This blog is a running update on our fall program and a look inside the ins and outs of what we do with our teams. Colorado Rogue Baseball Club is a player development focused program, which provides our players with game reps and next level exposure opportunities on the weekends, and supplements those games with high level, position specific practices during the week. We believe in doing the majority of our coaching during practices, and using the games to let players show their skills, and learn from their successes and failures in order to continue to drive development process forward. This is especially true in the fall as we devote our coaching resources to accurately recording important game data to use in future practice sessions. For the fall of 2020, we have two teams which we have labeled Upperclass (primarily 2021 and 2022 graduates), and Underclass (2023 and 2024 grads). Below is a daily rundown of what is going on in our program.
September 22nd, 2020: Ryan Serena – Program Director/Upperclass Head Coach/Infield Coordinator
This past weekend had our underclass team with their first off weekend of the fall, while our upperclass team traveled to the Phoenix area to participate in the Pathway Arizona tournament. Pathway Baseball is the high school branch of Triple Crown Baseball, and their director Gino Grasso is a friend and does a great job putting these events together. We participated in two Pathway tournaments in the summer, and this most recent one in AZ this fall. One of the big draws is that Gino and his staff do a great job of getting college coaches out at their events, from schools that have been (to this point) realistic fits for our players. A list of attending schools is usually sent prior to the tournament, and we encourage our guys to reach out to these coaches with an introduction and a link to their SportsRecruits profile, in which they can provide all of their athletic and academic information, as well as game and practice videos for coaches to use as a reference. Below is the list of schools that attended the tournament in AZ this weekend.
Azusa Pacific University, Bakersfield College, Central Baptist College, East Los Angeles College, Lincoln University, Post University, Ottawa University (AZ), Benedictine University Mesa, Cochise College, Gateway CC, Glendale Community College, Chandler-Gilbert CC, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Cerro Coso Community College.
Footnote: Scouts from all 30 MLB teams were in attendance this weekend to watch an outfielder from California who is a projected first rounder next year. Further proof that if you are good enough, they’ll come watch you play.
September 15th, 2020: Ryan Serena – Program Director/Upperclass Head Coach/Infield Coordinator
To this point, each of our two teams have played three weekends worth of games, while each player has been at about 12-14 practices depending on his position. It usually takes a few weeks to get a really good handle on where we do and do not struggle in game situations, and where each player needs to really put his focus. Armed with more accurate information, we are now working to tailor what we do in the practice setting to what each player needs. One of the biggest focuses on the infield and catching sides of things has been encouraging each player to take more ownership in understanding his strengths and weaknesses, and encourage him to drive the process forward by working in those areas. We have found that to be very beneficial on a number of fronts, both creating a more aware player and also a more motivated player. These young guys are so used to having coaches tell them every little thing that they are going to do that day, that the freedom to make some of those decisions on their own really seems to keep them engaged. While this approach seems to take a little longer to make specific changes, our belief is that by forcing the player to be the catalyst, the growth will be more sticky and their ability to coach themselves will be enhanced in the long run.
When developing players, we talk about Tools, Actions and Gameability as the three areas that we want to focus on in the training environment. To this point, our defensive practices have been focused on reps and skill development in a position specific setting, really keying in on the Tools and Actions pieces. While this will continue to be our overall approach in the fall, watching 10+ games for each team it has made it pretty clear that we need to spend some time doing some team defense and working on the Gameability aspect of things as well in order for players to truly get better at the playing of game. Today we will have the older group outside on the field, and after going through our warmup and throwing protocols, we will spend the practice simulating game situations with live hitters/baserunners, in order to actively coach guys through situations that arise. Myself and coach Logan Serena will be the primary coaches of the position players on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, while coach Dillon Moritz will facilitate the game and key in on the roles of the pitchers in the live game setting. This will be a great setup for us because we can stop the “game”, explain situations and field any questions from players who may be confused. If need be, we can simulate that situation and run though it again until guys are comfortable. Today will be a very good example of using the context of what we learn in games to create an environment that addresses drive the development process.
The last thing to share is our weekly practice plan. Each week has different things that come up, so this varies from week to week. Our players now expect this on Sundays or Mondays, so that they can plan their lifts (all players lift with Push Performance), schoolwork and social lives.