article by Keith Madison
It’s October. That means post-season play for Major League Baseball and “fall ball” for college baseball and travel teams. It also means another informative and entertaining issue of Inside Pitch magazine.
One of the themes of this issue is near and dear to my heart…recruiting. I was intrigued to read the comments about recruiting from some of the top coaches in college baseball. It’s obvious that even though you must be a highly skilled player to compete at the next level, academics and intangibles such as character, attitude and respect for the game are extremely important, as well.
One year in the recruiting process, I had a partial scholarship reserved for an outfielder. After evaluating dozens of outfielders, I narrowed my search down to two players, both left handed hitters with similar skills. On their visits to campus, one of the recruits made my decision easy. While in my office talking about a particular game I had seen him play, his very quiet and very pleasant mother made a comment. This young outfielder proceeded to tell his mother that she didn’t know what she was talking about. His lack of respect for his mother helped me to offer the other outfielder the scholarship. In the end, integrity, competitiveness and respect will make a positive impact on a college coach. Continue reading
Under Stricklin, Kent State has won five Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament Championships, reaching the NCAA Regionals in each of those seasons. The team also reached one Super Regional, in 2012. After defeating Oregon in that Super Regional, the team advanced to the 2012 College World Series. Individually, Stricklin has won three Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year Awards and one ABCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year Award.
Q: How do you approach the new season?
A: You have to have a lot of patience. There are a lot of new players coming in, and it takes time for them to learn how to do the things that you do. There’s a lot of teaching that goes on. The upperclassmen lead the way.
Q: How do you battle inclement weather when it comes up?
A: We’re very blessed to have an unbelievable indoor facility. When the bad weather hits, it allows us to be more consistent; we won’t miss a day of practice in there. As a northern school you have to maximize your time outside, but you have to have an indoor facility too. Getting acclimated for our first game is always a challenge, you have to prepare them as much as you can. Continue reading
Tim Corbin/AP photo
On fall ball…
“Fall is all about building foundations of what a team is all about. We teach those concepts more than anything else, because when you have kids coming back and coming in, there’s an expectation level of what they’ve accomplished in the past.
The younger guys want to understand what your program is all about and what exists inside the culture of the program. As much as we teach baseball, I think concepts and foundations of team most important.”
Advice to incoming players
“Use the two things on the side of your head [your ears] rather than the one in the middle [your mouth]. Listen, listen, listen; and use your eyes to observe. A lot can be learned from watching the returners, so it’s important for them [the returners] to be leadership models.”
Advice to coaches
“There’s so much information that can be learned in the fall. I think the coaches’ role in that is trying to get the kids to be patient, trying to get them to understand what’s in front of them. It’s important to be firm, but also to understand that there’s a learning progression that takes place.”
What makes Vandy baseball unique?READ THE REST
The fall practice period in college baseball represents everything that is good about our national pastime. With eagerness rivaling those of MLB spring training in February (albeit to a slightly lesser extent), student-athletes, coaches, and support staffs assemble for what marks a new beginning for every program in the country.
Expectations may be heightened, however, for coaches like Tim Corbin, Greg Goff, Scott Stricklin and Tony Vittorio, who are currently in the midst in preparations for their own programs at Vanderbilt, Campbell, Kent State and Dayton, respectively. The quartet, who combined for three conference championships and three NCAA Regional bids in 2012, recently gave Inside Pitch an all-access pass to how they approach fall ball. Continue reading