Zone Software has systems for offense, pitching, and defense. A coach using the offensive system, for example, inputs any plays he might want to run—bunts, hit and runs, steals, and so on—into the computer and along with how many different numbers he wants to apply to each play. The software then assigns specific three-digit numbers to the
Old uniforms are bringing in new money at Jeffersonville (Ind.) High School, where the baseball booster club is selling jerseys found in storage to former players.
previous fundraisers, put boosters halfway toward the $80,000 they need to build an indoor hitting facility, which will include four hitting tunnels, coaches’ offices, storage space, and locker rooms. With the economic crunch, the baseball boosters started fundraising yearround, and have had success with a cou-
pon book, half-court shot contest at Jeffersonville basketball games, 14-andunder baseball tournament, and 12-andunder winter baseball camp. They’ve also added two new ideas: an ad-filled program given to fans at all home games, and the Friends of Jeff Baseball Club, whose members were listed inside the program and on the scorecard. The booster club is considering an alumni game next fall, and after enlarging its mailing list with the jersey fundraiser and the Friends of Jeff Baseball Club, reconnecting with alumni remains a critical part of its strategy. “Through the jersey fundraiser, we hope alumni see that their involvement is important to us,” Burke says. “For the future of the program, we need the support of our alumni, whether they come to games or send donations, and we’re going to do everything we can to stay connected with them.” Burke and Rabe hope to raise the remaining $40,000 in the next two years, starting with a plan to continue the jersey fundraiser this spring. The older jerseys were the most popular, especially the ones worn by varsity players in 1980, when the Red Devils reached the state semifinals. Another two dozen are still in storage, and
as fundraising moves forward, the unsold jerseys remain ready to be reclaimed. “The fundraiser didn’t take a lot of effort, and we thought it worked well,” says Rabe. “It got the jerseys back to the people who really care the most. This idea could work for other schools, too. It’s hard to imagine they don’t have old uniforms sitting in storage.” Sports Medicine
Lefties’ Motion Raises Injury Risk Left-handed pitchers have long been considered a valuable asset because of the unique attributes they bring to the mound that their right-handed colleagues don’t. But beyond their penchant for success against left-handed hitters—and exaggerated stereotypes for quirkiness—there is new evidence of physical differences in the throwing motions between southpaws and right-handers. Research from the Center for Sport and Motion Analysis at the Texas Metroplex Institute for Sports Performance indicates the mechanics of left-handed pitchers may make them more prone to injury.
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Coaching Management 5
Published online in The American Journal of Sports Medicine in May, the study analyzed the pitching motions of 84 collegiate baseball players, evaluating the shoulder rotation of their pitching arms compared to the non-pitching arms, the angles of their elbows and shoulders during the pitching motion, and their arm speeds. Then, researchers cross-matched 28 lefties and 28 righties, pairing pitchers of similar age, size, and throwing speed. The data revealed that left-handed pitchers put more stress on the humerus (the bone that runs from the elbow to the shoulder) than right-handers—and too much stress can lead to fractures. According to lead researcher Sherry Werner, the stress is highest when the pitcher has his throwing arm extended behind him, before accelerating toward the plate.
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Circle No. 104 CoachesNetwork.com
A new study has found that left-handed pitchers put more stress on their humerus than right-handers. At right, UCLA southpaw Rob Rasmussen competes at the 2010 College World Series.
“The big difference is that lefties lay back the forearm further and get more external rotation during the delivery,” says Werner, former Director of the Center for Sport and Motion Analysis. “When looking at a pitcher’s forearm in the cocking phase, if it is parallel to the ground, that means they’re getting about 180 degrees of external rotation. In our study, lefties actually get quite a bit beyond 180 degrees during that phase of the pitching motion, which is more than we saw with most of the right-handers in our study.” Werner, who is now a consultant and has been studying arm injuries in pitchers for nearly 20 years, says she isn’t sure why left-handed pitchers typically have more external rotation. But, she says, mechanically, southpaws tend not to bring their arms as far back behind their backs as their right-handed counterparts. “This may make their delivery slightly more efficient and give them more time to lay that forearm back, which is a big contributor to increasing arm and ball speed,” Werner says. “Unfortunately, it’s also a big contributor to the risk of fracturing the humerus.” A broken humerus is a rare injury
BULLETIN BOARD that usually occurs when the bone snaps in the middle of a pitch. Although most well known cases include Major League pitchers, it can happen to younger players as well. For example, Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Cole Hamels incurred the injury during a game in high school. What does this mean for coaches? “You should be aware you might see a little more external rotation in lefties—though if you To read an abstract do, don’t panic,” of the study, Werner says. “Just “Throwing Arm know that if the Dominance in pitcher’s body is Collegiate Baseball moving forward Pitching,” go to: and their elbow ajs.sagepub.com is starting back and type “Throwing further, they’re Arm Dominance” going to torque into the search the humerus. If I window. saw this, I would work on keeping that pitcher’s arm in a neutral position and tighten up their external rotation as they start their motion so their forearm is more parallel to the ground.”
Small Rural Teams Get Own Playoffs Historically, the Florida Class 1A playoffs, comprising the state’s smallest schools, have been dominated by teams from urban areas like Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. For years, coaches at small schools in rural areas of the state have complained that the system is stacked against them, and after making noise about leaving the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), they’ve been given a league of their own. Last summer, the FHSAA approved a new classification in six sports, including baseball, for small rural schools. Entry into the new Division 2, which is optional and slated to begin in 2011-12, will be limited to schools that have an enrollment of 500 or less and are located in rural areas as defined by the state Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development Office. Nearly 50 schools signed up to join the new division, well exceeding the 32 needed to hold state playoffs. Most of the schools are in the northwest part of the state, including Wewahitchka High School.
“This new system will give schools in rural areas a level playing field when it comes to the state playoffs,” says Todd Lanter, Athletic Director at Wewahitchka. “It’s a needed change that will benefit schools our size, providing small communities a better opportunity to advance in the state playoffs and win a championship.” Although there is tension between public and private schools in many states, for coaches at small schools in Florida’s Panhandle, the differences between rural and urban programs are much more significant. Because most of Florida’s counties allow open enrollment, rural coaches see a competitive advantage for similarsized schools in urban areas that draw from large population bases. “Kids who are good at a certain sport tend to gravitate toward those schools that have good teams in that sport,” says Bob West, Athletic Director at Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, and a member of the FHSAA Urban/Rural Advisory Committee that recommended creating the division. “So even though the schools are the same size, the ones in urban areas are more likely to get better players. It’s really a result of school choice.”
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In Florida, small rural high schools will compete for their own state championship, thanks to the creation of a new District 2 classification. At left, a batter for Deane Bozeman School, in Panama City, Fla., connects with a pitch.
Coaches say small schools from urban areas tend to have greater depth, especially on their pitching staffs. “Our number-one pitchers are generally comparable, but once you get to the number-two and number-three pitchers, there’s an advantage for urban teams,”
says Jeff Patton, Head Coach at Deane Bozeman School in Panama City, which will play in the new division. “We’re usually competitive with them, but they have more players to choose from.” If the reclassification results in a district with fewer schools, Bozeman should
have more room on its schedule for nonleague opponents. That could actually expand opportunities for the Bucks to compete against larger schools during the regular season. At Wewahitchka, where teams often travel more than an hour for away games, Lanter doesn’t expect the new system to have much of an impact during the regular season. But in the playoffs, when the Gators will no longer find themselves in a regional with teams from Tallahassee, the odds of reaching the state finals will be significantly better. “Under the old system, a school like ours would only move up through regionals once every five or six years,” Lanter says. “I’m not sure if we’ll win more games under this new system, but I know we’ll have a better chance to compete for a title.”
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8 Coaching Management
As Head Coach at the University of Nevada, Gary Powers will guide his program’s move from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference after the 2012 season. Powers is an old hand at such transitions, as the Nevada baseball team left the West Coast Conference in 1991 for the Big West (while spending one year as an independent) and went from the Big West to the WAC in 2000. Here, Powers talks about the challenges faced when switching conference affiliations. How does a conference switch impact the baseball program and you as a head coach? It mainly affects recruiting because you move in and out of recruiting areas as your competition changes. When we left the Big West and went into the WAC in 2000, it took us out of Southern California, where we were very strong in recruiting. Now, this move from the WAC into the Mountain West puts us back there because San Diego State and UNLV are part of our league now. Is a school’s identity tied to the conference it’s in? Yes, especially when it comes to prospective players. The perception that players in Southern California had of our program was different when were in the Big West than in the WAC. Even though we’re the same program with the same coaches, we have difficulty selling the program because we aren’t playing down there very often. One of the big things kids look at is the teams you’re playing on a regular basis.
GARY POWERS What are your thoughts on conference realignment in general? At a lot of schools, it’s a football-based decision and so it’s out of your hands. It’s not something you can let bother you, though. Players just look for an opportunity to succeed and it doesn’t matter to them who’s in the other dugout. We tell our players that the game will present them with opportunities every day regardless of the opponent, so they have to be prepared every day.
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Coaching Management 9
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LEGACY OF WINNING
Ben Wells threw a perfect game in the state final to lift Bryant High School to the 2010 Arkansas Class 7A title. It was Bryant’s first championship and the second for Head Coach Kirk Bock, whose father won nine state titles.
Q&A with KIRK BOCK | BRYANT (ARK.) High School Like many people, Kirk Bock, Head Coach at Bryant (Ark.) High School, followed in his father’s footsteps when it came time to choose a career. His dad, Billy Bock, coached at the high school and college levels, setting an Arkansas record with nine state titles at four schools, including two he won while his son played for him. Kirk has enjoyed similar success, winning two state titles as well as state and national coach of the year laurels. And like his father, Kirk has coached his son on a pair of championship teams. Kirk Bock began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri State University from 1989 to 1991. That fall, he took his first head coaching posi-
tion at Mountainburg (Ark.) High School, where he won two conference championships in three years. From there, he moved to Van Buren (Ark.) High School, earning three district crowns in five years.
Committee. In this interview, Bock, also a civics teacher and assistant football coach at Bryant, talks about creating his system, learning from his father, and coaching his own son.
In 1999, Bock took over the program at Harrison (Ark.) High School, where he created the template for the aggressive style of baseball that he’s coached since. His nine years with the Goblins culminated in a Class 5A state title in 2008. The next season, he moved to Bryant, and led the team to the 2010 Class 7A state title, the program’s first.
CM: After winning the state title at Harrison, why did you decide to leave?
Along the way, Bock has compiled a 439125 record, been named Arkansas High School Coach of the Year in 1995, 2004, and 2008, and been honored as ABCA National Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2008. He currently represents the High School Division on the ABCA Executive
Bock: I have always aspired to perform at the highest level I possibly can. After winning the Class 5A title at Harrison, I had a chance to come to Bryant, which plays in Class 7A, the state’s largest classification. I came into a great situation, with a baseballrich community that’s won multiple state championships on the youth levels, and I feel fortunate to be here. Can you describe the system you brought from Harrison to Bryant?
I put this system together at Harrison with a good friend of mine, Mike Lee, who was a scout with the Kansas City Royals.
Coaching Management 11
How did you implement the program when you came to Bryant?
During the first two months, I met with my assistant coaches from 4:30 a.m. until 7 a.m. five days a week, teaching them all the aspects of how I want us to play the game. Then they taught the players, starting at 5:30 every morning with weight training, skills, and drills. By now, our kids know what’s expected of them, and we’re getting things done quicker, so we don’t have to start practices until 6 a.m. After school, the team meets again to practice on the field, and every practice ends with a three-inning game. When you first arrived in Bryant, how did you garner community support?
My son was a junior when we moved from Harrison at the beginning of the summer, so he played Legion ball here for a buddy of mine. I spent that summer going to all the Legion practices and games, all the youth leagues, and doing everything I could to help out. Instead of sitting back and watching, I took a hands-on approach and whenever coaches asked me to do something, I did it.
What’s your goal at Bryant?
