Visiting GSU: Final post

Wrapping it up:

Since my stay ends while the team travels to Florida for the Bright House tournament, I want to take a few moments to sum up what I am taking home from a coach’s perspective:
The setup at the D1-level is fantastic. The facilities (playig field, cages, grounds crew, clubhouse etc.) offer top level conditions for player development. Drills can be adjusted to a more european situation with fewer players, but does require the players  helping out since there are rarely enough coches to supervise all groups working at the same time.

The game here is played really fast and coaches need to be up to speed and think ahead. In game coaching and managing is very demanding. I takes great knowledge of one´s players and game situations to make the right move. And then sometimes, you make the right move and it still does not work out.

Just as in European Baseball leagues winning games and teaching the players fundamental techniques need to be handled simultanously, as a coach deals with seniors and freshman at the same time, and still needs to win. The talent level is good yet the differences in readyness to play differ from player to player, especially considering newcomers (freshmen) to the program and older, more seasoned veterans (seniors) in a way comparable to a european team trying to incorporate junior players at the Bundesliga level. In some situations the two players are really similar and in the end it only comes down to which of the two is playing better defense or swinging the bat better.

Also I wanted to take the time to thank GSU, Coach Frady, all the coaches and players for allowing me to join their program while the season was already under way. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to make this trip. I had a blast as everybody could not have been more friendly. 


Visiting GSU Day 4

Day 4: Road trip

Besides the weekend series the GSU team also plays midweek games This week’s matchup has GSU matching up against University of South Carolina Upstate, located in Spartanburg, S.C., a three-hour drive northeast from Atlanta. The Spartans own a 7-1 record and pitch a 6-10 RHP, who was drafted in 2011, but chose to go to school instead.

The young GSU squad plays sloppy defense and almost beats itself in a 4-1 defeat. As a coach I look at how the GSU staff handles the poor performance. The general question is: When do you get criticize, when do you get really loud? Or should you instead try to focus on the (few) positives? This time the coaching staff is not happy and Coach Frady lets his players have it after the game.

In a college environment a coach most likely has more options (than in other environments) to try to receive t a better effort from a player. Every single guy can be benched because there is always a replacement on the bench looking to contribute and getting playing time. That second string might not be as good as the starter, but the gap in ability is definitey smaller than it is in european teams.

A benching also tells a coach much about the character of a player. How does he handle not playing? Does the pounce or does he fight back right away? Does he shift into a higher gear in practice?


Visiting GSU: Day 3

Day 3: Practice

For the coaches the day started in the office. With a long away trip  looming,  the talk is about meal money fort he players, restaurant bookings as well as scouting reports and getting the right pitching matchups against the teams coming up.

I left the coaches office to head down to the weight room, where the players were scheduled to work out for about 45 minutes. The in-season lifting session consists of a whole body workout, that involves some heavier weight for lower body (squats), some band exercises, core/stabilty exercises as well as dumbbell and light shoulder sets. Pitchers and position players go through the same routine.

Players get worked pretty good as the session kicks off with a series of footwork exercises that  have a slight cardio effect also. Right after practice the team heads over to the baseball complex, where Nick Hogan has provided a quality meal through one of the the University´s food partners because during spring break the meal service is limited.

When a practice is scheduled for 1 pm, players