After a short flight from Reagan to DFW, I checked-in at the local Holiday Inn and shuttled over to the Gaylord Convention Center, the site of this year’s convention. I was immediately marveled on the size and scope of this event as the ABCA is anticipating this to be the largest turnout of coaches in the event’s history, with over 6,500 coaches. Not only is this Gaylord Convention Center a spectacle, but I am pretty sure you can see it from space.
The first thing I investigated was the trade show, the largest collection of baseball vendors in the world. It took me over three hours to get through the over 300 stations and I know I skipped a few aisles. I saw a lot of new technology, like the Yellow Jacket radar gun, that I feel is going to become a staple in the game in the near future. This radar gun combines the data received from the gun and pairs it with video from your smartphone for scouting and recruiting. I will go over more gadgets and training aids in my summary of the best stuff I saw throughout the trade show.
Following a quick bite to eat, I sat in on a rookie coaches mentorship run by Southwest Minnesota State University head coach Paul Blanchard. Blanchard has over 30 years of coaching experience and covered a lot of material in his talk, which is covered here.
The main thing I took from his talk was in regards to instructing players. He told all the coaches in attendance that it doesn’t matter what experience you have as a coach - what matters is communicating that knowledge in a comprehensible manner to allow them to better execute on the field. Things like being simple and precise with communication, repeating yourself and allowing time for players to process information and use teaching cues to reiterate the same message without saying the same thing were some ways he communicates to his players.
“Never tell them something unless you tell them why.”
Blanchard feels strongly that if you don’t prove to players that your way is more efficient and can make them a better player, there is no reason for them to listen to you. Players also have to feel the change, feel that is makes them a better ballplayer and receive countless repetitions for it to fully sink in.
Looking forward to the next three days of learning here in Dallas. Continue to follow along on Twitter and stay tuned for summary articles on the trade show and various clinics at NVTBLBaseball.org/abca.