During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Matt Midkiff, Head Baseball Coach at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Coach Midkiff, shares how he entered into his head coaching with a list of the things that he would accomplish in the first 100 days, how he juggles drills with the 16 falls days he has with players, the rules and standards that his team has to live up to, and how he goes about building strong bonds with his players.
- Matt Midkiff shares his baseball background and how he got involved in coaching.
- What did the vision look like when he got started coaching at Swarthmore?
- What were some of the things that were on his ‘First 100 Day List?’
- How does he find players that meet high academic standards?
- What does the fall training look like and what time restraints does he have?
- Which things do they cram into their fall practices?
- When do they take their 16 days?
- Coach Midkiff describes the high-level of work ethic his players have.
- How does he establish the team culture?
- Is there anything that he specifically does to make sure that he builds an individual connection with each player?
- What are some different competitions that they do?
- What are some of the different rules and standards that are in place for his team?
- How is he helping his assistant coaches grow?
- What are some things that they do offensively during training?
- Coach Midkiff discusses spring training drill sets that they do that may be different?
- What advice does Matt have for first-year head coaches?
- What is the latest thing that Coach Midkiff has learned that he is excited about?
- What is something that Matt does in practice that his players love?
- What is something that he believes that other coaches may disagree with?
- What are three things that would stand out during Coach Midkiff’s baseball practices?
- Does Matt feel that his players feed off of his energy?
- What are some of Matt’s favorite books and resources that he has learned the most from?
- What is the last piece of advice that Matt Midkiff does have to offer?
3 Key Points:
- In the fall, they split their days into teaching, practice, a competitive game piece, and a strength and conditioning component.
- Coach Midkiff is cultivating his players to be responsible on and off the field.
- You are going to fail. But it is the only failure if you fail to learn from it.
- “In Division 3 we have 16 days of practice that we can have in the fall.” – Matt Midkiff (08:02)
- “The more we can just play baseball, the more we can just have live pieces in our practice and read balls off the bat and see live pitching and things of that nature, the better we are going to be.” – Matt Midkiff (11:20)
- “You are talking about high-achieving students that are oftentimes in the top 10%, 5%, 1%. We’ve got a valedictorian on our team. We’ve got some perfect AST, SAT scores on our team.” – Matt Midkiff (14:37)
- “Myself and our assistant coaches, we really develop a strong bond with our players and their families too.” – Matt Midkiff (17:06)
- “I try to be as real as I can. If I make a mistake I own it. The guys will make fun of me and we’ll joke back and forth and we just have that relationship where, I take my job seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously.” – Matt Midkiff (18:28)
- “We like to have a live segment in every practice that we do.” – Matt Midkiff (23:58)
- “Don’t get your self-worth from your team’s performance.” – Matt Midkiff (42:02)
- “Take a skill that is a little bit above the level of the player and make them attempt it until they get it.” – Matt Midkiff (45:10)