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FAQ

This page is meant to answer many of the questions that are asked by parents during the season.  The goal is to post these questions prior to the season starting so that parents and coaches can refer to this page during the season.  Keep in mind that these answers are meant to address various age groups and is only a guide.



Q:  What is new for 2018?
A:  We are implementing one new and exciting elements to our off-season training program and keeping one.  1)  Pro Batter  Starting in November (or before) we will be installing a Pro Batter pitching machine.   This is the most advanced pitching machine on the market and it can be programmed to throw any pitch or any sequence of pitches.  It's the best way to simulate a live pitcher.  All A's players will have free access to this machine.  2)  Open Gym with Instructor.  There is no other program that offers this training feature.  We encourage each player to practice on their own and we will have a coach at the facility during published hours each week starting in November.  Players can come in at these times and receive free instruction and help to develop a practice routine that works.  The facility will be unscheduled at this time so that players can literally practice their skills every day as we recommend.  We are excited about these two new additions and are always looking for additional ways to improve our player development process.  

Q:  Why play for travel baseball for an academy?
A:  There are a lot of community based teams out there or independent teams who are not part of an academy.  Many of these teams are very good and have good coaches.  Each player is different and has different needs.  The advantage of playing for a team who trains out of Play Ball Sports Academy is training resources and coaching resources.  Players who are very good who play for community based teams may not get the coaching they need to progress to the next level if that is their desire.  If a player is talented, it would stand to reason that they should be exposed to better coaching to maximize their talents.  Players who play for independent teams that are made up of the biggest, fastest and strongest kids will win a lot of games but not necessarily have their skills improved.  Play Ball Sports Academy is designed to train teams and players in the areas of skill and knowledge that will benefit them beyond their youth baseball days and carry them as far as their talent and desire permit.

Q:  Will Coach Jimmy still be involved in the program now that he is the head coach of the Croatian National Team?
A:  Coach Jimmy is one of our most valuable coaches and his new position with the Croatian National Team will only slightly interfere with his role at Play Ball Sports academy and in our travel programs.  He will still be available for lessons and he will still be in charge of our off season training.  He will not be coaching a team in the summer but he will be taking on a new role in the development of new coaches (see below).

Q:  How do you find and/or develop coaches
A:  Good coaches are extremely hard to find.  In August of 2016, we made a management decision to embrace a new initiative that includes the training and development of coaches which will be spearheaded by Coach Jimmy.  This new initiative will lead to a new area of our business called "Coaching University" where we will endeavor to create a curriculum for new coaches.  This new curriculum is unique in that we intend to train the coaches by putting them through a specially designed training regimen whereby these coaches will be trained and expected to perform many of the same movements that we ask our players to perform.  The coaches will learn how to teach the fundamentals by learning how to perform fundamentals for themselves.  We expect this new initiative to expand and grow in the coming years.  In the meantime, this philosophy represents a shift in our focus from recruiting coaches to developing coaches.......which mirrors our philosophy when it comes to players.  We want our coaches to be training in Coach Jimmy's school of coaching.  Click here to read more about Coach Jimmy's bio.

Q:  What is new for 2015?
AWe are implementing one new and exciting elements to our off-season training program and keeping one.  1)  Functional Baseball Movement.  Starting in November, we will begin our Functional Baseball Movement training series.  Each player MUST graduate from this course prior to the start of the season.  Learn more by clicking here.   2)  Fall practice.  We will have organized outdoor practices in September.  This will allow us to better determine what skills each player needs to work on during our time indoors and what positions they are capable of playing.  It will also allow us to begin the training process much earlier than in the past.  We are excited about these two new additions and are always looking for additional ways to improve our player development process. 

Q:  Please explain your philosophy on kids trying different position?

A:  When kids are younger, it is very desirable for them to play a number of positions.  The only way to know what position a player will excel at is to play them in a game.  As your son gets older, it is best for him to hone in on one or two positions that he becomes competent at.  This is even more true for players who came to travel baseball later or who are struggling to find playing time.  Believe it or not, there are big differences between playing shortstop and second base for instance.  Besides the obvious difference in the throw to first base, there are differences with regard to double plays, steal coverages, bunt coverages, outfield cutoffs, first and third situations and more.  Playing different positions in baseball is fairly complex and requires an excellent understanding of the game to be able to play more than one of them well.  For these reasons, it is desirable to focus on one position until it is mastered.  However, it is rarely possible for a player to have only one position that he will be needed when the pitching rotation is considered.  So it is very possible that the player will have opportunities to play and learn other positions.  Our philosophy at the A's organization is that we like for players to have one primary position and one secondary position each season.  Those positions may change as their skill develops and as their body develops. 

