Are You ready

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Well it's mid-November and for the most part the tournament season is behind us. Basketball season as well as 4 good months of winter lie ahead. For most players, that signifies that baseball season is over. How wrong !

I'm still getting daily e-mails from college coaches as well as showcase people asking me to pass along information. This is where the issue arises about your season being over. If your dream/goal is to become a college or professional player, there is no real down time. You are or want to be a baseball player. That means 11 months of the year, you have to work at "BASEBALL". I have no problem with multi-sport athletes and in fact I encourage it. However, if you want to be a baseball player you need to continually work at your skill even while playing soccer, basketball, hockey etc. You can not and should not ever think of attending one of these camps or showcases if you have not stayed in baseball shape.

We just got back from Jupiter,FL at the Perfect Game WWBA Championsips, which is the must attend event, at least once in your career. As Mr Tom Rizzi stated "It is the Woodstock of baseball". Coach Gallo from Iona Prep called it "A Baseball junkies heaven". For me, It's just a great time and I have great memories of being there with my boys.  At the end of the event I have the same speech with all our players. I encourage them to now begin the tough work. They have all just watched games featuring the best players in the country, many of whom are bigger, stronger and possibly more skilled. It's time to narrow the gap. There are not many players from the Northeast who get the opportunity to play in this event and our guys are fortunate that we are able to take over 40 of them. I hope that they learn a lesson and fully understand what we are asking of them. The joke has been, work hard, round is not the shape I'm asking you to get in. Find a workout for yourself and get involved in it. Go to GNC and ask for supplements that will help with your workout routine to add some muscle and get bigger and stronger all while you continue to do some hitting, light throw and running. It works, trust me.

So what is the off season? It's a time to slow down your routine. It's a time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. It's a time to figure out what needs to be done to be a better player. It's a time to do your school work, better grades open up more doors for you. It's a time to research schools that peak your interest and send the coaches emails, be proactive. No summer coach is going to be able to do it all for you although there are many parents/players who think we can. it's a time to schedule some un-official visits, see what size school appeals to you. The off season is not a time for the couch and video games.

I had a player last year who used the off season to do just that, sit around. He missed winter workouts to watch football games and by looking at his size, he obviously missed the part about hitting the gym. I tried to keep an eye on the sports pages during the HS season to see how our boys were doing and didn't see his name in the papers at mind is wondering..Then I get a call from him right around the first of June asking what my plan was for him this summer? Had I contacted any schools for him? All because, as he stated "This is a very big, important summer for him". My reply was, not sure, no and did you realize your summer began on November 1 the fall before? Obviously I knew the answer!

The season never ends, it just slows down! If you want to play at the next level, there is no off-season.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Drinking To Fit In ??

What Are the Effects of Alcohol on Athletes in Sports?

At the college level, the average student athlete will consume in excess of 34 gallons of alcoholic beverages per year. Many athletes, even the pros, believe it is no big deal to drink as long as they don't do it before a game, competition or practice. But alcohol can remain in the body for up to three days, and after two consecutive nights of drinking, it can linger for up to five days.

Performance: Alcohol is toxic to testosterone. In male athletes, diminished testosterone affects aggression and, over time, lean muscle mass. Alcohol also slows reaction time and affects hand-to-eye coordination, both of which can result in poor performance. It affects the hippocampus, the part of the brain where learning takes place. Because it lingers in your system for days after you stopped drinking, alcohol can impair your ability to learn new plays or techniques in practice. Your attention span will remain shorter for up to 48 hours after you drink.

You might have no problem falling asleep after you've been drinking, but your body will have a hard time staying asleep and cycling through the stages of sleep naturally. If you drink on a regular basis and your sleep is frequently impaired, it will impact your body's production of human growth hormone, which is vital to build and maintain the strong muscles required to participate in most sports at a competitive level. Lack of quality sleep will also impair your mental faculties, making it more difficult to learn and retain information regarding new plays, rules and strategies.

Dehydration: Dehydration is one of the greatest dangers to drinking before a sporting event. Alcohol is a diuretic and if you drink enough, it can take your body several days to hydrate again after the binge. This puts you at greater risk for injury, and it impacts your body's ability to heal itself after you've sustained one.

