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BETWEEN THE LINES Examining baseballâ€™s unwritten rules
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CONTENTS | BASEBALL Edition | POSTSEASON 2012 | Vol. XX, No. 7
COVER STORY 16 BETWEEN THE LINES
LEADERSHIP NUTRITION 23 THE WRITE APPROACH 29 BURST OF ENERGY
The rules of baseball are not all recorded in black and white. Coaches also have to negotiate a set of unwritten codes with no firm definitions, but serious consequences for transgressions.
Looking for a way to help players learn about the game and themselves? Team Notebooks will make them reflect on their performance after each contest.
Many athletes today are using energy supplements for a quick pick-me-up. Here’s some advice to pass on regarding best ingredients and when to use them.
Q&A 12 RON BRADLEY
MLB draft changes good for college game … Tornado leaves HS team without a home … Big 10 coach proposes new summer league for schools … Helping a Little League Challenger program … Benedict College coach builds his own field … Honoring a top teammate.
On the cover
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 33 34 35 37
TEAM EQUIPMENT HITTING & PITCHING AIDS PRODUCT LAUNCH BASEBALL FACILITIES
Publisher Mark Goldberg Marketing Director Sheryl Shaffer Editorial Dept. Eleanor Frankel, Director Abigail Funk, Dennis Read, R.J. Anderson, Patrick Bohn, Mike Phelps, Kristin Maki
39 MORE PRODUCTS 36 ADVERTISERS DIRECTORY 40 COACHES NETWORK
Business Manager Pennie Small Art Director Pamela Crawford Production Dept. Maria Bise, Director Neal Betts, Trish Landsparger Special Projects Dave Wohlhueter
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.
After winning three state titles in 21 years as a high school coach, Ron Bradley started the baseball program at Rogers State University and led the team to a runner-up finish at the 2012 NAIA championship.
Bunting is one of the plays that can create ill will if performed at the wrong time. Coaches talk about the unwritten rules of the game beginning on page 16. Photo by Gordon Bates/UA Athletics
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Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012 1
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BULLETIN BOARD POSTSEASON 2012
3 Draftees face
3 Tornado leaves
New MLB Rules May Help Colleges
AP Photo/Jerry Holt
With scholarship money limited and professional teams willing to pay increasing amounts to prospects, the effort to keep quality players in the college ranks can seem like a losing battle. But a recent move by Major League Baseball may give college coaches more ammunition in the fight. Last fall, a change in MLB’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) included limits on the amount of bonus money teams can spend on draftees. Under the new rules, teams are allowed a predetermined sum of money to sign their picks from the first 10 rounds. The amount is based on the spots in the draft a team makes its selections, with earlier picks allotted more than later picks. Teams that exceed their limit will pay a fine based on the overage and may forfeit future draft picks. In addition to the limits on their top picks, teams can offer no more than $100,000 to players taken after the 10th round. Western Kentucky University Head Coach Matt Myers feels the new limits will have a positive effect on recruiting at the college level, especially when it comes to mid-round picks. “That’s where the colleges have been losing a lot of players,” he says. “If someone is picked in the first few rounds, it makes sense that the family would take the offer. But sometimes, as a coach, you hear of a player’s decision and say to yourself, ‘Wow, this kid gave up on going to college after being picked in the 21st round?’ “When we offer a scholarship, we’re selling a degree, which is a great investment,” he continues. “But I know it can be tough for a kid to turn down a lot of money. With these changes, the value of a four-year scholarship may exceed what kids in the later rounds can sign for. That
4 College coach’s
pitch for summer
6 HS team rises to Challenge
should increase the likelihood of more of them going to college.” In addition to making college a more attractive option for players, Myers says the new rules should make it easier for coaches to plan a recruiting strategy. “In the old system, you’d get caught off guard when a player drafted in the middle rounds received upper-round money,” he says. “Now, because we have a better understanding of how much a player can be offered, we’ll have a better idea if he will sign.” Another aspect of the new CBA that should help coaches set their rosters is the change to a July 15 deadline for MLB teams to sign their draft picks, a full month earlier than in previous years. Myers says this will reduce the number of last-minute professional signings that can decimate a school’s roster. “In 2011, we had four players sign pro contracts in August, and there’s no way for a school to replace guys at that point,” he says. “If you lose a kid in July, you still have time to go out and recruit a replacement.” Major League Baseball and the NCAA have been discussing other ways to strengthen college baseball as well. One idea is for MLB to provide funding for increased baseball scholarships, possibly providing D-I schools with enough money
8 Building your own field
10 Honoring a
to offer one additional full scholarship. This could make the sport attractive to players who currently see basketball or football as a better route to receiving a full scholarship. The two parties are also in the initial stages of discussing other possible changes. These include a switch to wood bats at the college level, allowing professional coaches to work with college players in summer leagues, and even changing the current college schedule to better accommodate the MLB draft. Although committees have been formed to address those issues, any firm rules proposals are at least a couple of years off. Leadership
A Year With No Home Field It might seem unusual to hear a coach call a season in which his team finished 18-16 and lost in the first round of the playoffs “one of the most gratifying” he’s experienced. But for Bill Tribble, Head Coach at East Limestone High School in Athens, Ala., the 2012 season was anything but usual. When a string of tornadoes tore through northern Alabama in late April
While first-round draft picks like the Twins’s Byron Buxton will continue to receive big signing bonuses, new MLB rules mean later picks will see less money, which may help college coaches convince them to choose a scholarship over a professional contract.
Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012 3
2011, many towns were left without power for days, and thousands of families saw their homes destroyed. Some of those homes belonged to members of the East Limestone team. The tornadoes also wreaked havoc on the Indians’ baseball facility—the outfield fence and light poles no longer stood straight and the backstop and visitors’ dugout were mostly blown away. A utility field, batting cages, and storage building were also damaged. Although the 2011 season had just ended, there was doubt whether the field would be available for use in 2012. Fortunately, the school board was able to put out an emergency bid on the project in order to get the field rebuilt in time for the start of the season. But in trying to get plans together as quickly as possible, architects failed to include an auxil-
iary field backstop and storage building in their plans, sending the school back to step one in November. Initially, players and parents were upset about the setback, but came to terms with the hand they were dealt. “Whenever you’re in a crisis, you go through a period of anger, and then acceptance, and then you move on,” says Tribble. “We went through that process as a team. I sat the players down at the beginning of the season and said, ‘We can either dwell on things and use it as an excuse for failure, or we can embrace the role of being the underdog and take a positive approach to this.’ For the most part, that’s the way they handled it.” Before the season started, the facility had been cleaned up enough to allow the team to practice there, albeit in a severely limited fashion. “Our backstop was gone, so we couldn’t do live game scrimmages, for fear of knocking 4 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
out windows in our press box or nearby cars,” Tribble says. “We also lost all of our batting cages, and we had no lights. We had to stop practice at 4:30 every day because it would get dark.” Fortunately, a new baseball training facility had recently opened in the neighboring town of Tanner. “Our school board paid for us to rent that facility a couple of days a week,” Tribble says. “We would spend a lot of our practice time working on pitching and defense at school, then when it got dark, we would head to Tanner to do our hitting.” Facing a season full of road games, East Limestone played well early on, winning 11 of its first 18, but eventually stumbled. About halfway through the season, the team took a trip to a tournament in southern Alabama. The Indians lost twice
A tornado in April 2011, left the field at East Limestone High School in Athens, Ala., in shambles. The team played all of its 2012 games on the road and could only hold batting practice at a nearby indoor facility.
immediately preceding the long trip, then dropped all four games they played at the tournament. Tribble sensed the travel grind was beginning to hit the players. “It was starting to wear on them, so we had another talk,” he says. “At the first practice after that tournament, I said, ‘We can either keep feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can turn the season around.’” The squad took Tribble’s words to heart. The Indians rattled off six wins in their final seven regular season games to capture the Class 5A Area 15 title and advance to the playoffs. While no coach would ever want his
team and community to endure what northern Alabama went though in the spring of 2011, Tribble says there was a silver lining to the season-long road trip. “Our guys really bonded and got along well due to the adversity,” he says. “What our community went through made us appreciate the little things a bit more. I think the players have a new appreciation for how good things can be and how quickly it can go away. This experience will give them a better sense of how they should take care of the things they have and respect them more.” Competitive Equity
Shift in Seasons? The 2012 NCAA Division I baseball tournament featured a combined 15 representatives from the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences—eight from the SEC and seven from the ACC. Four of those teams (three from the SEC, one from the ACC) advanced to the College World Series, and the University of South Carolina reached the championship finals for the third straight year before losing to the University of Arizona. The Big Ten Conference, on the other hand, advanced just two squads—Purdue University and Michigan State University—to the national tournament. Neither school advanced past the regional round. The Big Ten hasn’t won a baseball national championship since Ohio State University pulled off the feat in 1966, and hasn’t even had a team reach the College World Series in Omaha since the University of Michigan in 1984. For John Anderson, who has been Head Coach at the University of Minnesota since 1981, that’s a problem. Such a problem, in fact, that he thinks it’s time for the Big Ten—and other northern universities— to take a drastic step and start playing baseball in the summer. “Because of the climate, the inability to play home games early in the season, and the inability to prepare outside like the southern schools, there’s a competitive disadvantage,” Anderson says. “But the teams end up being compared in a similar fashion come tournament time. One school may play 40 home games and another plays 18. The RPI formula doesn’t really account for that difference, so about 80 percent of teams have been eliminated from a real opportunity to get to the College World Series. As a conference, we’ve tried to gain more access to the tournament, but I think we’re at the point where radical change is needed.” For all the money northern schools are investing in baseball, Anderson believes they should seek better returns
Eric Miller/University of Minnesota
BULLETIN BOARD on their investments. “It has been proven that college baseball will draw fans with good matchups, good facilities, and good weather,” Anderson says. “The problem is right now we don’t have enough of those good weather days. So let’s maximize the use of our facilities and get a return on them, while also having better access to a championship by playing in the summer.” Anderson’s idea is to create another set of Division I schools that play baseball within the NCAA structure and have their own summer championship. Schools would decide which group they want to play in. He suggests the new group could play regular season games in April, May, and June, with the championship in July. Anderson says the topic of summer baseball will be on the agenda when Big Ten baseball coaches meet in September. He hopes, if there is support, that the con-
University of Minnesota pitcher Tom Windle and his teammates could become “The Boys of Summer” if his coach, John Anderson, convinces others to join an effort to shift the college season a couple of months.
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ference can begin to draft a formal plan for the new group and gauge the interest of other schools. “We need to find some other people who want to partner with us,” Anderson says. “We also need to have some discussions with other conferences to shape the concept and determine how it would work. There are obviously some issues with the pro baseball draft in June—what happens to the kids in our league who are draft eligible, for example? “And of course, it would take a couple of years to get through the NCAA process, even if we immediately find schools that want to do it,” he continues. “But if we’re going to do it, we need to start having serious conversations now.” Another possible solution would allow teams to play up to 14 non-conference games in the fall. The results of these games would carry over to the spring and be used in the NCAA tournament selection process. But Anderson doesn’t think fall games would help. “The top RPI schools aren’t going to play us in the fall because they don’t have to,” he says. “We’ll end up playing the same teams we do now. Sure, we’d be playing in better weather with more
home games, but I don’t see how it helps our access to the championship or makes us more competitive. “For the challenges that are there, I don’t think the upside is that significant,” Anderson continues. “If you want to do that, then just create another league that plays the whole season in the fall. I’d rather do that than split it.” Community Service
Taking on the Challenge Like many coaches, Gabe Gutierrez, Head Junior Varsity Coach at Livermore (Calif.) High School, is always searching for team building activities that will help players think about others. This past winter, he was looking for a community member his team could do yardwork for when a co-worker pointed him in a new direction. “She told me that her son plays on a Little League Challenger team,” Gutierrez says. “I asked what it was, and found out that it’s a baseball league for developmentally disabled children.” After doing more research on the
program, which is operated by Little League baseball and groups players by ability rather than age, Gutierrez contacted a coach from one of the local Challenger teams and arranged for his players to volunteer at a game. “It was a great way for my team to learn the importance of looking out for others,” he says. Challenger games consist of two innings, during which every player bats. Prior to the start, each player is assigned a non-disabled partner, called a “buddy.” Usually, this is a player from the local Little League, but Livermore players filled the role this day. This buddy stays with the Challenger player throughout the game. “Most of the Challenger players don’t need a lot of help, but if they do, their buddies are right there,” Gutierrez says. “The buddies run the bases with them, and go with them when they play in the field.” Volunteers do not need any special training, but there are safety guidelines to be followed. “My players were told that if a ball was hit hard, and was coming toward someone, they should stop the ball before it got to the Challenger players,” Gutierrez says. “Other than that, the buddies are supposed to support the Challenger players.”