To be the best team in the country. Somebody has to be the best, so why can’t it be us? Are we there yet? No. But is that what we strive for every day? Absolutely. Will we ever achieve it? I don’t know, but we won’t get there if we don’t make that our goal. My father taught me to work as hard as I possibly can, and that’s what I expect from our players. Every day, we’re going to go out there, out-work the competition, and get the job done. You need to have a stronger mental game than everybody you play, and you have to work harder than everyone else, no matter how much extra time you have to put in. When did you know you wanted to coach?
When I was young and my father was a college coach, I used to go on recruiting trips with him. By the time I was in sixth or seventh grade, I’d go to his practices, and I just knew coaching was what I wanted to do. I’d been around it all my life, and I fell right into it.
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Here at Bryant, I figured it would take us about four years to get the system to the level we had it at Harrison, but we accomplished a lot in the first two years, so it’s possible we’ll finish ahead of schedule. We try to bring elements of the football spread offense into baseball. We don’t hit a lot of home runs, but we use the bunt and our speed to our advantage. We bunt and run, run and bunt, drag bunt, push the ball, and continually put pressure on the defense. Defensively, we’re also very aggressive. Years ago, I watched the Japanese national team play. They were the most disciplined players I’d ever seen. But they didn’t hold anything back—they were aggressive on every play, doing something bold each time the ball was hit. They were so aggressive going for grounders, they were halfway to first base by the time they threw the ball. That’s what I want from our team. For example, in my last season at Harrison, we picked off 46 runners. Last year, our goal was to get to 50, and even though we didn’t make it, we did reach 48 or 49. We’re big on defense, and if you’re on base, we’re going to try to pick you off.
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Q&A Did your father give you any advice about becoming a coach?
weren’t going to hit him. But we bunted seven consecutive times, until he got so frustrated he walked off the mound. His coach said they worked on bunt defense every day, but they didn’t—not really. That’s why we beat them.
He said, “Don’t do it.” He explained that it’s a tough business, and no matter where you coach, there are going to be difficult situations to deal with, especially with parents. But coaching was the only thing I’d ever wanted to do, and I was going to do what my dad did.
Do you ever think about coaching college baseball?
How did playing for your father affect the way you coached your son?
I’ve had opportunities to coach at the college level, but with two growing kids, it wasn’t a good fit. That was one of the
It’s hard being a coach’s son. Everyone expects you to be the best, and I was a very average athlete. My son, Garrett, is much more athletic than I was, and everybody expected him to be a great player. As his father, I was probably harder on him than I was on anybody else. Do you have any advice for other coaches who have a son on their team?
You have to separate your roles as coach and father, which is something I learned from an article in Coaching Management a few years ago. It was a great article, and it really resonated with me, which is why I still have it. One of the things I learned is when the game is over, you need to leave it on the baseball field—you can’t take it home with you. My dad always took it home, and I would have done the same thing if it weren’t for that story. Instead, once Garrett and I got into our truck, we just talked about father and son things. If he brought up something about the game, I’d answer his question and leave it at that. Because if baseball was always the focus, I knew it would cause problems at home and on the field. In addition to coaching baseball, you’ve also been an assistant football coach throughout your career. How has that made you a better baseball coach?
You have to scheme in baseball, just like you do in football. When we’re at bat, we’re going to take whatever the defense gives us, whether it’s a push bunt, a drag bunt, or a hit and run. The majority of the time, by looking at how the fielders set up, you know what you can and can’t do. For example, at Harrison we played the number-one team in the state. They had a pitcher who hadn’t lost a contest in three years of high school ball, so we knew we To read the Coaching Management article on coaching your own child, go to: bit.ly/fiWHy9
things I learned from my dad. During the six years he coached at Henderson State University, he hardly saw us. He was on the road all the time, and even though he enjoyed college coaching, he regretted not being around for us. He told me that right before he died, and I think about it a lot. It’s important to me that I’m able to come home to my family every night. But now that my son is in college and my daughter is a junior in high school, I might think about college coaching. CM
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Coaching Management 13
AT THE READY
Equipment changes designed to improve safety are coming and could affect the way baseball is played and viewed. Are you prepared? | By Dennis Read
ast March, Gunnar Sandberg, a pitcher at Marin (Calif.) Catholic High School, made national headlines before the season even started. The news stories were not about how hard he was throwing, but rather about how hard one ball came back at him.
Sandberg suffered a severe head injury when he was struck by a line drive during a preseason scrimmage. The blow fractured his skull, and he spent three weeks in a medically induced coma after doctors removed part of his skull to relieve pressure created by brain swelling. While he eventually recovered, and may even play baseball this spring, Sandberg’s injury added fuel to an already burning debate over the safety of non-wood bats. Although baseball’s injury rate is low— ranking well behind football, wrestling, soccer, basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, ice hockey, and gymnastics in a recent study of
high school athletes—a catastrophic injury like Sandberg’s carries a heavy emotional impact that causes parents and fans to question the sport’s safety. New bat standards, which are expected to make non-wood bats perform more like wood ones, may quell some of the fears, but discussions about safety are extending beyond bats. A push is being made to better protect players through safety equipment and national standards are being discussed. While some coaches may question the need for new bats or protective equipment, the reality is that change is coming, driven by both those within the game and those
The 2011 season will bring new bats for hitters in college baseball, such as the University of Oklahomaâ€™s Cameron Seitzer, as well as high school players in California. But they are just the Coaching Management first of many changes aimed at making the sport safer. PHOTO BY TY RUSSELL
outside of it. It will be up to coaches to help their players adjust to what’s around the corner. ACTION & REACTION
The response to Sandberg’s injury was swift and substantial. Several area schools, including Marin Catholic and the rest of the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL), immediately switched to wood bats. Marin Catholic also required its pitchers to wear protective equipment. Sub-varsity players donned helmets while varsity pitchers could choose between a helmet or a protective cap insert created by a player’s father. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) North Coast Section considered
placed. Mike May, Director of Communications for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, points out that more concussions have resulted from running the bases than fielding batted balls and that multiple studies have concluded non-wood bats present no greater safety risk than wood bats. “The biggest causes of injuries in baseball are players running the bases, collisions, and thrown balls,” he says. “Batted ball injuries are rare, and when one happens, it hits the headlines. “What happened to Gunnar Sandberg was tragic,” May continues. “But it could have happened with a wood bat. People speculate that by changing to wood bats we would cure this problem, but wood is not a
for under NFHS rules. As a result, Huffman withdrew the bill from consideration. “I think we ended up making the best decision we could,” says Marie Ishida, Executive Director of the CIF. “The number of injuries reported for defensive players doesn’t appear to be that high nationwide, but if you’re in a state that has one kid who is severely injured, that’s all you need to change things.” ENTER BBCOR
The BBCOR standard the CIF is implementing this spring is currently in place at the NCAA level, having become effective on Jan. 1, 2011. The new standard is expected to result in metal alloy and composite bats
COACH PROTECTION With all the concern over player safety in baseball, it’s easy to overlook the dangers coaches face. Unfortunately, there
are stark reminders, such as the 2007 death of minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh after he was struck by a batted ball while coaching first base. Frazier O’Leary, Head Coach at Cordozo High School in Washington, D.C., says he could have easily been the latest tragedy. Last May, O’Leary had just started throwing batting practice to his team at Nationals Park, where high school teams from the District were allowed to practice
a ban on non-wood bats during its playoffs, but the proposal was defeated 32-12. Then in April, California Assemblyman Jared Huffman proposed a statewide ban on non-wood bats. Citing Sandberg’s injury and concerns over increased performance of non-wood bats, the High School Baseball Safety Act of 2010 would have prohibited all California high schools from using nonwood baseball and softball bats for one year, whether in games, practices, or physical education classes. The bill also called on sports officials and members of the baseball community to use the one-year period to study ways to ensure player safety, including “the materials and performance standards for baseball bats and the possibility of protective headgear.” The bill was the latest salvo in the ongoing battle over the use of non-wood bats, and many believe the safety concerns are mis16 Coaching Management
once during the season. Since the mound was off-limits, O’Leary was throwing from behind a screen in front of the mound when one of his best hitters smacked a line drive right back up the middle. “It was the perfect hit,” he says. “I never had a chance to move.” Fortunately, O’Leary was wearing a goalie style catcher’s mask that protected him. “The ball would have hit me square in the face,” he says. “And there is no doubt in my mind it would have killed me.” O’Leary started wearing protective equipment about four years ago after a
safety net. If the sport went to wood, people would breathe a sigh of relief and then a week later you could have a serious injury.” Those who have witnessed such an injury are not easily convinced. “The bottom line is kids all know that non-wood bats hit the ball farther, and that’s why they want to use them,” says Rick Winter, who was Athletic Director at Marin Catholic at the time of Sandberg’s injury. “We went to wood because we felt it was safest for everybody and it was the right thing to do out of respect for Gunnar.” Faced with the possibility of seeing the sport turned upside down due to the proposed bill, CIF officials talked with Huffman about his concerns. In August, the CIF announced that it would adopt new BBCOR (Ball-Bat Coefficient of Restitution) bat performance standards for the 2011 season, one year earlier than called
friend was injured while throwing batting practice. O’Leary wore a batting helmet before switching to a catcher’s mask for greater protection a year or two ago. “Where I was hit, a batting helmet wouldn’t have helped at all,” he says. In addition to wearing equipment himself, O’Leary requires anyone throwing live to hitters on his mound or in his cages to wear a helmet or mask. And when O’Leary became Commissioner of the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association baseball league, that mandate extended to the entire league. “That was my first rule,” he says.
that perform more like wood bats, and many college teams used them during the fall nontraditional season. Replacing the previous standard known as Bat Exit Speed Ratio (BESR), the BBCOR measures the trampoline effect of the bat by comparing the speeds of a ball before and after it hits a stationary bat. The springiness of the ball is factored out, leaving a measure of the bat’s bounciness. The NCAA has set the maximum allowable BBCOR score at 0.50, which it feels closely replicates the performance of wood bats. Bats must still meet existing NCAA restrictions on length and weight. The BBCOR standard also includes an accelerated break-in (ABI) component and DENNIS READ is an Associate Editor at Coaching Management. He can be reached at: dread@ MomentumMedia.com.
bats are tested both before and after repeated laboratory use. This is designed to avoid the problem of “rolled” bats, which developed with the rise of composite bats. As composite barrel bats make contact with a ball, the materials inside the bat can loosen up, permanently increasing the trampoline effect and thus performance. As a result, some players simulate usage by “rolling bats”—applying mechanical pressure to the bats or even driving a car over them. Several companies also offer bat-rolling services. The rolled bats, or even bats with repeated normal use, often performed above levels set by the BESR standards, but there was no mechanism for routine testing of bats after they received their certification. However, before the 2009 College World series, the NCAA tested every bat and found that 80 percent of composite barrel bats exceeded performance standards. This led the NCAA to issue a one-year moratorium on composite barrel bats during the 2010 season, although composite bats that met a separate accelerated break-in test in addition to the BESR were allowed to be used. The NFHS has implemented a similar ban
on composite bats for the 2011 season unless they meet either the BBCOR standard or pass both the BESR and a separate ABI test. If initial returns from the fall college season are any indication, the new standards are doing their job. “The BBCOR bats perform much like wooden bats,” says Sunny Golloway, Head Coach at the University of Oklahoma. “You have to hit the ball right on the button with a BBCOR bat. So you won’t have balls in on the hands getting airborne and going out of ballparks anymore. “It’s an old-school phrase, but I think ‘staying inside the ball’ is the key to being successful with these new bats,” he continues. “Guys who try to pull the ball and hit home runs are going to have trouble. Instead, they need to try to hit line drives over the shortstop if they’re left-handed or second base if they’re right handed.” Nino Giarratano, Head Coach at the University of San Francisco, expects the new bats to change the way teams approach the game. “You’ll see more coaching in the game—more bunting and hit-and-runs instead of just trying to hit a home run every time up,” he says. “Good base running is going to become a
valuable skill and everyone will have to be able to play defense. It will push the game back to what it was designed to be, rather than being a power hitting game.” May agrees that the new bats could decrease offensive output and worries that making hitting more challenging could have unintended side effects. “I don’t think you’ll see a big change in the college game,” he says. “My biggest concern is how it will impact the lower levels of high school baseball, specifically freshmen or sophomores who are trying to make the team so they can experience what baseball is all about. You could put the old bat in the hands of the finest college players as well as the worst high school players and they both could achieve some success. Next year, hitting is going to be a lot more challenging for high school freshmen. I just hope it doesn’t deter participation.” Giarratano expects the new bats will make players more receptive to their coach’s advice. “When kids struggle, it’s easier to teach them now than it was with the old bats,” Giarratano says. “They used to think ‘I can swing this way and get away with it.’
