04-11-16Quarter Point 2016
It's hard to imagine that, for our seniors, they have about 3/4 of a season remaining in their high school baseball careers. The season started with two wins in Holtville, AL followed by winning 3 of 5 since our return to Ohio. We've been met with mother nature and consistent rain over the past 5 days, which has halted our schedule a little.
This week, it looks like we will be playing 6 games in 5 days with the weekend bringing in some top teams in Grove City High School (District Champs in 2 of the past 4 years) and Cleveland St. Ignatius (Final Four in 2015). Much like last year, Upper Arlington rarely has a weekend not filled with top level competition, as a year ago they were handing #1 State Ranked Westerville Central their first two losses of the season.
Home games this week include Tuesday (Ol Liberty), Wednesday (Central Crossing) and the baseball filled Saturday with all three levels (Varsity, JV and Freshmen) playing at some point.03-12-16
A New Season - 17 Inches
Wow! After a VERY successful and event filled offseason, we are now in the final week of the "Preseason Phase" for the 2016 season. This year, we had 73 players tryout for the program and it was a very tough time, as roster reductions are never an enjoyable time for the players or coaches. I will say that we had to part ways with some outstanding young men, but we hope that they were able get something during their hardwork and dedication to the weightroom in the offseason.
"17Inches" has been a 'mantra' of some sorts for us this preseason. We talk about the plate not changing in dimensions regardless of the ability of the pitcher (youth baseball all the way up through the pro ranks; 17 inches wide at all levels). Through this analogy, we explain that regardless of the ability of each individual player, ALL players will be held to the same standard of excellence when it comes to the classroom, daily communication and attention to detail. We will not shrink the platefor any reason.
Our varsity season will kickoff in Alabama this spring, on Saturday, March 26. We will be playing Holtville High School who is currently sitting at 10-5 and will have an additional 6 games in before we arrive. This business trip gives our players and coaches a chance to gel, while having stragetically structured training sessions and intrasquad scrimmages for three of the days leading up to the two contests in Deatsville, AL (Home of Holtville). 22 players have been given the opportunity to travel this year. Each player is trying to define their specific role and many are vying for spots in the lineup/rotation. The group going south, along with the other 25+ players within the program are top-notch student-athletes that exemplify the core values set forth by our program. They would not be with us if they failed to meet expectations.
When thinking about the upcoming season, I was recently asked, "What are the goals for this year's team." Our goals are the same year in and year out: Put the same emphasis on every game, regardless of competition, focus on the process and put ourselves in the best position to compete for a district title. Given that our guys have bought into the process, our goals are well within reach.
On Wednesday, April 29, the Upper Arlington Baseball Program will thank eight seniors for their hardwork and dedication over the past four years. Jacob Glaser, Ryan Miller, Connor Peters, Spencer Pinnick, Alec Radcliff, Davis Robeson, Mitch Weideling and Brad Zelezny have been outstanding leaders this season. When called upon, not only in game situations but also in day to day operations, they have continually stepped up.
Obviously, being my first year at Upper Arlington, I have not had a lot of time to get to know these young men. However, the time spent has been a 'treat' for me as I have gotten to know eight individuals that I am sure will go on to have great success beyond their years at Upper Arlington High School.
As for our season, the team has continued to gel and our main goal of being in a good position come tournament time is coming to fruition. We recently completed a sweep over the number three team in the state of Ohio, previously unbeaten Westerville Central (10-1 and 10-0). Along with that, we were able to take the season series from Marysville just yesterday.
Please join us Wednesday night to help recognize our seniors and then continue to follow us on our tournament run that will begin in a little over two weeks.
The bEArs have improved their overall record to 9-4 this past week. The week will conclude with contests against Central Crossing (Friday) and Olentangy (DH on Saturday). After this weekend, the team will be over the half-way point and will look to continue making strides toward their goal of putting themselves in a position to make a run in the district tournament.
Early season highlights have included wins over Olentangy Liberty, Grove City and a sweep of Thomas Worthington. While a quality league record always has some importance, it has been mainly viewed as a byproduct of excelling at our core values : three pitches for a strike, QABs (quality at-bats) and making the routine plays. The league and overall records will be where we want them to be should we continue to work at those three areas.
This past weekend, the varsity team hosted a free youth camp on Sunday. The camp saw close to 120 kids in attendance. While the present is going well, the players and coaches have been lucky enough to see that the future is also very bright.
Since returning from North Carolina, the bEArs have gone 7-1. While continuing to focus in on three major aspects of the game (Quality ABs, three pitches for a strike and making the routine play), the bEArs have been able to come from behind and overcome some adversity.
This weekend, following a long day at the park on Saturday where the bEArs played host to a tri with New Albany and Reynoldsburg (the players were at the park from 8:37 AM - 5:32 PM), the players got a light practce in on Sunday followed by a free youth camp for all Bear Cub pariticipants. Our players continue to amaze me with their never ending positive energy and professional approach to daily tasks. Their leadership has been outstanding.