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BULLETIN BOARD For Gutierrez, seeing his squad help the Challenger players and have fun with each other while working as a team was the best part of the experience. “Sometimes kids don’t know how to interact with someone who’s different from themselves, so they tend to avoid them,” he says. “But I want my team to learn to make a friend in these settings. “One of the Challenger players goes to our school,” Gutierrez continues. “Now our players stop to talk with him in the halls. He even served as the batboy at one of our home games. He loved it, and the team thought it was great having him in the dugout with us.” With positive experiences on all sides, Gutierrez is planning on having his team help with another Challenger game next year. He also encourages coaches interested in getting involved with a Challenger Livermore (Calif.) High School players spent an afternoon helping athletes in the town’s Little League Challenger program, which was created to provide children with developmental disabilities a way to play baseball.
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Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012 7
team to check with the local Little League or look on the Little League Web site to find out if there are teams in their area. “Helping the Challenger For more information team really on the Little League influenced my Challenger program, go to: players’ attitude www.LittleLeague.org and willingness and click on “About Our to help others,” Organization” followed Gutierrez says. by “Divisions of Play” and “I think other “Challenger Division.” coaches will appreciate the outcome in their own lives and their teams’ outlook. It was just a great day— we all got to make new friends while we were out on the field.” Facilities
Team Builds a Field of Its Own When a coach talks about building, it usually involves establishing tradition, helping players master new skills, and developing leaders. When Selwyn Young, Head Coach at Benedict College, discusses
building, you will hear about shovels, rakes, dirt, and grass. In the four years since he took over the Benedict program, Young has built a new home for his team, converting an overflow parking area into a field by setting small goals and involving players in the construction process. When Young was hired in January 2009, the team’s on-campus baseball “facility” consisted of one portable batting cage in the school gymnasium. Benedict played its home games at a local municipal stadium and practices were held at a variety of nearby high school fields in Columbia, S.C. Bouncing from high school to high school for workouts grew old quickly, and Young decided the team needed its own place to call home. As part of its master plan to build new athletic facilities, the school had previously designated a parcel of land for a baseball and softball complex. However, after the football stadium was completed, there was no funding left for the baseball/softball project and the land was used to accommodate overflow parking for football games. “I knew that the land was reserved for us, so I asked Willie Washington, our
Athletic Director, if I could get started on building a field,” recalls Young. “I don’t think he thought I was serious. He told me, ‘Go ahead, but we don’t have any money to help out with it.’” Undeterred by the lack of financial backing, Young gathered his team and explained the situation. “I told them, ‘Unless you want to keep driving around to practice, we have to get started on creating ourselves a field,’” says Young. “So that fall, practice consisted of players lining up with buckets to remove piles of rock and debris from the field, which was on a rough, rocky stretch of soil. “Getting started was the hardest part,” he adds. “There was so much to do and it was hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. The amount of debris was overwhelming.” Working side-by-side, the players developed camaraderie and team chemistry. They also got to know their new coach and his way of thinking. “When the players first looked at that piece of land and heard my idea, they thought I was crazy,” says Young. “But after a few days working together, they started to see the vision and began to buy into what we were trying to accomplish.
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BULLETIN BOARD “To get buy-in for a project like this, I learned that planning it with your kids and addressing it slowly, section by section, allows them to see the vision a little more clearly,” he adds. “It starts with letting your players know that the project is designed to benefit them.” Young says setting small goals was the key to keeping the project on track. “Every week, I would write down what I wanted to accomplish,” he says. “For instance, on our first day after cleaning debris, I decided that I wanted to build the pitching mound—if a pitching mound was there, it would be recognizable that we were building a baseball field.” As work progressed and the facility began to take shape, others began to notice and became interested in helping out. One alum donated $35,000 over the course of two years and a number of boosters joined in for weekend work ses-
sions. Young has contributed $4,000 to $5,000 out of his own pocket each year. By Fall 2010, the field was operating as Benedict’s full-time practice facility and hosted the team’s alumni game. Meanwhile, Young and his players continued making improvements with hopes of one
day hosting regular-season games. “School officials didn’t want to approve it for competition right away because it was a little rough around the edges,” explains Young. “Then in early March 2012, our school president told me he wanted to tour the facility. We
John Walton pitches against Claflin University on Benedict College’s new field, built by the coaches and players over a four-year period.
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walked around and he said, ‘There’s really nothing wrong with this. I didn’t know you were this far along with the project. What do we need to do to play?’ I told him all I had to do was chalk the lines and we’d be ready to go.” On April 21, Benedict hosted Claflin University in the school’s first-ever on-
campus baseball game. Though the Tigers lost both ends of a doubleheader, according to Young, they did so with smiles on their faces. “It was a moral victory for sure,” he says. “Having a home field gave it a whole different atmosphere—instead of 20 people watching, there were close to
200 of the players’ families and classmates watching them play. “Next year, we’ll be able to play all of our home games there,” continues Young. “I’m looking forward to having it be a fan-friendly experience with an announcer, tailgating, and kids running around as part of a family atmosphere.”
Honoring the Best Teammate
When you’ve racked up more than 1,800 wins—the most in NCAA Division I history—and five College World Series titles like University of Texas Head Coach Augie Garrido has, there are no shortages of worthy players to honor at your squad’s postseason banquet. And like most teams, the Longhorns pass out hardware to their most valuable and most improved players. However, Texas also gives out an award that few other programs bestow: Teammate of the Year. The award is a way for coaches and players—all of whom have equal votes in determining who wins the award—to go beyond simply recognizing the best athletes on the squad and honor a team member whose behind-the-scenes work contributes to its success. The award was created in the early 1980s by Garrido and his staff at Cal-State Fullerton. We asked Garrido about the award and what it means, both for him and the players who receive it.
CM: Why have a Teammate of the Year award? Garrido: On all of our championship rings, the word “Teamwork” is on one side and “Attitude” is on the other. I believe both of those qualities are needed to win, and this award is a way to recognize players who best embody those traits. A lot of coaches and players talk about the importance of great teammates, but I believe it’s not enough to just say the words—it’s important to tangibly recognize them. AUGIE GARRIDO What type of player usually wins? It’s often given to a player who isn’t a star. For example, in 2004 and 2005, the team chose Woodrow Landfair, our bullpen catcher, as the winner. He didn’t have a single at-bat for us either season, but every pitcher on the staff respected him for the great job he did before a game preparing them mentally and physically. He’s a successful writer today, and that doesn’t surprise me at all. I know the players who win this award are going to do great things because they possess the traits needed to do so. What does the award mean to you and your team? At our postseason awards banquet, this is the last award given, and it’s one that I hand to the winner personally. I also give a short speech so everyone understands what the recipient has accomplished and what type of person he is. There are a lot of teary-eyed players and coaches when the winner is announced.
Management POSTSEASON 2012 10 Coaching Management
matt hempel/ut athletics
Kendal Carrillo won the University of Texas’s 2011 Teammate of the Year award, which is presented annually to recognize a player’s behind-the-scenes contributions to the Longhorns’ squad.
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one-hour lessons, with the largest slice of the pie going back to the host school and coaches. Hosting coaches can do whatever they want with the money, which generally ranges from $7,000 to $10,000. “Most coaches use some of the money to supplement their salaries,” Hoffman said, “but many put some or all of the money back into their program to pay for field upgrades, a spring trip or new uniforms. We send their money before camp ends, and they determine who gets the checks.”
USBA handles all the administrative tasks. Coaches have no risk and no hassles. They just coach. The company works like a franchise. Coaches reduce their workloads because they don’t have to develop itineraries, brochures and handle administrative tasks. They increase their numbers and revenue because of the panache of hosting a nationwide program. “U.S. Baseball Academy made six weeks of instruction feel like it lasted only six hours,” said Youngstown State University assistant coach Craig Antush. “The administrative staff is highly organized and efficient, making these camps very low-maintenance,” said Steve Farley, head coach at Butler University in Indianapolis Circle No. 110
and a host for 10 years. “We’ve been sold out each year.” University of Findlay head coach Troy Berry agreed. “U.S. Baseball Academy has been nothing but great for our program. It has helped build relationships around the community and has been a great fundraiser. They do all of the leg work and we get to do the fun stuff: coach the kids. I highly recommend getting involved with them.” Hoffman said the company’s biggest obstacle to growth has been that coaches are sometimes skeptical, often questioning whether it’s too good to be true. Skip Bailey, athletic director at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., and an ABCA committee member, thought exactly that six years ago when he was head coach at the school. But 2,000 players attending eight clinics has made him a believer. “This was a home run for our baseball program,” Bailey said. “We have been running camps for 25 years, and these have been our best. I thought their ad was too good to be true, but I’m glad I made the call.” The company hopes more coaches make the call, but don’t delay. Thousands of players are already registered for Spring Training 2013, and new sites must be finalized soon. If you don’t have time to put something together for this year, contact them to get on their schedule for summer or next spring before a coach near you reserves your territorial rights. To learn more, contact Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Marker at 800592-4487 or by email at email@example.com. Visit the company’s web site at www.USBaseballAcademy.com.
MASTER BUILDER Q&A with Ron Bradley | Rogers State university
Whether it’s at the high school or collegiate level, Ron Bradley knows how to build a winner. Bradley led Rogers State University to a second-place finish in the 2012 NAIA championships, just seven years after starting the Hillcats’ program. Before coming to Rogers State—which this summer announced it will move to NCAA Division II—Bradley coached high school teams for 21 years, winning nearly 500 games and guiding three schools to their first state championship. He took West 12 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
Fork (Ark.) High School to the top in 1982, and then followed with titles at Claremore (Okla.) in 1993 and Jenks (Okla.) in 1997. He was named Coach of the Year five times by the Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association and was a 2003 inductee into the OBCA Hall of Fame. In 2004, Bradley joined Rogers State as Director of Physical Education, a few years after the school—a former junior college—began granting four-year degrees. He started a club baseball program that year and it became a varsity squad in 2006. He also helped build the athletic department and served as interim athletic director at one point.
Brandon Bargas personified Rogers State’s solid pitching and timely offense, going 7-4 with a 3.87 ERA on the mound and hitting .290 with six doubles to help the Hillcats finish 49-16 and reach the NAIA title game.
The team recorded its first winning season in 2007 and has not had a losing record since. The Hillcats earned their first NAIA postseason bid in 2011, laying the groundwork for their successful 2012 tourney run and 49-16 record. In this interview, Bradley talks about building championship teams, his coaching and hitting philosophies, and what it’s like to have his son as his boss. CM: What was the difference between 2011 when you went two and out in the NAIA playoffs and 2012 when you reached the final game?
