Team: Long Beach State, Dirtbags
Experience: 6th Season as LBS Head Coach
SKLZ: What does your fall ball schedule look like?
COACH: Our fall is composed of weights, conditioning, individual skill instruction and a team practice segment.
SKLZ: What do training and practice schedules look like?
COACH: The NCAA permits us to have 2 segments during our fall. The first is individual skill instruction and the second is team practice. During the individual skill instruction segment, we work out 5 days a week. We are required to give our players 2 days off a week. In the 5 day workout week, we have 8 countable hours with our players. 6 of those hours come in the area of strength & conditioning and 2 come in the area of baseball with individualized skill instruction. 2 of our 5 field days we use for defensive development and 2 for offensive development. We will individualize the 5th day based on the individual (possibly a player that plays multiple positions, a dual player--pitcher & position player) and the countable hours that are available.
In our 2nd segment, team practice, we have 20 hour weeks. Our players receive 1 day off a week in this segment. This segment is when we have our entire team in a traditional team practice format along with playing intrasquad games.
SKLZ: How is fall ball training / preparation different from in-season? How does that preparation differ between pitchers and position players?
COACH: The main difference between fall ball and in season is that there are “different jerseys” during the spring. Due to our NCAA limitations, we are unable to go over our 56 max game threshold and 99% of programs play all their fully allotted 56 games in the spring. Thus, fall games are intrasquads which certainly is different playing another opponent. The focus on conditioning, strength, functional movements/range of motion, mental game and skill instruction development is done more in the fall.
Preparation for in-season (January & February) certainly has some of the fall components yet reps, earning a spot/role, competing, and eventually executing is higher on the pref list than development.
As far as pitchers vs position players, there are similarities in the general preparation (conditioning, strength, functional movements/ROM, etc.) yet inside the above facets comes individualization. Pitchers will focus on their throwing program, core/low ½ flexibility, stability & strength, and finally on arm care (scap, rotater cuff, manuals). Progression of pitch usage is stressed (fastballs then add change ups and finally add breaking balls usage 3-4 weeks into intrasquads). It is really important to have young P’s understand the value and importance of fastball usage, control and command and couple that with change up development. It is exciting and rewarding when you see pitchers have success using 2 pitches (FB & CH).
SKLZ: Favorite SKLZ product(s) your players use?
SKLZ: What are your expectations for your players coming into a new season?
COACH: We as a staff expect our players to control the controllables. ATTITUDE--A solid, workmanlike, positive, growth minded attitude is an expectation of ours. Effort—put forth what you have that day. We would like to leave no doubt that we are competing and there is a given effort. Energy—really like guys that have energy and are external. It is a long year and the ability to draw energy from yourself and your teammates is vital since relying outside sources (success, performance, fans, media, wins, etc..) will lead to lack of consistency. Preparation--- for school, study hall, practice, games and conditioning. It is important that the players are responsible for their preparation. The staff is responsible for setting the daily/weekly plan yet the players are the ones that go out and compete, strive for excellence, and execute the tasks that are put in front of them. The players make that practice plan a living document and that is very enjoyable when that occurs. Concentration—focus/intent. We expect are players to be in control of their concentration (which includes focus & intent). Commitment to their body---We expect our players to be in the best physical shape and emphasize to them there is an important equation b/t what their mind wants them to do and there body being able to follow. Be a good teammate and strive for excellence!
SKLZ: What advice do you give to new players joining your program on preparing to play at the collegiate level?
COACH: They are all talented and would challenge them to focus on the controllables. Also, find something that is going to separate you from another player/team/etc… There are all good players at the high D1 level, thus if players are all talented and somewhat similar, there has to be something that creates separation. Work ethic, run tool, glove tool, best hit-run position player, best CH-UP on the pitching staff, etc. Finally, enjoy competing, believe in yourself, and dealing with failure the right way where the present is never the most important moment.
SKLZ: What tangibles and intangibles do you look for in players when you’re recruiting?
COACH: Tangibles: This is the easier part since these are the traditional measurable tools: Speed—very important tool at our level and a huge separator. Glove---does the ball go into the glove especially for a catcher and INF. Arm. Hit tool---this is batting average, contact rate, walk to strike out ratio. Power---Game power vs. BP/Raw power. This is a tool that is usually a future/projected tool rather than a present one. Athleticism. Flexibiltiy. Body—curent state and future projection. Hip Flexor area—especially P’s & C’s. Tight, weak, loose, etc.
Intangibles: Work ethic, Value of academics, Maturity, Mental toughness, Accountability, Instincts (baserunning choices), Communication skills, Does a player like to play—why does he play, does he play the game the “right” way and how he handles success and failure.
SKLZ: Please tell us about your most memorable coaching moment.
COACH: Wow, I have been blessed to be around some great players, coaches, organizations, and universities so this is difficult. I would say winning the 2003 Big West Title was a very memorable moment. We won at Fullerton. Jered Weaver pitched a complete game and pitched his heart out. Winning a conference title in baseball with no conference tournament is a great accomplishment.
Here are some renderings of Long Beach State's new construction plans for Blair Field which will begin in late October. The plans include a 9600 sq. ft batting facility, moving the bullpens (both visitors & home) and hopefully moving the fences in. Blair is a great venue but needs some renovations. We are certainly excited about the start of this 1st phase.