This is the time of year that we have to start getting them ready for the game. I have firmly established by now that if it doesn’t help players get better in the game, then it doesn’t matter. So here’s our plan for getting players ready pre-season throughout the rest of the season.

EDDs

We start every hitting session with 15 minutes of their own individualized EDDs. By this time of year, we have narrowed down what they need to do to get their swing ready. This involves many conversations about how their body moves, what the intent is, and what their goals are. The power of choice is huge if we want them to buy in and do these every day. My advice to the players is to pick 3–4 and do them with intent every time, rather than doing 6–7 and going through them just to get them done. …


Link to audio version- https://buff.ly/2OlYqrF

Judge a coach not based on what he knows, but his ability to communicate effectively and ask the right questions.

A few years ago, as a young coach and teacher, there were a few pieces of advice that I got from multiple men and women I worked for. A few phrases that kept coming up

1. Don’t be their friend.

2. Don’t smile until Thanksgiving.

Being a young coach/teacher and having little experience in both settings, I tried to take that advice. Not only is it bad advice for my personality, it’s terrible if you are wanting to build trust within any relationship. If we can’t build trust, we have nothing to stand on, we have no common ground, and we will not get the best out of each player. …


Link to audio version- https://buff.ly/2IzRa9u

I wrote about the first part of our off season in Block 1. Now is the time of year where we are transitioning from a mechanics only approach, to a blended model. It’s still the off season, and 6 weeks is a decent amount of time to make some changes, so during Block 2 we will be seeing if our changes will stick by testing them under some stressful velocity and time constraints.

Whenever practice design is discussed in many baseball circles today, you will hear the terms “game-like”, representative design, and variable practice thrown around a lot. Essentially, these are practice designs that model closest to the game. These are essential to build better baseball players. They not only provide great feedback for testing players, they help players prepare for the game by having them think and react closer to the speed of the game. I gave my thoughts on why I thought this was important in Block 1, but I want to reiterate here. We went with more of a blocked and mechanics approach with the first 6 weeks, so now we are going to more of serial design. Meaning, there will be days we do fundamentals, progress to more difficult practice, and then come back to the fundamentals. For our players to make consistent progress, we have to realize that most will not make linear gains. There will be times when we need to scale back, move forward, and keep doing more of the same. This is completely depended on us having a system and noticing what the player is doing well, and what they are struggling with. I absolutely believe in self-organization, but that doesn’t mean it’s always optimized. This is where the art of coaching kicks in. …

About

Jonathan Gelnar

†follower. Husband. Influencer of our nation’s youth through the national past time. @union_baseball. Host of @aotc_podcast

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