Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We continue our timeline through the sophomore and junior years. If you followed the plan that we detailed for you in our last post in your freshman year, you are used to the drill. This time however, you are playing for keeps, because sophomore and juniors ARE looked at by college and pro scouts alike...Follow this timeline and you may get what you want.

· How did you do academically your freshman year? If the answer was great, then continue with the same routine of conditioning and work-outs you had as a freshman. Most of you are first timers to this site, so look at the last post and follow the same routine as we outlined for freshman.
* Now if your grades weren't so hot, then you need to plan your day better and make sure that you are carrying a 3.3 or higher. High school will get harder as you progress, so buckle down and get into a disciplined routine that includes the aforemnetioned work-outs AND will allow you at least 3 hours of studying (not in front of TV) a night. Sit down with your high school counselor and tell him your goals and make sure you are taking the curriculum necessary to get into the colleges you are targeting. As hard as maintaining grades and playing a varsity sport at the same time may seem to you now, wait until you go to college. A college student/athlete is a high school student athlete times 10! We will discuss this in another post, but the demands in college are far greater than what you think you are experiencing now...So our advice is to get yourself disciplined now, so you can transition to college more smoothly.

January-May· Enjoy your high school baseball season. Whether or not you are on varsity or JV, play hard and smart. If you think you are good enough to be on varsity, don’t worry, many high school coaches will favor their upperclassmen. If you are good, you will get your shot next year. Be thankful that you get to play everyday on JV.
· Summer travel ball is more important than ever…There are never too many games in travel ball. The more reps against the best, the better you will get.

July-August· Attend an Area Code Camp in your region or state – Log onto Area Codes web site…(Listed in the right green column).
· Scour the web sites to the right about the many showcases offered in your area. The summer of your sophomore year is when college scouts get serious. Start sending your profile sheets and letters with more frequency before every showcase and camp or tournament you attend and personalize the letters to each coach.
· If there is a Perfect Game or Team One in your area attend those. They will prove invaluable to your reputation as a player. If they don’t have a showcase, there are many more. Look to the right for the showcases in your area.
· If you get more letters back, respond to every one, no matter if they are not in your top 10. Leave all doors wide open.

· Register for the fall SAT standardized tests ...We suggest the SAT because it is accepted by most all of the top schools and it is a bit harder. You should want the harder test right? Check the SAT web site and link I provided on the right hand column to find the times that fit your schedule...better yet, visit your high school counselor and work with him or her. Hopefully most you took yours in October as well.
· Get the best score that you can. Take it two to three times if necessary even if you qualified for the target schools minimum requirement the first time. Always strive to do better than what is required. You wouldn’t do the minimum required of you in a baseball game would you???
· Register for the NCAA Clearinghouse. The link is to the right.
· Step up your work-outs from the previous years work-outs. You are starting to mature and you are able to take more on physically.
· Double check if you are NCAA eligible with your counselor.

Feb -May· Send out your high school schedule to all of your contacts. Find out what local paper covers your team frequently and send a link to each coach so that they can follow you. If your high school web site is up to date on the daily box scores and news, send them that link as well.
· Go visit the schools of your choice when you have time. Many have "Junior Days" during the spring, usually on Sundays. GO TO THEM!! THEY ARE IMPORTANT!! These are all “unofficial visits” and the bill will be on you.
· Plan your summer schedule!!! This is when the rubber hits the road…Attend all the important showcases. Go to the WWBA in Atlanta. Work to get invited to the Area Code try-outs and a USA Baseball try-out as an example. Have a plan in place and work towards getting as many phone calls as possible on July 1…the day when you can be officially contacted.

Summer· June and July are the primary showcase and camp months. If you followed the timeline, you will have gotten invitations to the camps of the schools of your choice, and to the invitation-only showcases. Continue sending out your letters and tell them of your successful Junior year on varsity. If you received any local awards such as first team in league or metro honors, tell them that up front!
· This is by far the most important time of a player’s baseball life. For instance, many of the better players will have received offers by the middle of the summer.


· The NCAA allows phone contact after July 1 of your Junior year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Freshman Recruiting/Training Timeline...Time to Get Ready...Part One

Do college scouts and recruiting organizations really look at freshman? Well, have you ever gone in a department store and have a salesperson ask you. "May I help you?", and your reply is , "No thanks, I'm just looking." These early looks at 9th and in some cases 8th graders are similar to this analogy. The recruiting timeline is getting earlier and earlier. Depending on your son's projectable talent and abilities, getting them in a recruiting database early on may help your son get on the lists of the invitation only showcases. This is also a time to get used to the camps. Find out what weaknesses your son needs to work on and what strengths he needs to hone. Bottom line, he still needs to play and play well to be on the radar of most high profile organizations like PG and Team One, so be realistic...talent and attitude is still the gauge used.

The following timeline details how and when to prepare your son for the baseball recruiting opportunities that he has in front of him. Parents…learn from our mistakes. This outline is the result of hundreds of interviews and correspondence from parents, recruiters and scouts.

First, we must reiterate that as much as we love baseball, your player is going nowhere if he doesn't have the grades. Forget any and all perceptions that "if your son is good, it won’t matter what their grades are"That’s totally false!!! For instance, in California, most Pac 10, Big West and WCC schools want a 3.2 GPA or better and a 1400 SAT score. The new APR standards that the NCAA have imposed has changed a lot…for the better in our opinion. Let’s face it…They are STUDENT Athletes! Start them off on the right frame of mind as freshman. The habits they learn early, they will carry with them the rest of their lives.

9Th Grade

September-October· You (the student) are in a new environment and your first few months are for adjusting to your new school and new friends.
· If baseball is your passion, then freshman year is the ideal time to start getting serious.
· Take advantage of the daily access to school facilities and long toss with friends after school, hit in the cage, or field ground balls.
· Utilize the track facilities, football bleachers etc, and get into leg shape and build endurance
· Play on a travel fall ball team. If you are a pitcher, limit your innings to 3 per week.

November· Depending on where you live, you may have to find a new venue to throw, field and hit. Southern states, continue your fall Sept-Oct. program. Northern states, move your program indoors or locate a batting cage that will allow you to work out in the tunnels for a discount.
· Most batting facilities have hitting and pitching instructors. This is a good time to hone your skills with a professional.
· Seek out a winter college camp or underclass showcase. For many of you, this will be your first camp or showcase, so I hope the resources we have on Rounding Third, will help steer you in the right direction. There are many freshman outdoor showcases and camps in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. However, there are also many indoor college camps at many schools in the larger conferences, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, etc. Go on the web site of that particular school close to you and click camps on their athletic web site. See the link to the right on Division 1, 2 and 3 college web sites.

December· Step your program up the first two weeks of the month. Work harder than you ever have…Then rest the last two weeks. Have fun…It is Christmas by the way…
· How are your grades????

January· Step your training program back up at the level you were working on in the first two weeks of December and get ready for spring baseball try-outs. In the south, try-outs will start in mid to late January. In the Northern states, your coach will start working you out indoors. Get ready for a lot of running, weight training and stretching. Aren't you glad you were already in shape from a fall work-out program?

February- June
· This is the High School Season and you will thank us for the training program we outlined for you in September-January. Daily practice, fielding drills, outfield drills, scrimmages etc., can be hard on your arm. The long toss work-outs you did in fall (you did do them right?), pay big dividends in spring.
· Work hard and smart in try-outs. Coaches like hustle, and players that finish first in drills. If you stuck with the program we have outlined, this will not be a problem for you.

May - July/August· Take a week or two off after your high school season ends and your summer season begins. Rest your arm , but run and stay in shape.
· After the rest, find a travel team try-out in your area and pick the most competitive team with an aggressive tournament or league schedule. Playing with the best and against the best will make you better. Start researching summer camps and showcases via college web sites (At right under Useful Sites), and programs like Perfect Game and Team One (also at right)

June - August
· Sign up and go to those camps and showcases I mentioned. Read my previous posts. If you want to get seen, you must be present at these camps and various high profile tournaments. Recruiters will not come to you. You must go to them.
· If you want my opinion on what college camps and what showcases are worth going to, comment on this post and I will reply.

More posts on Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors tomorrow!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What To Do When You Receive a Letter From a College Coach

If you attended a recent WWBA tourney or another Perfect Game Showcase, then you may have already received that letter that reads...

"We saw you play at a recent showcase and have recognized you as one of the top players in your area"

Yes, this is sort of a standard letter that is sent out to just about every participant at a showcase. Part of the agreement of these showcases is the release of the database of the teams, players and coaches e-mails and home addresses. However, that doesn't mean that you ignore it. All of these coaches and organizers know that not every one is a talented prospect. However, not even every talented prospect can be a prospect if he doesn't respond to the questionnaires and letters that he receives from the college coach that sent the letter.

