6 Useful Statistics for the High School Baseball Coach

by Adam Newland, Madison County (GA) High School and Matt Thompson, Cass (GA) High School 

Despite the protests of Goose Gossage, analytics in baseball are here to stay.  Instead of relying solely on the eye test, coaches are now armed with statistics that can help them gain a competitive advantage in ways which may escape the naked eye. Continue reading

@CoachYourKids how to pitch, not throw

cyoungby Darren Fenster

In Game One of last October’s World Series, the Kansas City Royals pedaled reliever after reliever into a 14-inning instant classic against the New York Mets, all throwing in the mid-to-upper 90’s. That was, until Chris Young entered the game in the top of the 12th, showing the baseball world and aspiring Big League pitchers everywhere that you don’t, in fact, need to have eye-popping velocity to successfully compete at the highest level of the sport.

Pitching out of the bullpen for three scoreless frames, striking out five while earning the win, Young hit 90 MPH on the radar gun in that game. That’s significant because it was the first time he did so since 2009. And he only touched 90. Once. For the past 12-plus years, Chris Young- who stands at 6’10” tall- generally has made his living as a Major League pitcher by throwing his four-seam fastball in the mid-to-upper 80s, one that averaged 86 MPH for the 2015 season.

In the age of velocity that baseball seems to be living in right now, that aforementioned fact begs the simple question of, “how?” How does Chris Young do it?

Velocity is a gift. Granted, a gift that can be developed and improved through hard work and dedication, but not one that most baseball pitchers at most levels of the game are blessed with. Velocity is magnified on television every night and at ballparks every day so much so, that many up and coming pitchers may get discouraged when the realization comes that they don’t have it and haven’t been blessed with the ability to throw a ball as hard as the next guy. Scouts love velocity. College recruiters love velocity. Professional coaches love velocity. But plain and simple, not every player who toes the rubber will be able to throw 90 miles per hour.

But the ability to throw the ball hard is just one piece of the puzzle to get a hitter out.

Allard Baird, currently a special assistant in the Red Sox front office, and former GM of the Royals, once said “tools are great. Everybody loves tools. But if you cannot translate those tools into usable baseball skills that can help you perform and your team succeed, then those tools are worthless.” Velocity without the ability to throw the ball over the plate may win you a stuffed animal on the boardwalk, but it won’t get hitters out. Continue reading

Interview with Tom Roy, UPI

up logoby Keith Madison

Tom Roy is the president and founder of UPI. He played minor league baseball in the Giants organization and has coached at the high school and college level. He has also been a team chaplain for the Chicago White Sox and has conducted baseball camps and clinics internationally. He is a baseball “lifer,” having been involved in the game as a player, coach, chaplain, clinician, radio personality and author for over fifty years.  I recently caught up with Tom at the NCCAA Baseball Tournament in Mason, Ohio and asked him the following questions: Continue reading

The value of the team-first mind

by Jason Kuhnnavy seal teamworkBrotherhood does not mean we agree on every last thing. It doesn’t mean we have to like each other all that much. It means we choose to set aside our differences to serve a cause greater than ourselves. This happens naturally in war. In its most raw form, the cause becomes to stay alive. Our differences become very silly when we’re driving into a gunfight. We commit ourselves to proper teamwork in service to our cause, because the cause is worth it. 

Whether combat or competition, we have all experienced the power in proper teamwork and do our best to communicate the concept to our team. Reflecting on my time on the baseball field and the battlefield, I now teach teamwork as the following: Continue reading

Brian O’Connor on culture and competing

summer16The head coach at the University of Virginia since 2004, Brian O’Connor is a five-time ACC Coach of the Year and three-time national coach of the year. In addition to bringing the 2015 NCAA title to Charlottesville, O’Connor boasts the third-highest winning percentage of all current head coaches in Division I baseball and the 14th-best mark all-time. O’Connor is the second fastest ACC coach to reach 500 career wins and has ushered a boatload of talent into professional baseball, including the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, Sean Doolittle, and several others.

He came to Virginia after nine years at Notre Dame (1995-2003) under current LSU coach Paul Mainieri, where he was named the 2001 National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Baseball America and was AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003.

Inside Pitch recently visited with the Cavaliers’ head coach to talk about how he manages his clubs, his staff, and the winning culture he has developed at UVA. Continue reading

Bulldog Tough

Bryant University photo

Steve Owens/Bryant University photo

Bryant University is fast becoming a Northeast power

article by Douglas S. Malan

Bryant University head coach Steve Owens knows the realities of building a mid-major program in the Northeast – the limited resources, the outdoor practices in 35-degree January weather, the early-season road trips.

But he also knows the benefits of the grind, as he has created a national presence on the campus of this Smithfield, Rhode Island, school with 3,500 students. Continue reading

Interview with Augie Garrido, college baseball’s all-time winningest coach

spring16Inside Pitch recently caught up with University of Texas head coach Augie Garrido, NCAA Division I’s all-time winningest coach. The only coach in baseball history to tally 1,900 or more career wins is currently in his 20th season at Texas and 48th season as a head coach overall, with previous stops at Illinois and Cal State Fullerton. He has led the Longhorns to a combined 12 Big 12 titles (regular season and tournament), eight College World Series, two national titles and two second-place finishes. Garrido was the first coach to lead two different schools to national crowns (Fullerton & Texas), guide his teams to National Championships in four different decades, and is one of only three coaches in history to win five or more NCAA titles (1979, 1984, 1995, 2002, 2005).

IP caught up with the recent ABCA Hall of Fame inductee to talk about learning, recruiting, pressure, expectations and more: Continue reading