Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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April 30, 2020  

Todd Interdonato- Head Baseball Coach, Wofford College (SC)

April 30, 2020

Coaches vs. Covid


On today show we have Todd Interdonato, head baseball coach at Wofford College. Todd is in his thirteenth season as head coach of the Wofford baseball program. He was named head coach of the Terriers on June 26, 2007 after previously serving for two seasons as an assistant coach at Wofford. With 323 career wins, he is first all-time among Wofford baseball coaches in that category. Interdonato has led the program to unprecedented success, with 30 or more wins in five of the last six seasons. 
On the show We talk about how we give a ton of ownership to players, while holding them accountable, Todd gives us some insight into how to provide clarity to players in their roles, and we talk about how to build a team offense that is multifaceted.
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

Ahead of the Curve Live: Todd Interdonato

    • “Say less act more.”
    • Allow for your players to discuss the expectations. 
    • Have them come up with examples.
  • “People were likely to commit when they have ownership.”
    • It is their program, let them steer the program.
  • Cabinet: Players vote on who their class representatives. 
  • This helps the coaching staff understand what each class group feels in regards to practice, culture, etc,
  • Meet with the cabinet once every 3-4 weeks. 
    • Players appreciate a consistent message, so confusion doesn’t happen. 
  • Wofford Baseball 5 Must-Haves:
  • 1.High Internal motor
  • 2. Always be developing.
  • 3. Have a high baseball IQ. 
  • 4. Be selfless.
  • 5. Play Tough. 
    • Playing tough is can you throw a 2-0 fastball down the middle with the bases loaded with the 3 hole hitter up. This might be the best chance for the team to win. 
    • You have to give players data in order to help create the best chance for buy in. 
    • Find out the must haves at your level of play in order to have consistent success. 
    • Data will tell the story of this. 
  • As a coach find out ways to perfect your role. 
  • Have the players have this same mindset. 
  • Example: As a head coach, perfect how you will address your team better every single time. 
  • Plate discipline, timing, and creating maximum bat speed. Focus on these three areas for an offense. 
  • “Simplicity is king.” 
  • Anytime you feel you haven’t done your best job messaging your players, go talk with your players so that you and the players are on the same page. 
  • “If something isn’t connecting with the team, go talk to the cabinet members and find out what can help improve the practice session for the team as a whole.”
  • “You have to prepare for the role you have, not for the one you want long term.” 
    • You have to master at one level before you can get to the goal that you want. 
  • You want all of your players to understand their role and find out how to master their role. 
  • Players need to come in with a notebook to take notes with the coaches. 
  • Players need to know what their best skill is. 
  • Example: Player says he is a good OBP guy. 
  • Coaches then say, to be at your best you need to understand the strike zone and swing at pitches you can do damage with.
  • If a player doesn’t understand their role and how to master it, then it is our fault as a coaching staff. 
    • Having this clear message creates accountability for each player. 
  • “You don’t need to focus on the next skill, you need to focus on the skill you need to master right now.”
    • What kind of disparity can we create with stealing bases and preventing the opponent from taking the extra 90 feet. 
    • We are trying to defeat our opponents in every facet of the game. 
    • Teach your players why you do certain things in the game and why the opponent would do a certain skill. This creates an improved baseball IQ and situational awareness. 
  • Do your 1/9th: Whatever the situation calls for, do your part. 
  • “It’s not what your ego needs, it is what the situation calls for.”
  • “You cannot have success without the support of your teammates at the amateur level.” 
  • Swing at the right pitch, be on time, and swing at maximum bat speed. 
  • Change from swing rounds to pitch rounds. 
  • Example: Rounds of five, five different pitches. 
  • This is great decision training during batting practice. 
    • Guys who are obsessed with their mechanics want to swing and have a lack of plate discipline. 
  • Conditional Green Light:
  • Lead, Speed, Pitchers time to the plate.
  • If the player is matched up with this criteria, then they have the green light. 
  • Understand what your players can do despite what baseball is telling you to do. 
  • Trust your players more than what baseball is telling you to do. 
  • Allow the player to make the decision based off of this criteria. (They have to trust their baseball IQ). 
  • When recruiting, have the ability to say no if the player doesn’t fit the criteria that you want for your program. 
  • The player needs to have athleticism and MUST have character. 
  • “Find ways to win with the constraints that you have.”
  • Offensive Drill: 
  • Four teams of four. 
  • Two teams are on defense.
  • One group on the bases starts at first base. 
  • The guys at the plate get one round of five swings. 
  • The team hitting will see how many times they can drive the guys on the bases in. 
  • One base runner at a time. 
  • One round with guys on second. 
  • One round with guys on third. 
  • With guys on third the infield plays in. 
  • Always starts with less than two outs. 
  • This game takes two hours. 
  • This is a mental toughness game. 
  • No more than four guys in a cage without an individual coach. 
  • Focus on an individualized approach to coaching. 
  • Players love one-on-one small group teaching. 
  • After every series or game write notes. 
  • Find out what went well, what didn’t, and what to improve upon. 
  • Film intrasquad and offense whole team games. You can see game-like instincts and repetitions from the film.
    • The best coaches can adjust to multiple situations. 
  • “An elite coach has an elite attention to detail of focus on the areas they are trying to improve.”