Q:  Can you please explain your playing time policy?
A:  Of course, this is the biggest question that parents bring up.  They want the best for their kids and they want their kids to have fun playing the game, not sitting on the bench.  We agree with the concept that everyone should get a fair amount of playing time in order to develop their skills but we do not go as far as the Recreation Ball or Little League rules by mandating that coach play a each player a certain amount.  We believe that if a player has to compete for playing time, it makes him and his team better.  Assuming the coach is fair and wants the best players on the field the most, this is a great motivator for kids.  Many kids do not like to practice to get better while other players are working for hours each day to get better.  It is not fair to give each player an equal amount of playing time when one player works harder or is more skilled than the other.  This is the general premise of travel baseball.  It reflects real life more than equal distribution of playing time.  So, here are some general guidelines with regard to playing time.   1)  League games are for playing time, tournaments are for winning  2)  Your player fee includes equal treatment in everything EXCEPT a promise of a certain amount of playing time.  3)  A's coaches are instructed and trained to play each player a certain percentage of the total innings.  However, we do not share this percentage with the parents because we do not want parents coming to the coach with a spreadsheet of everyone's playing time.  There are other considerations regarding playing time including; players practice attendance, players attitude, players execution of simple mental tasks (such as throwing to the correct base, offensive signs, calling for fly balls etc.).  In other words, the player might lose playing time because of mental errors or lapses.  4)  Players should be informed as to why they lost playing time or what they can do to earn more playing time 5)  There is a right way to approach the coach about playing time (see travel ball guidelines)

Q:  I don't understand how my son can get better if he is sitting on the bench?
A:  This is a variation of the previous question.  Parents often come to coaches before, during and after games asking how their son will get better if he is sitting on the bench.  In general, a player needs to get a certain amount of playing time which is addressed above.  But, let me answer this question from a different perspective.  Players do not typically get better during a game......they get better during practice.  The games are for fun and to test their skills.   Think about it this way, would you want your favorite basketball team to put their worst free throw shooter into a game for critical free throws on the theory that it is the only way for the player to get better at shooting them?  Probably not.  You would probably want them to practice a whole lot and prove themselves on the court before being in a critical situation.  Sometimes there are close games and coaches want to have their best players on the field for critical parts of the game.  Its only fair to that players other teammates.  We ask for the parents support in explaining that if they want to EARN more playing time, they need to practice on their own.  If we start promising every kid that they will play a certain number of innings each game, we are becoming recreation ball.  Kids will quickly figure out that their performance on the field will directly affect their playing time and the ones who truly have a passion and a work ethic will go about working harder to earn more playing time.  In summary, we want kids to understand that playing time is earned, not given freely.

Q:  What is meant by "Christian based" organization?
A:  We want to stress that the Buzzsaws baseball program is an all-inclusive program.  We feel that developing character and principles in our young men is more important than teaching them baseball and we intend to put that purpose ahead of the baseball aspect of our organization.  We will accept players of any and all religious backgrounds and they will not be made to feel left out in any way.  As a Christian based organization, we intend to lead by example and to offer optional opportunities for spiritual growth.  One such opportunity will be to participate in our annual trip to the Dominican Republic for a baseball tournament and mission trip as part of our player exchange program.  Another example would be to participate in our optional youth activities which will be baseball in nature with a devotional element on a periodic basis.  These youth activities will be separate and above and beyond what is a part of the baseball program.  Finally, the Buzzsaws baseball organization will support the Meeting God in Baseball organization with financial contributions.  The main purpose of publicizing the fact that we are Christian based is because we want to lead by example and we want the parents and players to know that we can always be approached with questions. 

Q:  Can you give me a summary of the season schedule?
A:  The off season training will begin in September with our optional fall practices.  In October, we will start with our EliteFit (quickness, explosion, strength training) program that all players will participate in.  In January we will begin our weekly indoor practices which will continue until the weather starts to break in April.  Starting in April we will have outdoor practices weekly until the season starts.  Outdoor practices will continue during the season on a regular and run by the coach.  The season will conclude around July 21st or sooner (this date will be put in stone around March when the league schedule comes out).  Fall ball will be offered on an optional basis after next season.

Q:  Why is my son being punished by playing in the outfield?
A:  Why would you call it a punishment?  Did the coach tell him he was being punished for something?  Why would you consider the outfield to be like a penalty box?  Is it because sometimes the less skilled players are put in certain positions in the outfield (like right field) because there are less balls hit there?  There are four points I want make about this.  1)  Every inning of every game, there needs to be three outfielders.  If every parent assumed that their son was being punished, that would mean the coach has to find 3 players to punish every inning.  It's a privilege to be on a baseball field and we teach the boys that they are valuable to the team wherever they are on the field AND they are expected to execute the plays.  2)  It is true that youth coaches will sometimes put the less skilled players in the outfield, particularly right field because less balls are hit there.  But plenty of games are lost because a right fielder cannot make a simple catch or hit their cutoff so it's still important that those players execute their role.  If the player prefers to play another position, he is encouraged to become skilled enough to play that position IN THE OPINION OF THE COACH.  Since our coaches are not Dad's of the players, they are unbiased and simply want the best player in each position.  3)  Consider that some of the best players to ever play in the major leagues were outfielders (Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Willie Mays).  Were those players being punished?  Your son may be in the outfield because the coach thinks highly of his skills in that position.....not as a punishment.  Not everyones skills are best suited for shortstop and sometimes players are better at positions that is not their top preference.  4)  This is the most important point.  Does either your son.....or you.....look down upon the players who are in the outfield?  You must if you are asking this question.  Parents and players who are indignant when they are "forced" to play the outfield show a lack of maturity and understanding of the game.  This point could be elaborated on but hopefully you get the point.......your son should respect every teammate and therefore every position.  Please call coach Dante if you'd like to discuss this subject in more detail.  


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