On February 7th, ABA met with Coach Dehnicke (Andover High School Varsity Baseball Coach) to discuss the 2018 season and the youth baseball experience in general. ABA wanted to hear from Adam on the trends he is seeing in the sport at the high school level, and gain insight into how the younger players should be trained in the years leading up to their high school career.
Some key points Adam discussed centered around team culture and expectations, organization of practices/games, and accountability with respect to both the kids and coaches. Adam's message closely aligns with what ABA has been working on the last few years in continuing to build a successful organization in our community.
Some consider baseball a slow-moving sport when compared to soccer, football and hockey. Some kids might easily become bored at practices. However, practices can be both fun and educational when set up correctly. As coach Dehnicke stated, "Focus on and teach the fundamentals." His messaging included such items as 1) every player needs a job or responsibility at practices and at games, 2) practices need to be broken into groups or specific position groups (middle infielders, corners, OF, pitchers/catchers, etc.); 3) include situation drills, team drills and more.
The game has evolved, and Adam's comments and guidance were right on the mark. In order to get the most out of a practice and gain the necessary confidence to succeed in games, kids need to be challenged. They need to be empowered to enhance their work ethic and their own mental capacity for the game. Every kid is capable. As coaches, we need to educate and train kids in a fun/productive way that both engages and inspires them.
As we head into the 2018 season, coaches wanted to get some perspective on what we should focus on as we head into off-season training and winter coaching clinics. Most of us were looking for that list of drills that are the secret recipe. However, the more we talked, the more we all agreed with Adam that there are no “magic drills.” The message was loud and clear: focus on fundamentals, coach all kids, organize your practices and engage these kids in the most productive way possible!
Finally, ABA wants to thank Adam for his time and willingness to set the stage for the upcoming season. The board, coaches and community appreciate it tremendously! We look forward to working with you in the future!