Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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January 24, 2019  

82: Pat Bailey- Head Baseball Coach, Oregon State University

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud and OnBaseU.



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In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Pat Bailey. Pat started coaching right out of college both high school baseball and football. He focused on becoming a part of programs he aligned with philosophically. He took over as head coach at Oregon State and shares with us common practices that make his team successful season after season.

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Pat Bailey, Teacher and Coach
  • The transition from assistant coach to head coach and how to make it smooth

  • Practical ways to reinforce expectations with the players and team

  • How Pat integrates competition into each practice

  • The benefits of vision training and why it is emphasized on Pat’s team

  • How Pat incorporates vision training into his daily practices

  • The power of using data in baseball practices

  • How perfecting the launch angle can improve batting

  • The college recruiting process according to Pat

  • Individual development tactics at Oregon State

  • How to build professional relationships with the players

  • What Pat intentionally does differently than other teams to be better

  • How to practice being a better decision maker

  • The practice that the team always loves and how to keep players engaged


3 Key Points:

  1.     Pat Bailey has a different approach to coaching than others. Starting young as a coach he shares how he became the coach that he is and emphasizes how his experiences as a student as well as having his own kids caused him to shift his coaching focus.

  2.  Vision training is an important part of Pat’s training program. Just like the other muscles in our bodies our eyes need to be trained to work together and see the fast balls.

  3.   More than anything, Pat recognizes the impact a coach has on a child’s life. He focuses on building character, and in the process the winning piece takes care of itself.


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “I would not have taken an assistant job if it wasn't with somebody that I really felt that were similar philosophically.” - Pat Bailey (4:26)

  • “We're here to build man of character. And that's number one mission that we have as as coaches. Iit's the most important thing we do.” - Pat Bailey (5:27)

  • “He introduced me to his vision training staff, and one of the things he said, man, it really made sense and there's a lot more to it than what I'm going to share here, but what he said to me was that, “your eyes are muscles, and why would you not train your eyes just like you go and lift weights?” And, of course, you can get both your eyes to work together.” - Pat Bailey (17:33)

  • It's not about you winning as a cause. It's about helping them become men and helping them become good teammates and helping them to really just and enjoying care for one another, then the winning part takes care of itself.” - Pat Bailey (35:35)

  • “I bet you the time you spent with your players on a daily basis is more time they spend with their parents.” - Pat Bailey (39:24)

  • “I just hope the coach is really buy into what I talked about in terms of this being a relation building business and we're here to build that because it's going to make our country better. We have coaches buying that because we have a huge impact on young people's lives.” - Pat Bailey (54:49)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
January 17, 2019  

81: Steve Roof- Head Baseball Coach, Madison Central HS (KY)

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.




In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Steve Roof, Head Coach at Madison Central in Richmond, Kentucky. Steve emphasizes the importance of making the team family. At the end of the day, we can lift weights and do more drills, but when the culture rallies around family, there are incredible benefits for the team.

Show Notes:

  • Why bringing the team together like a family is important

    • How the team reads a book together

  • How Steve generates leadership by having the seniors lead weights sessions

  • Why Steve is intentional about spending time with his team

  • Doing more drills isn't the only thing that can strengthen your team

  • Steve shares his multi-prong approach to developing a well-rounded team

  • Fall schedule includes 5-day a week weight training

  • Fall is where the team-family starts

  • Competition is a year-long thing for Steve´s team

    • Scrimmages, batting practice, and weight training competitions

  • What a typical practice looks like for Steve´s team

  • Base running, individual defense, and team defense are huge focuses

  • The practice plan is there if they need it

  • Why family, attitude, and hard work are key rules for the team

3 Key Points:

  1.     It is important that baseball players develop camaraderie and a sense of family with one another.

  2.  A typical week in fall will contain 5 days of weight lifting. The fall is the best time to start creating a strong team dynamic.

  3.   Key values Steve keeps in mind while structuring a well-rounded team are family, attitude, and hard-work.

Tweetable Quotes:

-       "Our kids believe in in-season lifting. I think it gives them confidence and it obviously helps them stay strong. We've seen positive gains definitely.” – Steve (15:00)

-       “That's where I use social media and I'll take pics or whatever and just send it to our guys and say, Listen, this is what the best are doing. And it really makes it easy to sell what we're trying to do.¨ – Steve (16:20)

-       “I think it's it's only going to make us better as coaches just because we do have to do our research and not just do what we were taught to do, which may or may not have been the right thing.¨–Jonathan (17:13)

-       “We have three standards, family, attitude and hard work. We're not going to blame the officials. We're not going to blame each other, hey, you might have to overcome my mistake. So a positive attitude and and we're going to work hard. We're going to be one of the hardest working groups around and that's a hard 90 that's running on and off the field.¨–Steve (29:06)

-       “God, Family and the next thing is going to be about trying to learn and get better.¨– Steve (34:02)

-       “You can work really hard and have fun doing it.¨–Steve(40:00)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
January 10, 2019  

80: Steve Johnson- Founder/CEO of LegKickNation

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.




In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Steve Johnson, Founder/CEO of LegKickNation. We discuss Steve’s method of rejecting the model of the ‘teacher king’ in order to foster a curiosity-provoking learning environment in which students take responsibility for their own progress, as well as how he teaches methods to reach the state of ‘flow’. We also discuss the practical details of teaching in this new mode and ways to apply them to baseball.

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Steve Johnson, teacher and coach, Team Invictus

  •  A love of learning brought Steve to teaching as well as coaching

  •  “Teacher King”

    • Traditional compartmentalized teaching a flawed system

    • Without underlying, no purpose or autonomy

    • Leaning on teachers too much diminishes student accountability

    • The importance of curiosity

  •  How do we foster curiosity?

    • Community-based instruction facility

    • Challenging kids in diverse areas, not just athletics

    • Allowed to learn from failures as well as success

    • Instructors serve as “bumpers in bowling alley”; helping and guiding but not controlling everything a kid is doing

  •  How to create an environment where kids can be creative

  •  More formal games these days, but less unstructured play has negative consequences

  •  The importance of kids becoming independent problem-solvers

  •  Flow: being ‘in the zone’, a sense of timelessness and selflessness

    • Easier to achieve it in other sports because of the pace of baseball

    • Maintaining singular focus

    • Processing information in the box hampers performance

    • Not being hung up on failures or self-consciousness

  •  Micro-flow vs Macro-flow

  •  Assessment of student athlete

    • Physical, collecting data, seeing how kids learn and react

  •  How does a student learn without the authority of the ‘teacher king’?

    • The learning goals come from the kids

  •  How to have kids express their desire honestly?

    • Not having Mom and Dad around tends to help

    • Establishing a rapport

  • Advice for those wanting to open a similar facility?

    • Membership vs per lesson model

    • Vision of better you rather than just better ball player

    • Culture of holistic learning rather than focus solely on baseball

  •  LegkickNation

    • How to allow a student to own their own learning?

      • Knowing when to address something and when to back off

    • A hands off approach allows kids to make their own learning decisions and goals

    • Some kids need more direction than others

    • Techniques to grow the ability to flow

 The influence and importance of body language and psychology on performance

  • Physical and Mental Coaching Constraints

  • How to clean up a negative attack angle

    • Using data, video

    • External cues

  • The possibilities of applying educationally-based books to athletics education

3 Key Points:

  1.     A teaching model not reliant on the ‘teacher king’ allows students to learn in a more profound way that gives them a deeper sense of responsibility for their own progress.
  2.  Encouraging kids’ natural curiosity is a fundamental part of helping them learn.
  3.   A teaching approach that focuses on flow and problem-solving in general can positively affect a student’s growth throughout their life, as well as in baseball.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “To me, to rely on a singular voice [in the classroom] is handcuffing the kids growth.” - Steve Johnson (6:20)


  • “As a teacher, I take offense a lot of times, to other people trying to handcuff a kids curiosity, because it is that curiosity which leads to growth.” - Steve Johnson (7:00)


  • “The more he misses the more he’s going to learn from his failure, and the more he crushes baseball the more he’s going to learn from his successes.” - Steve Johnson (9:40)


  • “We’re trying to create an environment where kids can be creative; to succeed both inside and outside of baseball you need to be creative, an elite level problem-solver.” - Steve Johnson (13:20)


  • “The biggest thing for me is seeing how the kids learns and how the kid reacts to different things. I’m a big proponent of word association. One of the first questions I ask a kid is what’s the first word that comes to your mind when I say ‘hit it’. Ordinarily the kid will give me a whole bunch of information based on his answer. So if I say what’s the first word that comes to your mind when I say ‘hit it’ and the kid says “Don’t strike out”, or “Foul balls”, anything that has a negative connotation to it, I know right away that he’s been through the system. That’s one of the things I always look for, getting a gauge on how this kid is going to learn and how this kid is going to deal with being in an environment where there is no ‘teacher king’, where we’re all on the same level.” - Steve Johnson (29:40)


  • “Yes, I’m an instructor if you will, or I own the facility, but I’m right there with you, we’re all trying to figure it out together, so it’s not me over you.” - Steve Johnson (30:35)


  • “I think most people want to be part of something bigger than just the sport of baseball. I think most people want to be part of a community in which you’re like minded student athletes with caring instructors who are there for your best interests.” - Steve Johnson (39:20)


  • “We’re trying to create better learners, better problem solvers, and a by-product of that is that we’ve been able to create monsters.” - Steve Johnson (40:05)

Resources Mentioned:




  • ‘Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • ‘The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance’ by Steven Kotler

  • ‘The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance’ by W. Timothy Gallwey

Website and Social Media sites for the show 





Ahead of the Curve Coaches Facebook group




January 3, 2019  

79: Matt Kosderka- Head Baseball Coach, Lewis & Clark College (OR)

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.



In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Matt Kosderka, Head Coach of D3 Lewis and Clark College Baseball team. Matt shares how he keeps his players motivated and successful in the game of baseball and the game of life.

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Matt Kosderka, professional baseball player who now teaches and coaches college baseball.

  • What a typical fall training week looks like for Matts team
  • How Matt recruits key players and strives to get them to the next level
  • How Matt builds the culture of his problem and what sets his team a part from anyone else
  • Why Matt uses coaches pillars in his coaching
  • How competitions can be integrated into practices for the betterment of the team
  • How to prioritize individual development on a team
  • Why communication is important and how Matt encourages open communication within his team
  • What many high school players are doing wrong and how we can improve it
  • What a typical practice looks like for Matts team
  • How Matt sets up his BP
  • Why it is important not to rush practices
  • How Matt uses data with his team
  • How to balance data and player relationships
  • What Matt wishes he knew before he became a head coach
  • How Matt prepares his assistants to become head coaches if that is in their goals
  • Why Matt makes changes each year in his programs and how it benefits his players
  • How Matt learns from his mentors
  • How using mindful apps daily has made a difference in his life
  • What are the players favorite aspect of practice

3 Key Points:

  •     Coaching a D3 school can pose unique issues for baseball players.

  •     Matt develops intentional training programs, communication, and unique competitions to keep his players engaged.

  •     Matt emphasizes why it is important not to get stuck in the kids and their different upbringings. It is important to teach baseball but it is even more important to teach life.

Tweetable Quotes:

-       ¨I think of the best ways to help our players is to have a high expectations and hold kids accountable to them.” – Matt. (46:25)

-       “I think that its normal, regardless how old you are, to love to compete. And so there's two things that I think we probably do that they like the most One is we call for spotlight base running. And so we put a base runner at every position we put to first base, just to have an extra guy there. And then we put a defense against them, and in each hitter gets two swings, to get the ball and play.¨ – Matt. (39:09)

-       “My career ended because I couldn't handle the failure. So now I want to help my players with that.¨–Matt (38:20)

-       “Spend your off season studying one element of the game that you want to get better at.¨–Matt (35:50)

-       “Adjust the culture to develop your identity as a program and we use pillars to teach those things to our guys. And I think that definitely helped last year.¨– Matt (34:40)

-       “When I started out as a coach 20 years ago, I would say that I had a different definition of success.¨–Matt (29:36)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
December 26, 2018  

78: Dr. Greg Rose- Co-Founder of Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) and OnBaseU

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.




In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Dr. Greg Rose of OnBaseU and the Titleist Performance Institute. We discuss the OnBaseU philosophy and program for improving the efficiency of baseball swinging and pitching, along with various data-based methods for improving baseball practice regimens. We also discuss the way data is becoming increasingly important baseball as it did in golf, and the possible reasons for the different approaches to data in these sports.

Show Notes:

  • Guest: Dr. Greg Rose, of the Titleist Performance Institute


  • Analyzes swing movement in golf and now baseball for motor problems


  • TPI Philosophy

    • Not one way to pitch or hit
    • A more efficient way for everyone though to pitch or hit, based on what they can physically do
    • Technical problem or physical problem?
    • Mimicking others isn’t necessarily the way to improve your swing


  • TPI uses 3D motion capture to determine efficiency


  • Video can have some uses

    • How to draw information from the video; what is a sway?
    • How to do a screening for physical vs technical problems?


  • 13 characteristics to correct in young players

    • Most common problem: “no spacing”
    • Disassociation between lower body and upper body
    • Shoulder issues, laying the arm back


  • Difference between golf and baseball: not a common language

    • Creating a common language in baseball so medical, fitness, and coach can communicate better


  • Workshops work with online classes and 2 day live sessions


  • Developing coaching curriculums for non-professional leagues


  • What are the necessities for developing baseball competence and how is a year over year curriculum for baseball developed

    • Number one reason for quitting baseball: can’t catch!
    • So it’s important to learn catching early
    • Easier to develop athletic skills younger, technical skills older


  • Muscles are more tense for young; easier to develop speed


  • Strength training much easier during and after puberty, because of testosterone


  • “For every decade you’re alive, that’s the percent of your program that should be based on mobility”


  • With adults mobility based training, kids speed, power, generally


  • Swing isolation exercises can be strange at first, but start to work over time


  • Group dynamics when everyone has their own individual problem?

    • TPI testing always as a group
    • Often groups within group have similar problems
    • Individualized stations mixed with group in TPI program


  • One-on-one not necessarily better than group, but still necessary to attack individual problems


  • Swing look doesn’t matter; efficiency is what’s important


  • The Kinematic Sequence Graph

    • Energy moves from the ground to the bat to the ball, ideally
    • Something that’s taken over the golf teaching world is now bleeding into the baseball world


  • The measurement of data in baseball vs others


  • Formula 1 and Golf as manufacturer’s and individual’s sports with stronger technology, vs baseball, basketball, football as owner’s sports


  • Offering data makes players more comfortable and able to measure change over time


  • Teaching truth vs tradition in baseball

    • Teaching what worked for us vs teaching what works for players
    • Coaches who studied how to coach vs coaches who studied how to play


  • Blocked vs Random practices

    • Both show gains
    • Random practice more effective for learning


  • Where does Dr. Rose hope to see baseball in ten years?

3 Key Points:

  1.     Data-based approaches in baseball can offer important efficiencies that can improve swinging and pitching.
  2.  OnBaseU has found that one of its important tasks in baseball is to create a common language of technique for the entire support staff and team to speak in common.
  3.   The difference in data usage in sports like golf versus those like baseball might be due to the importance of manufacturers in the former versus the importance of owners in the latter.

Tweetable Quotes:

-     “One-on-one is not better than group; most kids, most adults prefer working out in group.” (35:30) - Dr. Rose  

-      “Our philosophy is there’s not one way to hit or one way to pitch, but there’s one efficient      way for everyone to hit or pitch.” - Dr. Rose (36:05)

-     “There are two types of coaches; coaches who have studied how to coach, and coaches who studied how to play.” - Dr. Rose (42:40)

-     “Some of the best coaches in the world never played professionally.” - Dr. Rose (44:05)

-      “The research is extremely clear that block practice allows somebody to perform better in       practice but it doesn’t make them learn like random practice does” - Dr. Rose (46:00)

-      “I believe a baseball player is like a Formula 1 car.” - Dr. Rose (49:30)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
December 20, 2018  

77: Robert Woodard- Pitching Coach, University of North Carolina

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.



I welcome Robert Woodard, pitching coach for the University of North Carolina. Robert walks us through what the training program at UNC looks like while sharing some of his best practices and he also shares what they look for on the recruiting trail.

Show Notes:


  • Guest: Robert Woodard, Professional Player turned Coach
  • Robert reveals how he develops his players and what a typical week looks like for his team
  • How Robert shuts-down pitching players
  • The analytics Robert is using to measure players against one another as well as themselves
  • Why the culture is important in a program and how you can build the leadership, team, and culture to be in alignment
  • How Robert recruits players to play in college
    • Important factors for a player to have: Time management, Responsibility of themselves, and Knowing how to fail.
  • Why Robert ¨messes with timing¨ with his pitching players
  • How Robert structures his recovery program
  • The importance of conditioning and how you need to structure it around your season
  • The best ways to develop ball command
  • Changes that are being incorporated into Robert´s program
  • Fun practices incorporated into each practice for the players


3 Key Points:

  1.   Robert´s experience with professional baseball and later coaching enables him to share baseball best practice with us.
  2.  When recruiting players for college, the soft skill like time management, being able to failure, and responsibility are just as important as skill.
  3.   It is always important to implement change into a program and reinvigorate players with new ideas and methodologies.


Tweetable Quotes:

  • ¨I don't really draw any hard lines. I keep an open mind and communicate with each pitcher. We need to communicate with each pitcher in terms of what his vision for his personal processes are.” – Robert (11:00)

-       “We trust our players. We give them a lot of leeway in terms of policing themselves, and maintaining our team standards, and maintaining that culture.¨ – Robert (20:40)

-      “The most successful players are the ones that look at failure as an opportunity to grow. They look at challenges as another opportunity to grow and they are open to trying new things as opposed to just getting somewhere and being stuck.

- Every player is going to fail or be challenged at some point in their career and you have to you have to be equipped to to handle it and embrace it.¨–Robert (24:14)

-    “[Messing with pitching timing] It's just another weapon that guys can use to get hitters out.¨–Robert (29:06)

-       “(On bullpens) It's not necessarily scripted, but it is it is ironed out. Whether it's establishing the fastball or their primary off speed pitch. Then we’ll finish with simulating counts.¨– Robert (36:50)

-    Command is a daily mindset. Every single throwing session our guys have they to throw targets, or to the glove, or it's checkpoints on the body.¨–Robert (44:18)

Resources Mentioned:

Website and Social Media sites for the show 
December 16, 2018  

76: Head Coaches (HS)- Tony Szymendera- St. Christophers, Randy Tomlin- Liberty Christian, Sean Ryan- Benedictine, Jeff Petty-EVO Shield Canes / Fredericksburg Christian, Phil Forbes- Menchville (VA)

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.




We start with St. Christophers head coach Tony Szymendera, then we have Randy Tomlin, Former MLB player and now head coach at Liberty Christian, from there we move to Benedictine Head Coach Sean Ryan, Newly named Fredericksburg Christian head coach Jeff Petty who is also the president of the EVO Shield canes, and we end with Menchville head coach Phil Forbes.

Website and Social Media sites for the show 


December 15, 2018  

75: Randolph-Macon Head Coach Ray Hedrick, Jeremy Sheetinger and the Paul D. Camp CC Staff

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.




In this episode, I get the opportunity to introduce several college baseball coaches, and the man behind behind the mic at the ABCA Jeremy Sheetinger. We start with Randolph Macon head coach Ray Hedrick, then move to Jeremy Sheetinger and we end with the entire staff at Paul D Camp which include head coach David Mitchell, hitting coach Brandon Matthews, and pitching coach Pat Stafford!

Website and Social Media sites for the show 


December 14, 2018  

74: Tom Walter- Head Baseball Coach, Wake Forest University

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.




If you are not a fan of analytics, launch angle, exit velocity and spin rate, this episode may not be for you. Tom and I discuss how he is using these to provide individual player development plans for all of his players, and he gives us a ton of practical advice on HOW he does it.

Website and Social Media sites for the show 


December 13, 2018  

73: Shawn Stiffler- Head Baseball Coach, Virginia Commonwealth University

This episode is brought to you by baseballcloud.




In this episode, I of speak with Virginia Commonwealth  head baseball coach, Shawn Stiffler. I did not know much about Coach Stiffler before we got the opportunity to chat, and I was completely blown away by his attention to detail, the culture he has built, and what he is doing to make his players better on and off the field. His presentation was over “finding your difference” and you will love this episode.
Website and Social Media sites for the show