Bradley: We had a very good season in 2011, finishing 45-15 and winning the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, which CoachesNetwork.com
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Circle CircleNo. No.111 111
Q&A got us an automatic bid into the national tournament. After winning the conference championship in Lubbock on a Saturday, we got back to campus on Sunday, and on Tuesday morning we had to drive back to Lubbock to play in the opening round of the national tournament. But we were emotionally spent—it was like somebody popped a balloon and let all the air out. We weren’t the same team at the national tournament, and we were two and out. I think it was an emotional letdown being sent back to Lubbock. This year, we were fortunate just to get an
times it’s just one play that makes the difference. We came up a little short, but when we look back on the season, we can be proud. I told our kids, “You’ll appreciate all of this a lot more down the road than you do tonight.” How have you been able to develop programs to the point where they win titles?
It’s one of those things where we’ve been able to find a way to win in some big moments. There really isn’t any magic
The real surprise to me is that college-age men still desire to be mentored. It has been very rewarding to see players graduate from our program and feel like they’ve grown not just as baseball players, but also as young men. at-large bid after being ranked 23rd in the country. When they released the tournament field, we were on pins and needles hoping we’d get an opportunity to go anywhere. Why have you been able to enjoy postseason success?
The biggest key, not just this year, but over the last few years, has been the conference we play in. When we joined the Sooner Athletic Conference, I told my pitching coach, “If we can compete in this conference, we’ll have the chance to win the national championship.” Our conference prepares us day in and day out to play the top teams in the country, and traditionally our conference has done very well in the national tournament. The other factor this year was our pitching staff allowed to stay close in big ballgames and gave us an opportunity to manufacture runs and win games in the late innings, especially in the national tournament. Why was the team able to win from behind so often?
First of all, we were usually the underdogs. Anytime you’re in that situation, the key is to stay close and give yourself an opportunity to win in the last two innings. As long as you stay close, you continue to build confidence that you’re as good as your opponent and you put the pressure on them. Then we were able to come up with either the big defensive play or the big hit when it counted. How did the team handle getting so close and then losing in the title game?
Bittersweet is the best way to describe it. There is a huge gap between being runnerup and champion, even though so many 14 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
formula, but I do try to develop kids off the field as well as on the field. Focusing on mental toughness and preparation, and believing that you have a chance to win every time you go out, has been important. How did you go about starting the program at Rogers State?
I was originally hired more as a wellness director, to try to create a little campus life when the school became a four-year university. And then I started a club baseball team. We practiced two days a week on a softball field with no fence, and we played four games that first year. The next year, the president allowed me to offer some scholarships, so we recruited some players, but we still were not affiliated with any association. We played a 25-game schedule against any junior college or four-year school that would play us. We had no facilities of our own for two years, practicing and playing games on any field we could get use of. Then the school built us a field, and we joined the NAIA. Did you change your coaching style as you moved from high school to college?
I’ve been able to do most of the same things here that I did in high school. The game speeds up at the college level, but the biggest difference is recruiting. In high school, you have to play with the cards you’re dealt. In college, if you don’t have talent, it’s nobody’s fault but your own. The real surprise to me is that college-age men still desire to be mentored. It has been very rewarding to see players graduate from our program and feel like they’ve grown not just as baseball players, but also as young men.
What’s helped you the most in recruiting?
The school has given us adequate scholarships, so we’ve had the resources to be able to offer good scholarships. When you’re starting a program you usually have to overpay, scholarship-wise, compared to what other schools offer because you have no tradition. Our success has helped a lot as well. We had a pitcher, Matt Sample, drafted last year by the Arizona Diamondbacks, which was a first for our school. Then we had a catcher, Lance Rymel, who was drafted this year by the Chicago Cubs. So we’ve had two straight years of kids being drafted out of our program. That gives us more credibility with high school players who see they can come to our program and still have the opportunity to play professional baseball if they continue to develop. How would you describe your hitting philosophy?
We emphasize being able to hit all three areas of the plate: inside, middle, and away. We want our hitters to put the ball in play and hit pitches wherever they’re located. Our power numbers aren’t that great, and part of that is due to our home park, but I’ve always had more of a contact, speedoriented philosophy. Can you summarize your approach to coaching?
My overall philosophy is “faith, family, and athletics” and trying to keep them in the right order. I want to be able to live out that approach in front of my players and show them it’s real. Players are looking for you to practice what you preach. If you do, then you have an opportunity to reach and mentor young men because they’re open to what you have to say. The wins and losses will take care of themselves—what matters most is what we do in our homes, marriages, and careers. Being able to make a difference in those areas of young men’s lives is more important than whether you win a championship. Your son, Ryan, is now the athletic director at Rogers State. What’s it like having him as your boss?
To be candid, it has made my job tougher. There are greater expectations and more accountability because everyone is watching to see how it will play out. Despite that, it’s been very rewarding for both of us. We try to treat everything very professionally at work and then outside working hours, we try to assume a normal father-son relationship that includes two grandkids. CM CoachesNetwork.com
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BETWEEN THE LINES The rules of baseball are not all recorded in black and white. Coaches also have to negotiate a set of unwritten codes with no firm definitions, but serious consequences for transgressions. | By Patrick Bohn
Holding a 10-1 lead in the seventh inning of the 2012 Colonial States Athletic Conference title game, Keystone College had all but wrapped up the championship. After Neumann University scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth, Keystone Head Coach Jamie Shevchik wanted to make sure his team wasn’t celebrating too early, so he told his hitters to “get those runs back” in the bottom half of the frame. The third hitter of the inning, Keystone thought would have been that they were tryshortstop Miguel Castano, went to the plate ing to run up the score, and I would have with his coach’s words in mind. He dropped been upset.” a bunt down the third base side, caught the The transgression was not apparent to defense off guard, and beat the throw to Castano, who thought he was simply followfirst. However, Neumann’s dugout was none ing his coach’s directions. “I spoke to Miguel too pleased with the play, and the next Key- after the inning ended, and in his view, he stone hitter was brushed back with an inside was just doing what he was asked,” Shevchik fastball. Although the Neumann hurler was says. “He thought a bunt would be a good ejected, a clear message had been sent that way to get on base and try to get those runs Castano’s play violated one of the game’s back, so we had to explain to him why the unwritten rules: Don’t show up an oppo- other team reacted the way it did.” nent by bunting for a hit late in a lopsided More than other sports, baseball is govgame. erned by guidelines that can’t be found in For his part, Shevchik knew retribution any rule book. These unwritten rules are not was coming as soon as Castano laid down enforced by umpires, but they still govern the bunt. “I didn’t like that they buzzed the the way the game is played and set the next batter, but I understood where it came expectations for how players and teams treat from,” he says. “If we had been trailing by each other on the field. However, these rules seven runs when they bunted on us, my first are left to individual interpretation, and
When done at certain times, a bunt can create instant animosity between teams. University of Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez and other top coaches offer their thoughts on the right and wrong times to lay one down as well as other unwritten rules of the game. PHOTO BY GORDON BATES/UA ATHLETICS
teams don’t always see eye to eye on where the invisible lines lay. So we asked veteran coaches for their thoughts on what’s fair and what’s foul. RUNNING IT DOWN
Many of the unwritten rules don’t come into play until the game itself has been decided. No one would have blinked if Castano’s bunt came with his team up by a run or two. But feelings become raw when a team is being soundly beaten and otherwise innocent actions can feel like salt being rubbed on an open wound. “When I was a young college coach, I was at a game where a team squeeze-bunted
Chris McCardle, Head Coach at Oak Grove (Miss.) High School, follows a similar logic. “In the playoffs, you’re usually playing a team that’s capable of coming back on you quickly,” he says. “And it doesn’t take much more than a few batters for a pitcher to get off track. So if I can close out a good team by running and getting the mercy rule invoked, I will. “In the regular season, things are different,” McCardle continues. “If we’re playing a good team, we might wait until we are up by eight to stop stealing bases, just to be safe. But against a team that I know won’t be able to come back on us, I’ve told my players to stop running when we were up 3-0.”
team—when the opposing pitcher is working on a no-hitter. However, Mike Fox, Head Coach at the University of North Carolina, doesn’t buy into that notion. “In my opinion, the name of the game is to get on base any way you can,” he says. “One of our pitchers had a perfect game going in the eighth inning against Virginia Tech this season and we were up 6-0. It would have been fine in my book if they had bunted at that point.” Many coaches take a situational view. “My general rule is that if a bunt hit allows our team to get the tying run to the plate, I’m okay with it,” Hucks says. “But if it’s out of reach in the ninth inning, we’re going to
“I evaluated my performance and realized I perpetrated the whole event by running with a big lead. I put a lot of thought into how big of a lead would feel comfortable enough to stop stealing bases, and decided that a two-grand slam lead was enough.” ANDY LOPEZ, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
with an 18-1 lead,” says Andy Lopez, Head Coach at the University of Arizona. “And then I spent the next 20 minutes watching the bench-clearing brawl that broke out. I left the game thinking to myself, ‘Boy, I won’t ever do that with a 17-run lead.’” Whether it’s passing on bunts or staying conservative on the base paths, there are certain steps coaches usually take to avoid piling on a beaten opponent. So when is a lead safe enough for a team to rein it in? “I’ve established a concrete rule,” says Lopez. “Once we’re up by eight runs, we stop stealing bases. I’ve had that in place since a game that occurred when I was Head Coach at Cal State-Dominguez Hills in the 1980s. I wasn’t feeling secure in my pitching staff, so during one game we stole a couple of bases with a nine-run lead. This led to some very hard tags and bad feelings. That night, I evaluated my performance and realized I perpetrated the whole event by running with a big lead. I put a lot of thought into how big of a lead would feel comfortable enough to stop stealing bases, and decided that a twogrand slam lead was enough.” For other coaches, the math may be different, especially if a mercy rule is involved. “If we’re in the playoffs with a nine-run lead and I can end a game through the 10-run rule and save my pitchers a couple of innings of work, I’ll do it,” says Brian Hucks, Head Coach at Lexington (S.C.) High School. “With condensed playoff schedules, those innings can be crucial down the line.” 18 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
Mike Bianco, Head Coach at the University of Mississippi, looks at the quality of both squads to decide when enough is enough. “If you have a great bullpen and solid defense, a five-run lead might be plenty,” he says. “But if you’re playing a good opponent and your relievers are shaky, you might need to wait until the lead is a little bigger. The crucial thing to remember is that you should never set out to embarrass the other team.” While it’s one thing to shelve the bunt and steal signs, there’s a difference between playing conservatively and not playing at all. Just as going out of your way to take extra bases might embarrass an opponent, so could holding back in obvious ways. “There’s a real fine line you sometimes have to walk between forcing a play and taking what you’re given,” Shevchik says. “If you hit a ball to the wall in left-center, or a ball gets all the way to the backstop on a wild pitch, it can be more embarrassing to your opponent for you to not move up and take the appropriate base. “You also have to wonder what kind of message that would send to your team,” he continues. “I don’t ever want to take an RBI away from one of my players by stopping a runner at third on a ball they hit to the wall just because we had a 10-run lead.” ANOTHER BUNTING NO-NO?
While bunting with a big lead can lead to problems, so can bunts from a losing
swing away and live with the results.” McCardle looks beyond runs before deciding whether to bunt. “One year, we were facing a pitcher who eventually got a Division I scholarship, and we couldn’t touch him through six innings,” McCardle says. “But it wasn’t just the fact that he hadn’t allowed a hit. He had a ton of strikeouts and hadn’t walked anyone, so I knew a bunt hit wouldn’t do anything to change the result. Despite the score being 5-0, I told the team to swing away and not bunt. Now, if he’d been struggling with his control, I might have thought differently because a bunt hit could have led to a couple of walks and then we might have had a chance to get back into the game.” Hucks adds that any coach concerned about an opponent bunting to break up a no-hitter can render the tactic powerless by telling his defense to be prepared. “It’s my job to know what their hitters can do and put my team in the best situation to succeed,” he says. “If we’re throwing a no-hitter in the seventh inning, why would I be surprised when one of their speed guys lays down a bunt when I had my third baseman back? The offense is going to take what the defense gives them. If my third baseman is prepared for a bunt, it’s less likely that they’ll drop one down.” Patrick Bohn is an Assistant Editor at Coaching Management. He can be reached at: pb@MomentumMedia.com.
One of the most common responses to one team showing up another is for the angered squad to throw inside to a hitter on the offending team, sometimes hitting him intentionally. While brushback pitches have long been part of the game, this strategy is not universally practiced. Shevchik says sending a message is not the same thing as trying to hit a batter intentionally. “I think a message pitch has a time and place, but there’s a right way to do it,” he says. “For example, throwing a pitch inside and below the waist may be called for, such as when a base runner is blatantly relaying signs to a hitter. But I would never advocate trying to hit a batter intentionally. How could you live with yourself if you told a pitcher to do that and someone was seriously hurt?” Other coaches are more firmly in the ‘no’ camp when it comes to throwing at hitters. Lopez feels that the injury risk makes throwing at batters too dangerous to encourage. “If Roy Halladay does it, that’s one thing,” he says. “He’s a professional, and he knows how to do it in a way that the batter won’t get hurt. But I don’t think pitchers at this level are
good enough to brush a hitter back without the possibility of hitting him in the head. “I tell my team, ‘I don’t care if a guy hits the ball and does cartwheels around the bases, we’re not throwing at anyone,’” Lopez continues. “‘Take some responsibility for the fact that you made a bad pitch. We’re just going to ignore it and keep playing our game.’” IN THE FIELD
While many unwritten rules violations center on the offense’s action, defenses can employ tactics that opponents may consider unacceptable as well. One of the more common moves is when a middle infielder deceives a runner going to second by pretending a ball hit into the outfield is coming to them or has been popped up. The hope is that the runner will slow down, slide into second, or even head back to first, making it more difficult for them to advance to third or score on the play. This move famously helped the Minnesota Twins win a crucial game in the 1991 World Series, and is still a common tactic for many squads. “Our infielders work on that play every day,” says Lopez. “My philosophy is that the
runner has the responsibility to either track the ball or look at the third base coach. If he’s running with his head down and my shortstop dekes him into sliding by acting like a ball is coming, that’s just bad base running.” Not all coaches agree. Bianco wonders if such a move puts a runner’s safety at risk. “I understand you’re trying to catch a player not paying attention,” he says. “But if a kid is running hard into second and the infielder comes across at the last minute, that could force the runner to go into a slide when he may not be prepared to do so, which could cause an injury.” Fielders look to gain an advantage in other ways as well. Lopez recalls a weekendlong incident where an opposing first baseman attempted to keep base runners from getting back to the bag safely on pickoff plays. This led to escalating tensions and very nearly a brawl. “When the first baseman received the throw from the pitcher, he would drop to one knee and block the runner’s hand from getting to the base,” Lopez says. “I told my players to warn him that if he keeps doing that, the only way we’re going to be able to get back to the
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Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012 19
ETHICAL PUSH At the core of many unwritten rules is an ethical reality: Just because something isn’t prohibited by the rules doesn’t make it right. So if the rules of the game don’t
who will bring up examples of situations they faced and how they were handled. There are constant reminders that having respect for your team, your opponents, and the umpires is crucial to being a head coach.”
“Ethics have always been a big part of our organization,” says ABCA Executive Director Dave Keilitz. “But we wanted to make that emphasis more concrete. In recent years, we’ve included speakers on ethics at our annual convention. I believe if a head coach listens to someone like Michael Josephson, who is the guru of ethics, speak about it constantly, it’s going to have an impact on them. Other speakers are former coaches
In 2008, the ABCA also established an ethics award. Coaches are nominated by their peers, and the winners are presented with the Ethics in Coaching award during the annual convention. “The award recognizes the individuals who practice the ethics that we want to emphasize,” Keilitz says. “It also shows the importance of ethics to our organization and our members. To me, this is the most prestigious award we have. Receiving an Ethics in Coaching award is better than being named a National Coach of the Year. Numerous coaches are named Coach of the Year every year but the ethics award is only given when there’s a recipient who clearly deserves it. We would hope that coaches will strive to win this award and increase ethical behavior in the game.”
provide guidance on how to handle a situation, how do you know what crosses the line? To help coaches better answer this question, both on the field and off, the American Baseball Coaches Association has made ethical behavior a greater focus over the past few years.
bag is with our spikes. Going into the Sunday game, nothing had changed, so I spoke to the umpire, but that didn’t help either. “Later that day, we had the perfect storm,” Lopez continues. “One of my players hadn’t had a great series, and he was frustrated. When he went back to the bag, he stepped on the first baseman’s leg. There was a lot of shoving, dirty looks, and shouting back and forth between the teams, but thankfully, no punches were thrown.” HOW TO DEAL
As Lopez’s situation shows, coaches have to be ready to act when they feel an unwritten rule has been broken. “I learned from that incident that you have to put out any fires quickly before they escalate,” Lopez says. “Looking back, I should have gone to the opposing coach and said, ‘We’re having an issue with your first baseman, could you talk to him?’ I also needed to talk to my guys about finding a better way to handle it. That’s our responsibility as teachers of the game.” Hucks says it’s important to get a message to the opposing coach if you feel either team has crossed a line. “We once had a player steal
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third base in the fifth inning of a game when we had an eight-run lead,” he recalls. “At the time, I gave a little signal to the other coach so he knew the call didn’t come from one of the coaches. I also spoke with the player about it after the game to make sure he understood why that wasn’t acceptable. “When I think the other team has done something they shouldn’t, I may say something in passing to the base coach closest to
you understand that sometimes players get excited and do things you don’t want them to. When that happens, you want to make sure your opponent knows that’s the case and you aren’t trying to show them up.” Coaches can also avoid a lot of problems by focusing on their own team’s actions, rather than their opponents. “I’m not going to get upset about what the other team does,” Bianco says. “I don’t think anyone’s out to
he says. “They were undefeated, and we had maybe one loss—I think they just wanted to send a message by getting a win via the mercy rule. I told my players to file the game away, and that we would get a chance to get them back. The next year, we played them in the third game of the season and got up 12-0. Normally, I’d take my starters out at that point, but I left them in long enough so they could each hit again, and we wound up win-
“As a coach, you understand that sometimes players get excited and do things you don’t want them to. When that happens, you want to make sure your opponent knows that’s the case and you aren’t trying to show them up.” CHRIS MCCARDLE, OAK GROVE (MISS.) HS
our dugout, or give their head coach a look when I go out to the mound,” Hucks continues. “Usually, that’s all that you need to do, and they’ll take care of it.” If you miss a chance to make amends during the game, the opportunity is not gone forever. “I have called coaches after games and apologized,” says McCardle. “As a coach,
embarrass anyone else. I figure if a team tries to bunt or steal to add to their lead, they must not feel confident that they can beat us.” McCardle likes to remind himself that even if you feel you’ve been shown up, the sport has a way of evening things out. “A few years ago, we were trailing a team 9-0 and they stole a couple of bases late in the game,”
ning something like 18-1. “After the game, their head coach told me, ‘You left your starters in too long,’ and I responded, ‘You stole bases up by nine runs last year!’” McCardle continues. “We both laughed about it and let it go. We’re close friends, and we’ve continued to play each other without incident.” CM
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THE WRITE approach Looking to help players learn about the game and themselves? Team Notebooks will make them reflect on their performance after each contest as well as their goals and aspirations. By Dr. Richard Kent
After games, itâ€™s not unusual to see players go separate ways with their own friends and family. But Jim Dawber, an American Legion coach in Rhode Island, watches his players head straight for the books after each gameâ€”their Team Notebooks, that is. A combination workbook and reflective journal, Team Notebooks guide players in critiquing a game and their own CoachesNetwork.com
performances. Such writing helps athletes prepare for the next game by thinking more objectively. The Notebooks also keep the coaching staff informed of what players are thinking. As a coach, I have used various writing activities with my high school and college teams since the early 1980s. Writing has helped my athletes learn many lessons while thinking more deeply about their training and competitions. Over the past six years, I have studied the use of Team Notebooks on a wide variety of teams across the nation. This article showcases some of what I have discovered. Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012 23
Adding Team Notebooks to an athletic program won’t make up for out of shape athletes or ill-designed training sessions. However, coaches have found that writing provides many benefits, from helping athletes work toward their goals to linking to their school’s academic mission. During interviews, coaches and athletes also spoke about how Team Notebooks added variety to practice sessions and frontloaded team discussions. For me as a coach, the athletes’ writing provides yet another way to enhance communication. Reading entries from my players’ Team Notebooks or Journals keeps me more in tune with their needs. Coach Dawber, who has also coached high school teams, sees writing in Team Notebooks as a way “to involve the players in understanding that their learning and improvement is far more in their control than they realize.” At Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (N.Y.) High School, Head Girls’ Soccer Coach Brian Bold especially likes how Notebooks allow him to better understand and react to his athletes. “Writing provides another avenue for strengthening the player-coach relationship,” he says. Other coaches cite that writing improves their athletes’ learning. “My players were able to look at the game from a coach’s point of view and learn how to deal with situations that the other team presented,” says Anthony Neeson, Head Girls’ Soccer Coach at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge, La. Ski racing coaches Darrell Gray and Jake Fisher of Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, Vt., assigned writing activities to their athletes during a training camp in Chile. I asked the athletes on the ski team if writing could make someone a faster racer or a better athlete. “Writing makes you learn about yourself,” explained Chris McKenna. “Knowing yourself physically and mentally as an athlete is very important. Writing made me think about what I was doing well and what I needed to work on. This made my training and motivation much better.” In Writing to Learn, William Zinsser explains the value of writing as a learning tool: “Writing organizes and clarifies our thoughts. Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own. Writing enables us to find out what we know—and what we don’t know—about whatever we’re trying to learn.” Writing as a learning activity also connects athletics to academics. In the academic arena, high school and college faculties emphasize the importance of writing across the curriculum and across disciplines. Schools like Burke Mountain Academy work to inte24 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
PROMPT RESPONSE This was the response of Kyle Gauvin, a baseball player at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Maine, to the Journal prompt: “What makes a good teammate?” n
Someone who can communicate with you on and off the field. Someone who can push you beyond your limits to that next level.
A teammate who would rather go to the field to practice his skills than go to a party.
Someone who knows how to push his teammates forward through tough times.
