All Roads Pass Through UConn

April 18, 2013

The University of Hartford is NCAA Division I, in the America East Conference.  How I came to spend the day with their Baseball team is an interesting tale.  As you know, I am staying at the MacDonald Palace, who so happens to share his mansion in West Hartford with former teammate, and former UConn Assistant Coach, Steve Malinowski.  "Coach Mal" is currently assistant coach over at the University of Hartford, and suggested that I come on over to see how their program is run.  I jumped at the chance.
Here is where it gets crazy.
Left to Right: Coach Blood, Coach Mal, Coach Nemeth
Coach Mal now assists former UConn Pitching Coach, Justin Blood.  He is now Head Coach at University of Hartford, and has brought Assistant Coach Mike Nemeth on board... and yes, Nemeth is also a former UConn alumnus.  The whole staff... all went through UConn, and again welcomed me with the same signature CT hospitality.  We spent most of the morning going over Hawks Baseball philosophy and approach.  It was interesting to see the small nuances of difference, and similarity between the two programs.

PTPA Chart

The afternoon consisted of two main parts.  Outdoor workout on the field followed by a team lift.  Here is a look at the practice plan for the outdoor workout.
After warmup, the pitchers went into RF and began their throwing.  Up to 90 feet, every throw was a mix between 2-seam and 4-seam.  From 90 feet and longer they threw change ups, before they started to really stretch it out for some ELT.  On drawdown phase, they worked back in and once back at 90ft, they were back to change ups.  Then they shortened up into short work.  They worked middle (1 throw), in (2), and out (2), mixing in pitches.

"Have a plan"
Coach Blood stressed to all the pitchers, to have a plan. Every throw is an opportunity to learn something, is an opportunity to grow.  Coach Mal and Coach Blood then asked me to take a look at one their young lefty pitchers, who has recently changed his arm angle to submarine.  I watched him do his short work, and offered some opinions on how he might adjust one or two things.  We then went into some backshaping drills, and blending drills.   It felt good to work with a fellow submariner, and to see that he was getting the feel for his new arm slot.  I hope I was able to offer some insights to Barnes, and wish him much continuing growth and success. 

While the pitchers got their work in, the rest of the team worked on group or individual work with the coaches.  IF worked on steal coverage, while OF ran bases, hit in cages, or worked on reading line drives off a tee in LF.  Once pitchers finished their work, the whole team went into BP, and mass fungo.  Again, lots of pace, everyone moving and getting involved.  Great to see.  

Part 2 of practice was Strength and Conditioning, under the guidance of Coach Schwager.  I've included some videos of different dynamic warm ups and exercises, and was very impressed with how Coach Schwager commanded the troops.  Take a look.

I want to restate how grateful I am that Coaches Blood, Malinowski, Nemeth, and Schwager have allowed me the opportunity to learn from them, and see how they run things.  It's been astounding, just how welcoming and helpful these guys have been.  Real world class coaches and stand up guys.  Very thankful.  Tomorrow is GAME DAY with UConn taking on USF (University of South Florida) at New Britain Stadium.  Take a look at the website for more info, and follow along... it should be a great matchup.  Let's hope for good weather and GO HUSKIES!

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