A former Spartan All-American himself, Joe Urso is set to begin his 16th season as the head coach at the University of Tampa. In addition to defending their 2015 national title, UT’s all-time winningest coach looks to add to a lengthy list of accolades in 2016, which include 10 Sunshine State Conference titles, 10 NCAA South Regional championships and four national championships (2006, 2007, 2013, 2015):
IP: When did you know that you wanted to coach for a living? How did you get your start?
Joe Urso: “I knew once I was in the minor leagues that once my playing days were over, I wanted to get into coaching. The Angels gave me a shot, I was able to coach with them for four years and when the job opened up, I knew it was a perfect fit. We were about to have our first child, so I was able to come back home to an amazing job. It was always a dream of mine to come back and take over.” Continue reading →
article by Darren Fenster- Minor League Manager, Boston Red Sox; Founder & CEO, Coaching Your Kids, LLC @CoachYourKids CoachingYourKids@gmail.com
As the hot stove season kicked off this past November, MLB Network analysts started to dissect this year’s crop of free agents when they began to talk about the consensus thoughts of clubs on free agent slugger, Chris Davis.
“They don’t care if he strikes out as long as he hits 40 home runs.”
They. Don’t. Care.
With that comment came the concerning reality that can’t help but trend into the amateur levels of the game, if it hasn’t already.
If strikeouts are mattering less and less to professional organizations, then they are mattering less and less to the players that are paid to wear their uniform. Our game’s amateurs can’t help but follow the example that Major Leaguers set forth, and since teams are seemingly paying far more for power than they are contact, hitters are growing up in the game trying to do whatever they can to drive the baseball out of the park, rather than doing whatever they can to put the ball in play.
Strikeouts have been steadily increasing at the Major League level over the past decade. While yes, the well-documented increase in pitchers’ velocities is a contributing factor, the mindset of hitters thinking that strikeouts aren’t that big of a deal is just as much a culprit. The strikeout is the most unproductive out in the game, yet it has become far too accepted in the game of baseball. Gone are the days when hitters are genuinely embarrassed upon walking back to the dugout after whiffing. That humiliated player is now the outlier, rather than the norm. Continue reading →
A “tip of the hat” to Craig Keilitz and his staff for once again organizing the largest and finest baseball clinic in the world. The 2016 version of the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention will not only have an incredible lineup of speakers with well over 4,000 coaches in attendance, but there will also be dozens of committee meetings, board meetings, a phenomenal group of sporting goods exhibits and some first class social events. Behind the scenes, coaches will be sharing ideas, debating philosophies and talking baseball “until the cows come home!” Continue reading →
This is one of my favorite sports times of the year. The college football bowl season combined with the stretch drive of the NFL regular season always makes for great entertainment. Baseball is in “off season” mode and that is a special time as well, as college and high school teams are getting after it in the weight room and on the track, trying to get bigger, stronger and faster.
For me personally, this time of year gets me especially fired up because basketball season is in full swing! I played basketball throughout high school and I value the memories I made on the hardwood. I still participate in pickup games on a consistent basis- especially during the winter months- and I have become more and more convinced that my baseball career was directly impacted because of my playing basketball. Continue reading →
IP: What has your experience in college athletics been like?
Craig Keilitz: “I always wanted to be involved in college athletics, certainly after seeing firsthand just how much my father [Dave, who served in college athletics for 50 years as a coach, athletic director and ABCA executive director] got out of it.” Continue reading →
8:30am: The wheels of a Boeing 737 have landed on the ground in Orlando, Florida. I’m on board and heading to my first American Baseball Coaches Association convention. There is an excited nervousness internally, not really knowing what to expect. I’m hopeful to learn from some of the best baseball coaches in the world. What an opportunity.
11:05am: I’m checking in to the ABCA convention. I’ve received my first bag of information as well as my badge. My membership card lists the number one. This is my first trip, I wonder how many years I can record being at this event.
12:01pm: I get my first gaze at the ABCA Trade Show. It almost feels like an amusement park. An amusement park full of anything you can think of in baseball related equipment. I start walking up and down the aisles, which seem to go on for miles. In between exhibits I bump into coaching friends and colleagues.
6:30pm: All of the coaches are breaking out into divisional meetings. It is an awesome opportunity to discuss and deliberate over meaningful rule changes for each division of baseball. It is a really impactful experience to witness a governing body of baseball enact change in meaningful areas of the game. The mood in the room feels like a courtroom as sides discuss multiple angles on issues related to the organization.
11:00pm: Heading to bed after a long day of travel. I’m very excited to see what tomorrow has in store. Continue reading →