A teammate who is more interested in seeing you improve than himself.
grate writing in all facets of a student-athlete’s life, from the classroom to the ski slopes. Coaches who adopt writing as a learning activity on their teams may find faculty members and school administrators cheering them on. In fact, at some schools, coaches and teachers have joined forces through classroom assignments, such as using sport journals in English class. At Maine’s elite ski school Carrabassett Valley Academy, English teacher Mary Poulin gives her student-athletes a choice for daily writing at the beginning of class. They may write about “the opening line of a notable poem which they can spring board off in prose or poetry” or a prompt about athletics from my new book Writing on the Bus. With this approach, she merges writing with her students’ passion for ski racing. According to Poulin, the would-be Olympians delve into themes like performance pressure, humility, and sportsmanship. Because our teams are comprised of student-athletes with different learning styles, writing can play a unique role. For those who are more tuned into writing and reading, Team Notebooks offer a welcoming way to learn beyond the more traditional coaching methods. And even for student-athletes who shy away from the written word, I’ve found that writing in the Notebooks builds academic confidence as they write about a subject they know well. Sport psychologists use writing activities to help athletes sharpen mental approaches, curb performance anxiety, and eliminate negative thoughts. In Creative Journal Writing: The Art and Heart of Reflection, author
A person who is constantly thinking of new ways he can help improve the team’s performance. A player who shows up to work at practice and stays after practice. A player who gets right back into the game if he makes a mistake instead of giving up. If a player is hurt, he still shows up to practice and games to help out and to support his team. A teammate who always has your back during tough times outside of the sport.
Stephanie Dowrick explains that writing and journaling can reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-awareness, sharpen mental skills, promote genuine psychological insight, advance creative inspiration and insight, and strengthen coping abilities. Team Notebooks may offer the same benefit for athletes. Meg Hostage, an NCAA All-American in diving at Stanford University, found that writing kept her focused. “Writing worked to keep me accountable for what I wanted to achieve, and in a way helped me to reach my goals,” she says. “Putting it all in writing reminded me what I was working toward every time I opened the journal to make a new entry.” ORGANIZING THE BOOKS
The basic Team Notebook can be adapted for different sports and to align with program needs. Coaches determine what and how often athletes will write, and that can change from week to week or season to season. Coaches may use The Athlete’s Workbook: A Season of Sport & Reflection or design their own. If the concept of using a full-blown Team Notebook is overwhelming, coaches may decide to use sections of the notebooks as stand-alone activities. RICHARD KENT, PhD, has spent over 30 years coaching soccer and skiing at various competitive levels and is an Associate Professor at the University of Maine as well as Director of the Maine Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project. He recently authored Writing on the Bus: Using Athletic Team Notebooks and Journals to Advance Learning and Performance in Sports and The Athlete’s Workbook: A Season of Sport & Reflection. He may be reached at: email@example.com or on his resource Website: WritingAthletes.com.
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ISBN-13: 978-0-9762944-1-2 8.5” x 11” Trade paper, 224 pages, Illustrations, $19.95 Clearly breaks down speed & agility mechanics and is illustrated with photos and diagrams. This book includes over 100 drills and exercises for maximum athletic enhancement for competitive athletes in any sport. Jim Kielbaso is the Director of Total Performance Training Center and a former Division I college coach. He received an M.S. from University of Michigan. He has worked with high school and collegiate athletes and professionals in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. “If you want to be faster and more athletic, GET THIS BOOK! This is an absolute must for any coach, trainer or athlete looking to improve athleticism. It is no-nonsense. All business. A must.”
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Clearing Hurdles: The Quest to be The World’s Greatest Athlete By: Dan O’Brien
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Regardless of the structure chosen, the key is that the pages of Team Notebooks serve as a place for athletes to reflect, analyze, and note-take. The prompts on the various pages create opportunities for players to set goals and work through challenges. The following provides a look at some of the sections of Team Notebooks as well as an example of how to organize one: Coach’s Informational Letter: It’s a good idea for the notebook to begin with an opening letter by the coach. Coaches might write briefly about the program’s history or the goals for the season and include team rules and contact information. The letter should include thoughts on why the coach feels Team Notebooks are important, as well as directions for their use. For example, the coach may state: “The Game Analysis section is due immediately after a game unless you make arrangements with the coach,” or “If your writing is illegible, I’ll ask you to write the page again.” Preseason Thoughts: At the beginning of an athletic season, many coaches ask players to formulate personal and team goals. It’s not uncommon for such writing to end up being overly generalized. Including a page for preseason thoughts, with specific prompts, can make this exercise more meaningful. Here are some prompts that can be utilized: n My strengths and weaknesses last year as a player n My preparation for this season has been the following n My goals for this season n Last year our team strengths included n Last year our weaknesses included The prompts on this page create opportunities for athletes to look back and think forward, and thereby make specific connections to their performances. (See “Preseason” at right for an example.) Writing Preseason Thoughts takes an athlete roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on the number of athletes on the team, a coach will read and perhaps take notes on the collection of pages in 15 to 30 minutes. Using Preseason Thoughts generates deeper conversations, provides players with a forum for goal setting, and keeps the coaching staff informed. For athletes who have fully involved themselves in off-season training and arrive at preseason fit and determined, writing Preseason Thoughts can build confidence and be motivational when shared with the coaching staff. For athletes who have only marginally prepared, writing Preseason Thoughts can be an empty experience that leads to a reality check.
26 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
My strengths last year as a player: Last year I felt confident at bat. I always studied the pitcher from the dugout because I usually batted 6th, 7th, or 8th. I had a plan when I went up to bat and actually never got nervous. I loved coming to the plate. When I was a sophomore that wasn’t always the case! In the field I wanted the ball to come to me. I worked hard on holding runners close at second and improved my throw by staying on top of it. My weaknesses last year as a player: Last year I got mad at some teammates because they weren’t serious at times. When I got mad, some of my energy went toward that instead of into my own game or practice. I need to learn to help players by saying positive things instead of whining. I need to speak up more. Balls hit to my left caused me problems. My preparation for this season has been the following: After last season I played Legion ball and went to baseball camp at the university. I did the weight room three days a week. And yes, I played basketball and that helped with my cardio, but it wasn’t really pretty! I’m
The following are Preseason Thoughts from a shortstop on a high school baseball team. not a basketball player—it kept me from couch potato-ing. I feel great about my preparation for this season. n
My goals for this season include the following: Improved talk, work on fielding to my left, leadership on and off the field. Last year our team strengths included: Senior leadership. Positive talk. Playing all seven innings. Making the best of practice sessions. We liked each other! Last year our team weaknesses included: We won the conference so we did good. I think we needed to spend more time with the JV team—you know, play some more scrimmages. I think we need to go to a middle school game, too. I am taking the following classes this spring: Chemistry, Calculus, Writing Center English, History, Economics. Other thoughts: I think we should go to some college games. Also, I’d like to have the team up to my house for some Sox games and we could use the Game Analysis II sheets to analyze the games. We’re ready. Let’s play ball!
The following is a Game Analysis by the same athlete in “Preseason,” a shortstop on a high school baseball team. The team has just won, 12-0, and upped its record to 3-0.
My strengths as a player in today’s game: I stayed focused in the field 100% of the time. I really watched the pitcher while sitting in the dugout. 2 for 3 and that double to the gap was sweet! My weaknesses as a player in today’s game: Maybe I could have said more to John after he booted that ball. When I encourage him he plays better. Team strengths in today’s game: Great chatter. Positive talk… Except for one error, we were solid. Team weaknesses in today’s game: Honestly, we were hot today. Focused, organized, good talk. I suppose we could have hit some home runs!
Opponent’s strengths: Even when we were up by 7, they kept playing hard. They never let down. Their first baseman was a class act. He kept encouraging the younger players especially the pitcher. Opponent’s weaknesses: Young. The “difference” in today’s game: We had more years of experience. Team adjustment you suggest for the next game against this opponent: Don’t take them lightly. They may be young, but they never give up. Other comments about team strategy, attitude, preparation: We earned this win by being a “team” and by being well prepared!
Game Analysis I: This page of the Team Notebook is completed after every game, and builds on the preseason writing. It guides athletes in reflecting on their individual game performances as well as those of their teammates and opponents. The prompts steer players away from reducing a game result to one-dimensional accounts like, “the umpires had it in for us.” The page helps players gain perspective and moves them toward thinking as coaches. The one-page reflection takes an average player three to five minutes to complete. Depending on the number of athletes, coaches will read and perhaps take notes on the collection in 10 to 20 minutes. An example of a Game Analysis I can be seen in the sidebar titled “In-Season” on page 26. The shortstop’s analysis of a game against a younger team shows his team’s strengths but also reveals the player’s understanding of how his team won. Game Analysis II: The prompts on this page assist athletes in writing about a game or competition that a team watches together. The observation takes athletes approximately 10 minutes to complete and may be used as a discussion guide.
Postseason Thoughts: On this page players are asked to think about the past season while making plans for the future. As with Preseason Thoughts, an athlete may take 15 to 20 minutes to write and a coach may read and perhaps take notes on the collection in 15 to 30 minutes. The prompts on Postseason Thoughts are similar to Preseason Thoughts. Athletes’ Notes: These pages are for keeping notes, sketching plays, and storing information like handouts from the coach. The pages may be blank pieces of paper or the coach may create different page styles. It’s not uncommon for coaches to create their own program-specific notebook pages. Dawber created a weekly Personal Evaluation Checklist, Team Report Card, and Quality At-Bat Card, which poses questions to players such as “Did I study the pitcher from the dugout?” before hitting. Some coaches expand the concept of the Team Notebook to an Athlete’s Journal, which can help athletes delve deeper into their motivations and stumbling blocks. Here are some examples of athletic journal prompts to use for these athletes in Preseason Goals and Notes: n What do you dislike about yourself as an athlete and why?
n What is your favorite place to compete and why? n Why can this statement hold true: “Some days, doing poorly is the most important result that could happen.” n Think back to a time when an athlete or team you admired failed in an event that the athlete or team was favored to win. Describe your feelings. n What’s a great memory that you have as a competitive athlete?
MAKING IT WORK
A lot of coaches I’ve met like the idea of Team Notebooks but feel overwhelmed at having another thing to keep tabs on. My advice is to keep the process simple, at least to start. The Preseason Thoughts section may be a good first step. Athletes will write and the coach will read, and this exercise won’t take more than 20 minutes for either to complete. Then, a coach might use the Game Analysis I sheet for a few games. Or before a team discussion, the coach can ask athletes to write responses to a few questions to prime them. A coach can also vary the amount of time he or she spends reviewing the writing. As a soccer coach, I photocopied the pages and
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kept them in a large three-ring binder. I liked comparing my athletes’ responses from game to game. But other coaches simply read the notes quickly and hand the pages back. Some coaches write back to players as a way to show concern, offer advice, and build
them to express themselves, reminding myself how this kind of writing has a wide range of benefits. In the end, the writing in a Team Notebook belongs to the athlete. It is important to decide who will read the Team Notebooks and to communicate
As long as an athlete didn’t call me a nitwit, I had to allow them to express themselves, reminding myself how this kind of writing has a wide range of benefits. In the end, the writing in a Team Notebook belongs to the athlete. relationships. While I have not done this, I do speak with athletes if I have concerns about an entry or if their writing indicates they are struggling. Coaches should also be prepared to read athletes’ honest opinions. There are times when players’ frustrations come out in their writing. Perhaps they didn’t play in a game or, in their eyes, played too little. As long as an athlete didn’t call me a nitwit, I had to allow
this to the athletes. In some cases, having assistant coaches read the athletes’ thoughts can be helpful. But athletes should always know this up front. For the most part, the athletes’ writing is not secret or personal. Every once in a while, however, private writing surfaces, and those words deserve a level of confidentiality. For some coaches, it may be more efficient to construct the Team Notebooks online.
These days, our athletes are wired. An online form that allows privacy and convenience can keep Team Notebooks at your athletes’ fingertips. I have no doubt that someone will come up with “an app for that.” It’s important that coaches set up a structure that works for them and their team in their particular setting. And finally, Coach Edwards offers a great piece of advice. “Make sure you value the information you are collecting,” she says. “If the players do not feel you value their words, then they will be very hesitant to put much effort into it.” In terms of communication, player development, and learning, writing has the potential to make a powerful difference in the world of athletics. One of my favorite times as a coach is the silence when athletes are writing in their Team Notebooks. Something is happening during those few minutes of reflection, and I know it is helping my players and our team. CM Versions of this article have appeared in our sister publication, Athletic Management and other editions of Coaching Management.
