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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Assume that your players know nothing and everything will surprise you.
- 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.
- “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)
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