Bottom line, respond to every letter...Fill out every questionnaire...Get on their database...Because it will show that you are an interested athlete.

Why? thing your son has that most baseball players that don't go to showcases and camps have is the desire to put their talent on display in front of the scouts. That says volumes about your sons character and desire for the game. That will make him a player to watch in future events. Now, it doesn't mean that they will recruit him. It just means that they will further evaluate him and see if the talent matches up to the desire and attitude. But, it's a start and a good position to be in.

Before we went to our first major camp (read my first post...we did some minor camps to get the kinks out first), my son and I sent out letters and e-mails to all of the colleges he thought he may want to go to school and play for and told them that he was attending the showcase. The letter and profile that we sent was very detailed. Below is a sample of the type of information you must put in a profile sheet. Include a good, "facing the camera" shot of your son...preferably torso up, so they can see his body type and frame.
<Travel Team Name
Positions: OF
Uniform#: #23
Coach: All Coaches Named Here

Personal Information
Phone: 888-888-8888
Address: 888 Baseball Rd, Baseball City CA 88888
Date of Birth: 01/01/1991 Age: 16
Height: 6'4" Weight: 190
High School: My High School Class of 2010
League: AAAA
Phone / Web 888-999-0000
HS Coach: Mr Coach (888) 777-8888
Positions: OF
Bats: R Throws:R
GPA: 3.8

Athletic Awards: Started Varsity as Freshman, All League 2nd team, County Times 2nd Team

Academic Awards: Frosh Deans List Honors Algebra Academic Award

Clubs/Activities: Freshman Class Treasurer

Hitting Coach: Coach Smith

Travel Baseball Background: 10U 7th Place USSSA Nationals, 11U 5th Place USSSA Nationals, 12U 2nd Place Cooperstown TOC, 13U USSSA 3rd Place Nationals, 14U National Champions USSSA, 15U National Champions Elite 16

Top Colleges Interested In: State U, State Tech, State A&M


As you can see from the profile info above, we included the following:

TRAVEL TEAM...This is important because the scouts and recruiters want to know how serious the players are about baseball and the way they challenge themselves against better competition. include your uniform number so they can spot you right away...this will vary...some showcases have pre-determined numbers that are given out...others will have the team just wear their travel ball uniforms. Also include your coaches phone number and e-mail so they can contact them with a profile of your abilities.

HIGH SCHOOL...High schools teams get the press, so if your player is on a high school team that gets a lot of local press, the scouts will know to look for you there. Also include the name, phone number and e-mail address of your high school coach. Depending on the league or the coaches reputation, they will contact that coach as well for an evaluation.

ACADEMICS...College baseball has always put more of an emphasis on grades than other sports...If a players grade point is above a 3.2, he will be recruited heavier than a student with a 2.8 or below...all things equal.

TRAVEL TEAM SUCCESS...While it doesn't matter what kind of success you had as a 10 year old, the fact that a player has had the discipline and desire to play those 100+ games and travel around the country for years, will help the coaches understand that you can handle the rigors of collegiate ball better than most.

LIST ALL COLLEGES YOU ARE INTERESTED IN...Don't be shy here..You will not make the coaches mad if their school is one of 10 listed. In fact, it shows that you have confidence in your ability to play there.

When we went through this process, we bought big 3" binders with the names of every college we sent letters and e-mails to and received letters from and organized the names on tabbed separators. We also wrote down notes of each and every showcase he attended and we did our own analysis of his performance....i.e. hits, plays made...60 yard time...SPARQ score etc.

This is just scratching the surface. There will be more on this subject later.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hat's Off To High School Baseball

High School is in full swing and while many students are focused on the pigskin rather than a baseball, serious baseball players are still playing in fall baseball leagues and tournaments.

That said, while it may seem like we really push College Development Programs and travel ball on this site, it’s is not to slight the incredible importance of High School Baseball one bit. We only stress CDP's and Travel/Select baseball because that is when most of the scouts and coaches in college have the time to actually see the players. It’s economy of scale. And in reality, the recruiters are all just doing a follow up to see first hand, the abilities of the player that had a great high school year.

High School baseball benefits baseball players in so many ways. First, there is the support of the built-in fan base and community that schools provide. If a team or certain players had a great game, it is published all over the local community newspapers and announced in the early morning school announcements. This type of publicity sets up showdowns with other schools and rivalries in their league and sections. And, it’s those games that have great meaning not only to players, but alumni as well.

Many cities have high school rankings and there are bragging rights for teams to strive for. This engages entire metropolitan areas to follow the successes of certain teams and players. In many areas of the country, message boards on the Rivals network and other local sites get as busy as talk radio when it comes to match-ups, league standings, play-offs and top players. So, the publicity for many top HS teams can stretch well beyond their local county papers to the entire region and even the whole state.

HS also gives players the ability to hone their skills each and every day in the off-season with their very own private work-out facility. Parents, we have to pay for these privileges at health clubs and franchised gyms. Players have the luxury of the schools tracks, weight rooms, fields and coaches at no cost. During the season, the everyday practice is invaluable. The one thing that summer ball can’t offer is access to the fields and coaches for three hours a day, 6 days a week. If your son loves baseball, he should love the opportunity to take advantage of this huge benefit. When you throw in 25-30 games on top of all of that practice, your son should be at the top of his game by the time recruiting season gets started in the summer.

So, hat’s off to High School Baseball. As important as CDP's and travel ball are to recruiting, there’s still nothing like the excitement and anticipation of a high school baseball season. Thanks to all of the high school coaches that take the time to make high school baseball special for all of our players. And, thanks to all of the high school coaches that have been sending us e-mails supporting our site.

Rounding Third Staff.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No B.S. Grip Strength

By Jon Doyle

Note: The following is an excerpt from the best selling baseball training book “Diamonds” and is being published here due to the enormous amount of mail I received concerning grip training and baseball.

To be rather blunt, grip, wrist and forearm strength training for baseball is severely misunderstood. If need be, I will be the one to tell you that wimpy wrist and forearm curls and rotations will not do anything except make your forearms burn. To this point almost everyone has told you this works.

Well, they were dead wrong! They have very little carryover onto the baseball diamond and are simply a waste of time. As is my mission on every piece of advice I give, I am here to cut through the BS and provide you with the truth about how to develop strong, ripped forearms that won’t quit and will skyrocket your performance on the baseball field, fast.

Ok, so now that you have tossed the muscle magazines that are simply a waste of time, let’s get down to business. If you want strong forearms you need to overload them with exercises that force the body to handle very heavy loads. Now that does not mean you have to load the Smith Machine with 7 plates on each side. It means you must use gravity and imperfect object to stimulate the forearms and wrists in unique and effective ways.

During certain Focus Lifts the forearms get a tremendous amount of stimulus that actually carries over to the field. Power Cleans, Power Snatches and Deadlifts all rely heavily on the forearms as part of the chain.

That point if key. When you swing a bat, you swing with more than your forearms and wrists. They are part of the whole “chain.” It should be this way in your training as well.

If you are isolating the forearms you are missing the boat. Just like isolation training doesn’t work for making you a stronger, more explosive athlete, forearms training is no different.

In my opinion, one of the quickest ways to increase grip and forearm strength is by climbing or pulling a thick rope. Doing so will literally force your forearm muscles to respond with a grip that won’t quit.

Ropes used to be in every gym class in the country, but are now very hard to find. In fact, the only one I have seen in an educational facility in the last ten years was at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Chances are you are going to have to set up your own if you want to reap the benefits of this tremendous drill.

Another very useful tool is towels. Towels placed over a barbell can prove to be a tremendous tool for increasing forearm and grip strength. Deadlifts, rows and pull-ups can all be performed with towels.

Another section that should be referenced in this book is the “Weighted GPP” portion. Exercises such as Wheelbarrow Walks and Farmers’ Walks will not only do wonders for your overall conditioning, they will also provide a tremendous stimulus for the forearms.

To recap simply drop the isolation work for your forearms and train them along with the other aspects of your training.

If you are interested in learning more about grip strength and baseball drills in general be sure to check out “Diamonds”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NCAA cracks down on baseball advisers

New player questionnaire could hinder MLB draft prospects

By Jerry Crasnick

The NCAA walks a fine line with baseball players selected in the annual June draft. Players are free to seek guidance, but the NCAA distinguishes between "agents" and "advisers" and makes it clear that athletes who fail to recognize the difference put their eligibility at risk.