Circle No. 125 28 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
cal sport media/ap photo
burSt Of energy
Many athletes today are using energy supplements for a quick pick-me-up. Here’s some advice to pass on regarding best ingredients and when to use them. By Dr. Kris Clark
Tim just got out of his last class of the day and needs to be on the field across campus in 45 minutes dressed and ready to practice, but right now he’s feeling low on energy. Randy is headed for a tough weightroom workout, but isn’t sure what to bring with him for fuel. Alex was up late working on a school project with classmates, woke up early to ride the team bus to a game, and isn’t sure he’ll be able to give his best effort. What can these athletes do for a quick boost? Though there is no replacement for food-based fuel combined with properly timed nutrient consumption, a fast-acting Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012 29
energy supplement might be the answer. But advice on energy supplements is not as straightforward as it might seem. Should all three of these players use the same supplement? What about the delivery method? Would a gel, bar, chew, or shake be best? And when should they be taken? Along with good food choices throughout the day, I regularly recommend energy supplements to the Penn State athletes I work with. Most supplements are small and can be easily carried in a backpack or gym bag, or kept in a locker. The convenience factor, along with the advantage of an energy edge, has made them popular among athletes in many sports. The keys are knowing which energy supplements to use and when. HOW THEY WORK
While the combination of ingredients and how they are packaged varies, the goal of each energy supplement on the market is the same: to boost an athlete’s energy level. There are two basic ways supplements can safely do this.
Carbohydrate-containing supplements are generally made for long-duration exercise. If an athlete faces a long practice, they are a great choice as they will effectively elevate blood sugar for energy while exercising. The second way to safely boost energy levels is with caffeine. Research suggesting that caffeine enhances performance is plentiful, so it’s no surprise many manufacturers use it as a main ingredient in their energy supplements. Studies have shown small but worthwhile improvements in both shortterm, intense aerobic exercise lasting four to eight minutes as well as prolonged highintensity aerobic exercise lasting 20 to 60 minutes. However, the stimulant’s effect on strength and power exercises and sprints lasting less than 90 seconds is unclear. Greater alertness, attentiveness, and an overall sense of increased energy have also been attributed to caffeine use. Recent evidence suggests that low intake levels—one to three milligrams per kilogram of body weight—are ideal and best consumed an hour before and/or during exercise. I recom-
ment 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercise. This will give the body the time it needs to digest and absorb the carbohydrates. If pressed for time, consuming a liquid supplement is best because carbohydrates in liquid form are immediately transported into the bloodstream, quickly elevating blood sugar. INGREDIENTS LIST
If carbohydrates and caffeine are all that an energy supplement needs, why do these products also have so many other ingredients on their labels? One answer is that manufacturers want their supplements to be unique and capture the attention of potential users. For example, caffeine is a drug derived from a variety of sources, including cocoa, coffee beans, herbs, and tea leaves. By using a variety of plant sources, a supplement may appear more “natural” than if it contained a basic caffeine powder or extract. Manufacturers may also include other ingredients that have benefits beyond an energy boost to separate themselves from
It’s important to note that caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and can cause jitteriness in athletes not acclimated to using it. It may not be for everyone, so make sure athletes are aware of this possible side effect. The first is with carbohydrates. Just as foods with carbohydrates improve energy levels, so do carbohydrate-containing supplements. The single most important source of energy for athletes, carbohydrates provide the fastest and most efficient method of fueling muscle contractions for any type of exercise. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into smaller sugars—glucose, fructose, and galactose. These sugars are then absorbed into the bloodstream where they are immediately used as muscle fuel. Any sugars not needed by the muscles right away get stored as glycogen—a complex carbohydrate energy reserve. The muscles and liver can generally store up to 1,800 calories worth of glycogen for future use. That’s about two to three hours worth of fuel. And any extra glucose beyond the 1,800 calories is stored as fat. When blood glucose levels start to drop during exercise, the stored glycogen is called upon. Because of its immediate accessibility in the muscles and liver, these glycogen stores are tapped for short, intense bouts of exercise like sprinting and weightlifting. Endurance exercise, like a long run sustained at a slow pace, is eventually fueled by the extra glycogen being stored as fat. 30 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
mend athletes look for drinks, bars, gels, and sport beans with up to 100 milligrams of caffeine per serving. It’s important to note that caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and can cause jitteriness in athletes not acclimated to using it. It may not be for everyone, so make sure athletes are aware of this possible side effect. Several companies that manufacture energy supplements also offer reduced or caffeine-free alternatives. And though the World Anti-Doping Agency removed caffeine from its list of prohibited substances in 2004, the NCAA’s doping threshold is 15 micrograms per milliliter of urine. A moderate amount of caffeine (up to six milligrams per kilogram of body weight) will not raise urinary caffeine levels, but it’s good for athletes to be aware not to consume too much. Hundreds of popular energy supplements combine carbohydrates and caffeine for an optimal energy boost. I tell athletes to look for supplements with 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrates and no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine. There are a number of products that contain these levels. When combining carbohydrates and caffeine, athletes should consume the supple-
their competitors. Here is a guide to some of these ingredients and what they do: Guarana: This South American bush produces potent caffeine-rich seeds. When compared to coffee beans, which contain anywhere from one to 2.5 percent caffeine, guarana seeds contain four to eight percent more per serving. Guarana is reputed to be a stimulant that increases mental alertness, fights fatigue, and increases stamina and physical endurance. Yerba mate: Another South American plant, “mate” is a source of caffeine when the leaves are brewed for tea. Its caffeine content is low compared to coffee or guarana seeds and is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Creatine: A calorie-free, nitrogen-containing substance naturally occurring in very small amounts in humans, creatine helps supply energy to muscle cells by producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. Extensive research shows that daily KRIS CLARK, PhD, is Director of Sports Nutrition and an Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University, where she coordinates nutrition planning for more than 800 varsity athletes. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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doses between five and 20 grams have no negative health effects on adults. Coupled with weight training, the benefits of ingesting creatine appear to be increased muscle mass and weight gain. But taking a supplement containing creatine just before a workout will not improve energy levels unless the product also contains carbohydrates and/or caffeine. Benefits from creatine come from daily use over time, and it is considered more of a training aid than an immediate energy-enhancing agent. Taurine: This non-essential amino acid (a building block of protein) is necessary for normal skeletal muscle functioning, but humans can produce enough of it naturally by eating a wide variety of protein sources. The amount of it present in energy supplements will not harm the body. Branched-chain amino acids: Including leucine, isoleucine, and valine, these essential amino acids must come from diet and/ or supplements because unlike taurine, the body cannot manufacture them. Some believe their consumption aids in gaining lean muscle mass. L-carnitine: Produced in the body by the amino acids methionine and lysine, L-carnitine is required to help shuttle fatty acids into the cells to be used as an energy source. Manufacturers include it in energy supplements because it gives the impression that it burns fat, though this hasn’t been proven. Inositol: A substance made naturally in the body, inositol is added to energy supplements because of its potential link to cell membrane integrity. The amount found in energy products will not harm the body. B vitamins: These water soluble and essential vitamins must come from diet or supplements. They play a role in breaking down carbohydrates, fat, and protein so they can serve as energy sources for working muscles. Athletes should have no problem eating foods with plenty of B vitamins since they’re plentiful in dairy, grain-based foods, and meats. Since B vitamins will be excreted in urine if excess amounts are consumed, there is no risk associated with consuming extra B vitamins found in energy supplements. Ginkgo biloba: An herb primarily touted for its effect on memory performance, supplement manufacturers claim ginkgo biloba improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain and subsequently better helps deliver nutrients. Glucuronolactone: A naturally-occurring substance that is part of all connective tissue, glucuronolactone is used in energy products by manufacturers under claims it will detoxify the blood. Studies have shown that levels up to 1,000 milligrams per serving is safe.
Order today! 800.886.6621 or visit nzmfg.com Circle No. 127 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012 31
None of the above ingredients listed are “bad” for an athlete to consume, as long it’s not in excess. A lot of choosing which energy supplement to take will be based on personal preference. Consider a reasonable investigation of any energy product. Take into account the ingredients on the nutrition facts label, but keep in mind that the NCAA takes a hard line in this area: No supplement is a safe supplement. Contaminated products do exist, which means ingredients may be present in a product without being identified on the nutrition facts label. EVERYDAY SOLUTIONS
While the athletes I work with use energy supplements often, I also advise them that the best solution to a lack of energy is through whole foods. In a pinch, an energy supplement may work very well, but there are nutrients and vitamins in foods that are important and cannot be found in supplements. Colorful plant foods, fruits, and vegetables contain highly potent antioxidants that supplements don’t. Broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupes, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries are just a few
examples of foods loaded with plant chemicals that protect cellular membranes and also provide good carbohydrates for energy. Energizing the mind and body through food takes forethought and planning on the athlete’s part. Here are some suggestions: Three hours before a workout, an athlete should eat a complete meal that contains carbohydrates, protein, and fats. A good midday meal would be a turkey and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread, a salad or piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt, and a glass of milk. An example of a good breakfast is eggs, pancakes with syrup or a bowl of cereal with milk, 100-percent juice or a piece of fruit, and a glass of milk. If an athlete only has one hour before a practice or game, they should focus on foods heavy on carbohydrates because they are easily digested and available for use faster than proteins and fats. Examples include a bagel or whole wheat bread with jelly and a banana, dry cereal, a sports bar, an energy gel and one half a sports bar, or crackers with honey and jelly and a piece of fruit. All of these snacks can include a sports drink with carbs. Not long ago, an athlete on campus reached out to me for advice. He texted me
that he had a killer workout coming up at 4 p.m., and he wanted to know what he should eat to gain some energy. He had two and a half hours before practice—just enough time to eat and digest food. I recommended half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a large handful of pretzels, and at least 16 ounces of a sports drink containing at least 100 milligrams of caffeine. He texted later that night, “did good tonight second best in the group.” Carbohydrates were key for this athlete to get immediate energy. He also went into the session well hydrated so that he wasn’t risking low energy levels due to dehydration. Athletes need to understand that their diet throughout the entire day—not just right before a practice or game—is important. Energy levels should be fueled by food all day long for optimum performance. In addition, energy supplements can add an extra boost when time is tight or planning ahead is not possible. CM A version of this article was previously published in Coaching Management’s sister publication, Training & Conditioning. More articles from T&C can be found at: www.Training-Conditioning.com.
www.lasteelcraft.com 800-371-2438 fax: 626-798-1482
MEASURE PITCH SPEED AND
MIDDLE SCHOOL BASEBALL MANUFACTURING QUALITY EQUIPMENT FOR OVER 50 YEARS
Circle No. 128 32 Coaching Management POSTSEASON 2012
Precise Reliable Immediate SPIN RATE Feedback
A powerful tool - dramatic results for pitchers developing breaking ball pitches.
(866) 414-3040 RevFire.com Measure the Spin l Master the Spin tm Circle No. 129
Team Equipment Hit the Field in Style
With delivery in just 14 days, OC Sports’ Fast Pitch Program is the fastest way to receive your custom caps. Customize the button, eyelets, visor, and embroidery for any of the program’s amazing headwear styles with full customization on selected styles (Style shown: TGS1925C). Be ready to hit the field fast and in style. Visit the OC Sports Web site or call a customer care representative for more information.
OC Sports • 866-776-6774 www.ocsports.com
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The TurfCordz® Modular Sprint Belt is a two-person resistance system that enhances and strengthens abductors and adductors during acceleration, agility, and speed drills. It aids athletes in developing the maximum leg drive required in a variety of sports, from speed skating to baseball, tennis, and more. The Modular Sprint Belt includes an eightfoot long modular heavy rubber tube with Safety Cord, mounting loop, adjustable ankle strap, and two two-inch adjustable Velcro® closure waist belts. Circle No. 501
Show Your Colors
The Prep Gear Split Flex is one of the most popular spring and summer caps. With just a touch of contrasting color on the bill, the 3D embroidery on the front of the cap is accented in a very subtle way. The dry-fit crown is cool and washable, the flex band is extremely comfortable, and every cap is custom-made to your specifications.
Prep Gear • 800-279-7060 www.prepgear.com
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For That Custom Look
Pro Look Baseball is where tradition meets innovation. Combine the latest in materials technology with the unique ability to create any style uniform for one low price, and you get an unmatched uniform ordering experience. Pro Look uniforms are so good that they’re backed with a four-year manufacturer’s warranty. Call today for a free custom mock-up.
Pro Look Sports • 800-PRO-LOOK www.prolooksports.com CoachesNetwork.com
To strengthen and rehabilitate the shoulder, use the Shoulderhorn™ with dumbbells, cable machines, or tubing. The foam padding offers comfort while the Shoulderhorn allows you to strengthen your rotators and even fix imbalances due to weak external rotator muscles. The Shoulderhorn™ is available in three sizes, which are sized the same as a men’s T-shirt. The Shoulderhorn™ retails for $62.95. Power Systems, Inc. • 800-321-6975 www.powersystems.com
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NZ Manufacturing • 800-866-6621 www.nzmfg.com
Strengthens and Rehabilitates
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Pro Look reversible jerseys are built to perform on the diamond. The company is so sure of the quality of these jerseys that they are backed with a four-year manufacturer’s warranty. Pro Look can make any style jersey into a reversible jersey, and won’t drain your budget while getting you the look you want. Contact the company today to request your free mock-up. Pro Look Sports • 800-PRO-LOOK www.prolooksports.com
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The smartest athletes think ahead. They consider tomorrow’s training, the next competition, and the how they’ll feel the morning after a killer workout. McDavid’s Targeted Compression Technology increases blood circulation and aids in a more complete recovery. The anatomical 3D design and ultra airflow system keep your wheels cool and comfortable while recovering in McDavid style. Slip on these recovery socks during post-game travel or while you snooze and dream of glory. McDavid • 800-237-8254 www.mcdavidusa.com
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Feel the Wave
Designed to help increase the natural blood flow around your muscles, Mueller Kinesiology Tape features a revolutionary wave pattern adhesive that moves with the skin and muscles to reduce muscle pain, increase mobility, and enhance recovery. Designed to aid in the treatment of ligament injuries, muscle conditioning, fascia repositioning, and even carpal tunnel syndrome, it is applied to the skin in patterns to mimic muscles. The 100-percent cotton tape is latex-free and water-resistant. One application lasts up to three days. It is available in four colors. Mueller Sports Medicine • 608-643-8530 www.muellersportsmed.com
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Coaching Management Postseason 2012 33
Hitting & Pitching
Machines That Deliver, Whatever Your Sport
Sports Attack has quickly become a leader in innovative sports training equipment. The company’s newest unit, the Snap Attack Football Machine, already has a customer list that includes the top NFL teams in the country. In baseball, Major League coaches are using the Hack Attack pitching machine all season long in practices and during warmups prior to games. Sports Attack’s softball machines deliver every breaking pitch, from the riser to right- and left-handed drops, and its volleyball machines are the favorite of international teams. Visit the company’s Web site to learn more about its professional sports training equipment.
Multi-Functional and Easy to Navigate At the BigSigns.com Web site, users can learn about the company’s newest and most popular products, see its proven versatility in design, and understand why it is a trusted national leader in stadium graphics. The user-friendly site showcases an electronic portfolio of projects with sharp photos and in-depth product detail. There are product installation manuals and instructions, tabs for art uploading and proofing, and a link for a quick quote. While online, see how BigSigns.com can help build your sponsorship revenue and elevate your stadium graphics. Get inspiration for your latest projects today.
34 Coaching Management Postseason 2012
Recent customers of the Junior Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine include: David Brisbane Baseball Academy (Pa.), Roane County High School (W.Va.), Ravenscroft School (N.C.), Pinelands Regional High School (N.J.), Hope Christian School (N.M.), Belton High School (Texas), Stony Point High School (Texas), Pleasant Valley High School (Calif.), Flatonia High School (Texas), and Sacred Heart Catholic School (Texas). E-mail email@example.com to join these respected ranks. Sports Attack • 800-717-4251 www.sportsattack.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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Develops Dynamic Strength
Strengthen and rehabilitate the shoulder with the Power Throw-Ball™ by Power Systems, Inc. These durable, small-weighted balls help develop dynamic strength through the throwing motion and can also be used for upper-body rehabilitation exercises. The Power Throw-Ball™ is available in two sizes for softball and baseball, and three different weights in each category. Made of rugged vinyl shell with filler, Power Throw-Balls are color-coded by weight. Prices for this product range from $10.95 to $33.95. Power Systems, Inc. • 800-321-6975 www.powersystems.com
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The Pocket Radar is a multi-purpose training tool that can help you win more games. Used by championship-winning teams across the country, including the 2012 NCAA national champions, the Pocket Radar can help improve your team’s hitting, pitching, and running, while also measuring improvements in swing mechanics. The Pocket Radar accurately measures speed and quickness on the field every day—for under $200. Accurate to +/- 1 MPH, it has a 120-foot range and gives over 10,000 readings, using only two AAA batteries. Pocket Radar • 888-381-2672 www.pocketradar.com
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The HomePlate pitching machine is the first programmable pitching machine designed for both batting cage and on-field use. Users can store up to eight different pitches—including fastballs up to 90 miles per hour, curveballs, change-ups, 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 for $6,595. Sports Tutor • 800-448-8867 www.sportsmachines.com
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Wireless Speed Data
The new Radar Data Link™ by Sports Sensors, Inc. provides wireless capability for the company’s sports radars, including its Swing Speed Radar® used for measuring bat swing speed. The unit has a transmission range of 100 feet and any Bluetooth-enabled Android device such as a cell phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer can receive the data. The Radar Data Link can be purchased in conjunction with the Swing Speed Radar or installed in previously purchased units. Sports Sensors, Inc. • 888-542-9246 www.sportssensors.com
Circle No. 539 CoachesNetwork.com
Hitting & Pitching Feedback Matters
Want to give your hitters instant feedback? Look no further than the Advanced Skills Tee, 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
Circle No. 504
Teaches By Visualization
The Bunt Zone® Protector-Trainer protects turf and teaches the proper placement of bunts. This product features a color-coded target system: yellow for bunt-forhit, green for safe sacrifice, and red for pitcher’s triangle to avoid. The Bunt Zone® teaches by visualization without supervision, and has been used by hundreds of high schools and colleges. Widely accepted as one of today’s best bunt training systems, the Bunt Zone® is available in sizes L and M for baseball, and S for little league and softball. Aer-Flo, Inc. • 800-823-7356 www.aerflo.com
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In Good Company
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 (Ala.), St. Joseph’s College (N.Y.), Penn State University, University of California-Santa Barbara, Berry College (Ga.), Neosho Community College (Kan.), McKendree University (Ill.), and Gonzaga University (Wash.). Contact Sports Attack to join the ranks. Sports Attack • 800-717-4251 www.sportsattack.com
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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. The TriplePlay retails for $1,995. Sports Tutor • 800-448-8867 www.sportsmachines.com
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PSM Training ECHO
Sports Attack, LLC www.sportsattack.com 800-717-4251 Circle No. 515
Zephyr Technology www.zephyranywhere.com 443-569-3603 Circle No. 530
Benefits for the user:
Benefits for the user:
• Fully programmable electronic baseball/softball pitching machine • Up to 1,000 balls can be saved • The same complete vision you value in the Hack Attack • Left-handed, righthanded, or random sequences
• Create sequences that work on weaknesses or prepare the hitter for an upcoming pitcher
• Wirelessly measures transmits medical-grade data on accelerometry, heart rate, HRV, breathing rate, jump and dash, load and intensity, and core temperature— without pills or probes • Provides live readout of data and stores for later analysis with wide range of reports
• Measures up to 50 athletes simultaneously at distances up to 1000 feet • Quick and easy to use
Coaching Management Postseason 2012 35
Advertisers Directory Circle #. . . . Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page #
Circle #. . . . Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page #
111. . . Aer-Flo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
115. . . NSCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
119. . . Athlete’s Guide to Nutrition. . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
104. . . OC Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
131. . . BEAM CLAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
112. . . Parents’ Guide to Concussion. . . . . . . . . . . 25
100. . . BigSigns.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IFC
105. . . Pocket Radar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
114. . . Blueprint for Better Coaching . . . . . . . . . . . 15
107. . . Prep Gear. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
122. . . Cardinal Publishers Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
101. . . Pro Look Baseball. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
130. . . Diamond Pro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
109. . . Pro’s Choice Sports Field Products . . . . . . . . 9
126. . . Florida State University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
129. . . RevFire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
123. . . Game-On Field Conditioners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
102. . . SPI Nets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
133. . . Gatorade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BC
132. . . Sports Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC
103. . . Glove Radar/Swing Speed Radar. . . . . . . . . . 5
118. . . Sports Tutor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
108. . . Gourock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
116. . . Stabilizer Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
128. . . L.A. Steelcraft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
127. . . TurfCordz®/NZ Manufacturing. . . . . . . . . . . 31
117. . . Memphis Net & Twine Co.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
110. . . U.S. Baseball Academy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
125. . . Muhl Tech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
106. . . Vero Beach Sports Village. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Circle #. . . . Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page #
Circle #. . . . Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page #
508. . . Aer-Flo (Bunt Zone® Protector-Trainer) . . . . 35
509. . . Pocket Radar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
516. . . Aer-Flo (Tuffy® Windscreen) . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
503. . . Power Systems (Shoulderhorn™). . . . . . . . . 33
537. . . BEAM CLAY®. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
510. . . Power Systems (Throw-Ball™). . . . . . . . . . . 34
517. . . BigSigns.com (printable backstop padding).37
502. . . Prep Gear. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
519. . . BigSigns.com (Tuff-Turf On-Deck Circles). . 38
525. . . Pro Look Sports (reversible jerseys) . . . . . . 33
535. . . Cramer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
524. . . Pro Look (uniforms). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
538. . . CytoSport, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
534. . . Pro’s Choice (Infield Guards). . . . . . . . . . . . 38
522. . . Diamond Pro®. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
533. . . Pro’s Choice (Select infield conditioner). . . . 37
541. . . Game-On Field Conditioners (drying agent) . . . . 37
520. . . SPI Nets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
542. . . Game-On Field Conditioners (soil conditioner) . . 38
515. . . Sports Attack (e-Hack Attack). . . . . . . . . . . 35
514. . . Gatorade (Energy Chews). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
511. . . Sports Attack (Hack Attack). . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
513. . . Gatorade (Recovery Beverage) . . . . . . . . . . 39
505. . . Sports Attack (Junior Hack Attack) . . . . . . . 34
518. . . Gourock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
539. . . Sports Sensors, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