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Coaching Management 17
With the BBCOR bats, they’re now coming to the realization that they need to understand all the technical aspects of the swing to become better players.” IMPROVING PROTECTION
Whether the new bats will increase safety for pitchers and infielders remains to be
pitchers, Matt Hiserman, suffer a skull fracture when he was hit by a batted ball during an intrasquad scrimmage. It was Hiserman’s second severe head injury—in high school a line drive broke his sinus bones, yet he was still interested in competing. “He started talking about the idea of developing some protective equipment, and
continues. “And I think the protective gear became a driving force to getting him back on the field.” Giarratano and Hiserman worked together to develop something that would protect the temporal bone, which is what Hiserman cracked last year. They quickly decided that both sides of the head need-
“The batter is 60-feet, 6-inches away from the pitcher, and he wears a protective helmet. The catcher and the umpire have protective helmets. The base coaches ... wear protective helmets. But where the ball is being projected the quickest—toward the pitcher—there’s no protective equipment.” Nino Giarratano, University of San Francisco seen, and in the meantime, some coaches are focusing on other ways to keep batted balls from injuring players. The big question is: Should pitchers, and even all infielders, wear some type of protective gear? The next question is equally important: What would this equipment look like? Giarratano has been working on both questions. In February, he watched one of his
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I felt it would be a great project to get his mind stimulated and keep him connected to baseball and the team,” Giarratano says. “He used it as a project for his master’s program with the idea that he could change youth baseball and make it safer for kids. “There’s no way I would’ve felt comfortable letting him return to the mound without some kind of protective gear,” he
ed to be protected to guard against brain damage. They also wanted the equipment to be lightweight and stable, so it wouldn’t cause any distractions as Hiserman delivered a pitch. At the same time, the college player did not want the gear to make him look odd or even different from any other pitcher. “We started out with a batting helmet, but that didn’t work, because it was heavy
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COVER STORY and blocked his peripheral vision,” Giarratano says. “Then we started to cut the helmet to make it lighter, but Matt still wasn’t able to see well enough to hold runners at first base. He then contacted a manufacturer that built a prototype for him.” Rather than a full helmet, Hiserman’s gear consists of two protective shields (made from a catcher’s rib protector) that cover his temples and are connected by a strap. The gear fits under his cap, but sticks slightly out the sides. Hiserman wore it during 10 appearances in 2010, when he threw 51 innings. The whole experience has changed Giarratano. “When I started researching this I couldn’t figure out why gear had not already been instituted at the younger levels,” he says. “I’ve become an advocate of trying to change—not the sport of baseball, but the safety of baseball—before we have other catastrophic injuries. “The batter is 60-feet, 6-inches away from the pitcher, and he wears a protective helmet,” Giarratano continues. “The catcher and the umpire have protective helmets. The base coaches are 90 feet away and they wear protective helmets. But where the ball
is being projected the quickest—toward the pitcher—there’s no protective equipment.” On a broader level, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) has been working on a standard for such equipment through requests from the CIF, NFHS, USA Baseball, and the NCAA. It issued a draft standard in October that was adopted as a proposed standard in January and can be found on the NOCSAE Web site. “The standard calls for the gear to be about 10 percent more resilient than current batting helmets,” says Gregg Hartley, NOCSAE Vice President. “There are also standards for force dissipation in an optional face mask. The drawing in the proposed standard looks much like a batting helmet, but we may see some creative designs from manufacturers.” The proposed standard will face a oneyear comment period, after which the NOCSAE board could elect to adopt it as a full standard. This would typically take effect a year later, which would be in January 2013. Then it would be up to the NFHS and the NCAA to decide if and when they wanted the equipment to be made mandatory.
Although manufacturers are free to start building equipment based on the draft standard, it’s unlikely that any mandate for protective equipment will result until NOCSAE issues its final standard. For now the CIF is simply requesting schools recommend that players use protective gear, without specifying what it would consist of. “It’s just my guess, but I think within the next few years we’ll end up mandating it,” Ishida says. “However, before we do, we want to make sure there’s gear that meets safety standards.” Still, there will probably be resistance from players, just as there was resistance to batting helmets when they were first introduced. Despite their teammate’s severe injury, none of the other pitchers at San Francisco elected to wear the equipment Hiserman helped design. “Nor do I anticipate that anybody would wear it unless it was mandated—most kids think they’re indestructible,” Giarratano says. “To push it through, it’s going to take players like Matt and coaches like myself who say this is what we need to do. But we also need to get the backing of professional baseball and the NCAA.
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“The awareness is there now, and we’re lucky that both kids who had these catastrophic injuries in our area are still alive,” he continues. “Hopefully we can move this forward before someone else gets injured.” BACK TO WOOD
As the debates over safety continue, there have been increased discussions on whether baseball is simply better played with wood bats. Even if the new BBCOR bats slow down ball speeds enough to reduce serious injuries, some coaches like the idea of returning to wood bats. In NCAA Division II, the idea may soon become reality. At a meeting in October, Division II commissioners agreed to a resolution calling for a division-wide switch to wood bats by the 2012-13 school year. Although the resolution is not binding, Dave Brunk, Commissioner of the Peach Belt Conference, is confident it will happen. “A few commissioners weren’t in attendance, and we heard a lot of ‘If the Peach Belt Conference does it, then we’ll do it,’” says Brunk, who worked with Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Commissioner
Dan Mara to survey and lobby fellow commissioners before the meeting. “But we’ve agreed as a commissioners group that we’re going to do it, and we set the target date.” Since wood bats are already legal under NCAA playing rules, individual schools and conferences are free to use wood bats whenever they want. And in Division II, they have been. The Northeast-10 Conference switched to wood bats in 2002. The East Coast Conference and the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference have made the change as well, and the NCAA Division II East Regional is an all-wood affair. Brunk thinks continuing this grassroots approach is the best way to implement the switch. “We’ll have the conferences and regions make the change and then we’ll go from there,” he says. “If every region is playing with wood then all we’ll need is a change to the championship guidelines for the Division II playoffs to be wood-only as well.” Jayson King has been Head Coach at Division II Franklin Pierce University, which competes in the Northeast-10, since 1999. “Going to wood has been great, and not once have we thought of going back
to aluminum bats,” says King. “It’s a pure game with wood. There are fewer home runs, more hit-and-runs, more sacrificing, more defense, and an increased emphasis on pitching.” In addition to changes on the field, King has also seen a change in recruiting since switching to wood bats. “We get more guys who want a chance to play professionally,” he says. “They know that in order to do so, they have to learn to hit with wood. At the same time, the guys who only hit home runs have fallen by the wayside a little bit. If they can’t defend or do anything else, we’re not that interested in them.” For King, the only drawback of being in a wood bat conference is having to switch between metal and wood throughout the season. Although most of its regular season games are played in the East Region, the team takes an annual trip to Florida where teams use metal bats. The Ravens have also reached the Division II College World Series five of the last seven years, where they have used metal bats. “One of the hardest things for any hitter is finding a bat that he’s comfortable
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with,” King says. “Before the World Series last spring we had only a couple of practices with metal bats after playing 50 games with wood, so some guys were still figuring out which bat they wanted to use while the games were going on.” Brunk sees benefits to the division as a whole in making the switch. “First and foremost it would shine a bright light on baseball in Division II,” he says. “We think this can create a recruiting advantage for Division II, heighten the media interest, grow our fan base, and help our student-athletes who want to play at the professional level.” Brunk also lists cost savings as a reason to go to wood, citing research he has conducted showing potential savings of about $500 per team if the switch is made. Although the teams will need more wood bats to get through the season, each bat costs less than new metal or composite bats. Brunk did suggest that teams could use composite bats during some parts of practices to keep costs down. “Another question that came up involved agreements some schools have with metal bat companies to get bats at reduced cost,”
Brunk says. “We’ve already had wood bat companies say they’d like to work on similar agreements with schools, conferences, or even the complete division. There’s no question in my mind that we’ll work out agreements with some of these companies.” Brunk says his discussions with the bat companies also put to rest any concern about the limited availability of quality wood bats for Division II. “That is not an issue at all,” he says. “I talked with many different wood bat manufacturers and they said they can definitely produce enough wood bats to go around.” While Division II appears ready to make a change to wood, the idea seems to have little support at the Division I level. A survey by the Associated Press in June found that 17 of 22 coaches at the top programs preferred aluminum bats. “College baseball’s popularity is probably the highest it’s ever been,” California State University-Fullerton Head Coach Dave Serrano told the Associated Press. “The numbers show it. How many people attend the College World Series and keep watching it on ESPN? If it’s not broke, why fix it?”
The switch to wood doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Brunk says that the Peach Belt Conference may do a retro weekend during the fall where teams use wood bats. Golloway has tried to do the same at Oklahoma during a non-conference series, but has had trouble finding schools willing to go along with the idea. Still, he thinks it could be a great way for high schools to generate some attention, while at the same time preparing players for the switch to BBCOR bats in 2012. “They could hold a throwback event where they wear old uniforms and use wood bats for a couple of games and market it as a fundraiser,” Golloway says. “They could also have people dressed as old-time vendors selling 25-cent bags of peanuts and popcorn in the stands. Part of the reason the Cape Cod League is so popular is because it’s a throwback in time.” While coaches can reach to the past for marketing purposes, they must also be ready to move forward. Whether that means wood bats in one’s league, new protective equipment, or BBCOR bats in everyone’s hands, changes are on the way. CM
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Coaching Management 21
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UNITED WE LEAD
If you’re counting on team captains to make a difference on your squad, consider this concept: shared leadership. By Dr. Philip Willenbrock
MICHAEL HEINZ/us presswire
At every level, from high school to college, just about every team has captains. And coaches, myself included, typically put great faith in these student-athlete leaders. Most coaches would go so far as to say that peer leadership is a critical aspect of team performance. After a difficult season, we often express disappointment with the CoachesNetwork.com
leadership exhibited by captains. Following great seasons, we have high praise for our team leaders. But how much time do we put into thinking about the structure and success of our team captaincy model? Peer leadership has a great impact on a team’s chemistry and competitiveness—and ultimately a coach’s job security—yet we place this responsibility in the hands of one or two young people who may or may not be “all-in” with the program. This dichotomy got me thinking about how to make team captains more effective. Through 20 years of coaching at the NCAA Division II, Division III, and high school levels, including nine as head coach, I have been intrigued by improving team leadership, and I was interested in exploring a new model. After some research and experiments, I feel I’ve found an exciting new concept. Coaching Management 23
Called “shared team leadership,” it spreads captain responsibilities among a group of athletes and teaches them how to be effective leaders. Implementing the idea with the football team at the University of Puget Sound was a great success, for both coaches and student-athletes. WHAT IS SHARED LEADERSHIP?