The line is hazy, and teams and agents routinely wink at practices that fall beyond the letter of the law. But as the money increases and the draft becomes a prime financial battleground, the signs are pointing toward an attempted crackdown by the NCAA.

The NCAA Eligibility Center recently distributed a questionnaire to college baseball players that suggests tighter oversight of advisers in the draft. Many agents questioned where the initiative will lead, only seven months after an Ohio judge upheld former Oklahoma State pitcher Andy Oliver's right to representation in the draft.

"The court ruling said a player is allowed to have representation like anyone else in America," said Scott Boras, baseball's most prominent agent and an active presence as an adviser in the draft. "Why should an 18-year-old kid not have the benefit of counsel when dealing with a professional franchise? It makes no sense." obtained a copy of the form, which includes 16 questions for coaches to distribute to recent recruits and current college players who were selected in the June draft but didn't sign professional contracts. Among them:

1. Provide the name and contact information (e-mail address and phone number) of your adviser.
2. Is your adviser an attorney?
3. Did your adviser have any direct communications with any MLB clubs on your behalf?
4. Did your adviser discuss your signability with any clubs?

Stephen Webb, the NCAA's associate director of amateurism certification, declined comment on the letter. He referred to the organization's media relations department, which sent a two-paragraph response via e-mail.

The NCAA said the questionnaire is part of an effort to ensure "a consistent determination of prospective student-athletes' eligibility status," and is "solely motivated to gather information to be used during the certification process."

"It is important that the Eligibility Center gather all necessary information in order to make an accurate determination," the NCAA said. "As such, it has previously sent similar requests for information to prospective student-athletes in other sports, including golf and soccer."

Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's vice president of labor relations and human resources,said the letter is strictly an NCAA initiative.

"Our position is, we draft a kid, he tells us who he wants to deal with, and that's who we deal with," Manfred said.

Nevertheless, the letter includes a waiver for players to sign that would allow the NCAA to forward information to MLB clubs. Sources said that provision has generated concern within the Players Association, which oversees the certification of agents and negotiates draft rules in collective bargaining.

Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel, declined to comment.

The NCAA has occasionally punished players who sought assistance in the draft. In 2002, Vanderbilt pitcher Jeremy Sowers sat out six games after it was discovered that his representatives talked to Cincinnati Reds officials who had drafted him out of high school.

Oliver was declared ineligible for the 2008 NCAA regional tournament after it was discovered that advisers Bob and Tim Baratta had sat in on negotiations with the Minnesota Twins in 2006. After Oliver switched to Boras in March 2008, the Baratta brothers reportedly turned in Oliver to the NCAA and submitted a $113,775 bill for services rendered.

Oliver filed a lawsuit and was reinstated at Oklahoma State when Tygh M. Tone, an Eric County (Ohio) common pleas judge, ruled that NCAA regulations limiting the role of attorneys in counseling student-athletes are impossible to enforce and allow for the exploitation of players.

Oliver re-entered the draft in June, with Boras as his adviser, and signed with the Detroit Tigers for a $1.495 million bonus as a second-round pick. Following the judge's ruling in Oliver's favor during the bench trial, Oliver is seeking damages in the jury trial, which is scheduled to begin in October.

Rick Johnson, Oliver's attorney, said the latest NCAA memo is a direct violation of Tone's ruling in Oliver's behalf.

"It illegally and unethically seeks attorney-client privileged information, and it misstates the NCAA's bylaws and what is required of student-athletes, who are not required to disclose this level of information, sign releases, etc., without any probable cause or due process," Johnson said in an e-mail to

Johnson added that the NCAA Eligibility Center is "a wholly-owned, for-profit subsidiary of the nonprofit NCAA," which has no authority to communicate with student-athletes.

"Student-athletes, who are young, generally unsophisticated and unable to hire legal counsel, are being intimidated to give up all sorts of rights that no sane person would agree to do," Johnson said.

Although the adviser-agent distinction appears rooted in semantics, the NCAA defines an agent as someone who tries to market a player's skills to an MLB club or communicate directly with a team on a player's behalf. That's prohibited under the rules. An adviser, in contrast, stays in the background while the player and his family negotiate directly with teams.

Boras, a lawyer, said he adheres to NCAA regulations by charging a fee to players whom he advises in the draft.

"We are compliant with the NCAA rules by mandate," Boras said. "We have to go to families and charge them for information that we would otherwise not charge for. And we have to go through the bailiwick of having the parents deal with the teams through our counsel, which is crazy."

Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin, whose program has sent pitcher David Price and several other high picks to professional ball in recent years, considers the NCAA's latest efforts a positive step in distinguishing between qualified advisers and inexperienced, rogue agents who stalk high school and college players in the quest for a commission.

"The kids need advisement when they get to that level," Corbin said. "A lot of agents and advisers are very good at what they do, and it makes sense that people in the business who have been around can help the parents and the child try to sort through this process. Otherwise, parents and kids could get abused.

"I think this stems from the 'cling-on' guys who see the high school kids as a quick buck. You have groups of people who are chasing kids through parking lots to get their services. It's run awry to the point where there probably has to be some legislation to keep it from getting out of control."

Rising payouts in the draft have prompted commissioner Bud Selig to call for a hard slotting system for bonuses, with no exceptions. This year, Major League Baseball recommended that teams reduce draft bonuses by 10 percent, but Baseball America reported that the total payout for the first five rounds stayed even between 2008 and 2009.

Pitcher Stephen Strasburg, selected first overall by the Washington Nationals, set draft records with a $7.5 million bonus and a $15.1 million guaranteed payout while using Boras as his adviser.

One agent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the NCAA's attempts to limit or crack down on advisers could put draft picks at a distinct disadvantage in negotiations.

"Are you going to have Joe Bob the refrigerator repairman negotiating with the New York Yankees?" the agent said. "A team has experts, and these kids and their families are playing in a field that they have no idea about."

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for His book "License To Deal" was published by Rodale. Click here to order a copy. Jerry can be reached via e-mail.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Team Without A Home: Neighbors’ complaints push team to play off campus

RT Staff Note: One of the most riduculous neighborhood complaints is taking place near my hometown in San Jose and hopefully will resolve itself soon. The fact that neighbors actually think that a baseball field is a blight on their neighborhood are just not American. Thankfully, it seems that there are some neighbors that have taken some action of their own and are stepping up to remedy this issue. Here's a story that ran yesterday. We will keep you updated on this story throughout the year.


The long anticipated construction of the San Jose City College baseball field that began in late 2007 was abruptly put to a halt in the summer.

Members of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Association (SONA) pushed for a stop because of their concern on the 90-foot-tall poles, intended to hold safety netting and the loudspeaker system that they worried would bring too much noise.

According to the SONA Web site and the Draft Subsequent Environmental Report (SDEIR), one of the major issues was the interruption to their “scenic vista,” the mountains toward Santa Cruz.

District board members made the final decision to ultimately turn the baseball field into a multipurpose playing field.

“We went through the SDEIR process,” said Michael Burke, SJCC President, “And that process indicated ... you really cant mitigate the visual impact of those poles. At that point the board decided we needed to take them down. That’s their neighborhood.”
SONA’s President Randi Kinman, who lives a block away from SJCC said she cringes whenever she looks out the window and that it is such a day-to-day intrusion.
However, some of Kinman’s neighbors don’t share the same sentiment.

“In reality, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t know why that lady is saying that,” said Veronica Solencio, 35, who lives on Richmond Av. “What View? It’s just the sky. It’s not like it’s blocking a monument.”

“I don’t have any problem with baseball ... because that’s good clean fun ... thats not noise to me,” said Roberta Emerson, a non-active member of the SONA and next door neighbor of Kinman.

Jeremy Brodeur, 21, SJCC graphic design major said, “I have been a resident of this area for 13 years ... It (baseball field) improves the area. This school is like the only good thing this neighborhood has.”

Brodeur is passionate about keeping the field, he created a Facebook page, added SJCC baseball players and updates the status of the field. He attended the board meeting when the field issues were being discussed. Brodeur also sent a letter to the California governor petitioning for help, but his letter was replied with another letter telling him it was a problem to be resolved at the district level. It was out of their jurisdiction.

The San Jose/Evergreen Community College District had already spent $2 million into the costs of the field. The money had been reserved and allocated through bonds approved in 1998 and 2004.

Bringing It Home
As the construction of the baseball field began so did the hopes of the SJCC baseball team, a positive sentiment that would hit home. After more than 10 years without having a home field, the team would finally have one starting it’s 2010 season.