532. . . McDavid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
512. . . Sports Tutor (HomePlate). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
528. . . Memphis Net & Twine Co.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
507. . . Sports Tutor (TriplePlay Basic). . . . . . . . . . . 35
531. . . Mueller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
526. . . Stabilizer Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
504. . . Muhl Tech (Advanced Skills Tee). . . . . . . . . 35
501. . . TurfCordz®/NZ Manufacturing. . . . . . . . . . . 33
506. . . Muhl Tech (Power Bag). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
521. . . U.S. Baseball Academy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
536. . . New York Barbells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
540. . . Vero Beach Sports Village. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
523. . . NSCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
530. . . Zephyr Technology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
PROFESSIONAL MOUND CLAY CLAY MOUND TM
Products Directory • Higher Clay Content For Greater Compaction • Easily Conforms To High Stress Areas • Great For Constructing & Repairing Pitcher’s Mounds & Home Plate Areas
PROFESSIONAL GROUNDSKEEPING PRODUCTS
TO EVERYTHING DIAMOND PRO
500. . . OC Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Circle No.Postseason 130 36 Coaching Management 2012
Baseball Facilities The Perfect Backstop Solution
BigSigns.com offers printable backstop padding that is the perfect solution for covering dangerous walls and exposed fence edges, and is also eye-catching and attractive. The company can help you brand your program or organization while increasing player safety. BigSigns.com digitally prints its backstop pads using UV-protected Ultra Brite inks, so your graphics will pop, remain bold, and resist fading from the sun’s bright rays. BigSigns.com • 800-790-7611 www.bigsigns.com
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Lasts for Years
The Tuffy® Windscreen will last for years because it’s made of Aer-Flo’s exclusive VIPOL® Matrix. This windscreen is used by all levels of baseball, even the MLB. It is available in 20 standard colors, including purple, brown, burnt orange, and scarlet. Aer-Flo’s durable Chroma-Bond® imprinting technology produces multi-color logos that do not fade like digital printing. Super-premium but surprisingly value-priced, it is the Official Windscreen of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association. This product is sold only by Aer-Flo dealers and comes with a five-year warranty. Aer-Flo, Inc. • 800-823-7356 www.aerflo.com
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A Favorite Among Pitchers
Diamond Pro® Professional Mound Clay is a screened heavy clay with a natural yellowish-brown color. This heavy clay has a higher clay content than Diamond Pro’s Red Mound/ Home Plate Clay and will require more attention. Professional Mound Clay can be used in conjunction with other products, or as a standalone every day maintenance clay. This clay can be used to construct, rebuild, or repair pitcher’s mounds, as well as catchers’ and batters’ boxes. In a recent independent study by Virginia Tech, Diamond Pro’s PMC was voted “Favorite Product” in the comparison baseball mound clay study. TXI/Diamond Pro • 800-228-2987 www.diamondpro.com
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Gourock provides reliable commercial-strength netting applications featuring top-notch 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. Gourock • 877-803-5123 www.gourock.com
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Advanced Natural Soil
Stabilizer Solutions, Inc. is advancing the evolution of natural soil for baseball and softball fields. The company offers advanced mound clays, as well as infield and warning track mixes in both its Stabilizer ® organic and Hilltopper ® waterless product lines. Used at the baseball College World Series, Stabilizer ® “Pro Red” Infield Mix and Hilltopper ® Waterless Mound Clay save time while providing protection from the elements. Stabilizer Solutions, Inc. • 800-336-2468 www.stabilizersolutions.com
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Meeting Your Specs
Memphis Net & Twine makes its products in the U.S., offering batting cages and backstops to meet customers’ exact specifications. The company also fabricates custom windscreens out of vinyl-coated polyester in 11 different colors. These windscreens can be made to any height or width. Memphis Net & Twine also sells benches, stadium bleachers, and tip-n-roll bleachers. Memphis Net & Twine Co., Inc.• 800-238-6380 www.memphisnet.net Circle No. 528
What the Pros Use
Pro’s Choice Select premium infield conditioner has a unique particle size blend and deep red color that gives you the look of a professional ballpark. The small, uniformly sized granules make it the perfect infield topdressing to keep your infields smooth, safe, and resilient. For winning fields season after season, use what the pros use—choose Pro’s Choice Select. Pro’s Choice • 800-648-1166 www.proschoice1.com
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Everything for Your Infield
Partac Peat Corp. • 800-247-2326 www.beamclay.com
DiGeronimo Aggregates, LLC • 888-593-0395 www.hayditegame-on.com Circle No. 541
Everything you need to maintain and improve your infield is supplied by BEAM CLAY®, makers of infield mixes, mound and batter’s box clays, and red warning tracks for every state and climate from regional plants nationwide. BEAM CLAY® also supplies more than 200 other ballfield products from bases to windscreens, and has supplied every MLB team, most minor league and college teams, and thousands of towns and schools from all 50 states and worldwide.
Circle No. 537
Game-On sets a new standard in sports field conditioning for skinned infields and sports turf. Game-On will stand up to hard play and varying weather conditions plus it does not break down. New for 2012, Game-On Drying Agent has been reformulated for an even better absorption rate, and Game-On Warning Track Red is now part of four major league ballparks’ warning track blends. Game-On is available in regular soil conditioner, red top dressing, red warning track, and drying agent.
Coaching Management Postseason 2012 37
Tuff-Turf On-Deck Circles are some of the most durable turf on-deck circles on the market. The company’s revolutionary process allows graphics to become part of the turf, which results in a more durable on-deck circle with excellent graphic clarity unlike painted or cut-in and glued graphics. Tuff-Turf is also designed to be puncture- and tear-resistant against metal cleats, is lightweight to make storing and maneuvering a breeze, and when properly cared for can be used for multiple seasons.
BigSigns.com • 800-790-7611 www.bigsigns.com
Online Degrees for Sports & Health Professionals
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SPI Nets’ full-service net building facility offers topquality nets at unbeatable prices. The company stocks and custom-builds a wide variety of nylon and poly batting cage nets, protective screens, and deflective barrier netting products. All custom nets are guaranteed to be of the highest quality, and are built in the USA to meet all your needs. Call the company toll-free or go online to learn more.
SPI Nets, Inc. 866-243-6387 www.spinets.net
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Keep Your Infield In
Pro’s Choice Infield Guards create a flexible six-inch barrier that will keep infield material from blowing into the outfield grass during the offseason. Each guard is six inches high and eight feet long with grommets and clips on each end, and can easily be installed by a single person by clipping the guards together and staking them down around the edge of the skinned area using three six-inch sod staples per guard.
Pro’s Choice • (800) 648-1166 www.proschoice1.com
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Save 20 Percent Off Retail
Game-On is a sports field soil conditioner that will not break your budget and will provide excellent results. It is a lightweight, expandedshale product that absorbs more than 20 percent of its weight in water. Game-On is more durable than clay products and tends not to break down into fine particles. The Game-On product line also includes Game-On Red topdressing, Game-On warning track mix, and Game Dry drying agent. From now until December 31, save 20 percent on any bagged Game-On product.
DiGeronimo Aggregates, LLC • 888-593-0395 www.hayditegame-on.com
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American Public University offers more than 170 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates designed for sports and health sciences professionals, coaches, athletic administrators, and working adults like you--completely online. These dynamic programs are taught by industry professionals and experienced educators in the areas of kinesiology, human performance, strength and conditioning, nutrition, coaching studies, sports law, risk and regulation, ethics in sports, high school and collegiate sports administration, and more. American Public University has been nationally recognized by the Sloan Consortium for effective practice in online education. When you’re ready, visit: StudyatAPU. com/TC. “Having four children and being busy with full- and part-time jobs, I didn’t have a lot of extra money. So I wanted to be sure I could get a top-notch education for an affordable price--and APU enabled me to do that.” —Laurie Ogden, APU student; B.S., Sports & Health Sciences
“I was able to complete my master’s degree within a time frame that fit my schedule. The course work was challenging and rewarding. Now, I hope to move on to a second career that allows me the use the degree I worked so hard for.” —Jon LaBeau, APU graduate; M.S., Sports Management
“APU exceeded all my expectations. The resources they provided made me confident I could achieve my degree.” —Heidi Boe, APU graduate; M.S., Sports Management
American Public University 111 W. Congress St. Charles Town, WV 25414 877-777-9081 firstname.lastname@example.org www.StudyatAPU.com/TC Circle No. 131 38 Coaching Management Postseason 2012
More Products Supports Muscle Rebuilding
G Series Protein Recovery Beverage is a protein and carbohydrate beverage formulated with the consistency of a thirst quencher. It has an effective amount of protein that contains essential amino acids needed to help support muscle rebuilding after training or competition. G Series Recover should be consumed within about 60 minutes after exercise for maximum muscle benefit.
Gatorade • 800-884-2867 www.gatorade.com
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U.S. Baseball Academy • 800-592-4487 www.usbaseballacademy.com
Perfect for Athletic Trainers
Every roll of Cramer 100-percent cotton porous tape is like the next, which means you can count on it to unwind consistently, conform better, and adhere longer. Cramer 950, constructed with a latex-free adhesive, is perfect for athletic trainers or athletic programs looking for a high-quality, economically priced porous tape alternative. Cramer Products has been the industry leader in sports medicine and athletic training room supplies for more than 85 years. Cramer Products, Inc. • 800-345-2231 www.cramersportsmed.com
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A Trusted Authority
The National Strength and Conditioning Association is one of the trusted authorities on strength and conditioning, bridging the gap between science and application since 1978. The NSCA offers four highly soughtafter certifications: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist ® (CSCS®); Certified Special Population Specialist™ (CSPS™); NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer ® (NSCA-CPT®); and Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator™ (TSAC-F ™). Being a part of the NSCA gives coaching professionals the tools, access, and knowledge to reach higher in their career. NSCA • 800-815-6826 www.nsca.com
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Monster Amino™ is an ultra-concentrated BCAA formula that delivers an 8:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine to valine. Recent university research shows that a leucine-enriched beverage consumed with exercise synergistically activates and prolongs activity of the mTOR signaling pathway, which increases muscle anabolic potential (muscle growth). The mTOR pathway is the “trigger” that signals the very genesis of muscle protein synthesis.
CytoSport, Inc. • 888-298-6629 www.cytosport.com CoachesNetwork.com
Hosting a Camp
U.S. Baseball Academy partners with high school and college coaches across the country and is the nation’s largest network of baseball camps. U.S. Baseball Academy makes the camps hassle-free for coaches by providing the itinerary, equipment, marketing, public relations, registration, payments, insurance, and even T-shirts. Coaches run the six-day program at their schools and can earn up to $10,000 as a hosting fee. There is no financial investment or risk. The 2011-12 program included 330 locations in 35 states and approximately 40,000 players. The deadline for new locations is Oct. 31.
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Natural Wrist Motion
New York Barbells offers a complete selection of training ropes in 1.5- and two-inch diameter in all lengths up to 100 feet. New York Barbells offers a 1 3/4-inch braided rope that retains its shape and is more resilient than twisted rope. New York Barbells also offers and installs handles on the ropes for a natural wrist motion. A complete line of exercise chain is also available. Fulfill all of your rope needs for climbing, battling, pulling, and special applications with New York Barbells. New York Barbells of Elmira, Inc. • 800-446-1833 www.newyorkbarbells.com Circle No. 536
Vero Beach Sports Village provides the ideal setting to enable your team to grow together and better prepare for your upcoming season. Everything you need is here at this 79-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
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G Series Energy Chews are a pre-game fuel in a convenient form. They are designed to be used about 15 minutes prior to training or competition to provide energy from a concentrated blend of carbohydrates to fuel athlete performance. G Series Energy Chews help make carbohydrate energy rapidly available to working muscles for the start of activity, so athletes might feel the difference at the beginning of training or competition. Gatorade • 800-884-2867 www.gatorade.com
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