Cat Hammer, MS earned her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University in Pennsylvania where she was a 4-year NCAA DII softball player.
Since joining San Diego State in 2014, Joe Oliveira has helped the Aztecs to four 40+ win seasons, five Mountain West Championships and five NCAA Regional appearances. During that time, he’s coached three big leaguers and 31 MLB draft picks, and his recruiting classes are routinely ranked amongst the top 25 in the country.
The majority of the coaches in the audience at every ABCA convention doesn’t have anywhere close to the same resources of those presenting. They have less man-power on their coaching staffs; a smaller budget for developmental tools; fields that are literally just fields, not facilities. All of those limitations force those coaches to be more creative in order to make their players and teams better.
Contrary to most players who end up playing professionally, I wasn’t the star player growing up. I was just an athletic, skinny kid who had no idea how to swing or throw properly and never had any formalized instruction. Entering high school, I was 6’3” and weighed 150 lbs. I threw about 70 mph. I really got hit around when I faced high school hitters for the first time, which exposed my lack of ability and preparation. It was a defining moment in my career.
I read yet another article recently on how and why we are losing sports officials across the country. It’s not an unusual topic these days on my social media feeds. I am a youth sports parent, a former athlete, current husband and dad, employee/employer, coach and a baseball umpire. Of those descriptions, my time as an umpire has really changed my views on youth athletics.
The five themes discovered in this study offer a brief and limited look into the minds and personalities of elite DI head baseball coaches who have demonstrated transformational and culture-building competencies and skillsets.
If I have a kid that throws 90, I’m going to teach him a BP fastball at 84. If he throws his changeup at 80, I’m going to teach him a changeup of 76. Before we put any movement on a ball, before we put any different spin on a ball, we try to make the hitter responsible for tracking a broad range of velocity—in this case it would be 76 to 90.
… This isn’t to say that coaches don’t teach the mental part of the game—coaches tend to do a great job of creating a culture that helps build character, discipline, focus and teamwork. But the question to ask is, “am I doing something each day with my players to work on the mental side of their game through some type of practice?”