DBU’s Dan Heefner and the power of positive coaching

Dan Heefer talks to 2015 13th round MLB draft pick Daniel Salters (Cleveland Indians) (photo courtesy Dallas Baptist University)

Dan Heefer talks to 2015 13th round MLB draft pick Daniel Salters (Cleveland Indians) (photo courtesy Dallas Baptist University)

The Heefner file

• 2015 marks his eleventh season as head coach at DBU
• Recognized by Baseball America in 2013 as one of the Top 10 Coaches in College Baseball under the age of 40
• His teams have reached four NCAA Regionals and produced eight All-Americans, seven Freshman All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans
• 49 players he has coached have advanced to professional baseball
• Teams have been on mission trips to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, served in San Gabriel Orphanage and volunteered for North Texas Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics
• Prior coaching experience as an assistant at DBU (2005-2007), Creighton (2002-2003) and Northern Iowa (2004)
• Two-time All-American as a player at Olivet Nazarene University
• He and wife Liz have five sons: Luke, David, Zachariah, Titus and Jacob

IP: Your team finished the 2015 regular season with the no. 1-ranked RPI in the country. Other than winning baseball games, what are some factors you look into to keep your RPI strong?

DH: “That’s one of our goals as a program, to have a high RPI, to get an at-large bid. The next step for us is to host a regional, so that is something that we take into consideration with scheduling. We don’t have a magic formula or anything; just like everybody else, we try to play quality opponents on a year-in, year-out basis. A lot of it also has to do with the area we’re in and the teams we’re surrounded by; it’s almost impossible not to schedule well.” Continue reading

abcaofficialThe ABCA Board of Directors voted in June to name Inside Pitch Magazine the Official Magazine of the American Baseball Coaches Association. With the move, all 2015-16 ABCA members will receive a free subscription to the magazine starting with the fall issue, which will be mailed with the October edition of Covering All Bases.

“This is a great magazine that our Board of Directors voted to put the ABCA name on,” said ABCA Executive Director Craig Keilitz. “In addition, the free subscription is another great benefit that our members have asked for and we were able to deliver. We are extremely excited about this enhanced partnership.”

In a survey conducted to ABCA members in May, 78 percent of respondents indicated they were interested in receiving Inside Pitchin the mail as part of their membership.

With the partnership, Inside Pitch will continue to feature subjects of interest to ABCA coaches, and members will have a greater opportunity to be featured in the magazine.

ABCA members who have attended the convention in recent years are already familiar with the magazine, as it was distributed free in the convention packets.

Members were given free access to the Inside Pitch app with the ability to read several issues this past spring. Members will continue to have free access to the Inside Pitch app, which features full issue content plus extras. Details about the app will be emailed periodically.

For more information, visit abca.org

A Summer History Course for College Players


By Douglas S. Malan

Baseball’s connection to its past lends itself to storytelling and an appreciation for players from earlier eras. After a summer in the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England, hundreds of players will return to campus with stories about kicking up dirt where Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, Ted Williams, Vince Lombardi and dozens of other legends played many years ago.

Such an incredible opportunity is owed to civic leaders in these New England towns and cities who are committed to preserving the integrity and rich history of these ballparks and fields. In earlier times, these places served as homes for minor league teams with budding superstars on the rosters and hosted barnstorming teams back when pro players had to scratch out a living any way possible. Continue reading

“Travel Ball Rules: A Look Into The Positives & Negatives”

article by Justin Brown

article by Justin Brown

Summer is a time when all ages are in action on the diamond, specifically within the ‘travel ball’ circuit, a scene that has grown within past ten years. Parents and players are drawn to the travel ball environment to play against high-quality competition and in front of coaches and scouts. These tournaments have created the need for rules and bylaws to help things run effectively and smoothly, but can change the way the game is played:

Pitcher Workload Management

There is a clear push to limit the overuse of young pitchers in the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) rulebook. Sets of limitations have been put into place to manage the use of a young athlete and with the rise of arm injuries, a set of guidelines for pitcher workloads is a much-needed asset:

“7.05.C.2 ONE DAY MAXIMUM: The maximum number of innings a player can legally pitch in one (1) day. Rule 7.05.C.2 Example: In the 7U – 12U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of six (6) innings in one (1) day. The player would be ineligible to pitch the next day. Similarly, in the 13U – 14U age divisions, a player may legally pitch a maximum of seven (7) innings in one (1) day. The player would be ineligible to legally pitch the next day. Continue reading

Longtime JUCO Head Coach Roger Bidwell Earns 1,000th Win

Roger Bidwell

Roger Bidwell

By Douglas S. Malan

University of Connecticut at Avery Point head coach Roger Bidwell offers no scholarships. His school has no on-campus housing and his team plays in typically harsh New England conditions every spring. Such is life for this Division II junior college program located on the banks of the Thames River near the Long Island Sound in southeastern Connecticut.

Despite the adversity UConn-Avery Point faces, Bidwell has built a regional powerhouse program at his alma mater since he began coaching there in 1982 – all with Connecticut players. After the Pointers surged to a 29-10 regular-season mark, the postseason started in late May with Bidwell earning his milestone 1,000th win at the school behind a no-hitter from ace Doug Domnarsky in the first game of the region tournament.

“That certainly made the game easier to manage,” Bidwell noted wryly a week later.

That win launched another impressive playoff run as the unranked Pointers won the region before knocking off two Top 20 teams in the district tournament to qualify for the Division II JUCO World Series in Ada, Okla., where they finished fourth in the 10-team tournament with several trademark gritty performances. Bidwell’s overall record now stands at 1,007-388-7, with six trips to the College World Series all coming since 1999 and four in the past six years. Continue reading

Summer 2015 From the Bleachers

“I am a native of Arizona and a huge fan of the Sun Devils. Just wanted to say that Tracy Smith did a great job with our guys in year one and I’m excited to see him continue to build up our program in the future!”
-Pamela Pointer

Our interview with Tracy Smith is online at http://wp.me/p2qsGw-bS

“I am a college baseball enthusiast and I don’t like the new hit by pitch rule. To be honest, I didn’t even notice that much had changed watching games this season. To me, it should simply be a question of whether “the ball hit the batter” or “the batter hit the ball.” Leave it up to the umpires!”
-Joe Jones

Check out “New Approved Hit by Pitch Rule Could Change Approaches” online at http://wp.me/p2qsGw-bB<!–more–>

“Loved the article on speeding up the game. I think that baseball should be aware of the changes in our ‘need it now’ society and I like the subtle changes that college baseball has made, with the pitch clock and in-between innings time limits. I’m not as big a fan of the MLB’s replay system; it’s not guaranteed to get every call right and I think the process just adds “standing around” time that the game doesn’t need!”
-David Smithwick

Here’s “The Need for Speed in Baseball” http://insidepitchonline.com/2015/05/28/the-need-for-speed-in-baseball/

“I think that we’ve seen the height of the defensive shifts era. I know that we have more stats and data in the game than ever before, but there’s a reason why the standard positioning has been around for more than 200 years, with defenders set up equidistant from one another throughout the field. Keep it simple guys!”
-Beau Peterson

“The Shift is On” is available online at http://wp.me/p2qsGw-bG

“I don’t think that it’s reasonable to change the timing of the season in college baseball. The reality is that it would be way too expensive to pay for housing and meals once the school year has ended. For most programs it would be an insurmountable expense.”
-Todd Williams

“Change Up The Season” is online at http://wp.me/p2qsGw-bE