Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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November 14, 2019  

Darren Fenster- MiLB Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator, Boston Red Sox

November 14, 2019

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During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Darren Fenster, Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox. Darren discusses how his coach at Rutgers University got him interested in being a baseball coach. He also shares the elements that make base-running and being an outfielder very important, and what it takes to get better as a baseball player and a coach.  

Episode Highlights: 

  • Darren Fenster introduces his background, including never envisioning himself as being a coach.
  • Darren Fenster went to the minor leagues for the Kansas City Royals. 
  • How did he go from being a stellar infielder to the outfield coordinator? 
  • What are some different things that can make base-running better. 
  • Which drill help players do better with base-running? 
  • How does he structure his time to handle base-running with so many players?   
  • Darren talks about his journey of learning out the outfield. 
  • Coaches haven’t taught until their players learn.
  • You can get better by watching baseball.   
  • How does he go about communication with players from different locations and languages? 
  • What is something that Darren has been working on and looking to get better at? 
  • What is something that his players love to do in practice? 
  • What is something that Darren Fenster believes that other coaches may disagree on? 
  • What would we notice during Darren’s practices that he typically does? 

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Darren Fenster played baseball in New Jersey at Rutgers University, met Coach Fred Hill who got him into coaching, and left Rutgers as the all-time career hits leader. 
  2. Assume that your players know nothing and everything will surprise you. 
  3. Darren breaks down the game of baseball into singular steps to isolate movements and playing moments for his players to rehearse and practice repeatedly to develop skills. 

 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “Right now, I am the outfield and baserunning coordinator for the Red Sox on the minor league level.” – Darren Fenster (00:42)
  • “I’m responsible for what we are doing with regards to developing our outfielders and what we are going to do in our approach to base-running. This my 8th year with the Red Sox.” – Darren Fenster (00:51)
  • “For them to see my potential in a role that I really was not an expert in by any means. For them to say, ‘I think you can become one,’ that is as big of a value in leadership as anything else.” – Darren Fenster (12:27)
  • “Base-running, I think, people just look at in the general term of running harder around the bases, and it is so much more than that. The entire skill begins with effort.” – Darren Fenster (13:40)
  • “If we can start every day of spring training with a 10-15-minute block, where the entire camp is doing base-running...a player’s attention span is always going to be at their height at the beginning of your day.” – Darren Fenster (23:43)
  • “I am a huge believer in having groups small enough where guys can get as many reps as they possibly can within the time period that they can.” – Darren Fenster (34:17)
  • “You are actually going to field far more balls on the ground than you ever will on the air because just about every single base hit turns into a ground ball for an outfielder.” – Darren Fenster (29:59)
  • “A lot of people are putting the game in a vacuum, and they are making the ‘always’ and ‘nevers’ to the game. For me, you have to take bits and pieces of everything.” – Darren Fenster (35:24)

Resources Mentioned: