Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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July 4, 2019  

Donegal Fergus- Associate Head Coach and Hitting Coach, UC Santa Barbara (CA)

July 4, 2019

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This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.





During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interview Donegal Fergus, Associate Head Coach at University of California at Santa Barbara. Coach Fergus describes his deep and eventful journey toward getting into baseball coaching. Learn from Donegal Fergus’ experience with gaining trust in his team players, training them to think on their feet for themselves, and how to train properly for having great timing as a hitter.  

Episode Highlights:

  • Why did Donegal Fergus decide to get into baseball coaching?

  • What are the typical fall training routines for Coach Fergus’ team?

  • What is the process of getting to work with training after establishing trust with the team?

  • What were the main goals for Coach Fergus to make his team successful?

  • What are habits that good players do on a typical basis?

  • How does Donegal Fergus go about training for timing?

  • What does the phrase ‘bat or barrel’ mean to Coach Fergus?

  • How does Coach Fergus handle batting practice?  

  • What is the latest think Donegal Fergus has learned that has gotten him excited?

  • Are there things during practice that his players can’t get enough of?

  • What are some of his favorite resources?


3 Key Points:

  1. Kids have a strong sense when adults aren’t authentic and are pretending to be something they aren’t.  

  2. Hitters should learn how to ‘dance with the pitcher’,’ meaning sync up and feel the rhythm of the pitcher’s throws and movements.

  3. A hitting exercise of having players miss a hit on purpose is a way to train their bat path and timing.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I tell our guys almost every day, ‘Hitting is really hard.” We are going to have days, no matter how good you are, that you aren’t very good.” – Donegal Fergus (07:55)

  • “One of the biggest things with building relationships is that it has to start from a baseline of safely, with a safe environment, where you aren’t afraid to share, and you aren’t afraid to collaborate.” – Jonathan Gelnar (10:30)

  • “I don’t want to get boxed into what my guys need.” – Donegal Fergus (19:33)

  • “We went into it with sort of the blank slate of getting with our guys and letting them lead us where we need to go.” – Donegal Fergus (22:59)

  • “The less that I have to be involved from a hand-holding standpoint the better. The more I can take myself out of the equation the better, creating curious learners that ask questions, versus asking for the answers.”– Donegal Fergus (23:30)

  • “We need to figure out what we’re seeing and what our body does in reaction to that, and rewire it sometimes.“ – Donegal Fergus (28:26)

  • “Don’t swing at his pitch, swing at your pitch…if it’s not your pitch then it is a ball in our mind.” – Donegal Fergus (39:52)

  • “Why certain CEOs or politicians are so successful is because they stopped worrying about external expectations or external social ques. It doesn’t affect them.” – Donegal Fergus (51:04)

Resources Mentioned: