Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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24: Stephen Mackey- CEO and Founder of 2 Words Character Development Program

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Quotes
  • My coach in middle school said 4 words that changed my life and those 4 words were ‘Get on the line’. In that moment I found out what discipline was. Discipline is doing what we don’t want to do today, to get what we want tomorrow.
  • I liked to think I was special, but it was our coaching staff that was special. My coaches taught me how to make choices, they taught me responsibility, they taught me that what the statistics said didn’t have to become who I was unless I chose, and that mindset of taking responsiility changed everything for me.”
  • My life was changed by my high school coaches sand I want to help coaches do that for their athletes.”
  • There is so much power in giving a kid what they don’t don’t deserve. Give kids a second chance, but teach them what to do with that second chance. Sometimes coaches will give a kid a second chance, but don’t teach them what to do with that second chance. So what happens? The same thing they did the first time because they don’t know any different.”
  • Are you more about who you are or what you do? If you are so wrapped up in what you do, then what happens if that gets taken away?
  • Theres a lot of things in life that are optional if you want to be successful. Talent? Optional. The right family? Optional. The right school? Optional. Genetics? Optional. But the one thing that is required to be successful? Sacrifice. 
Resources
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23: Clay Cox- Head Baseball Coach, Paris Junior College (TX)

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  • We're going to have more husbands and fathers than we are major league baseball players. We're here to build young men, and when they leave this program they're going to be contributing members to society.
  • We want guys that will fight at the drop of a hat. Guys that are tough, maybe were a little overlooked in HS. Guys that have some grit can play for us.
  • One thing we teach our guys is manners. They'll be yes ma'am, no ma'am. Yes sir, no sir. They take their hats off when they walk into a building. They look you in the eye when they shake your hand and they say please and thank you. Most of our guys come from great families and we want to be an extension of them.
  • People want come complain about this generation, but what are you doing about it? Young men want to please, and what you expect out of them is what you're gonna get from them. If you expect it, they'll do it.
  • (on the green light mentality) We want to put pressure on defenses because catching and throwing is not as easy as it sounds. Pressure bursts pipes.
  • We love multi-sport athletes. We can take an athlete and build a ball player. You can necessarily make a guy a better athlete but you can make him a better ballplayer.
 Resources
  • Autobiographies on coaches
  • Twitter
  • #ABCAchats
 Contact 
  • 254-855-5453

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22: Zach Brandon- Mental Conditioning Coach, IMG Academy (FL)

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Quotes
  • Our approach to teaching a new skill is education, application and support. We start with why its important, then we apply it to practice and then from there we figure out what works and what doesn’t for each kid.
  • We say the breath is the MVP of the mental game. We spend a lot of time on teaching it.
  • a concept that Ken Ravizza and Tom Hansen discuss.
    1. Learn it
    2. Do it
    3. Own it
      We invest a lot of time learning it, but can we actually practice the skills? We need to create a practice environment that does that.
  • Theres a difference between a jungle tiger and a zoo tiger. Whats the life of a zoo tiger like? Spoon-fed, easy and comfortable. What’s life like in the jungle? Its stressful and your survival is on the line. Now lets compare it to baseball, which one is practice and which one is the game? We need to be able to create more jungle tigers and put our players in stressful situations.
  • There’s a lot of time to think in baseball. Your mind can be your best friend of your work enemy. It can be a weapon or a weakness. 
  • In order to get behavior change, we have to get repetition and progression of skills. If I’m a coach and I do session in the classroom once a week, thats better than nothing. In that setting we expect the players to transfer those skills over to the field. If we only do those sessions in the classroom, we’re going to be setup for disappointment. 
Resources
 
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21: James Vilade- Assistant Baseball Coach, Oklahoma State University

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Quotes
  • Being a cowboy is being a part of one of the greatest programs in the history of college baseball
  • We hang our hat on player development. There’s not a team in the big 12 that has had more draft picks than us in the last 5 years
  • Our demand in practice is energy. You’ve gotta come out prepared to play and practice with an intensity thats going to match game speed.
  • The guys really embrace the fact that the daily competition is that internal check to task yourself to be at your best and to be at a high level every single practice.
  • No matter what spreadsheet you get or saber-metrics stats you use, our number one statistic is “who is our there competing for a spot every single day.” Thats how you win and job and impact the game.
  • Two big things for me as an infield coach are leadership and communication. If we’re constantly communicating were playing the game in a progressive way. If we’re playing the game in a progressive way then we aren’t going to worry about what happened last inning, were going to keep competing.
  • If the players don’t trust you, they’re not going to care what you tell them. It doesn’t matter if you have the best information in the world if your players not trust you. 
Resources
  • Other Coaches 
Contact

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20: Tom Held- Head Baseball Coach, Defiance HS (OH)

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  • "We've been doing an overload and underload throwing program for 22-23 years. We call it the Nate Smith throwing program. We use a tennis ball, a softball, and a baseball."
  • We throw more than any program than i've ever run into. But i've always had the belief that we pitch too much and we dont throw enough.
  • We have a much higher focus on individual player development than team development.
  • We don't allow headphones in our program.That way they cant just sit there by themselves. They have to communicate and they have to talk to each other.
  • Everyday after practice we line up and shake hands with a firm handshake and looking each other in the eye. IF we had a bad day at practice or if we got onto a kid, we have a chance to read that kid and leave on a positive note.
  • Our culture is #1 and our alumni are a close second. I have a text group from every year from 99 on that we reach out to on a consistent basis. We have an alumni fantasy baseball league. We want them to stay involved because they’re the ones that build the program. The players are the reason any coach has success
  • In our program #1 is velocity, #2 is velocity and #3 is velocity. And the reason is that we've never had a kid that throws 80-82 that got a college scholarship. So that's our philosophy with player developmentt 
 Resources
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19: Kai Correa- Cleveland Indians MiLB Infield Instructor and Founder of #FridayFielders

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Quotes
  • I want them to be in competition with themselves to be perfect. That's the only way we're going to field at a really high clip and win games.
  • Some elements that I like to include every single day that I don't think coaches do enough of
          1. Stretching and catching regardless of position
          2. Stretching and picking regardless of position
          3. Catching infield fly balls (GB to FB ratio is 4 to 1 in MLB)
          4. Picking and tagging.
          5. Redirecting the baseball
  • I partner the old with the young. Its always an old guy and a young guy. I want to empower my older guys to provide input. Catch play, picks, footwork. Always an old guy with a young guy. I think that builds leadership, but I also think it builds ownership.
  • On purpose, every single week, I pick a part of practice to watch from the dugout. If ive done my job and we've truly built a unit, the show is going to go on without me. 
  • If you're not willing to have a dialogue with your players about why you're doing something, then you need to take a long look in the mirror to make sure that what you're doing is not just something that your comfortable with and that its the best way to do it.
 
Resources
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18: Jeremy Sheetinger on Essential Networking Strategies

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Quotes
  • I'm anti glancing blows. Networking is about developing true meaningful relationships
  • (on how to remember names) Try and say someone's name 2 times in 20 seconds and 3 times in 30 seconds. There's power in saying someone's name that cannot be manufactured any other way.
  • As long as no one cares who gets the credit, we're going to change the game of baseball.
 
Resources
 
Contact
  • Cell 502-767-7680
 

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17: Cody Atkinson- Hitting Coach, University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley

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Quotes
  • We call ourselves the valley boys. Because we represent the valley. We're getting out on that field every single day and sweating in this heat and working hard and doing all the extra things so when the valley comes and watches us play, they can be proud.
  • We have our players back and we continually let them know that we love them and are there for them
  • Are you an OKG?  Our kinda guy. I'm not a salesman. I'm going to show you everything we do and our vision with development focus. I'm going to get the guys that are in on this thing and the guys that arent, I don't want.
  • Culture coaches when the coaches aren't around. We're going to recruit personality and character before skill. We think we can take anyone and make them better.
  • We believe in having short, efficient practices. We come in, go as hard as we can, and leave. We don't condition because you should be so tired from practice 
  • We don't clone people here. We don't cookie cut. We try and help each player find his best swing.
  • You decide NOT to swing, you dont decide to swing. This is a HUGE deal for us.You step into the box swinging at the pitch
  • Hitters make themselves. We don't make them, They do the work and they stand in the box. We can help them but we dont make them.
 
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16: Brent Robison- Pitching Coach, Tulsa Union HS (OK)

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Quotes
  • One of the first conversations we have is where does your arm hurt? We have to start with the pain
  • A lot of what we do is player led. Guys tend to figure out things more when they have to teach other people what the ultimate goal of the activity is. 
  • Every year i have someone who doesn't fit the ideal mold, so it keeps pushing me to try and reach everyone in the program.
  • If I have 13 pitchers, I should have 13 pitching programs.
  • Every time a bullpen is thrown, they're competing against someone for something. If we're asking them to compete in games, then practice should be a competition. 
  • Our goal has always been to help the players become better people. Learning life lessons will help them to become better baseball players.
  • Start looking at players as individuals. One size doesn't fit all, and one size doesn't even fit one guy for very long.
 
Resources 
 
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15: Zach Dechant- Director of Strength and Conditioning, TCU Baseball

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Quotes
  • Our kids are at their strongest in season Were not training to be good in the offseason, were training to be at our best in season. So it drives me crazy when you see kids not lifting in season, it makes no sense.
  • All of our incoming freshman are in a developmental group that focuses on 5 major movements

    1. Squat patterning (front squat) 2. Hip Hinge 3. Pushup 4. Horizontal Pull 5. Iso Core Series

  • We do alot of speed work, and to be fast you have to train fast.
     
  • We train on gameday. And i see no reason that HS kids cant either. HS kids arent developed enough to get fatigued if they are working out in the morning and getting 10-12 hours of recovery time. You'll find the more consistent your workouts are. the less theyll get sore. You can develop so much in your in season period
  • Everybody wants to train the pretty muscles, the mirror muscles, chest, abs. Performance happens on the backside. You want to keep kids strong and healthy? It all happens on the backside. Scaps glutes and hamstrings are the powerhouse of athletic performance 
  • There is not a lot of agility that goes on in baseball, its mostly reacting to a stimulus (the baseball) Everything is a straight line. There no cone drills, latter drills in baseball. Its all a straight line to a point, so that what we incorporate into our speed development program.

Resources

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