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 2022, we have two teams which we have labeled Rogue Black (primarily 2023 and 2024 graduates), and Rogue White (2024 and 2025 grads). Below is a daily rundown of what is going on in our program.
Rogue’s Development Pillars – Tools, Actions and Gameability (TAG)
August 10th, 2022: Ryan Serena – Program Director
As we begin the fall season, it is important for us to share a few foundational principles of our program. As Player Development is our primary focus, there are three pillars in which we look to develop in order to help players become the best versions of themselves. We use the simple acronym TAG: Tools, Actions & Gamability. Below is a description of how we define each pillar.
Tools are the physical piece of being an athlete and a baseball player. Some things like your height and hand size are God given and cant be developed, but things like raw strength, speed, mobility, stability and other various other physical attributes can be. These tools are most often developed in the weight room, which is an extremely important supplement to what happens on the field and in the cage with skills work. As players advance to higher levels, the Tools become a prerequisite for performance at a high level.
Actions can be described more commonly as mechanics or movements that lead to high level performance as a player. Every player moves in a different way, so we work to help build actions that allow that specific player to best accomplish baseball specific skills, and remain adjustable the the countless variations of possibilities within a game. Some examples here are a player’s swing, footwork on a ground ball, throwing motion etc. While there are principles within each of these areas that hold true to the vast majority of players, working to understand the player’s specific needs, and sharing drills and cues that help the player understand those needs is critical here.
Gameability is multifaceted in its place within the development process. On one hand, gameability can be described as the ability to naturally compete and perform in a game situation. We can all think of players who are “gamers”, who play their tails off and find a way to get the job done, sometimes despite having underdeveloped tools or actions. On the other hand, there are pieces of gameability that we can develop through simulating game situations in the training environment. Some examples here include, live baserunning reads, mental game focuses, team defense, pitch calling & sequencing, etc. The ability to take training to the field is of the utmost importance, so training in a gamelike fashion is key to developing these abilities.
It is important to note that these pillars are not trained or executed in a vacuum, and development in one area aids in the development of the others. For example, If your tools become better by physically getting stronger, your ability to execute certain actions is likely going to be enhanced, and because your swing or throwing motion is more optimized and you have added strength, you’ll be able to hit or throw balls harder, which will increase your output in a game scenario. It’s for this reason why it is so important that players keep TAG in mind as they set about the process of improving, and why we as a program work to provide development in each of these areas.
Optimizing For Player Development in Fall Games
August 15th, 2022: Ryan Serena – Program Director
As mentioned above, our program’s primarily focus is Player Development, and the fall provides an ideal time to use games to optimize for this. This means that as we approach every decision that arises in games, the development of the player(s) involved is at the forefront of our minds. The way we structure various aspects of the fall season are a reflection of this focus, and will be shared in the entries that follow through out the fall.
One common misconception is that winning is not an important thing during the fall. Often times the words “Development” and “Win” stick in people’s minds as contrasting terms. THIS HOWEVER IS NOT THE CASE!! The better players get, the better chance they have of making positive contributions, and the better chance the team has of winning the game! Put very simply by legendary manger Jim “Skip” Riggins….
At the higher levels, the players and teams that can do these three things most effectively are the ones that have success and win! Obviously, there is a WHOLE lot more that goes into doing these three fundamentals, which again, you will learn more about throughout this blog. When it comes to our approach in the fall season, we put it this way “The goal is ALWAYS to play to win the game, however we will NOT win at all costs”. With the fall season being such a key time for player development, there are things we do to provide the best environment possible for that to happen that may not always optimize for winning, which most often are different than what some people are used to. Some examples include…
Lineup & Positions
– Optimized for Winning = Hitting better players at the top of the lineup every game, and playing players at their best defensive spots always.
– Optimized for Player Development = Creating a rolling lineup where each guy gets similar numbers of at bats throughout the fall, and put in various spots and offensive situations in order to facilitate growth. Players getting an opportunity to play multiple positions in order to develop competency and versatility.
– Optimized for Winning = Pitchers throw as long as they can as long as they are still effective in order to give us best chance to win
– Optimized for Player Development = Pitchers remain on a certain pitch/inning count in order to maintain arm health and provide adequate innings to entire pitching staff.
– Optimized for Winning = Playing to the situation in order to give best chance to score runs (ex: sacrifice bunt with men on 1st and 2nd, nobody out)
– Optimized for Player Development = Allowing players to use these situations as opportunities to develop skills that will scale (ex: driving the ball in the gap and scoring those two runners)
These are just a few examples of how Optimizing for Winning and PD can be in contrast, and how we choose the later during the fall season. During the summer season, we optimize much more for winning (still not at all costs), however we believe that the fall is best suited for optimizing for Player Development as much as possible, for the sake of our players and their long term growth. Winning a game is a short term benefit, whereas creating systems for growth shows itself in the long term. During the fall, we often sacrifice the former if it interferes with the latter. Remember….
IF YOU WORK TO GET BETTER IN PRACTICE AND PLAY REALLY WELL IN THE GAME, CHANCES ARE YOU ARE GOING TO WIN!