Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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January 16, 2020  

Demetre Kokoris- MiLB Pitching Coach, Toronto Blue Jays

January 16, 2020

During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Demetre Kokoris, Pitching Coach for the Vancouver Canadians, an affiliate team of the Toronto Blue Jays. Demetre Kokoris expresses his dedication to the game of baseball, the ways he solves problems with pitching development, strategies to enhance skill acquisition, communicating with players, and prioritizing individual player development within the team structure. 


Episode Highlights: 


  • How did Demetre Kokoris get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
  • What should off-season pitching development look like? 
  • Are there any common problems that he sees with development?  
  • How does Demetre use video in training? 
  • What is an area of skill acquisition that Demetre has gotten better at? 
  • What is Demetre Kokoris’ advice regarding prioritizing individual development within the team setting with a small budget or a small staff?  
  • How does he communicate particular needs with players? 
  • In what ways does he assist players whom English isn’t their first language?   
  • How does he tackle workload management? 
  • What are some of Demetre Kokoris’ favorite data to track?  
  • What is something that Demetre is excited about learning and applying? 
  • What are things his players get excited about doing during practice?   
  • Which three pitching tools would Demetre Kokoris focus on if he could only have three? 
  • Is there anything that Demetre Kokoris believes that other coaches might disagree with?
  • Which resources does Demetre recommend? 
  • The more information you put out the more information that comes back to you.
  • Be sure to learn everyday. 


3 Key Points:

  1. The more athletic and fluid players can be, and the better they understand the game, the better off they can be on the backend.
  2. Is a particular weakness a detriment to the club or to the individual? Or is it just something that would just be nice to have corrected?  
  3. You’ve got to listen to your player and find out what that player thinks is going on and his impression of his skillset. 


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “What I learned at the collegiate level that I saw guys be very successful with was, your off-season is your best opportunity to change your body.” – Demetre Kokoris (03:13)
  • “With the off-season there is no competitive environment. So, it’s your chance to really slow things down from a movement standpoint on your throwing. So, I think that is your best opportunity if you want to make a mechanical adjustment.” – Demetre Kokoris (03:50)
  • “At the age of 24, I took my first yoga class and I felt like I really felt my body and was able to begin to get a lot more coordinated.” – Demetre Kokoris  (04:15)
  • “When kids play the game of baseball and they start competing and they start learning the little nuances and the tactics of the game, that’s when they start doing things instinctually.” – Demetre Kokoris (06:46)
  • “As far as skill acquisition is concerned, I think the things that I always go back to are, start with the anatomy, is making sure the guy is physically capable of performing the thing that you need.” – Demetre Kokoris (12:14)
  • “I think first and foremost, you’ve got to understand your team and what you need each person to do. What role do they play?” – Demetre Kokoris (15:35)
  • “If you do want to make changes, is having objective data. Showing him. Showing him with the numbers. ‘Hey man, I know you think your knuckleball is a good pitch. But you throw this at a 20% strike clip in such-in-such situations.” – Demetre Kokoris (19:07)
  • “I think you have to take it back to the three things that you want to do with a pitch. Do you want it for called strike? Do you want it for a swing and miss? Or do you want it for weak contact?” – Demetre Kokoris (19:50)

Resources Mentioned: