Ahead of the Curve Live Podcast: TJ Bruce (Head Coach of University of Nevada)
- During this time appreciate your family. It will keep your positivity during this
- Have a routine every day to have something to look forward to.
- During this time you can continue to learn to help improve your players when we
are allowed to get back to coaching.
- “Everything you do is an opportunity to learn.”
- “This format makes you a better listener.”
- This is something that we need to be better at.
- As coaches, the best thing we can do for our players is to tell them to get back
and enjoy their families.
- In terms of baseball practice, you have to get creative.
- To stay in shape players can do pushups and pull-ups.
- Players can break down their mechanics on video.
- Players can throw into a wall or a net.
- Players can hit into a net.
- Players can catch up with friends and talk life and baseball and learn from them.
- If you have a team playbook, the players can read the playbook in order to
understand the complete team culture and play.
- “Be extraordinary in the ordinary.”
- As coaches, it is our job to prepare our players for the next level of baseball.
- When you get the head coaching job, you have no clue how the experience
will be until you get that experience.
- When you are in this situation, you need to lean on what you know.
- The most success that the team had was when there were roles.
- Players appreciate the organization and clear communication.
- As a head coach, it is your job to help develop your staff to achieve their
- Players need to realize the role that they are in on the team.
- Players need to accept responsibility and be the best at the role that they
- They can challenge themselves by being the best at their role.
- Have team-oriented statistics.
- Example: Quality at Bat
- This can help the young non-starters learn the game at a quicker pace.
- One Baton: This is the whole team.
- Every player has a role and if the team does the best at their role then the
team will only get better.
- Roles can change and improve.
- Lean on the coaches you have worked for every single day.
- Allow for your staff to collaborate and learn from other coaching staffs.
- Whatever access that you would have, allow for your assistants to have
that same access.
- Hire coaches that are smarter than you. (You need coaches around you
that will offset your personality).
- As a head coach, your job is to help the program.
- Assistant coaches need to be loyal, respectful, and competent.
- “If you help our program win, you will get yours at the end.”
- Allow your assistants to see what your role is as a head coach and what the role
of each assistant will be.
- Show them what you deal with every day.
- It is okay to be vulnerable to your assistants.
- This is a strength. It will allow for trust and respect to happen because you are
letting them into how you feel.
- Go over every aspect of the program with your assistants.
- Budget and playbook.
- Allow for the family to be involved in your program.
- Run your program like a college/Major League organization.
- Don’t be afraid for your assistants to give out ideas to improve the team.
- Allow for your assistants to be able to speak to the team.
- This shows to the team that the assistants are just as important as the
- Ask your hitting coach what they see on the pitching side.
- Ask your pitching coach what they see on the hitting side.
- Understand that opinions are opinions and nobody is wrong.
- Don’t criticize your coaches publicly.
- Allowing your assistants to talk publicly will help them improve at public speaking
to help them be developed into reaching their goals.
- Ask for help from your assistants.
- What does it look like, feel like, and sounds like?
- Understand how the vision will look like in those three areas.
- You have to have a definitive mission.
- Vision, Expectation, and the Standard.
- What the players believe and what the staff believes will showcase how
- The program will make you a better man and will be relentless with chasing
- It is general and broad but allows for growth.
- The pursuit of perfection is in baseball, classroom, and personal life.
- Your vision has to be crystal clear and you have to feel that it will be a success in
- “You are either getting better or worse.”
- Outwork your staff.
- Example: Be the first one to the office.
- “The program is built upon how well you can control what you can control.”
- Don’t disrespect the program.
- That means be on time, being accountable, giving your best, and preparing the
best that you can.
- “You’ve got to be ready to be ready.”
- “Be where you need to be when you need to be there.”
- Place the needs of the team above your own.
- If you are not capable of taking honest coaching, please go home.
- The number one thing you can do to help create buy-in is honest
- Ask the players what they expect from you and tell them what you expect from
- Players will typically go to different instructors.
- This will create the opportunity for players to work on what the coaches want the
player to do.
- Video will allow for the player and coach to discuss what happened and
break down the thought process of the player in that situation.
- Ask your players how they learn best. Then once you know this you can
teach them the way they learn best.
- At the end of the day, all players want to improve.
- You have to really know your players.
- You have to have an identity for what you are trying to do in any aspect of
- You are trying to develop and win games.
- You have to have the right attitude and effort to have success.
- Make the routine play consistently.
- Handle the ball and keep it off the ground.
- When the team is stretching, take a ball and toss it and it will allow for the players
to compete with keeping the ball off the ground.
- Know the percentages and play them.
- Try to catch every ball as much as possible, but allow for your players to
backhand when fielding.
- Want the Ball.
- Separate offense and defense when playing.
- You can’t take the last at-bat into the field.
- The most important event in the game is the current pitch.
- “If I don’t get mine, you won’t get yours.”
- This means if you don’t get a hit don’t let the opponent get a hit.
- The best defenses don’t blame their teammate for an error or a hit.
- Have your players trust their eyes and instincts.
- Ask the player their thought process during a specific play.
- Get players on the whiteboard.
- This helps players understand the situation.
- It is an easy way for players to see things.
- Most players are visual learners.
- Watch more videos on defense than offense.
- “Players are brought up for 18 years on how to hit, not on how to play
- During practice, have one infielder talk for the day.
- This builds trust and the player learns what to say during the right time.
- Every area of play needs to have its own verbiage.
- Instead of saying step off say, “Black.”
- It prevents a balk from happening.
- The player will say 1- 1 thousand and then get rid of the baseball.
- When recruiting, you want to have a strong middle of the field.
- Catcher, Pitching, Shortstop, 2nd, and Centerfield.
- Ask your staff what they want to deal with and what they don’t want to deal with.
- Have a set of attributes that you are looking for in a player.
- If a player doesn’t match the attributes that you want.
- You need to ask the coach from the level below what tools the player possesses.
- As a high school coach, create a checklist for your players to improve
upon in order to get to the next level.
- An overlooked key is asking yourself if the player you are recruiting come
from a winning program?
- Be yourself.
- Example: If you are a yeller, be a yeller.
- If you are not being yourself, then you are not going to be successful.
- Your family mission will work into your coach mission.
- Surround yourself with great people.
- Don’t be afraid to show that you don’t know everything around your
- In the offseason, have your players talk to coaches who can really help the