My initial research into the topic of team captains found that many coaches are frustrated by the quality of team leadership on their squads. I also learned that team captains often do not understand their role or have not been counseled on leadership. Part of the problem is the way we choose captains. In most instances, team captains are assigned by the head coach or elected by team members. My research and experience Philip Willenbrock, EdD, is the Athletic Director at Evergreen High School in Seattle and the former Head Football Coach at the University of Puget Sound. He has also coached at the NCAA Division II and high school levels and served as an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University. He welcomes comments and questions about this article and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or sharedteamleadership.com.
found that neither system consistently works well. Individual popularity and athletic ability earns certain individuals captaincy, but that doesn’t mean they will be effective in their roles. Recognizing the shortcomings of our selection systems, I looked at leadership models used in the business world and was intrigued by the idea of shared leadership. What if, instead of the traditional model of one, two, or three captains, a larger group of team members takes on the role? This is the basic premise behind shared leadership. Used successfully in the business world, shared leadership is defined by Pearce and Conger in Shared Leadership: Reframing the Hows and Whys of Leadership, as an interactive influence process in a group or team, which may include peer leadership and influence among and between members of the group. Shared leadership practitioners believe that no single individual possesses the capacity to effectively play all possible leadership roles within an organization. Instead, leadership should be spread among many individuals, allowing each to use their own strengths to assist peers.
On a sports team, this means that the responsibility of captaincy is taken on by not just a few of the top athletes, but by a whole segment of the team, such as all the seniors. This group works together to foster teamwork and camaraderie, with each student-athlete bringing his or her unique qualities to the table to help lead the team. A VALUABLE ASSET
In 2002, I took over a football program at Puget Sound that had seen only one winning season in nearly 20 years. But from 2004 to 2008, the team experienced its most successful and consistent performance since the early 1980s. While numerous factors contribute to a team’s competitiveness, a major factor impacting the cultural change within our program was the introduction of shared team leadership. The traditional captain system had proven ineffective in my first seasons at Puget Sound, producing poor peer team leadership and a senior class not aligned with the program’s philosophy. So starting in the fall of 2004, we decided to challenge the entire senior class to share in the leadership of the
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team. Because all seniors have social power based on their class status, this was a good group to hand the leadership reins to. We called them the Leadership Group, or LG. The experiment proved successful, and we committed to using shared leadership from then on. The idea evolved over time into a seamless system beginning anew each
Second, it furthered the leadership skills of our student-athletes since we taught them specifics on how to lead effectively. Most institutions today want to teach leadership to their students, and this gave us a structure to do so. I also like that shared leadership has the potential to teach every student-athlete
sibility, which may curtail off-field problems. When team members are given responsibility, there are more likely to take ownership of their actions and toe the line. The only problem we found was that sometimes there was a perceived absence of a leadership voice. Some players like to be able to point to one or two specific teammates to
Because there was sharing of information and collective decision-making among a large segment, our players bought into the entire program. This led to a climate of trust and respect. year as seniors left and juniors were elevated to the new leadership team. What were the benefits of this approach? The first was that the system brought greater team unity by developing a community rather than a collection of segmented groups within the team. Because there was sharing of information and collective decision-making among a large segment, our players bought into the entire program. This led to a climate of trust and respect.
in a program leadership skills. Instead of allowing just a few athletes to be captains, everyone is afforded the opportunity. That provides more learning opportunities for more individuals—and also can uncover a great leader who would otherwise go unnoticed. And don’t dismiss the increased satisfaction players experience when they’re able to feel included as a leader. Shared leadership offers the additional benefit of developing maturity and respon-
lead them. We corrected this by appointing game captains to take the lead on key issues during each week. Some coaches fear that shared leadership takes the head coach out of the picture, but this is not the case at all. The head coach still remains at the top of the organization with final approval or veto power on all actions. PROGRAM SPECIFICS
Implementing shared leadership is not
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TOP TOPICS To teach our seniors how to tackle their leadership roles, I implemented a curriculum that includes 16 topics, with only minor facilitation needed by a coach. The program progresses from general principles of character and self-leadership to aspects of team leadership dynamics and decision making. It can be implemented as a 16-week off-season curriculum, or a 16-hour weekend retreat. Below are the 16 topics addressed: n
Team expectations and developing a shared vision
General qualities of leadership and personal perspectives
Shared leadership principles and personal leadership strengths
Dealing with the reality of the situation
Decision making strategies
Principles of leadership and team captain traits Organizational leadership and personal priorities Self leadership, including how to be an effective leader Servant leadership Team leadership dynamics
Community building and culture change strategies
Leading in conflict and learning from failures
Team building strategies
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difficult, but it does take a commitment by the coaching staff. Coaches must buy into the concept that every senior has an important role on the team and put time aside for teaching leadership skills. Here’s a rundown of the steps I took with our Leadership Group: Get to Know Players: An initial action for me each year was to learn more about every senior and understand him better on a personal level. During the spring semester, I scheduled a one-hour lunch meeting with each senior. I asked about his future plans, family issues, goals, aspirations, and friendships—anything but football. This developed trust between us and allowed me to take opportunities for thoughtful conversations throughout his senior year. Implement Curriculum: In addition to one-on-one meetings, I met with the full group weekly during the spring semester to talk about leadership, team dynamics, and decision making. We also discussed team policies and shared thoughts on what changes, if any, needed to be made. After a few years, I formalized the meetings into a 16-week seminar addressing
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Circle No. 122
Circle No. 123
26 Coaching Management
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issues in Character, Leadership, Actualization, Synergy, and program Sustainability (C.L.A.S.S.). The curriculum covers issues from leadership principles to decision making. (See “Top Topics” at left.) Providing a clear agenda for each meeting was important to stay on topic. We also asked everyone to follow these simple but important rules: n Withhold judgment about another person’s values. n Respect individual differences and divergent views. n Speak personally and specifically rather than generally. n Eliminate personal prejudice, expectations, biases, and the need to control the discussion. n Listen when others speak. Organizational Change: The group established team goals for the season and a list of things they needed to stop doing, start doing, and continue doing in order to meet behavioral expectations. This was an important organizational change strategy that clearly identified key behavioral objectives and alterations to team culture.
Some examples of STOP areas included: making excuses, poor practice tempo, and complacency. Some examples of START areas included: getting together socially more often as a team, community service activities, and 100-percent team attendance at off-season training sessions. Some CONTINUE examples included: doing more than what is asked, maintaining competitiveness, and holding team-building activities. Give Each a Voice: LG members each took turns addressing the team following a spring practice or workout through a three- to five-minute talk, helping to establish their accountability for leadership and sense of influence. We identified 10 character traits—responsibility, trust, self-control, balance, respect, forgiveness, fairness, integrity, sacrifice, and perseverance—as program keystones. Each LG member chose the day he would speak to the team and the term he wanted to talk about. Courageous Conversations: Throughout the year, LG members and I engaged in courageous conversations with each other about attitudes, assumptions, habits, and behaviors. Some of the sessions were discus-
sions on issues and others were called to handle disciplinary situations. I would introduce the question or topic, then let a senior lead the discussion or make the final recommendation for discipline. As head coach, I always had veto power, but enabling the team to wrestle with these concepts in a democratic setting taught them how to reach consensus. These conversations were key in creating a sense of community among the senior class. They all needed to be on the same page for shared leadership to work. One such conversation led to the dismissal of a returning all-conference player who would not buy in to the direction of the program as a senior. While we were concerned about losing a player of his caliber, it turned out to be positive. None of the staff realized this player was undermining the program, but the leadership team did. They saw that his negative attitude was doing more harm than good. This decision was a significant turning point in the program. Leadership Pods: During fall practice, I divided the team into 14 pods, each led by a senior. This structural change immediately
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placed every senior in an equal leadership role. The pods were used to create a daily line of communication. Pod members were assigned lockers near each other, warmed up together, and operated as a team for the entire fall. Fun situations were organized where pods would be pitted against each other in competitions. The pod leader was responsible for assessing the “heartbeat” of each member of his pod and addressing any issues. If one of his pod members needed to run after practice or required extra discipline, the pod leader would enforce such activity. Communication: I met with the LG as necessary throughout the early part of the season to discuss issues of team morale, effort, and chemistry. The group would tell me when it thought we might need to lighten up practices, if some players were burned out, if any freshmen were talking about quitting, if there was any after hours behavior detrimental to the team, and other similar issues. At the beginning, LG members hesitated to reveal such information for fear of “telling on someone.” But when they realized PC allstar ad
it would help keep the team on track, they were willing to bring up issues that I could address one-on-one with a player. Team Building: Seniors were divided into six groups, with each group responsible for organizing one fall team-building activity. Coaches were not present, but due to the leadership curriculum, LG members knew the type and format of programs that would benefit team chemistry and keep everyone engaged. Some examples were: bowling and pizza night, volunteer activity at the local Boys & Girls Club, and board game night. With any of the competitive activities, teams remained in their pods. Game-Week Captains: Twice during the season, each senior served as a game captain, becoming responsible for team decisions on discipline, motivation, and team building and representing the team to the media. If a team member had a significant policy violation or interpersonal issue, the game-week captains acted as LG meeting facilitators. Reflection: Every Sunday, we had meetings with the LG where we discussed previous and upcoming weeks. I started with a leadership quote or story, which sparked a
brief conversation about the team’s morale after the game on Saturday. We then discussed organizational issues from the past week and established our main message points for the next week and opponent. In addition, Sunday meetings enabled gameweek captains to discuss and reflect on any leadership challenges they faced. While the above structure worked well, we did tweak it based on the senior LG. One year when I felt that our senior leadership skills were weak, I named one player as an every-game captain along with the two weekly captains. Some years I had to be present for many of the off-season discussions, while in other years, I did not. There is great flexibility to the system to adapt to the uniqueness of each group. A shared leadership model may be the key to solving any team dynamics problems your coaches have been facing. With a little planning, any team can find great rewards, both on the field and off, through this concept. CM A version of this article is appearing in other sport-specific editions of Coaching Management.
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28 Coaching Management
Author Brainard Cooper works with University of South Carolina pitcher Drake Thomason, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010.
When elbows fail
An athletic trainer for one of the nation’s top college programs offers his insights into Tommy John surgery and the challenging rehabilitation process it requires. By Brainard Cooper
Tommy John surgery—three scary words no pitcher wants to hear. But more players are having the procedure than ever before. And while the surgery is the focus of most athletes’ fears, the intensive rehabilitation, which can take up to 18 months to fully complete, is equally as challenging. Tommy John surgery is known medically as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction. The UCL is one of the primary CoachesNetwork.com
stabilizers in the elbow and faces a lot of stress from throwing motions. The ligament can break down from this stress, or, less commonly, it suddenly ruptures. Although any player can sustain a UCL injury, pitchers have the highest rate of injury. Critics have called for pitch counts and inning limits in Little League, high school and college coaches have been berated for allowing pitchers to stay in a game too long, and pro prospects are placed on strict pitch limits. Yet UCL injuries continue unabated. At the same time, many myths about a UCL injury and Tommy John surgery have developed. Once reserved for major league stars, the procedure is now performed on high Coaching Management 29
school players. So it’s important for coaches to understand what happens when the UCL is injured, how Tommy John surgery corrects the injury, and the intricacies of a long and challenging rehabilitation process. THE INJURY
I cannot count the number of times a baseball player with an elbow injury has asked me, “It’s not the Tommy John ligament, is it?” Despite this common misconception, there is no such thing as a Tommy John ligament. The surgery, named after the pitcher who in 1974 was the first professional athlete to undergo the procedure, involves replacing or repairing the ulnar collateral “ligament,” which is not truly a ligament, but a complex. There are three separate bands involved. When the injury occurs, one or more of the bands of the UCL complex tear as a result of overhead throwing activities. Usually, the surgery involves replacing the damaged bands with tendons harvested from a cadaver or another part of the pitcher’s body, such as the forearm, knee, or foot. The injury can be either acute in nature or gradual in its onset. When we see elbow injuries in the collegiate ranks, more often
than not, it shows up via gradual onset. A baseball player will often describe a history of non-specific elbow issues that have bothered him for a period of time. These are rarely serious enough to stop him from playing, but never fully dissipate after starting. In this scenario, which I call “smoldering elbow,” it’s only a matter of time until the elbow fails. Another scenario could involve an injury to a totally different region of the body—the back, opposite shoulder, or hip, for example. The injury is not bad enough for the player to stop pitching, but the deficient body part puts additional stress on the elbow in an attempt to maintain accuracy and velocity when throwing. For example, with a shoulder injury, the pitcher could subconsciously change his throwing mechanics to compensate for pain. I have seen several athletes have to undergo shoulder surgery after recovery from elbow surgery because the shoulder injury surfaced only after their UCL was fixed. Heavier than normal fatigue, which often occurs with an injury, can also lead to a change in mechanics. Lower-body injuries are a common trigger for elbow problems. We all know that a pitch-
MENTAL GAME When any injury occurs, there is a mental challenge that accompanies the physical setback. Generally, an athlete is
angry or sad after they are initially hurt and those feelings can stick with them until they are back in the game. But with an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury that requires Tommy John surgery, those feelings can be magnified because of the arduous rehabilitation process. It is a long and boring road to recovery and it can be a great challenge for athletes to remain positive over their months of rehab. Some athletes can become despondent or exhibit signs of depression following a UCL injury if their sense of worth is tied to their ability to perform. Many times I’ve seen an athlete’s schoolwork suffer or some other sign of disassociation. Here at the University of South Carolina, we try to combat those negative feelings. Our coaching staff, for example, makes an
30 Coaching Management
effort to keep the injured player involved with team activities. Keeping the athlete involved in team activities has a huge positive effect on his psyche. I always encourage the athlete to take part in weightroom training with his teammates. The coaches make sure they have jobs for the injured player during scrimmages and regular practice sessions. I also believe that getting the athlete active as soon as possible is critical to helping him maintain a positive outlook during the rehabilitation process, so I print a calendar for every athlete I work with following Tommy John surgery. The calendar contains a start date and a target completion date. Together, we then write down each day’s activity so the athlete has something to refer to when he has questions regarding his progress. It allows them to see the progress they’re making and there is an end goal they can look toward as well—getting back to the mound.
