Are you looking for ways to incorporate baseball into your school programming? Our Fun At Bat program could be a fit for your school, find out more!


USA Baseball works directly with academies to provide state of the art training and sport performance analysis. Find out more!


Explore our resources and programs that can enhance your league and your players' experiences. Find out more about what we have to offer!

EDUCATION

Education is one of the fundamental building blocks of the game. As such, USA Baseball’s educational resources emphasize a culture of development, safety and fun within the sport through free online training courses and programs focused for players, parents, coaches, and umpires. Content is available in both English and Spanish.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

USA Baseball is passionate about protecting the health and safety of all constituents within the game. Through the Pure Baseball, SafeSport, and Pitch Smart, and other health and safety initiatives, USA Baseball is working to make the game of baseball a positive and safe experience at all levels of play.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

USA Baseball strives to be a steward of the amateur game through offering cutting edge sport performance analysis and player development. With a focus on physical literacy, fundamental movement skills and advanced performance metrics, the analysis of athletic abilities can help prepare players for their next level of play, wherever that may be.

BLOG

 Pitcher Strikes Out Batter with High Fastball
(1/18/2021)
 
 
   

Pitcher Strikes Out Batter with High Fastball


Monday Manager
By Tom Succow


In this edition of Monday Manager, four-time USA Baseball coaching alum Tom Succow discusses a pitcher striking out a batter on a high fastball.


Tom Succow is currently the assistant coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. In 2017, Succow retired as the Head Baseball Coach at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Arizona, after 42 years at the helm. Succow accumulated over 700 wins during his tenure, as well as a state championship in 2006 and three state runner-up honors in 1982, 2007 and 2012. Succow is a four-time USA Baseball coaching alum, including an assistant coaching position with the 2003 16U National Team, which won the gold medal in the International Baseball Federation AA World Youth Championships in Taiwan. Succow was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as National Coach of the Year in 2007 and is a member of four Halls of Fames, being inducted into the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003, the Brophy Hall of Fame in 2007, the National High School Baseball Coaches Association (BCA) Hall of Fame in 2013, and the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.


 The Smartest Guy in the Room
(1/14/2021)
 
 
   

The Smartest Guy in the Room Is the One Who Doesn’t Know a Thing


FUNdamental Skills
By Darren Fenster


The New Year is upon us. When the ball drops in Times Square, not only does it represent a calendar change, but it is also the moment for many of us on the diamond when we realize that baseball is right around the corner. And to prime us for the crack of the bat and the pat of the glove, every January, convention season often acts as the unofficial kickoff to the baseball new year.

Throughout the country, various organizations put on clinics where coaches from just about every level of the game discuss and dissect just about every facet of the game. From topics as detailed as fielding a slow roller to as board as developing culture within a team, these conventions offer so many different perspectives on our game with one common theme: sharing ideas with a coaching fraternity who wants to help their players and teams get better. Those who attend these annual events also have a common bond: they are smart enough- and humble enough- to know that they don’t know it all.

In January of 2007, just months into my own coaching career, I attended my first American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) National Convention, the circuit’s marquee event. Listening to speakers from professional baseball, to big-time Division One head coaches, to high school skippers that I had never heard of, I was completely blown away by their knowledge of the game’s smallest details and even more so by their passion and willingness to openly share with other coaches, some of whom were trying to knock them off of their pedestal. During those few days in Orlando, I truly got to know how much I didn’t know.

At its core, our game is the same today as it was 50 years ago, or even 100 years ago. Teams try to score more on offensive and prevent runs when out in the field; that part hasn’t changed one bit. But what has evolved and always will evolve is the scope under which we look at, and in turn, teach the game. That ability to continue to grow as a coach right along with the game is a direct result of simply being open to learning new ways to do things. Staying current doesn’t mean year in and year out you completely throw what you know out the window, but rather being able to build from your foundation from previous years with potentially better or more efficient ways to get the most out of your players and clubs.

Now some 14-plus years into my own coaching journey, I have had the privilege of speaking on the main stage of many of the events of convention season where I previously have sat in the audience. I often end my presentations with the following sign off:
The dumbest guy in the room is the one who knows it all. And the smartest guy in the room is the one who doesn’t know a thing.
The know-it-all isn’t in the crowd at these clinics because, in their mind, they have nothing more to learn. The coach who “doesn’t know a thing” always knows that there is still something to gain with the end result of helping our game grow.

With convention season set to begin here in 2021, the pandemic has forced much of the circuit to go virtual this year, making it easier for coaches across the country to learn from more coaches across the country. USA Baseball has established Online Community Clinics that are part of the USA Baseball Coaches Certification Pathway. USA Baseball also offers Regional Clinics, two-day immersion events hosted in Major League cities and coordinated in conjunction with Major League Baseball clubs. Day one is spent with clinic speakers in a lecture style format; while day two is on the field, typically in a big league stadium, applying the content speakers referenced the day before.
USA Baseball Virtual Community Clinics
USA Baseball Coaches Clinics  


Below are links to a handful of other clinics:
ABCA National Convention
World Baseball Coaches Convention
i70 Clinic
Be The Best
CatcherCon
Slugfest
Pitchapolooza
Bridge the Gap


Darren Fenster is currently the Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox. Previously, Fenster was the Manager of the Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. A former player in the Kansas City Royals minor league system, Fenster joined the Red Sox organization in 2012 after filling various roles on the Rutgers University Baseball staff, where he was a two-time All-American for the Scarlet Knights. Fenster is also Founder and CEO of Coaching Your Kids, LLC, and can be found on Twitter @CoachYourKids.