“Logistically it just makes it more difficult for the team,” said Dough Robb, SJCC head baseball coach. “Every game that we had scheduled here we are not gonna re-play in San Jose or Santa Clara County. We’re gonna play at those other schools and we’ll play as visitors.”

Robb has been coaching at SJCC for 16 years. He was coach when SJCC had its own field located where the parking garage is now.

During the 2009 season, the team leased playing fields such as San Jose State’s Bethlem Field, San Jose Municipal Stadium and Santa Clara University’s Stephen Schott Stadium. This season it plans to do the same if the Golden Gate Conference schedule permits it to work with the facilities.

For the fall, the team will rent Wilcox High School’s field in Santa Clara, rather than practicing at the football field as it previously had said Robb.

As for the effect the absence of a home field has on the team, it is minimal.
“If it does, then I’m not doing my job, I’m not preparing our team and preparing our players,” Robb said.

Robb said that it is tough for the team but it makes them more responsible with their time, and that they are committing to something that they want to.

“To be honest with you, they are the best players in our area, we recruit here, and they all come in spite of the fact that we are not gonna have a field,” Robb said.

“I think it’s a bunch of b.s. not for the team but for ‘skip’ cuz he’s been coaching here for a while, and I think he deserves the field,” said Justin Lagman,19, 3rd base.

Players say it would be great to have a field but although they don’t, it does not affect their personal performance.

“The only thing is not knowing every field that you go to ... other than that baseball is baseball, gotta know the fundamentals,” Lagman said.

The only thing they would like to see is a bigger fan base.

“I think the fans we have out there are great but if we had students out there who didn’t have to travel it would be better,” said Lagman.

“It’s hard to engender fans when you’re not on campus,” Burke said “Thats the impact they have been suffering I think ... They don’t really have a fan base.”

SJCC is the only community college in California, out of 89, that does not have a home field on campus.

SJCC baseball team is ranked no. 3 in Northern California. With a record of 17-8 in conference and 35-17 overall.

This year they don’t plan to be any different.

Expectations of Coach Robb this year “ Fresno,” he said. “Final four.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bradley is USC baseball's next big thing

Written by NEIL WHITE

In February, USC coach Ray Tanner had this to say about first-year outfielder Jackie Bradley: "I don't know if he's going to be a freshman All-American, but he might be."

By the time the Gamecocks' season ended, Bradley had made Tanner look like The Amazing Kreskin.

Bradley earned consensus freshman All-America honors and a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team for a season in which he batted .349 with 11 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 46 RBIs and eight stolen bases. He also led the team with 69 runs scored and posted a .431 on-base percentage.

But while those numbers were an eye-opener for a freshman in the country's best college baseball conference, it was his defense in right field that set him apart.

"He did bring everything to the table to be successful immediately. It was all there," Tanner said this week as USC started fall practice. "He's a special player. I've been fortunate enough to have coached a few of those guys, and he's in that category."

Bradley finished his season in style in the NCAA regional at East Carolina. Although the Gamecocks lost the championship game to the host Pirates, Bradley was 9-for-18 with two homers and five RBIs at the plate, and made a handful of spectacular plays in right.

He took away a home run with a leaping grab against George Mason and made a string of running catches in the three games against East Carolina.

Many of his teammates no longer are surprised by anything he does. Tanner also marvels at watching him work on his defense during BP, running down balls Tanner never believes he would get to.

"It's almost like he knows where the ball is going before contact is made," Tanner said.

East Carolina coach Billy Godwin marveled as well at what he saw.

"His instincts for the game are superior, especially the jumps he gets on the ball," Godwin said. "I was really impressed, too, by the way he swung the bat when he got two strikes on him. His ability to make last-minute adjustments was really impressive."

Bradley entered his freshman season with the same confident mindset that Tanner had.

"I wasn't surprised at all. I felt like I had the talent and capability, first of all, to start, and then to get better as the season went along," he said, in such a matter-of-fact and unassuming way there is no hint of hubris in the words.

He understands what his skill sets are and works hard to put them in play.

"That's the way I carry myself. I feel if I'm confident enough in my game, I'm more comfortable on the baseball field," Bradley added. "It's a place where I can relax and be myself."

He calls all the postseason honors "a blessing," but he is not looking back.

"I try to look past all of that," he said. "I've got to get better. I'm never content."

Bradley never showed any of the anxiety or doubt many freshmen display. His cool approach to handling success and adversity convinced Tanner he had made the right decision to designate Bradley as a key player from the get-go.

"I made a point of encouraging him early, but it didn't take me long to see he didn't need that," Tanner said. He could take each experience he had and grow from it as a player on his own."

Bradley's maturity shows in all kinds of situations. Last November he had to overcome an eight-day hospitalization after being diagnosed with blood clots in his right arm and shoulder due to an extra rib restricting blood flow. He not only sailed through the semester academically, he also beat the four-to-six-month forecast of being sidelined by getting cleared to play in the opening-day lineup.

Bradley's upbeat outlook is evident in the way he approaches everything, but mostly in the enthusiastic way he plays the game.

He calls his favorite memory of last season the April 19 game against Auburn when fans serenanded him with a rendition of "Happy Birthday" to celebrate his 19th birthday - fitting since he wears No. 19.

"That made me feel special," said Bradley, who went 1-for-3 in a 10-4 win.

As if that wasn't a fitting enough numerical salute, Baseball America magazine tabbed him the No. 19 prospect in the Cape Cod League, the summer collegiate league where the best players in the nation compete. Playing with a wood bat, Bradley batted .275 with six doubles, four triples, 14 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

"It's going to make me 10 times better here," Bradley said. "I loved the experience of meeting the guys and playing against top-notch players from across the country."

Aaron Fitt, college baseball writer for Baseball America cannot say enough about good things about him.

"He's a budding future first-rounder," Fitt said. "He's got something you can't teach and that's electric bat speed. I think you'll see a power surge this season."

And like everyone else, he raves about Bradley's outfield play.

"That sets him apart," Fitt said. "You can tell by watching him play that he's got a feel for the game."

Bradley ended up in Columbia in large part due to Tanner's instincts. Bradley was not recruited by many major programs nor was he picked Major League Baseball draft after his senior season at Prince George (Va.) High.

"Believe it or not, in this day and age, he was overlooked," said Tanner, who liked what he saw when watching Bradley play center and bat leadoff for the powerful Richmond Braves travel team at the Perfect Game tournament at the East Cobb, Ga., complex.

After Bradley made a campus visit, Tanner was certain: "I couldn't get him committed quick enough."

Ironically, East Carolina was one of the other schools that wanted Bradley after assistant Link Jarrett, the ECU recruiting coordinator who moved to Auburn this past summer, also saw him playing at East Cobb. When Bradley kept making play after play in USC's one win over ECU in the regional, the Pirate coaches received an upclose look at the one who got away.

"Coach Jarrett turned to me in the dugout and said, 'I told you he could play,'" Godwin said. "I thought Coach Jarrett was going to slash his wrists."

When Bradley busted out during the regular season, Tanner knew he had a steal when he kept hearing from his peers.

"He caught the eyes of many, many coaches. They'd say, 'He's a freshman? Where did you get him from?'"

Bradley's standout play in right is going to draw him an extended look in center field this fall, as Tanner explores options that involve center fielder Whit Merrifield working out at second base and third base. Tanner is thankful to have players versatile enough with team-first attitudes that allows him to try different defensive lineups.

As much as Tanner likes to talk about Bradley's ability, he likes to talk even more about his young star's personality and attitude. He does not believe any more poise and good-naturedness could be squeezed into that 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame.

Too good to be true? Believe it.

"It's off the charts. I can't say enough good things about him. He's a great player, but he's a special person," Tanner said. "If you're going to be critical of Jackie Bradley, you're going to have to go searching."

Bradley understands all eyes are on him whenever he is on the field and carries himself accordingly. He also realizes that he is one of a small number of African-Americans playing college baseball, a figure that studies have placed under five percent.

Bradley said he has has grown accustomed to it after playing with very few fellow African-Americans since youth baseball. He hopes his presence can assist in selling the game to black youngsters.

"I feel like it's an opportunity for me to help the cause," Bradley said. "I'm trying to be a role model."

With Bradley and DeAngelo Mack forming two-thirds of USC's outfield last season, that probably did not hurt in landing commitments from two black players in the Class of 2010, outfielder DeSean Anderson of Greensboro, N.C., and utility player Patrick Harrington of Virginia Beach, Va.

But before those two arrive, Bradley will play his sophomore season. Ever-cool, he is prepared for the increased expectations and the attention that is bound to come with them.

"I don't think there's pressure as long as I be myself."

Ray Tanner is fine with that.

Reach White at (803) 771-8643.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Begin With The End In Mind

RT Staff Note: Several months ago we came across an article posted on Norcal's web site. Although this is an older article, Norcal is constantly updating their web-site with new information and educational materials to better their players year round. They aren't the only team doing this, but there certainly should be more teams staying in-touch during the off-season. We encourage all youth teams to be as pro-active in posting new articles and information on their web sites all year...not just during the season. This article is from Doug Gardner of ThinkSport and he has given us permission via e-mail to re-run this article here on RT. Enjoy!

Begin with the End in Mind:
Reflections from 2007 to Create Focus for 2008

By Dr. Doug Gardner - ThinkSport

The end of the year is a great time to take a look back and think about the many things that happened to you during 2007 both academically and in terms of baseball.

Think back to January 1st of last year...How much have you grown up since then? Did you set any goals or New Year’s Resolutions last year? Did you meet these goals and your own personal expectations?

Transport yourself to one year from now...Where do you see yourself? Where do you want to be? What have you learned from this past year that you can apply in your work in 2008? What do you want to have accomplished one year from now?

The beginning of the calendar year is the perfect time to take a step back and reflect upon where you have been and utilize this information to better the path you will take in reaching your short-term and long-term goals.

No matter how talented of a baseball player you are, you can always get better and improve. Few athletes actually take the time to assess, critique and formulate improvement strategies in an objective, honest and constructive manner.

Most athletes spend their assessment time being too harsh on themselves when mistakes are made, performance is poor and when games are lost. When things go well, athletes often do not think too much as to why they are having the success they are having. People believe that thinking too much about their successes will lead to negative outcomes in the future.

This either-or syndrome often interferes with our ability to assess our preparation and performance objectively and rationally. If I do well? Great! Keep it going and don’t ask questions. If I do poorly? Well, open the flood gates and berate yourself.

To be objective, an athlete must create a standardized and systematic way to assess themselves. I suggest that athletes categorize their preparation and performance into three distinct areas:

• Physical - Cardiovascular fitness, strength/core training, diet & nutrition, injury prevention.

• Fundamental - Aspects related to the development of the many physical skills specifically related to the sport(s) you participate in.

• Mental - Focus, intensity, purpose, trust, strategy formulation, adversity and coping skills, decision-making capabilities.

Let us try a short exercise...

When answering the following questions, be as specific and detailed as possible in relation to the physical, fundamental and mental aspects of your preparation and performance.

1. What aspects of your performance were you pleased with last year?
2. What aspects of your performance were you NOT pleased with last year?
3. Did you prepare to the best of your abilities, on a day-to-day basis?
4. How can your commitment and preparation improve?
5. How have you matured as a person and as an athlete over the past twelve months?
6. What can you do right now to start working and improving areas of weakness?

Remember, this is not a test. Nobody else will see your answers and only you will know if you are truly being honest and objective with yourself. Please e-mail me with your critique of yourself and your performance if you would like some feedback.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is Junior College Right For You?

We have mostly talked on this site about how to go about getting recruited by 4 year colleges and little about Junior Colleges. We don’t mean to slight JC’s. In fact, Junior College baseball is in many cases a perfect fit for some high school players. And, like D-I, D-II and NAIA, JC’s offer scholarships at the NJCAA-I and NJCAA-II level.

There are many reasons to go to a JC, but like the four year colleges, we at Rounding Third stress that you go to a place of higher get an matter if it's a D-I or JC. If a player is going to a JC to improve his academic standing to get into a better four year college, then that needs to be the focus. While he is accomplishing that goal, he can also enjoy the great, competitive baseball environment that many JC’s offer. JC baseball is sort of a hybrid that combines the local schedule of high school ball with the rigors of long bus rides to other regional or cross state match-ups. This provides many young freshmen a chance to ease into what it would be like at a four year, while they concentrate on getting their academics in order at the same time.

Another reason to attend a JC is if certain players didn’t get accepted into their list of four year selections, due to size or developing ability. Many four year coaches and recruiters will tell a prospect with potential to use the Junior College to work with the strength and conditioning coaches to develop a stronger core, build more muscle and quickness. That alone, in many cases can build a players confidence as well. After that, it is up to the baseball coaches to develop the talent. Many JC’s have year round conditioning that include fall scrimmages and games, winter work-outs to get ready for the long season ahead. But more importantly, it gives that player a chance to play.

Let’s say a very good player gets a small offer from a D-I, but he has two established sophomores ahead of him in his primary and secondary positions. It may behoove that player to go to a JC to develop and play, rather than sit the bench his first two years in college. And yet another scenario involves enrolling in a four year college and playing for a close-by JC that is known to be a feeder to that school. That's a win-win for both the player and the 4 year coach, because the player gets a better chance to play and also enjoy the atmosphere of college life away from home. The 4 year coaches have the advantage of keeping close tabs on what could be their future player in their own backyard.

Finally, there are some players that may have been drafted in the later rounds (15th and higher) and choose to play at the JC to improve their draft status the following year. Unlike four year colleges, in which a player is not eligible for the draft until after his junior year, a JC player is eligible both years that he attends that JC. Including the year after high school, that player could possibly be drafted three times before his junior year. In some cases, a MLB team could draft a player and then hold the rights to that player until next year. That way, they have a full year to evaluate his progress throughout the summer. If into the fall and spring seasons, all goes well with the players progress, that MLB team could then exercise their right to sign him in the ten days prior to the next draft. This is called a “Draft and Follow”.

So we have covered D-I, small colleges and now JC’s and there are advantages to all. Bottom line, really study all of your options hard and do what is best for you and the career path you choose to follow in your adult life.

Rounding Third Staff

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Between The Ears

RT Staff Note: The following is from the book "Mind Gym" by Gary Mack. Gary is a leading sports psychology consultant and counselor who has worked with professional athletes in every major sport. He is president of two consulting firms, Sports Assist and Planning Solutions.

Like our beliefs and attitudes, our thinking can be a powerful ally. How we think affects how we feel, and how we feel affects how we perform. My job is to help athletes think clearly and use their minds effectively by teaching them to turn their negative critic into a positive coach.

One day, I was at Yale field in Connecticut, visiting the Mariners' Double A club, the New Haven Ravens. One of the young center fielders was struggling in the batting cage. "Mack, I'm never going to get this," he said between cuts. Her shook his head. "i don't have a clue." His negative critic was hard at work, shouting into his ear with a bullhorn.

"Let me ask you something,"I said. "If Ken Griffy Jr. thought like that, how good a batter do you think he would be?"

The question stopped the kid.

He knew that if Griffey thought the way the minor leaguer did, the Mariners' slugger wouldn't perform well either. The kid's thinking was hurting him more than his swing. He needed to change his thinking, or at least give his mind a rest. Ted Williams offered some sage advice: "if you don't think too good, then don't think too much."

Just as we have irrational and unrealistic beliefs, we all are guilty of distorted and dysfunctional thinking. Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine said, "I went through the 'Don't do this' syndrome at certain times in my career when facing certain batters. I told myself not to hang a curve ball. Sure enough, I did. Now I focus on 'Do this.' It's a significant difference."

Which voice do you hear? Which is louder, the negative critic or the positive coach. You can choose to listen to the voice that offers and reinforces positive thought. It has been said that thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character. Character becomes your destiny.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Read About The Next Level Too!

Our articles and resources help players in many ways. Our strength and conditioning tips will help you develop a stronger core. Our guest articles from people like Carmen Bucci will help you communicate to future college coaches. Our timelines help parents organize their sons summers and off seasons. We give opinions that many agree with and many don't.

There are other resources out there that are helpful in preparing players and parents for college too. If you want to prepare yourself for college ball, it really can be a benefit to learn about it via the many great college web sites available. Here is a list of our favorites.

College Baseball on
Ever since Yahoo bought Rivals, there has been a visible commitment to everyday articles and information that is extremely helpful when it comes to learning about specific programs and the college game in general. Managing editor, Kendall Rogers does a fantastic job of moderating the content and giving their message board some real life, no matter what month or what time of season. There's insight on fall work-outs, NCAA rules and regs, interviews with college coaches and more. If your son is on the track to college ball and you want to know more about the college'll get a lot of your answers here.

The College Baseball Blog
Like Rivals, this blog is very informative and acts as a portal of sorts for college press releases and some good commentary too. This site has become the Ultimate Source for College Baseball News and Notes around the nation. The staff of the blog attends in excess of 100 baseball games during the College season and many College summer league games. There's a lot to like about this site and Brian Foley and staff stay on top of all of the hot topics surrounding the college game.