er does not get his power from the shoulder or arm. He generates power through his legs, hips, and abdomen. When anything happens to negatively affect these sources of power, additional stress is again placed on the upper extremity in an effort to maintain accuracy and velocity, and the athlete will alter his mechanics to compensate. When mechanics fail, it is only a matter of time before there is a breakdown—and for pitchers, that breakdown usually occurs in the elbow. TAKING TIME
When I performed my first rehab on a UCL reconstruction about 15 years ago, we kept the athlete’s elbow immobilized for two weeks after surgery before starting any rehab exercises. Now, rehabilitation begins the day following surgery—working not only on distal and proximal muscle group exercises, but also on range of motion (ROM) of the elbow. Despite the advances we’ve seen in surgical and rehabilitation techniques, it still generally takes 12 to 18 months for the injured athlete to get that special “it” back. That may sound like a long time, but recovering the ability to pitch doesn’t take nearly that long. Following surgery, the UCL and surgery site is technically healed within six to seven months. But that doesn’t mean the pitcher is ready to start pitching competitively. While the new “ligament” is technically healed, the structure has not had time to mature. The tendon that was harvested to construct the new ligament needs time to take on the properties of a ligament, and that ligament then needs time to be acclimated to the stress of throwing. Under the most pressing circumstances, I may allow a pitcher to return to competitive pitching after nine months. This could include a scenario in which the competitive season is right around the corner and the injured player has only one year of eligibility remaining. Or the player may see himself as a draft-eligible pitcher and want to get back on the mound to show professional scouts that he is not only able to pitch for a game here and there, but for an entire season. However, if a pitcher returns to play only nine months after surgery, he will not recover as quickly between outings as his injury-free teammates, so he needs to be on a restricted pitch count. I will also ask that he be kept on a limited count should he experience lingering elbow pains that Brainard Cooper is the Associate Athletic Trainer at the University of South Carolina, where he works with the baseball and men’s soccer teams. He can be reached at: BRAINARD@mailbox.sc.edu.
“nag” at him during the competitive season. I suggest to our coaches a 50-pitch count in all preseason scrimmages and a 75-pitch count in the player’s first three outings of the regular season. Ideally, the pitcher would gradually increase from 75 pitches so that by the end of the regular season, he is throwing 100 to 110 pitches per appearance. If we are fortunate enough to make the postseason, I
I’d much rather have the athlete “chomping at the bit” to get out there and throw. REHAB CALENDAR
UCL surgery rehabilitation is broken down into four basic phases. Here is what my nine-month rehab program looks like: Phase one. The acute post-surgical phase lasts from weeks zero to six, and the
der isometrics in the neutral position can be performed in flexion, extension, and/or abduction. For the forearm, I like to do isometric exercises by applying manual resistance in flexion and extension of the wrist. I never do any internal or external rotation in phase one—there is plenty of time to work on these muscles in the coming weeks. Toward the later part of the six weeks,
The ideal time frame for return to participation is a 12-month rehab program. When taking less time than this, I’ve found the athlete can be apprehensive and less confident upon his return. give the coaches and pitchers the green light to pitch with no limits. The ideal time frame for return to participation is a 12-month rehab program. On this schedule, the athlete is almost assured of a problem-free return. When taking less time than this, I’ve found the athlete can be apprehensive and less confident upon his return. I also believe a restricted pitch count early on only adds to this lack of confidence.
basic goal is to protect the surgical site and increase ROM. During this time the athlete is restricted in a hinged brace and keeping the surgical site protected is paramount. Only gentle ROM work can begin, and only if it doesn’t interfere with the healing site. The athlete can perform gentle wrist and forearm work as well as light shoulder and scapula stabilizer work. Initial exercises should be static or isometric, and shoul-
you can progress to some more dynamic exercises such as the Jobe’s or Thrower’s 10 program. (These programs can be found by simply typing “Thrower’s 10” or “Jobe exercises” into any Internet search engine. A variety of different programs are available.) Phase two. The chronic or intermediate post-surgical phase covers weeks seven to 16, and the goal is to increase strength in the musculature of the upper extremity while
Circle No. 126 CoachesNetwork.com
Coaching Management 31
maintaining ROM gains. After six weeks the brace is removed and the athlete should begin dynamic strength training in earnest. This increase can be achieved by adding weight and repetitions to the exercises the
okay at this point, and I allow athletes to start running. Phase three. The advanced phase runs from weeks 17 to 32, and here we continue increasing strength and power, maintain
All the while, he is participating in a modified weightroom program with his teammates. This is an exciting time for the athlete since we begin rehab throwing with an interval throwing program. There are precautions
One issue to stress is the importance of observing the athlete while he is performing this throwing. If the athlete is not monitored, he invariably will throw too long or too hard, which can damage the healing site and delay recovery. athlete is already performing. A modified, limited weightroom workout can also be implemented at this time to prevent de-conditioning in the rest of the body. Shoulder and forearm exercises that were initiated in phase one should continue with heavier weight to build strength. After 12 weeks, we begin using plyometric exercises. During this phase, the athlete can also begin performing sport-related activities such as swinging a baseball bat or playing golf, but not throwing. For a position player, batting practice would also be
ROM gains, and gradually start return-tosport activities. Exercises in phase three should alternate between the elbow, shoulder, and core from day to day. A typical week might look like this: Monday and Friday we do a dumbbell shoulder and wrist/forearm workout based off of the Thrower’s 10 program. Tuesday and Thursday are plyometric days with a plyometric ball program. Wednesday is a light day when I have the athlete perform resistance band exercises. The weekend is “free time” when he can do whatever exercises in the program he wants to, or none if he chooses.
to be taken, however. Recovery time must be built in between each step, and I like to repeat each step twice before moving on. Allowing at least two days between each throwing episode is also a good idea. Remember that the purpose is to introduce the new “ligament” to the stress of throwing. One issue to stress is the importance of observing the athlete while he is performing this throwing. If the athlete is not monitored, he invariably will throw too long or too hard, which can damage the healing site and delay recovery.
Circle No. 127 32 Coaching Management
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Circle No. 128
Phase four. The final phase can be modified to begin anywhere from the 32 to 36 week mark, and its goal is to return the athlete to regular activity. This phase can last up to week 54, depending on the athlete’s progress. The athlete now begins preparing his body for re-entry into athletic competition. By now, he should be performing all of his strengthening and endurance exercises at a high level. The elbow is ready for more advanced work off the mound, through the interval throwing program. A progressive interval pitching program is not geared toward power, but to reintroduce the athlete’s elbow to proper mechanics. This routine needs to be performed under the close eye of a coach who can monitor the pitcher’s mechanics. When this phase is completed without complication, the athlete is ready to return to full participation. FOUR KEYS
A successful recovery following Tommy John surgery is dependent on four major aspects: ROM, time, direct observation, and outside factors. I believe the most important
immediate post-op goal should be the reestablishment of ROM—something I learned from renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. If an athlete has full ROM prior to surgery, he should be able to regain that range following surgery and rehab. Time and again, whenever I see athletes who have recently had UCL reconstruction I advise them to tell their therapist or athletic trainer to push ROM because they are almost always lagging behind. When I see an athlete who is eight to 12 weeks post-surgery and he is carrying his elbow at a 30-degree bend while walking around, I know he needs to work on ROM. I begin every workout for a Tommy John patient with 15 minutes in a 110-degree whirlpool to begin activating ROM. The next factor critical to a successful outcome is time. The repaired UCL needs time to heal. Though the injury is technically healed in six to seven months, that doesn’t mean the healing site has matured enough to withstand throwing activities—tossing a ball maybe, but not significant throwing. Direct observation ensures that not only is the athlete’s technique in performing exer-
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cises correct, but that the athlete doesn’t do too much too soon. When in physical therapy facilities and other athletic training rooms, I often see patients who are unattended, just going through the motions and not performing the exercises correctly. It makes me wonder how good their outcome will be. Finally, we must look at outside factors that might have contributed to the failure of the elbow in the first place. Was the injury caused by too much pitching? Was there a physical condition that predisposed the athlete to being injured? Was another injury at fault? I am very keen on monitoring pitchers with shoulder, back, knee, or ankle injuries. During Tommy John rehab, I look at these areas closely to see if there was a previous condition that may have been overlooked. If we address the whole kinetic chain while addressing these four aspects of rehabilitation, I believe the chances for a successful outcome are greatly improved. CM A version of this article appeared in our sister magazine, Training & Conditioning. To access more articles from T&C go to: www.Training-Conditioning.com.
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Mike Schmitt Jr. is the president of M.A.S.A., maker of Osborne Screens, an industry leader in player protection. Utilizing only the highest-quality raw materials available, Osborne screens can provide your program with innovative design features on all screens, as well as specific features on certain screens, to make your practices run smoothly and efficiently. Osborne screens are innovative and among the best on the market. CoachesNetwork.com
Coaching Management 35
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Mulemix Field Conditioners
Conditioners are used to reduce compaction and absorb moisture. Mulemix products reduce the tackiness of a field’s clay to keep your games on schedule. PLAYMAKER Field Conditioner
PLAYMAKER offers one of the most uniform, cleanest particle sizes on the market. It can be used as a field conditioner to help reduce compaction, absorb moisture, and keep your games on time. Mar Mix
This screened red infield mix is compactable, yet it allows water to percolate. It’s great for use with Mulemix conditioners or SAF Coat and features a natural blend of approximately 70-percent sand and 30-percent clay. Mar Mound Clay
This screened red mound and home plate clay is ideal for pitcher’s mounds, batter’s boxes, and high-wear areas. It’s compactable, easy to use, and available in bags or in bulk. Customer Portfolio:
Atlanta Braves Houston Astros Louisville Riverbats Louisiana State University Ohio State University Circle No. 524
Mar-Co Clay Products, Inc. 800-950-2555 www.marcoclay.com
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Partac Peat 800-247-BEAM www.beamclay.com
This product is a controlled blend of clay, sand, and aggregate. Mar-Co infield clays are designed to maximize safety, playability, drainage, and appearance. Mar-Co Mound Clay
This virgin raw clay is processed to a fine texture, and is available in either dry or moisturized form. It’s used for building and maintaining pitcher’s mounds and batter’s boxes. Washington Ball Mix
A blend of clay, sand, and aggregate, this is a good choice for professional-looking, red clay infield surfaces at an economical price.
BEAM CLAY® Baseball Diamond Mixes
These premium infield mixes provide a consistent playing surface that’s firm yet soft, with great drainage and color. BEAM CLAY Regional Infield Mixes
These mixes for every state and climate are blended at bulk plants nationwide. BEAM CLAY Pitcher’s Mound Clay
Extra-firm and medium-firm mound and batter’s box clays are available in all-natural red, orange, brown, tan, and grey. Also available are mound and batter’s box bricks and red polyurethane pads that give the feel of natural clay but are buried two inches below the surface to eliminate 95 percent of maintenance. BEAM CLAY Red Warning Track Surfaces
Mar-Co Field Brick
These 4”x8”x2” bricks are made from Mar-Co Mound Clay, and can be used when building pitcher’s pads and mounds and batter’s boxes. CUSTOMER PORTFOLIO:
Five-field complex, Village of Homer, NY Arnold Anderson Stadium, Brantford, ON Vollmer Rec Complex, Town of LaSalle, ON St. Michael’s School, Bolton, ON Beaver Field, Lancaster, OH Circle No. 539
These products produce premium long-lasting warning tracks—firm yet crunchy, with low maintenance, great drainage, and excellent color for a perfect finishing touch. CUSTOMER PORTFOLIO:
Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays Toronto Blue Jays
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Infield Mixes Profile Products, LLC
Turface Pro League, a smaller-particle infield conditioner, absorbs moisture to improve footing on skinned and turf surfaces. It’s available in rich red or natural buff color. Turface Quick Dry
Turface Quick Dry clears up puddles on skinned infields. Absorbing its weight in water, you just dump and rake to make infields safe and playable.
Pro’s Choice Select
Turface MVP absorbs moisture, improves drainage, and fights compaction to keep infields safe and playable. Its larger particle size is excellent for topdressing and improving soil. Turface Pro League and Pro League Red
This vitrified clay product can be applied to skinned areas to enrich color, prevent rain delays, reduce compaction, and improve safety. Calcined Clay Topdressing, Professional Grade, and Drying Agent
These calcined clay products are used as conditioners on the infield. The professional grade has a more uniform particle size, and the standard topdressing has a larger particle size.
Chicago Cubs Boston Red Sox Seattle Mariners Minnesota Twins Cleveland Indians
Pro’s Choice Pro Red
This deep red premium topdressing maintains its rich color to achieve a championship look. Formulated for uniform particle size and durability, Pro Red is used by professional groundskeepers. Pro’s Choice Rapid Dry
Mound/Home Plate Clay
This screened clay has a rich color and is easy to use. It binds into holes and low areas for greater durability and consistency.
Turface MoundMaster Blocks
Fight wear with Turface MoundMaster Blocks. Easily molded clay blocks deliver lasting performance and are sized perfectly for building boxes and mounds from the ground up.
This premium infield conditioner keeps infields smooth, safe, and resilient. Its specially sized granules and red color make for the perfect infield topdressing.
Rapid Dry tiny granules are designed to quickly wick away excess water from your infield, and keep your games playing safely and without delay. Pro’s Choice Pro Mound
Warning Track Mix
Several mixes are available for creating a safe, welldrained warning track. Customer Portfolio:
Philadelphia Phillies San Francisco Giants Baltimore Orioles Little League World Series Rosenblatt Stadium Omaha, NE
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Pro Mound blue gumbo packing clay bonds to form a solid sub-surface that allows players to “dig in” and establish footing without leaving large holes. CUSTOMER PORTFOLIO:
Chicago White Sox New York Yankees Colorado Rockies University of Miami Virginia Tech
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over 125 years of tradition. how would you like a winning record like that?
Athletic field Products
BATTING CAGES • PITCHING SCREENS 800.936.6388 • www.netexnetting.ca • email: email@example.com Louisville Slugger ® is a registered trademark of Hillerich & Bradsby Co.
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Nets & Cages C&H Baseball 800-248-5192 • www.chbaseball.com
Memphis Net & Twine Co., Inc.
901-458-2656 • www.memphisnet.net
866-243-6387 • www.spinets.net
C&H Baseball’s products are built to last. The company’s all-welded fielding equipment has set the industry standard since 1968. C&H also knows the meaning of customer service—its customers’ satisfaction comes first. C&H Baseball supplies only the highest-quality products.
Memphis Net & Twine manufactures its products in the United States— custom-made batting cages and backstops that are produced to meet customers’ exact specifications. Custom sizes are the company’s specialty. Call the company or visit its Web site to request a free 48-page catalog.
SPI nets are used all over the United States at youth, high school, college, and professional facilities.
PRODUCTS: Batting Cages
PRODUCTS: Premium Batting Cage Nets
SPI Nets offers a full range of nets for your training needs. The quality and excellent pricing are matched only by SPI’s outstanding service. The company’s products and customer service are carefully monitored to ensure that you receive maximum value for your dollar. Customer Portfolio:
New York Yankees New York Mets San Diego Padres University of Michigan Oklahoma State University PRODUCTS: The “Original” Ball Caddy
This rolling ball caddy holds close to 150 baseballs and features all-welded construction. CAG100 - The Pro Cage
This cage was designed in 1968 and is still an industry leader, with all-welded construction. Custom Dyneema Backstop Systems
With more than 300 stadium projects, these custom designed and built systems are an industry standard. Custom Wall Padding
C&H Baseball padding is built using only quality products and workmanship. All sizes and applications are available.
Customers include major and minor league baseball teams, NFL teams, and college, high school, and youth programs throughout the U.S.
Four different twine sizes are available to meet any budget, and custom cages can be manufactured to customers’ exact specifications. Backstops
Four different twine sizes are available to meet any budget, and custom backstops can be manufactured to customers’ exact specifications. Protector Nets
These protector nets are manufactured to customers’ exact specifications.
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SPI Nets premium cages offer top quality, lots of features, and some of the best prices available. Deluxe Practice Screens
SPI Nets practice screens are among the highestquality screens in the business, and they’re available at very competitive prices. Custom Netting
SPI Nets can fully customize your nets to meet your exact specifications at an affordable price.
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BARRIER NETS CUSTOM NETTING BATTING CAGES IMPACT NETS
GOUROCK since 1736
www.gourock.com (877) 803-5123 Circle No. 133 38 Coaching Management
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Nets & Cages M.A.S.A., Inc.
800-936-6388 • www.netexnetting.ca
877-803-5123 • www.gourock.com
Netex has over 120 years of net-building experience, with five full-time net builders offering design and installation services. It is a true turnkey company with installations in Asia, Canada, and the U.S.
800-264-4519 • www.SportsAdvantage.com
Gourock provides reliable commercialstrength netting applications featuring topnotch craftsmanship and excellent service. Fast turnaround and multiple twine/ mesh size combinations are available. The company specializes in providing high-quality materials and expert design and production. Its products can be customized to any dimensions. Customer Portfolio:
University of Alabama-Huntsville Duke University Eastern Illinois University Middle Georgia College Siena Heights University
PRODUCTS: Batting Cages
PRODUCTS: Batting Cage Nets
Netex offers custom fabrication and installation of ropebordered net. The products are built by the company.
These nets feature commercial-strength DuPont 66-728 nylon and can be built to any dimensional requirements.
Nylon, polyethylene, and Spectra nets are custom-built with 3/8-inch perimeter rope borders and nationwide installation. Pitching Screens
Custom-built to customer requirements, choose #72 or #96 nets with an aluminum #40 1 3/4-inch frame and eight-inch pneumatic wheels.
M.A.S.A. nets and cages are used all over the U.S. at youth, high school, college, and professional facilities. Go online or call the company for expert help in choosing a net or cage that is best for your organization and budget. PRODUCTS: Pitcher’s L-Shaped Screen
The framing of this screen is constructed of 1/2-inch heavy-gauge steel tubing, and assembly is very easy. Pro Model Backstop Batting Cage
High-quality DuPont 66-728 nylon is used for customized barrier nets in several twine/mesh combinations. American-made DuPont 66-728 nylon impact nets feature high abrasion resistance, multi-sport adaptability, and custom sizing. Protective Screens
Commercial-strength protective netting screens are built pillowcase-style and can be customized to fit existing frames.
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M.A.S.A. has improved and expanded its selection, offering five grades of netting to meet the demands of every level of play and prices to meet any budget. Regardless of which grade you choose, rest assured you will be getting the highest quality. Customer Portfolio:
Briarcliff University University of Richmond Vancouver Canadians Whalley Little League, BC The K Center in Seattle
Certified in all states, these units feature steel poles up to 120 feet high and pole spans of 23 feet wide.
Flo-coated steel construction makes this giant backstop extremely durable. Use the quick-lift crank for easy transportation. Pro Series Batting Tunnel
This pro industry workhorse is constructed from #36 nylon that has undergone a 320-pound breaking test. Batco Batting Cage - The unique design of this product means excellent portability and storage. Can be expanded or contracted in less than 5 minutes! Circle No. 549
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Call Toll Free:
(866) 243-6387 for a Free Catalog
Batting Cages Protective Screens Backstops & Barrier Nets Field Maintenance Supplies Pitching Machines & Accessories Custom Size Netting Available
The NEW STANDARD for your live events The ultimate solution for instant access to music, sound effects, even PA announcements. Take your next game, event, or pep rally, to the next level with Sound Director software!
Or Shop Online at
WWW.SOUNDDIRECTOR.COM | 888.276.0078 Circle No. 135
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Advertisers Directory Circle #. . . . Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page #
Circle #. . . . Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page #
108. . . Aer-Flo (Baseball Field Upgrades). . . . . . . . 10 121. . . Aer-Flo (Chroma-Bond). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 102. . . American Public University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 144. . . AstroTurf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BC 137. . . Beam Clay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 138. . . Better Baseball Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 100. . . BigSigns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IFC 116. . . C&H Baseball. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 141. . . Coaches Network. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 129. . . CoverSports USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 36. . . . Diamond Pro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 112. . . Game-On Sports Field Conditioners. . . . . . . 17 133. . . Gourock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 140. . . Heying Co./Infield-Drag. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 101. . . K&K Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 130. . . Louisville Slugger/Game Time Sports Systems. . 37 127. . . M.A.S.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 120. . . Mar-Co Clay Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 122. . . Markers, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 123. . . Memphis Net & Twine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 124. . . Muhl Tech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 139. . . MyTEAMBOOK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
110. . . National University Academic Headquarters. . 12 132. . . Natural Sand Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 131. . . Netex Sport Netting Systems . . . . . . . . . . . 37 128. . . NHFS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 113. . . OC Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 126. . . OPTP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 105. . . Osborne Innovative Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 109. . . Pocket Radar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 104. . . Prep Gear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 125. . . Pro’s Choice Sports Field Products . . . . . . . 28 119. . . ProGrass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 107. . . Soft Touch Bases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 135. . . Sound Director. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 114. . . Southern Athletic Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 134. . . SPI Nets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 143. . . Sports Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC 106. . . Sports Tutor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 103. . . Stabilizer Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 111. . . Turface Athletics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 118. . . Vero Beach Sports Village. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 115. . . White Line Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 117. . . Wizard Sports Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
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Circle #. . . . Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page #
Red Inﬁeld Conditioner Gray Inﬁeld Conditioner Professional Vitriﬁed Inﬁeld Conditioner Calcined Clay Drying Agent Calcined Clay Top Dressing Calcined Clay Professional Clay Bricks Home Plate / Mound Clay Professional Mound Clay Athletic Field Marking Dust
40 Coaching Management Circle No. 136
Products Directory 532. . . Aer-Flo (Tuffy windscreen) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 533. . . Aer-Flo (Wind Weighted® Tarps). . . . . . . . . 522. . . American Public University. . . . . . . . . . . . . 535. . . AstroTurf (GameDay Grass™). . . . . . . . . . . . 541. . . AstroTurf (AstroTurf®) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 544. . . Beam Clay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 536. . . Better Baseball Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 514. . . BigSigns.com (Dura-Mesh). . . . . . . . . . . . . 510. . . BigSigns.com (Tuff-Deck On Deck Circles). . . 502. . . C&H Baseball. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 546. . . Diamond Pro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 524. . . DiGeronimo Aggregates (Game-On). . . . . . . 538. . . Game Time Sports Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . 529. . . GameMaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 534. . . Gourock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 513. . . Heying Co./Infield-Drag. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 523. . . K&K Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515. . . M.A.S.A. (C The Pitch). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 511. . . M.A.S.A. (Osborne Porta-Sock™ Screen). . . 549. . . M.A.S.A. (nets and cages). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 539. . . Mar-Co Clay Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 512. . . Markers, Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 526. . . Memphis Net & Twin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 551. . . MilkPEP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509. . . Muhl Tech (AST). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 505. . . Muhl Tech (Power Bag). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 550. . . Natural Sand Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
42 43 46 42 43 36 41 42 43 38 37 36 36 41 39 42 46 42 43 39 36 43 38 46 41 41 43
528. . . Netex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 518. . . OC Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 517. . . OPTP (Sanctband). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 520. . . OPTP (SpiderTech®) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 537. . . Pocket Radar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 543. . . Power Systems (Power Rope-Ball™). . . . . . 519. . . Power Systems (Power-Stride Ladder™). . . 552. . . Power Systems (Reflex Ball). . . . . . . . . . . . 531. . . Prep Gear. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 501. . . Pro’s Choice Sports Field Products . . . . . . . 545. . . Profile Products (Turface) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 530. . . ProGrass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 547. . . Save-A-Tooth® . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 542. . . Soft Touch (A Series). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 540. . . Soft Touch (Spike-Down - S Series). . . . . . 525. . . Southern Athletic Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 527. . . SPI Nets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 506. . . Sports Attack (Hack Attack). . . . . . . . . . . . . 507. . . Sports Attack (Junior Hack Attack) . . . . . . . 504. . . Sports Tutor (HomePlate). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 508. . . Sports Tutor (TriplePlay Basic). . . . . . . . . . . 500. . . Stabilizer Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503. . . Stabilizer Solutions (product launch). . . . . . 521. . . Vero Beach Sports Village. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 516. . . Wizard Sports Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 548. . . ZAMST. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Practice Aids Three-Wheel Advantage
The TriplePlay Basic throws fastballs, curves, sliders, and sinkers at speeds from 30 to 80 miles per hour. Its design allows the baseball to be visible to the hitter from the moment it leaves the feeder’s hand until it is pitched. The three-wheel pitching mechanism is more accurate than conventional machines and allows you to change pitches more quickly. If you don’t have electric power on the field, an optional external battery pack is available to provide up to four hours of practice time.