On Monday, the bEArs will travel to Olentangy Liberty, followed by a two game series with Central Crossing and a series ending contest with Thomas Worthington.
While there is always work to be done and the players and coaches are focusing on never being satisfied, the early season success has been exciting. Like Woody Hayes used to say, "You win with people". The parent support, as well as the local support from people around the community has been outstanding.
04-04-15Approach Approach Approach
After a short, two game business trip to Cary (lost both), the team returned to Ohio with a heightened focus on plate approach. The Bears rebounded from the two game skid with a three game win streak, which was capped off with a 15-5 win over defending District Champ Grove City High School.
The trip provided an opportunity for the players and coaches to learn more about each other. The team really began to gel and we, as a staff, hope that this continues throughout the remainder of the season. High school baseball is all about experiences and the stories and relationships that are developed throughout a season.
The players have quickly discovered that the details are necessary. Everything from how we warm-up to how we approach each game as a 'big game'. No game and no opponent is more important than the next. We, as a team, must learn that everything we do has an effect on how we perform. This includes, but is not limited to, our attitude in the classroom, our ability to embrace adversity and our every day plate approach.
While wins are nice, they are in the past. The UA bEArs will look to stick to their core values as they enter a four game work week.
Trip Day 1
Yesterday, we departed from Upper Arlington at 8:07 AM, seeking an opportunity to improve our baseball skills, but also with hopes of geling as a unit. We deemed this to be a business trip, as we wanted both the players and the coaches to understand the importance of every detail. After a brief stop in Wythesville, we arrived in Cary, NC about 42 minutes ahead of schedule.
After checking into the hotel, we were set to eat dinner at a local BBQ establishment. Following dinner, we headed over to Cary HS to check out the field that we would be competing on this coming Saturday. The field looked amazing and our excitement grew as the baseball field had a green tint to it that was unfamiliar to us back in Ohio.
Today, March 26, we will have three practices. Wake-up calls are at 6:13 AM with our morning departure time set for 7:02. We will begin our day at Jack Coombs Field, home of the Duke Blue Devils. Following a morning practice session where we will work on fundamentals, we'll head over to see Cameron Indoor. Then, we will be off to Ravenscroft Private High School for our intrasquad scrimmage.
Tonight, we will start the evening by heading to a contest between NC State and NC A&T. Due to time constraints, we will more than likely leave the game early, as we have a structured defensive BP set up for 8:08 PM at Cary HS.
The night will conclude with late night pizzas and relaxation before we get set to do it again on Thursday morning.
This group of guys have really bought into the concept of details and purpose. They understand that this trip will be an enjoyable experience, but also a time for them to learn the importance of structure and "team".
Until tomorrow...GO bEArs.
Phases of the Year
As with many models in all levels of athletics, the Upper Arlington baseball program operates within the framework of multiple "phases", which breaks down the calendar into definitive time periods with complementing priorities. While the offseason (non HS game season) encompasses nearly 9 months of the calendar, it is imperative to identify separate phases within this time period, to maximize our growth and focus on developing all skills essential to a successful program. We have transitioned from the Winter Phase to the Preseason Phase. I have detailed the phases below to highlight the goals of each.
The Fall Phase went well this year, as it was my first real chance to see the players compete andshowcase their talents. Along with that, Coach Addington-Strapp and Coach Q were able to establish a strong working rapport with our student-athletes. While the main purpose of our offseason weight room training sessions is to increase strength and help prevent injury, the two aforementioned coaches helped increase our captains' ability to lead, and our younger players' ability to fight through adversity. The total person was being developed during this period.
We had a total of 46 opportunities for improvement and many of our student-athletes made the commitment to improve.
WINTER OFFSEASON PHASE
On Wednesday, November 5th, we transitioned to the Winter Phase. We shut our pitchers down for one month and continued with our strength training. We also implemented open hitting opportunities on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Later in this phase, we introduced our weighted ball training to help build arm strength and to improve mechanics leading into the season.
This phase gave the players 26 opportunities to improve their skills in an 'open gym' format.
Following winter break, the players gathered for a meeting to discuss expectations as we transitioned into the Preseason Phase. Heightened concentration and purpose is required and emphasized during this final "offseason" phase leading up to tryouts and the beginning of official practice. Bullpen sessions have now started and four-player group sessions are ongoing, much like during the Fall Phase, to give coaches the opportunity to provide skill instruction. Strength training has continued and speed training is now being offered twice a week.
As you can see, the opportunities for improvement throughout the offseason phases are endless and are designed to fully develop the skills needed to be a successful student-athlete. Players must make the choice to get better. Tryout will begin on February 23rd.