Baseball America
If you value player rankings and draft prospects, no one does it better than Baseball America. The only downside is that the real good information is only available on a subscription basis and can be costly to those that are on a budget. But, since BA also ranks high school prospects, they can provide a double bonus of those that want both.

College Baseball Insider
We like this site a lot. Sean Ryan is co-founder and editor of He spends his days working at The Hodges Partnership (, a public relations firm in Richmond, Va. After work, he takes to the diamond as the head varsity baseball coach at Benedictine High School. Phil Stanton is the other co-founder and editor for Phil is now concentrating full-time on CBI after working four years as director of athletic communications at Virginia Commonwealth University.

CBS Sports College Baseball
More of a seasonal site and they seem to be on hiatus in the off-season despite the activity of fall work-outs and scrimmages. Not a bad resource during the season though.

College Summer Ball
A part of the College experience is the summer leagues that players get assigned to by the college coaches. If you want to follow your local player to the Cape Cod, Northwoods, Alaskan, Cal Ripken Sr. leagues and more, this is a good site to follow.

As college baseball becomes more popular, there will be more web sites to follow we are sure. For now, these are some of the best.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Importance of Fall Practice

RT Staff Note: There was a good post on Rivals College Baseball about the importance of fall ball for collegiate athletes. The importance of working out a players game in the fall also extends to high school players as well. It's a good post with a good message.

For any of you who are related to or know of any players or family members of players, this post may be of some importance, especially as it relates to the minimal scholarship recruit, or the invited walk-on.

Every year at this time, the coaching staffs around the nation prepare with great expectation and enthusiasm for the up-coming season, with the first major step being "Fall Practice" (hereinafter referred to as FP).

If you are not one of the top recruits on your team, your performance will actually be followed much more closely. FP is all about competition, and a chance for those lesser-known players to become the next All-Americans of an unsuspecting program. If you perform against the top players of your program, and you are successful. . .you will play, and that is exactly what your coaches want to see. They already know that the best players (irrespective of recruitment popularity) are born out of competition.

Every player invited to play for a college program, regardless of your level of recruitment, has the ability to be a everyday player, as some level of talent has already been recognized by your coaches. I have found that three certain major character traits, or the lacking thereof, will either benefit or burden, ANY recruited individual: work ethic, hustle (or better put, a sincere demonstrated physical and emotional passion in every aspect of performance at FP), and a belief that your teammates are your brothers.

One does not have to be the best skilled (talent-wise) to win in these three areas; however, if you do adopt and perform the best in those three areas, heads will turn, and your talent-level will be perceived at a more favorable level. That's when the chances open-up.

FULL commitment and success to those "three", collectively, will also build the greatest skill enhancer of all. . .confidence.

Whatever one's skill level is at that point will increase as will the perceptions of same in the coach's eyes. Also, the talent-level will increase as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Summer Ball, Fall Ball & Related Considerations

RT Staff Note: Here's an article on Steve Zawrotny's BASEBALL FIT Hitting & Pitching Conditioning -

In most areas of the country, the regular season and high school playoffs are finished for both baseball and softball. We are just now getting into the College World Series for both sports. In line with this, I recently received this message from a concerned parent of a college baseball pitcher:

“I ordered your throwing velocity and strength/conditioning booklets along with a set of weighted baseballs hoping my son would follow your program this summer. He read the two booklets and is excited about following your guidelines.

“His problem is that he just finished his season and he will go back to college mid August to begin fall baseball. If he takes a few weeks off (which I think he should; he pitches) he will probably only have about 10 weeks to use your programs. Any advice you can give me will sure be appreciated.”

This illustrates the on-going conflict between practice, playing, and improving one’s skills. There is no question that the more one does a thing, the better they will be at it. This is why most (but not all!) of the best ball players come from warm-weather states. Warm weather is conducive to more game-like conditions for practice and playing.

But there are limits to this approach, of course. For some more thoughts on this concept, what business management guru Steve Covey calls, “Sharpening the Saw,” click here.

So what is to be done in the face of these seemingly reasonable but conflicting demands?

It is well known fact in the training community that upon making a significant change to mechanics, athletes in any sport usually experience a drop-off in performance. This decrement is then overcome as the new mechanics are learned and integrated, which takes time – often weeks to months. This is why it is usually not a good idea to make drastic mechanical or skill changes in-season.

A good example of this is with golfer Tiger Woods and the changes he has made to his swing over his career. Several years ago, he felt that he needed to do some things differently in order to achieve his goals. He was criticized in some quarters for this, as his swing seemed to be just fine at the time. Yet no one is critical of what he did now.

I have some thoughts regarding Summer Ball, Fall Ball, and getting better, from the perspective of players, parents, and coaches. At some point in my life, I have been in each of these positions – sometimes in more than one at a time.


I know as a player, you want to perform your best and please and impress your coaches. So when they ask you to play, you feel obligated to do so. Yet playing all the time may not always be in your best interests.

Playing and practicing all the time leaves little time to work on other things. So, you keep doing what you have been doing. If your skills are already at a sufficiently high level, this is not a problem. But if you need to make significant mechanical changes (as most players do), such as learning a new pitch or two, or improving some aspect of your conditioning, doing these things while competing is very difficult, if not impossible. You need some down time – the off season – to accomplish these important objectives.

Is it really a problem if you play Spring and Summer Ball, then take the Fall and Winter off to work on needed areas for improvement? The idea of taking one step back now in order to take two steps forward later is not only a good idea but is vital to your growth and progress as a player. Discussing this with your coach is key. Hopefully he’ll know what you need to work on and will be actively involved in your “improvement plan.” With this approach, both player and coach will benefit in the upcoming competitive season.

Consider undergoing “active rest.” Play another organized sport, or participate regularly in some activity other than baseball/softball. Don’t just lay around during the off-season, but do something different than your regular competitive season’s activities.


Your primary job is to look out for your child’s best interests. Ideally you’re doing this in conjunction with his/her coach. Obviously, things will not go well if you try to tell the coach how to do his/her job. However, you do have the final say on how your child is “used” on a team. If you don’t like how a particular team/coach is doing things, find another program, if possible. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you think something’s not right.

At the same time, DO NOT be one of those parents who questions or complains about every little thing a coach says or does. This is the quickest way to alienate a coach and perhaps send your child to the bench. If you feel you have a legitimate beef, say something to him/her respectfully in private. Otherwise, be supportive and allow the coach to do his job.

If you're the parent of a particularly gifted player, coaches will be tempted to “ride this horse” as long and as often as they can. For parents of pitchers. some good information you should be aware of and use is available courtesy of the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) and can be found here. If necessary, give the coach a copy of the info, and inform him that you will only allow your child to pitch under these guidelines. If the coach has a problem with that, find another team.

Doubtless your player needs some time off from playing games to actually work on their game. Fall/Winter is the best time to do this. Talk with the coach to get your and his ideas together to best advance your child’s skills.


During the season, winning games is your primary goal and responsibility. You well know that it is difficult at best to implement changes to player mechanics during this time. The best time to do this is the off and pre-season. But if you’re playing year-round, when can your players make these key improvements?

My suggestion: play your regular spring competitive season, and another 50-60 summer/travel games. During these seasons, strive to be as successful as possible.

If you have a choice, do not participate in a competitive Fall season. Make this the time for player development all the way through Winter and the pre-season. Emphasize mechanical/skill and strength/conditioning improvements over competitive accomplishments. Go ahead and scrimmage, but make these scrimmages of a more controlled nature that allow you to create and observe the situations you want to develop and improve upon.

Evaluate players on how hard they work and the progress they make in both mechanics and strength/conditioning. You will likely find that players willing to work hard at this time will be your contributors in-season.

The bottom line is this: you can’t get better by simply playing all of the time. Take some time to do maintenance work. You will reap the benefits big-time next season!


My definition of a “young” player for our discussion here is pre high school. Once a player gets to high school, they can get more serious about their sport, whatever that may be.

The way things are these days, players as young as six play on travel teams that are nationally “ranked” by some organization or another. I think this is ridiculous., but it is what it is. But my goodness, if you’ve been a “National Champ” a time or two by the time you get to high school, what do you have to look forward to? As a youngster, newspaper write-ups and awards become commonplace. Been there, done that.

No doubt you’ve noticed how many times, players who are phenoms when younger turn out to be pretty ordinary as everyone grows and matures. Suddenly the "phenom" has to work harder to keep up, and many kids don't want to do this. What was once fairly easy is now difficult.

