11 Keys to a Competive Program

As baseball season is finally approaching, I wanted to share some notes and thoughts I came across when a fellow coach asked what our program looked like while I was the head coach at Sacramento City College…

I spent 23 years at Sacramento City College, where we compiled an 831-208 (.800) record with 16 championships & 2 co-championships, 2 State Titles (7x Runner-Up), and a National Championship in 1998.

Sac City was voted the Community College program of the 90s by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. While at Sac City, we produced 28 Major League players and had 213 players drafted.

Looking back, here are a few thoughts relative to practice & games that were key components to our program:

  1. I took a lot of time every day preparing practice based on the needs of the team but even more the needs of each individual. For example, I had a different drill set for each one of our hitters. I rarely had mass drills where everyone did the same thing.

 

  1. Everything we did in practice was competitive, which makes it fun while at the same time increasing the level of focus. For example, when we took ground balls or turned double plays, it was always against the clock. Goal was to get a certain number in a row at less than 4.2 seconds.

 

  1. I developed and actively utilized individual player plans & daily goal sheets for each of our players.

 

  1. Everything starts with a disciplined stretch and then an individualized,purposeful throwing program. No little things; everything is important.

 

  1. Best speed mentality when going Home to 1st, getting On & Off the Field, etc. We had a 20-second rule to get on the  field & to your position. Also had a goal of 15 seconds between pitches. During practice, our players were expected to at best speed when moving from station to station.

 

  1. Pitchers did very little shagging during BP. We worked on PFP skills & our pick moves. Pitchers who shagged lined up in a line in LF, CF or RF with the outfielders & power shagged. No one hanging out & BS-ing in the gaps.

 

  1. Not a Ra-Ra mentality. We played against the game. Pretty quiet dugout focused on the game.

 

  1. Aggressive but intelligent base running strategy. Excellent at reading balls in the dirt at all bases.

 

  1. We didn’t waste time on the field. No eye wash stuff. ¬†There was a purpose for everything we did.

 

  1. Big mental game program. It was a huge component of everything that we did.

 

  1. Team was everything. Every decision was made based on the effect it would have on the team. No individual agendas were tolerated.

Hope this can provide value as your prepare for the upcoming season. Best of luck to all Coaches and Players!

-JW