 Stress Better: How Parents Can Help Athletes Grow from Stress
(1/13/2021)
 
 
   

How Parents Can Help Athletes Grow from Stress


7 ways parents and coaches can teach young athletes how to process and handle stress


Stress automatically calls to mind negative moments in life: A difficult upcoming test, a fight with a friend or parent, global collective stress like the coronavirus pandemic, or even self-created stress about what others might be thinking. And yes, too much stress and too few resources to combat it can be a bad thing…but allowing kids to entirely avoid it actually does them a disservice.

Board-certified family physician and TrueSport Expert Deborah Gilboa, MD, specializes in youth development—including stress management. Her main message to parents is that children need to experience stress in order to be prepared for later life and become effective leaders. "Our job as parents is not to protect them until they're adults. It's to ready them for adulthood. And the ability to deal with stress is one of our best tools,” says Gilboa.

Here, Gilboa explains how parents and coaches can teach young athletes how to process and handle stress, rather than bulldozing it away.

Understand your response to a child's stress
“From the time kids are very small, we have to be hyper-vigilant to keep them safe: There's no more helpless creature than the human newborn,” says Gilboa. “It’s natural to try and control absolutely everything that you can, but that won’t help your child grow and lead. Parents are hardwired to pay attention to every sneeze and cough, but then by the time our kids are adults, they suddenly need to be able to do everything for themselves.”

For nervous parents, Gilboa notes that despite the scary 24-hour news cycle, in many ways, it’s never been safer to be a child in the U.S.

Consider the source of the stress
“Very few parents get kids into sport to win championships or trophies, we’re just trying to teach them life lessons and as such, we shouldn’t deprive them of chances to deal with adversity and stress,” says Gilboa. This experience is especially beneficial in the semi-controlled environment of sport.

“Those experiences of getting benched or having to run extra laps or being second string, they’re all valuable life experiences even if they cause stress. Kids have to learn to put the group ahead of themselves sometimes. They have to learn to do stuff that they don't feel like doing. They have to learn to show up when they’d rather stay home.”

Lead with empathy
Often, a child’s stress can be lessened simply by having an adult acknowledge it and believe that it exists. While it’s tempting to laugh off certain stressors for a child, you have to understand that to them, a minor stress may feel like the end of the world.

“You can’t tell young people how they should feel—it’s ineffective and disrespectful,” Gilboa says. “As parents, we sometimes think that if our kids are stressed, we have somehow failed them already, so we try to rationalize that if a child is stressed, they’re not ‘really’ stressed. So first, we need to recognize that our kids do have stress, despite what we may think about it.”

Help them understand their feelings
Often, a child will feel stressed but not be able to articulate that emotion. As adults, Gilboa notes that we can help children work through their complicated emotions and should make sure that they feel safe sharing how they’re feeling. This includes if someone is hurting them, if they’re being bullied, or if they feel uncomfortable. Ensure that your child feels he can share any emotion with you without judgement or immediate action on your part.

Use low-consequence opportunities for teaching
While you may consider an argument between your child and a teammate to be a dramatic annoyance, they might consider it a major stress. These smaller issues are great learning opportunities with low risk for your child.

Rather than trying to solve the problem for the athlete by phoning the coach or the teammate’s parent, use this as a chance for your athlete to learn about stress management. That may mean discussing how to confront the teammate, talking through some stress-relieving techniques like deep breathing, or even having your child speak directly to their coach.

Stress can get out of hand
“As with sport, overtraining with stress is certainly possible,” Gilboa admits. “It’s important to make sure you’re not pushing your child too far.”

“If a child experiences too much stress from too many directions without the right support and training, they could become damaged—just like someone who runs once a week would be injured if they suddenly tried to run a marathon. It’s our job to help support our children to make sure they have what they need to deal with stress without over-taxing themselves.”

Promote a healthy lifestyle
It’s worth noting that some stress can be brought on or made worse by how your child is taking care of themselves. Stress is exacerbated by a host of physical influences, including hormones and sleep. Even overindulging in junk food or drinking too much caffeine can interfere with healthy reactions to stress. The simple solution is generally healthy living: Make sure that your athlete is getting plenty of sleep, hydrating and fueling properly, and exercising enough.

Takeaway
While it’s natural to want to eliminate stress for your young athlete, they need to learn to manage stress to prepare for adult life, and sport provides a perfect testing ground to hone stress-management skills.



TrueSport®, a movement powered by the experience and values of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, champions the positive values and life lessons learned through youth sport. TrueSport® inspires athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to change the culture of youth sport through active engagement and thoughtful curriculum based on cornerstone lessons of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance, by creating leaders across communities through sport.


OUR PARTNERS


USA Baseball is proud to work with various partners within the amateur game.