So, when other things begin to show up to compete with this growing, maturing youngster’s time and interests, is it any wonder that many of these players quit and take up other activities?

Here’s the truth about youngsters and sports: they DO NOT have to begin when in diapers to excel and have an advantage over their peers! What a child is good at at age ten may well be very different from what they’re good at at age twenty. Certainly, many very good players begin playing organized sports at 10 or 12 years of age and go on to achieve at a very high level.

Parents, Players and Coaches: It is not necessary to start your child’s sports training out of the womb. It provides no significant advantage, yet offers the risk of burn-out. So let your children play in the streets and playgrounds to develop their skills and interests without the interference of organized leagues. If they show sufficient interest and ability, you will find this out in plenty of time for them to benefit.
(C) 2008 Baseball Fit, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Steve Zawrotny's BASEBALL FIT Hitting & Pitching Conditioning -

The information contained herein is the opinion of the author based on his personal observations and years of experience. Neither Steve Zawrotny or Baseball Fit assume any liability whatsoever for the use of or inability to use any or all of the information presented on this website.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Off Season Throwing Program

RT Staff Note: As we were browsing the web, we found a great artcile from Alan Jaeger of Jaeger Sports. Jaeger Sports is a Southern California-based organization founded on the principle that training should address more than just an athlete's physical skills and preparation. Because a baseball player's performance is typically a reflection of his mental skills and focus, our programs are not limited solely to the physical (mechanical) aspects of training.

Jaeger Sports - Off Season Throwing Program

By Alan Jaeger

For many years I've been asked a number of questions about "when" and "how" pitchers should train in the off-season to best prepare for their upcoming season. Because there are so many variables in each case, it's not usually a short answer. That's because each pitcher has their own unique history. However, what variables do seem to apply to nearly all pitchers is, 1) the amount of rest a pitcher needs to take after a long season, 2) their approach toward their off season throwing program and, 3) the integration of their off season throwing program into their season.

Knowing when to shut down after a demanding period of time and how to best prepare the arm in the off-season is the key to maximizing a pitchers health, strength, endurance and recovery period in season. Without well timed rest and a clear intention of how to best prepare the arm in the off-season, pitchers may wonder why they are lacking endurance or velocity in season, or even worse, why they may be breaking down.

When pitchers truly understands the importance of "resting" and "rebuilding" their arms over a substantial period of time (4-6 weeks) in the off-season without stepping on a mound, they will best position themselves to not only peak at the right time (beginning of the season), but maintain or even enhance their base throughout the season. This is the focus of this article.

Step 1: Establishing A Rest and Rebuild Period

In order to establish the best time to rest and rebuild a pitchers arm, you must establish, 1) what the pitchers' workload has been like from the previous season/seasons (their past season may have been only the summer, or it may have been the preceding spring, fall and winter season as well), 2) find out how much "pitching" they've been doing as opposed to "training" or conditioning (unfortunately, many pitchers "pitch" year round, and leave little or no time for training or conditioning), and 3), devise a plan that gives pitchers a chance to shut down and rest (minimum of 2-3 Weeks), and rebuild their arm for an additional 4-6 week period before getting back on a mound. It is very important to keep the pitchers off the mound because the arm is best developed by conditioning without any unnecessary demands on it during the rebuilding phase.

In the case of a typical pitcher who just finished his summer season, he should typically take a minimum of 2-3 weeks off to rest (physical and mental) after he's thrown his last pitch of the summer, and spend the subsequent 4-6 weeks to do nothing but "train" and recondition his arm. There is nothing more important than establishing this 4-6 week training window after proper rest.

As you will see throughout this article, establishing rest at the right time, followed by the rebuilding or conditioning phase are the single most important factors in getting a pitcher into what we call a "positive cycle" that can last until the end of the season (Note: pitchers who begin their cycle in September/October may find it helpful to take another rest/rebuild period at the end of December. In that case, the rest period may only be a week and the conditioning period may only need to be 2 weeks because the base from the Fall/Winter is still relatively strong).

Establishing The Right Time

Our philosophy is pretty simple -- it's of minimal importance as to "when" a pitcher is expected to throw his first bull-pen in the fall/winter, considering that the pitcher has the balance of the year to work off of the mound. What matters most is what the pitcher does in this 4-6 week window leading up to the first bull-pen, and understanding how to maintain or strengthen this base throughout the remainder of the Fall, Winter and Spring. Without the proper base in place by rushing your pitchers back to the mound is like worrying about putting a roof on a house that doesn't have a structure in place yet.

The desired rest period of the pitcher, along with the 4-6 week window of conditioning is the single most important factor in determining the pitchers health, strength, endurance and recovery period for the entire year (season) -- or until that point in which he feels he needs another significant break (rest), and begin a new conditioning cycle. What we've found with the guys who have gone through our training program, and have been allowed to maintain their long toss (maintenance) program throughout the year, is that they have less of a need to have a significant rest or conditioning period throughout the year. But I would strongly recommend that every pitcher consider having a rest/conditioning period twice a year, even if it's only for 2-3 weeks.

Building Your Base By Listening To Your Arm

The primary goal of our throwing program is to build an extremely strong base or foundation, progressively. Taking into consideration that a pitcher is coming off of an extended rest of 2-3 weeks, like anything else you would "build" in life, start off slowly and surely -- walk before you jog and jog before you run. By not being in a hurry to "get in shape", the muscles have a chance to stretch out more progressively, develop more efficiently, and recover more quickly. That's why the first two weeks of our throwing program place such a huge emphasis on Surgical Tubing and the Stretching Out phase of Long Toss.

Chief among all of our principles of our throwing program is the principle of "listening to your arm". In essence, listening to your arm means to let it guide you -- to follow it. As opposed to having a throwing program with a predetermined limit on how many throws you are to make, or for how many minutes you are to throw for, our philosophy is based on learning how to trust your arm by listening to it -- allowing it to dictate the pace, amount, and distance of throws for that day. I love the metaphor of allowing your arm to take you for a walk. Since your arm is your lifeline as a baseball player, there could be nothing more important than being in tune with it. This is what happens when you learn how to listen to your arm and let it dictate the pace.

Only your arm knows from day to day what it needs, and by eliminating predetermined restrictions on your arm, your arm will probably surprise you as to how many throws it wants to make each day, and how many times a week it wants to throw.

Because endurance increases through this process as the muscles "get in shape", recovery period improves because swelling tends to be minimized. This is conditioning at its best because we are allowing the higher intelligence of the arm to guide us, and you will almost assuredly find that the more you allow your arm to throw (smartly and progressively), the more your arm wants to throw. Or, as we like to say, "the more you use it (correctly) the more it produces."

The arm will tell you what to do from day to day, and even throw to throw. On days that you don't feel great, try throwing through this feeling unless it is obviously a sign of pain. The reason I mention this is pitchers may often shut down early because of "false" signs. If the feeling doesn't get better after a couple of minutes, or the pain is obvious, then shut it down. Ironically, the more throwing you do, the more you understand the difference between unhealthy feelings and a "good" soreness that you can throw through.

The Throwing Program

Our off-season throwing program is based predominately on 4-6 weeks of Arm Care exercises (Surgical Tubing) and Long Toss. Again, it is crucial for pitchers to stay off the mound during this period. As you will see below, I have broken down our Throwing Program into 3 phases. Each phase lasts approximately 10-14 days. Naturally, if a pitcher is truly listening to his arm, these increments may fluctuate.

Phase 1: Stretching Out (10-14 Days)

Before each day of throwing, we have our guys go through a very thorough arm circle (forwards and backwards) and surgical tubing program. Just as you are getting your arm in shape progressively, similarly, you also need to build a base with your arm circles/surgical tubing exercises. Focus on stretching, flexibility, range of motion, freedom, breathing and proper technique when doing these exercises. Symbolically, your first 10-14 days of throwing should also follow this same mentality: stretching, loose arm action, range of motion, freedom, and so on. In this 10-14 day period, the goal is to build endurance and distance through the Stretching Out phase of Long Toss (Long Toss is broken down into 2 parts: Stretching Out as you move away from your throwing partner, and Pulling Down or Strengthening as you move back in toward your throwing partner).

Stretching out means just that -- maintain loose, relaxed arm action, put some arc on the ball and gradually move away from your throwing partner. Simply move away from your throwing partner each time you begin to sense that you are going to throw the ball over your partners head. Go out, each day, as far as the arm wants to take you that day -- and stay at your furthest distance that day as long as your arm feels like it. There is no need to come back into your partner with any aggressiveness for the first two weeks of throwing -- this will come in Phase 2, the Pull Down or Strengthening Phase. The goal of Phase 1 is to focus exclusively on "stretching", hence the Stretching Out phase.

