Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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August 24, 2020  

Tom Sutaris- MiLB Hitting Coach, Colorado Rockies

August 24, 2020
Today we're joined by Tom Sutaris.
Tom has spent time coaching at every level. He was a high school English teacher and coach, a college coach, and is now the AA hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies.
On the show Tom shares with us some ways he has grown as a coach, especially getting to coach at each level, we talk how to make changes with the player and how to ask questions to get to the root of the problem, and Tom dives deep into how to create a hitting culture.
Energy Bus- Jon Gordon
Atomic Habits- James Clear
Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

  • It’s always important to know your why and never forget it.
  • Hope your players to the team standard always.
  • Video is crucial to help players create awareness to make changes and give feedback.
  • “Everything we say to a guy matters.”
  • As each level you go down understand that the confidence level of the players goes down.
  • Have patience and be a good listener.
  • Be careful with your words and understand what you’re saying.
  • “You want to fail a little bit less than you did yesterday.”
  • Before you show players how much you know you have to show hoe much you care.
  • Understand the person first before you dive into the player.
  • Get to know about what they like, their family, favorite hobbies, etc.
  • “Listen before you make any suggestions.”
  • Have a checklist before you decide to make changes.
  • Lead with questions for the player so that you can understand why they do what they do and what they believe in.
  • The information from the player will be helpful for the coach and for the player to understand and question what he does.
  • When observing a player start with the mechanics.
  • Start with the lower half first and then go up the body.
  • Ask the player why they do they do.
  • The mental game and how the player sees himself is so important.
  • Understand what the player is doing when his front foot hits the ground.
  • Does he have rhythm, control of his body, and space to make contact?
  • Does he control his forward move?
  • Really good coaches understand the why and the how behind everything.
  • Ask the why behind what they do.
  • Allow the player to lead the discussion so that they learn about themselves and
  • Emphasize that they don’t tell you what you want to hear.
  • The feedback has to be honest from the player.
  • We need to understand the approach and what the player is trying to do so he learns.
  • Think about what drill will help the player solve his issue.
  • Players need to understand the why behind each drill.
  • Make sure you ask them if they want to do the drill.
  • Also have them reflect with what they felt and learned and with what you saw after the drill.
  • The best way to help a player make a change is to show data and evidence for a change to be made.
  • Players are likelier to make changes if they see data instead of an opinion.
  • Have a vision for your players to achieve to.
  • This is like standards.
  • Create a culture where the player had confidence but you are also honest with them so they can trust you.
  • Whatever happens, embrace the challenges of the day.
  • Don’t use it as an excuse. Embrace the challenge.
  • Eliminate the fear of failure for your players.
  • Allow them to have a love for learning and growing.
  • Make sure you model it for your players so they they obtain that.
  • Bring energy so that they love that way as well.
  • “You can’t take days off as coaches.”
  • When a player is struggling, have a one on one discussion with them.
  • Tell him they you have something for them or getting lunch with them.
  • Getting them one on one will allow the player to share his thoughts and build confidence with him.
  • Emphasize the process over results for the player.
  • Example: if the player is swinging at the right pitches, then he’s on the right track.
  • “If we stay in the process then we will be good.”
  • Remind the player of how good he is, because all players have self doubt.
  • When a player is struggling, send him a video of his highlights to build confidence.
  • This will help the player remember how good he is.
  • Remind your players that it only takes one pitch to change the momentum of the game.
  • Focus on playing the game one pitch at a time.
  • At some point ace pitchers are going to have a bad inning.
  • Tell the players to win each pitch. The more pitches you win the more often you’ll have success.
  • Send out in a group text the scouting report of the team you’re facing and their tendencies.
  • Everything before the player gets for the cage will help them develop individually to go to the next level.
  • Group BP and team hitting will help the players to prepare them for the game or that day.
  • Give credit to assistant coaches for the long term success of the players.
  • Example: Strength coaches for the health and maintenance of the players.
  • Shortened Distanced BP helps players see game like spin and velocity.
  • Angle BP helps the players see game like angles from RHP’s and LHP’s.
  • “Train like you fight.”
  • “You sink to the level of your training.”
  • “Don’t ever forget how hard the game of baseball is.”
  • Tell your players to have a clear mind and focused for every single pitch of the game.
  • The more focused the player is, is the superstar between good and great players.
  • “Spread positivity. Remember that you have the option to spread positivity or negativity.”