Sports Tutor • 800-448-8867 www.sportsmachines.com
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All In the Hips
Hitting for power? Try the Power Bag. It is designed to teach hitters to use their lower half when hitting the ball—not just to rotate the hips, but to use them as a power source when driving through the ball. The Power Bag allows hitters to power through contact and finish the swing. Use good point-of-contact mechanics and the bag will swing higher for a visual reward. Use lazy hips, rolled wrists, or swing around the ball and the bag will not move nearly as much. Muhl Tech • 888-766-8772 www.muhltech.com
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Swing for the Fences
Adjustable for height, the Louisville Slugger UPM SwingRep is the perfect hitting station for players of any age or skill level. Its unique guideline system provides instant feedback to batters, making it an effective tool for individual- or coach-driven practices. Lightweight and portable, UPM SwingRep can be used indoors or outside. It’s great for incorporating many different drills, and there’s never a need to retrieve balls. GameMaster • 800-646-4225 www.sluggerupm.com
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USED BY THE BEST
Recent customers of the Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine include: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, University of Arkansas, Birmingham Community College (AL), St. Joseph’s College (NY), Penn State University, University of California-Santa Barbara, Berry College (GA), Neosho Community College (KS), McKendree University, and Gonzaga University.
Sports Attack • 800-717-4251 www.sportsattack.com CoachesNetwork.com
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ANOTHER Perfect Pitch
Recent customers of the Junior Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine include: David Brisbane Baseball Academy (PA), Roane County High School (WV), Ravenscroft School (NC), Pinelands Regional High School (NJ), Hope Christian School (NM), Belton High School (TX), Stony Point High School (TX), Pleasant Valley High School (CA), Flatonia High School (TX), Sacred Heart Catholic School (TX). To join these respected ranks, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call the company’s toll-free number, or go to its Web site. Sports Attack • 800-717-4251 www.sportsattack.com
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No Catcher Needed
The Pitching Tunnel allows for safe, efficient pitching practice, while offering a great visual aid to help in throwing strikes. The lightweight, portable, indoor/ outdoor tunnel comes in girls’ and boys’ models, in a variety of custom colors. It’s perfect for camps and clinics, or for backyard use, and is made in the USA. Better Baseball Products, LLC • 480-399-8366 www.pitchingtunnels.com Clrcle No. 536
The HomePlate pitching machine is the first programmable pitching machine designed for both batting cage and on-field use. You can store up to eight different pitches—including fastballs up to 90 mph, curveballs, changeups, sliders, and more—in eight different programs, with only seven seconds between pitches. The programmed pitches in the HomePlate can be thrown sequentially for specific hitting drills, randomly for game conditions, or in a way that simulates an opposing pitcher. The HomePlate features a patented three-wheel pitching mechanism for greater pitch accuracy, along with an 80-ball auto-feed system. The price is $6,595. Sports Tutor • 800-448-8867 www.sportsmachines.com
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THE TEE OF CHOICE
Want to give your hitters instant feedback? Look no further than the Advanced Skills Tee (AST), the tee of choice for more than 3,000 high school and college programs. Its unique forward arm design and outside barrier give instant visual and physical feedback. Eliminate casting, looping bats, and dropping shoulders with this portable and extremely durable batting tee. It comes with a two-year warranty. Muhl Tech • 888-766-8772 www.muhltech.com
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Baseball Facilities IMPROVE YOUR FIELD’S LOOK
Many universities and sports organizations are upgrading their athletic facilities by wrapping their bleacher tops, bleacher backs, and outfield and chain-link fences with Dura-Mesh fence screens from BigSigns.com. Athletic directors and coaches say that not only does this improve the appearance of their stadiums, but it also helps brand their programs. Better, eye-catching stadium graphics can also have benefits while recruiting. BigSigns.com • 800-790-7611 www.bigsigns.com
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Like the real thing
C The Pitch Live Arm Simulation Chute will change the way you feel about using machines in practice. The unique machine chute insert allows the operator to simulate a game-like wind-up and release at near-game speeds. Just tap the pre-loaded ball, and the machine fires. The patent-pending delivery system can improve rhythm and timing, and allows the batter to view the ball all the way until it exits the machine. C The Pitch simulates both over- and underhanded pitching, and secures any type of ball, including leather and dimpled. M.A.S.A., Inc. • 800-264-4519 www.SportsAdvantage.com
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Heying Co. has introduced the MG72 Multi Groomer. Available in two versions—Granular-Rock and Golf-Turf— the MG72 is engineered with removable and adjustable implements, making it easily convertible from the granular to turf version, or vice versa. The granular-rock version is used to groom baseball and softball infields and maintain gravel parking lots, trails, and more. The golf-turf version is used on natural and artificial turf to pulverize aeration cores, work in top dressings, dethatch, and more. Comes with electric lift and wireless remote control. Heying Co. • 712-756-8847 www.infield-drag.com
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Turf the Pros Use
GameDay Grass™ fields from AstroTurf®— which feature the innovative, fully tested Horseshoe fiber—are extremely durable, have the truest ball bounce, provide consistent footing, have uniform transition areas, are cooler, and have less infill migration. Recently chosen by the Tampa Bay Rays for installation at Tropicana Field, AstroTurf® is the official synthetic turf of Major League Baseball. AstroTurf • 800-723-8873 www.astroturfusa.com Circle No. 535
CUSTOMER FAVORITE Pittsburghbased ProGrass, LLC, has emerged as one of the leading names in the synthetic turf industry. ProGrass installations can be found from Connecticut to California. The ProGrass product has been rated highly by customers who have spent years evaluating this industry. ProGrass—an industry leader since 1997, with more than 200 successful sports field projects completed.
ProGrass LLC • 866-270-6003 www.prograssturf.com Circle No. 530
Built for Long Haul
Made of Vipol matrix mesh, Tuffy is one of the world’s toughest windscreens. With over 50 percent more microfibers than its competitors, it is virtually tear- and puncture-proof. It is the only windscreen with lock-stitched ends and corners, eliminating the unraveling problem of conventional chain-stitched competitive products. Available in 15 colors with chroma-bond, multicolor imprinting, Tuffy will upgrade the longevity and appearance of any baseball, softball, or tennis fencing. It’s protected by a four-year factory warranty. Aer-Flo, Inc. • 800-823-7356 www.aerflo.com Circle No. 532
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CoachesNetwork.com 12/30/08 11:38:50 AM
Baseball Facilities Reach base safely
Soft Touch Spike-Down - S Series bases are specifically designed for teams, leagues, and facilities without a permanent mounting system. Featuring the same Progressive Release® design as all Soft Touch models, the base is designed to absorb and release to reduce base-related injuries in all types of slides and play. Made in the USA, Spike-Down bases are equally great for practice or games, and can turn any open space into a field.
Soft Touch Bases • 866-544-2077 www.softtouchbases.com
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The Deacons’ Choice
For Wake Forest University, making a successful change to synthetic turf meant making the right choice. “AstroTurf ® is far and away the closest thing to real grass and gives the truest bounce,” says Tom Walter, Head Baseball Coach at Wake Forest. “This field is going to give us a competitive advantage. AstroTurf ® is the best product on the market and for us it was a no brainer.” Join college programs such as Wake Forest, Duke, Kansas, and Wichita State, and the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays who have chosen the world leader in synthetic turf sports fields. AstroTurf® • 800-723-8873 www.astroturf.com
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A base hit
Markers, Inc.’s Recycled Rubber Base Anchor Stabilizers eliminate the messy job of building forms and pouring concrete for base installation. Installation is quick, anchors won’t break down like concrete, they’ll last for years, and they can be relocated. This innovative product is offered in single units or sets of three. Save time and money with Markers, Inc.
Markers, Inc. • 800-969-5920 www.markersinc.com
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CIRCLEs of Success
BigSigns.com offers a great product for generating revenue and branding your team. Tuff-Deck On Deck Circles are some of the most durable and puncture-resistant on-deck circles on the market. Ultra-Brite inks ensure high-impact, vivid color, and the 20-gauge poly coating protects the graphics from ink loss and fading. Call the company for help in turning your vision into a reality. BigSigns.com • 800-790-7611 www.bigsigns.com CoachesNetwork.com
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They Stay Put
Now offered in 11 standard colors at the same low price, Aer-Flo’s Wind Weighted® Baseball Tarps are the patented mound and base rain covers used by Major League, college, and high school teams throughout the U.S. With 100-percent edge weighting with galvanized steel chain for the perfectly engineered ratio of fabric to ballast weight, they stay down even in very high winds. The 100-percent double lockstitched edging cannot unravel like competitive chainstitched tarps. This product is available from the very best sports equipment dealers. Aer-Flo, Inc. • 800-823-7356 www.aerflo.com
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The Osborne Porta-Sock™ Screen is the original sockstyle screen, and continues to be a leader in design, functionality, and quality. The intelligent design makes this multi-use screen perfect for pitching, throwing, and hitting. The heavy-duty signature OIP construction, plus its pricing and features, make the Porta-Sock™ one of the most popular screens on the market today. Available in two sizes, with a new, larger hole. All Osborne screens are made in the USA. M.A.S.A., Inc. • 800-264-4519 www.SportsAdvantage.com
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Install, and that’s all
Soft Touch A Series bases feature Progressive Release® design to reduce sliding and base-related injuries in all types of slides and play. These bases provide the ultimate in safety, installation, and maintenance through a patented 7-inch box mounting system that remains in-ground for a full season of play with no metal parts. Soft Touch are the only bases of their kind made in the USA and are available through all leading dealers. Soft Touch Bases • 866-544-2077 www.softtouchbases.com
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Engineered for Playability
DuraEdge Infield Mixes are manufactured using engineered soil technology (EST). Rather than being screened and packaged for sale, DuraEdge Infield Mix is a raw clay blended with USGA sand at specific ratios to keep the material consistent from one year to the next. Natural Sand Company manufactures infield mix, infield amendment, mound clay and warning track material using EST. Natural Sand Company • 866-867-0052 www.naturalsand.com
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Stabilizer® Ballyard Clay
Stabilizer Solutions, Inc. www.StabilizerSolutions.com 800-336-2468 Circle No. 503
ZAMST IW-2 Icing Set ZAMST 877-ZAMST-US www.zamst.com Circle No. 548
Benefits for the user:
Benefits for the user:
• A manufactured blend of clay, interlocking soil particles, and Stabilizer ®, (a natural additive that manages moisture)
• Mound won’t turn to mud in the rain, and will hold onto water longer in dry periods • Mixture is ready to apply right out of the bag, minimizing time and budget investment
• Easy wrapping and immobilization of up to three ice bags • Dual-strap design enables accurate placement of bags • Perfect for R.I.C.E. procedures
• Straps are machinewashable • Provides optimum hands-free application on shoulder, back, and joints • Allows adjustable compression of the affected body part
DO YOU HAVE
• No Catcher Needed • Lightweight & Portable • Indoor/Outdoor • Girls/Boys Models • Custom Colors • Allows for Safer, Better, More Efficient Pitching Practice • Great for Camps/Clinics or Back Yard Use • A Great Visual Aid to Help in Strike throwing
50’ Boys Pro Tunnel • $1,499
WORLD’S FIRST AND ONLY PITCHING TUNNELS • MADe in the USA • TOLL FREE 1.855.566.6785
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Team Equipment Follow the Bounce
The Reflex Ball is the perfect tool to develop hand-eye coordination and reaction time. Due to its unique shape and design, it bounces erratically and requires the user to adapt and adjust. The Reflex Ball comes in two sizes: The four-inch Jumbo Reflex Ball has a softer bounce and larger size, making it easier to catch, while the three-inch Reflex Ball offers a faster and more dynamic bounce.
Power Systems, Inc. • 800-321-6975 www.powersystems.com
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Coordinate Your Muscles
Sanctband Resistive Exercise Band and Tubing is longlasting, economical, and all natural. Sanctband’s very low-powder, reduced-protein exercise band reduces skin irritation and discomfort caused by powder and protein in natural latex. This unique band increases range of motion and promotes cooperation of muscle groups. Sanctband maintains its shape after 10,000 stretches, and is available in six different resistances for every need.
OPTP • 800-367-7393 www.optp.com
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Carry in Style
New Wheeled Custom Bat Bags are now available. Wizard custom bags are some of the most durable and affordable bat and equipment bags on the market. They are manufactured in the U.S. and built to last, with heavy-duty 600D nylon featuring a PVC backing and a limited lifetime warranty. You will not find a better-quality bag at a lower price. All bags are made in your team colors and decorated to include your team name, number, and logo. Wizard Sports Equipment • 888-964-5425 www.wizardsports.com
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Show Off Your Pride Support your team in style. With more than 15 styles to choose from, and multiple embroidery and delivery options, Fanatics Only headwear shouts “team spirit”—without saying a word. OC Sports • 866-776-6774 www.OCSports.com
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Revolutionary New Radar The Pocket Radar™ is the next generation in radar technology. The world’s smallest fullperformance radar gun is the perfect tool for coaching and scouting. It is surprisingly affordable, easy to use, and small enough to easily slip into your pocket. So discreet and convenient you can take it anywhere, yet it has incredible accuracy and range. Measures a pitch from 120 feet away with accuracy of +/- 1 MPH. Pocket Radar, Inc. • 888-381-2672 www.PocketRadar.com
Hit Your Stride
Power Systems’ Power-Stride Ladder™ can help improve speed by teaching the muscles the optimum stride length and frequency pattern. Space the eight moveable slats at specific intervals to reflect the desired pattern. The plastic slats—made of high-impact PVC—slide easily and clips lock them into place for quick adjustments. Three color-coded pre-marked acceleration patterns accommodate different levels of athletes. The 30-foot-by-20-inch ladder can be used indoors or outdoors, and a carry bag is included. A stacking pin aids transport and storage. Power Systems, Inc. • 800-321-6975 www.powersystems.com
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For A Powerful Swing
In five short years, Prep Gear Headwear has become a national leader in factory-direct headwear products for high schools and institutions. At Prep Gear, each hat is assembled from scratch using the highest-quality materials and expert craftsmanship. In today’s economy, why pay an extra mark-up when you can buy premium products direct from the factory? Call the company or go online for more information.
Develop rotational strength and power with the Power Rope-Ball™, a functional training tool that combines a medicine ball with a rope handle. The rope-ball combination allows athletes to perform quick rotational movements in an assortment of patterns and planes of movement—it’s ideal for swinging and chopping motions. The handle attachment offers many gripping options. The rope is 36 inches long; the ball comes in 2-, 4-, 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-pound options. The ball is color-coded by weight; colors may vary. The Power Rope-Ball comes with a three-year limited warranty.
Prep Gear Headwear • 800-279-7060 www.prepgear.com
Power System, Inc. • 800-321-6975 www.powersystems.com
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More Products Resume Training
SpiderTech® tape was developed to facilitate a functional medicine approach to pain modulation and myofascial dysfunction. This exclusively engineered kinesiology taping application gives healthcare professionals an effective, easy-to-use treatment option to enhance patients’ performance by helping to reduce swelling and pain and also prevent future injury. Made of high-grade cotton material with hypoallergenic adhesive, this tape is water-resistant, breathable, and may be worn up to five days. OPTP • 800-367-7393 www.optp.com
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Vero Beach Sports Village provides the ideal setting to enable your team to grow together and better prepare for its upcoming season. Everything you need is here at this 67-acre sports and conference center. The complex can be configured to accommodate a variety of sports, and features an abundance of competition and practice fields, along with on-site housing, dining, and recreation, allowing your team to spend quality time together on and off the field.
Vero Beach Sports Village • 772-257-8557 www.vbsportsvillage.com
Ad No. PR-MG, 10-18-10
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(B & W - 1/6 pg. Horizontal Ad)
d Specs: 1/6 Page - Black & White Learn to Achieve 4-5/8” wide x American 2-5/16” Public high University offers affordable online
degrees to help you achieve your career goals. Pursue an bachelor’s degree in Sports and Health Sciences dvertiser: Contact: Randyonline Heying or an online master’s degree in Sports Management, and Heying Co. 515 6thyour Ave. Alton, Iowa exercise 51003science, prefocus studies on coaching, (712) 756-8849 sportsPhone medicine,(712) sports 756-8847 administration,Fax or other courses. Programs are 100-percent online and 8- and 16-week courses start monthly. Tuition starts at $250 to $300 per credit hour.
American Public University • 877-468-6268 www. StudyatAPU.com/sports
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Insure your investment
K&K Insurance offers an online way to provide coverage for sports camps, clinics, teams, leagues, associations, instructors, and events quickly and conveniently. Coverage options include general liability (including participant legal liability), participant accident medical, equipment & contents coverage, and more. Sign up with one of the leaders in sports, leisure, and entertainment insurance today. K&K’s credit card plan makes payment easy. K&K Insurance • 800-426-2889 www.sportsinsurance-kk.com Circle No. 523
Because Time Matters
Without proper care, a knockedout tooth begins to die in 15 minutes. The Save-A-Tooth® emergency tooth preserving system utilizes Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution (HBSS) to not only preserve, but also reconstitute many of the degenerated cells. The patented basket and net container are designed to protect tooth root cells. This is the only system that keeps tooth cells alive for up to 24 hours. Save-A-Tooth® • 888-788-6684 www.save-a-tooth.com Circle No. 547
Nature’s Protein Drink
Infield Drag Wireless Remote available on the PR72 and MG72.
Complete Line of Infield Groomers - PR72 Pro Groomer and AS58 All Star Chisel-Drag. Plus, the MG72 Multi Groomer used for pulverizing aeration cores, grooming artificial turf, de-thatching natural turf, working in top dressings and grooming golf greens.
PR72 Pro Groomer
MG72 Multi Groomer
Heying Co. 515 6th Ave. Alton, IA 51003
Ph. (712) 756-8847
Research suggests that low-fat chocolate milk, with its unique mix of nutrients, is a naturally nutrient-rich protein drink that can help you refuel and rehydrate within the critical twohour recovery window after exercise. Drinking low-fat chocolate milk after exercise not only provides the 2-5/16” and protein to refuel carbohydrates and repair muscles, it also helps replenish fluids and electrolytes that are lost in sweat such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Milk Processor Education Program email@example.com Circle No. 551
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WebNews New Site for Purchasing Bases Soft Touch Bases has introduced a new Web site designed to provide value to both customers and its dealer network. They’re committed to making it easier for customers to purchase Soft Touch Bases from dealers. Now customers can easily download information, decide which Soft Touch model fits their needs, and request more information and pricing directly online. Soft Touch is also developing a “dealer locator” feature on the site that will allow customers to easily contact their nearest dealer. Dealers can list their company and direct customers to their specific Web site by completing a Web form.
Web Site Offers Advanced Features and User-Friendly Function M.A.S.A. is proud to announce its newest Web site. This enhanced site offers extensive search fields, highquality photographs, and of course all the latest field maintenance, baseball, softball, football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and multi-sport accessories. Whether you’d like to purchase a gift certificate, get info on the
pool truck program, find up-to-date info on M.A.S.A.’s next show or demo, get a quote, or just place an order, the new site is sure to get you what you need. The company would also love to hear suggestions on how to improve and make your experience even better, so check out the customer service tab and share your thoughts and ideas.
Extensive Product Information Available on Gold Medal’s Site Gold Medal Products is constantly updating its Web site to provide the most up-to-date information. The site has an events calendar, a news section, and a new products section to help keep you current. It also features all of Gold Medal’s equipment and supplies, showing you the item number, a picture, and a brief description. You can sign up to receive a free catalog and specific newsletters pertaining to your industry or special offers that may be going on. If you are new to an industry, Gold Medal’s site has a section that lists products and setups that would be a perfect fit. The site is a great resource for watching demonstration videos and finding out more about the company’s quality products. Log on today to see for yourself.
THE ONLINE SOURCE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COACHING
Educational videos, including skill instruction and drills
Coaching-specific articles and information
Helpful tips on handling off-the-field demands
www.CoachesNetwork.com Circle No. 141 CoachesNetwork.com
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Watch It Learn It Teach It
Learn how TCU keeps a whole team working at practice.
Try this dot drill to help improve your playersâ€™ speed and agility.
Coaches Network offers an array of educational resources, including instructional videos from some of the top coaches in the country. You can now comment on videos you like and share them with your coaching friends. We also have articles that can help with the off-field side of the job, including nutrition, working with parents, and developing leaders.
Sign up for your free account today at www.coachesnetwork.com
Reliable quality. Solid stable design. High tensile, tough heat-treated alloy with weather-resistant aluminum casting. Rugged powder-coated rust-proof steel frame. Durable heat-resistant indestructible concave 14â€? throwing wheels. Three powerful variable speed motors with almost instant recovery. Reliable quality that insures limitless seasons of use.
Reliable accuRacy. The ball is gripped in three locations, providing tremendous control and accuracy. Effortlessly throw major league fastballs, right- and-left handed breaking pitches including curveballs, sliders and split fingers. Reliable, repeatable, pin-point accuracy.
if Reliability is youR keywoRd, the hack attack deliveRs.
P.O. Box 1529 | 2805 U. S. 40 | Verdi, NV 89439 | tf 800.717.4251 | ph 775.345.2882 Circle CircleNo. No.126 143
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