Depending on the amount of time off you took at the end of your last "in-season", and how strong your arm is, you may throw as little as 5 minutes at 60 feet or 10 minutes at 90 feet on Day 1. Again, always listen to your arm. Regardless of how far out you get on Day 1 or how much time you may throw for, if you go out virtually everyday for the 10-14 day period, and you are religious with your arm circles/surgical tubing exercises, your arm should begin to feel better with each passing day. Though Day 1 may only be 5 minutes of throwing out to 60 feet and Day 2 may be only 7 minutes of throwing out to 90 feet, by Day 8 or 9, you may be out to 250 feet or more for 20 minutes of throwing (again based on the arm strength of that pitcher). By Day 12, 13, 14, that same pitcher may be out as far as 300 feet or more for 30 minutes.

It's hard to put a number of throws on it, or a time or distance measurement, but from my experience, based on a pitcher that throws in the 82-90 range, he will probably start pushing 240-300 feet by the end of the second week. The beauty of going out each day without the demands of bull-pens, etc., is that a pitcher can enter into a new threshold simply because he is allowing his arm to open up most effectively. This is where many pitchers, who have never truly built their arm the correct way in the off-season, may have a pleasant surprise waiting for them. For these pitchers, and even pitchers who have been on a good throwing program, they often find themselves pushing beyond distances they thought they had in them. These further distances are critical to gaining flexibility, range of motion, extension, which in my experiences have led to looser/quicker arm action, explosiveness, freedom, increased velocity and endurance.

For example, in the case of a pitcher who throws 90 mph but has never thrown beyond 120 feet or used surgical tubing, I could see where his 120 foot throw could turn into 300, 330, maybe even 350 feet over time. I've found that pitchers who can get out to 300 feet throw in the 88mph range, those who can get out to 330 feet may push the low 90's and those who can get out to 350 feet are typically in the 93-98 mph range.

The beauty of allowing the arm to stretch out without any aggressive throwing in Weeks 1 and 2 is that it best positions the arm for Week 3 and 4, which is the "pull down" or Strengthening Phase of the throwing program. This is where we bring a stretched out, well conditioned arm from Weeks 1 and 2 into the more aggressive and explosive throwing dynamic of the arm into weeks 3 and 4.

Phase 2: Stretching Out & Pulling Down (10-14 Days)

Once the base has been built through the stretching out phase, the arm is in a great position to work from and strengthen this base through the Pull Down Phase of long toss. Because the first two weeks have created such a strong foundation, Weeks 3 and 4 deepen this base because each pitcher will actually go through the conditioning phase of Arm Circles, Surgical Tubing and the Stretching Out phase of Long Toss before the pull-down or aggressive throws that are made coming back in toward your throwing partner.

Now that the arm is ready to take this stretched out feeling "downhill" with some aggressive throwing, the mentality shifts from one of uphill to downhill. Though we still want our pitchers thinking "stretch", "loose" and "freedom" on their pull-downs, we want them to do it in an aggressive manner. We want them to come back toward their throwing partner 10 feet per throw or so, with the same dynamics they made with their furthest distance throw that day (e.g. 300 feet). We just want them to start getting downhill without decelerating their arm. We also want them to understand what it means to maintain a loose and relaxed arm action (loose and relaxed mind) as they make their way back to their throwing partner. In essence, they are not necessarily trying to "throw harder" -- they are simply maintaining the effort of a 300 foot throw into shorter and shorter distances without decelerating their arm.

For the first few days of Week 3, there may only be 10-15 pull downs after the pitcher has peaked out to his furthest distance on that given day. Depending on how well he did the first two weeks, it's possible that he may want to make closer to 20-25 throws on his way back to 60 feet. Regardless, Week 3 and 4 are very personal. Each pitcher may respond differently. Some may throw a lot on the first day of their pull downs, and then only want to go out to 250 feet the next day and not pull down at all. Others may actually throw further distances the next day because the Pull Down phase actually opened their arm up even more, and they will have an even more aggressive pull down the next day.

This is where listening to your arm is imperative. Once the base is built from Week 1 and 2, your primary goal is to still condition in Weeks 3 and 4. If the arm is not ready to pull down in Weeks 3 and 4, continue to build distance and endurance. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to not even think about the Pull Down phase until you are comfortably throwing what feels like your max distance, and you are able to stay there comfortably for 5-10 throws.

Things to look for in Weeks 3 and 4 are pacing and recovery period. Since you are not throwing off a mound, you should have relatively good recovery period. For example, the more you throw, the more you arm will probably want to throw. This doesn't mean to push it beyond it's means on any given day (Rule #1: ALWAYS listen to your arm). But if you feel like only stretching your arm out one day, or just throwing 150 feet, or not throwing at all on a given day, than do so.

Again, from my experience, the more you throw after building the base right, the more the arm seems to want to throw. For some players, that may mean stretching out and pulling down nearly everyday for Weeks 3, 4, 5 and 6. For others, it may mean stretching out and pulling down only 3 days a week. For others, it may mean stretching out 6 days a week, and pulling down 2 days a week. Again, your arm will dictate it's own needs to you. Your job is to put it in a position where it can best maximize it's potential --- and I can tell you from a lot of experience that this usually happens when you are doing more throwing, rather than less.

Phase 3: Deepening The Base: Building Strength and Endurance (10-14 days)

If you needed more than 2 weeks to build your base, than Weeks 5 and 6 essentially become Weeks 3 and 4 for you. I'd almost prefer it this way because it's better to spend the extra 2 weeks of deepening your base than it is to get to the pull down/strengthening phase after 2 weeks of conditioning. Considering that you have the rest of the off season and in season ahead of you, it's far better to take the extra time and insure that your base is deep and strong. It's like opening up a bank account with a million dollars in it and making deposits all year long, rather than opening up a bank account with a thousand dollars and making withdrawals right away.

For those pitchers who have been pretty aggressive in weeks 3 and 4, weeks 5 and 6 are considered to be "more of the same" throwing. Because you are staying off the mound, don't be surprised how often, and how long your arm wants to throw. For example, you may begin to notice that 20-30 minutes of throwing has turned into 30-40 minutes of throwing on certain days. You may find that 250 feet has turned into 300 feet and 300 feet has turned into 330 feet or more. In any case, the things you should begin to notice is that your endurance is getting better (conditioning), your arm is feeling consistently stronger (conditioning) and your recovery period is amazingly good.

Once your foundation is built, the remainder of the year becomes one of maintaining this foundation, and even strengthening this foundation. What you do after this six week period may differ from pitching coach to pitching coach, but if you've "built" your arm correctly, and are in tune with it through this off-season throwing program, than you will probably want to maintain some form of distance throwing throughout the year. A simple rule of thumb is to get in at least 2 good days of long toss during the season, and these days tend to be most optimal on your bull pen/game day (if you are a starter). The reason for this is that the arm tends to respond better on the mound after a good long toss session -- it's been trained for it. Velocity seems to come more quickly -- endurance seems to last longer -- swelling is minimized. Also, long tossing on bull-pen/game days is effective because the rest of the days of the week can be used for rest, recovery and rebuilding. Regardless, if you are in tune with your arm, it will tell you from day to day what it wants to do that day...what it needs to do that day.


Though most throwing programs are formatted so a pitcher has structure throughout the off-season, our throwing program places more responsibility on a pitcher listening to his arm. Though it would be convenient to tell pitchers to make "x" amount of throws for "x" amount of minutes each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for six weeks, this can be very limiting to the pitchers development (with that said, I have outlined a throwing program that does have structure for those players and coaches who quite simply, want structure -- see related story).

In a sense, our programs structure is to be structure-less. This doesn't mean reckless abandon. Quite the contrary. It means to abandon those contrived restraints that prevents the arm from being built the most effective way -- by allowing the pitchers' arm to dictate the amount of throwing rather than following someone else's pre-determined format. Only the arm knows from day to day, what it wants and what it needs. And that's we want our players to ultimately learn to do....know their arm.

Alan Jaeger has worked privately with many professional players including Barry Zito, Dan Haren and Joel Zumaya, and has consulted with several high school/college programs including Cal State Fullerton, U. San Diego & UCLA. For more information about Jaeger Sports and their products ("Surgical Tubing J-Bands, "Thrive On Throwing" DVD or Mental Training Book, "Getting Focused, Staying Focused"), please visit their website at or call 310-665-0746. You may also download a version of the throwing/mental training programs on, keyword jaeger sports.