Nutrition: Alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram. If you drink a great deal regularly, this can easily result in additional body fat, even with the exercise you get playing sports. And the calories in alcohol do your body no good. They're empty. Your muscles can't use them for energy. Alcohol also affects the way your body processes zinc from foods. Your body needs zinc for endurance.

Aerobic Impact: While sports like football involve periods of intense activity followed by periods of inactivity, other sports, such as basketball, hockey, biking or rowing, require that you sustain aerobic activity for longer periods of time. Participating in these types of sports while suffering from a hangover can impact aerobic performance up to 11 percent. LinksReferences
UC San Diego Intercollegiate Athletics: Alcohol and Athletic Performance
University of Notre Dame Office of Alcohol and Drug Education:
Alcohol and AthletesESPN: Drugs and Sports --
AlcoholUniversity of Georgia Health Center:
Alcohol and Athletic Performance

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WWBA Jupiter 2011

A few of the folks that had been following this blog for a while called and/or wrote me and asked why I had stopped writing. Well other then a being busy with the Clippers program, much has happened in the last 6 months that has changed some of the things around me and my feeling toward the process.

At a later time I will dive into that, but for today, it's get ready to leave for Florida and the Perfect Game WWBA Championships. As my good friend Tom Rizzi from College Select Baseball wrote recently, this even is the "WOODSTOCK" of baseball. Fred Gallo, Head Coach at Iona Prep called it, "A Baseball junkies paradise". For me, it's the end of the season, the last chance for many guys to show their stuff before the early signing period and for others, it will be the last time we get to coach them.

The Clippers Coaching staff will be responsible for approximately 40 players on 2 teams. The PG-Clippers and the Northeast PG Maroon team. Both squads have a variety of talented players from the NY, NJ, CT and RI area as well as a players from North Carolina (They played for my son Joe this past summer), 1 from Alabama and 2 from California. This is a great chance for these guys to meet and become friends with other players from other regions but also the opportunity to experience a great event.

This tournament will feature almost 250-300 Pro Scouts as well as another 300-400 college recruiters from across the country all with open check books (Just a term as far as I know). We have had great success at this event both on the field and with kids getting recruited and pursuing their college baseball dreams. For all high school players, this event is a must if you can find a team to take you along.

I'll try to write as the weekend progresses but that's all for now...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Well the high school playoffs have gotten underway here in the Northeast while I'm sure the kids in the south have finished up their school year. What's great about the high school playoffs is that for a good player on a lousy team, it's usually 1 loss and summer ball begins. For the guys that play for the teams who are in it year in and year out it means a shot at the title and a championship ring. This is really what you hope for as a senior. A title that no one can take away.

Having spent some time the last week watching games it still amazes me how the outcome of playoff games are often decided off the field. What I am saying here is that there are still coaches who think they can hold out their #1 arm for a later date and get by with #2 or #3. Wake up coach. If you don't win today, there is no tomorrow. This book was not written yesterday, it's a fact that some guys just continue to try and disprove all the time. Yes, every now and then it works, but more times then not, coaches look foolish. If your #1 is ready, let him pitch and short count him if you can jump out early on a weaker team. Win to advance. If he's not ready, #2 better be

While teams are getting eliminated everyday, I know I get more excited to get the summer started. Guys that we saw workout during the winter have grown and matured some. It is really great to see the improvement. Letters from colleges arrive daily and relationships with coaches begining. Parents start to get a case of the nerves since they are hoping their son plays well and thus can benefit from the exposure that playing on a quality team can bring.

Playoff time has now ended for the college players and the NCAA selection committee announced the field of 64 yesterday. While there are no regionals up here this year (why the NCAA calls is REGIONAL is beyond me, there is a Northeast, Mid West etc) there will however be plenty of baseball on ESPN networks for high school players to sit in and watch. From our area, St John's, Manhattan College, Sacred Heart, UConn, Maine, Central CT are all in the tournament and have plenty of players from the area representing us. There are also guys from the area playing on UNC, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Clemson that will be on TV. Make it a point to watch and learn. It's great to see players on TV that are giving 110% every play.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

That Time of Year !!!

Well folks MAY is here. It's that pivotal month where so many things happen/change and some are bad, some are good and some are very good. So, what am I talking about?  Lets start with the bad things and get that out of the way first so we can dwell on the positive.

MAY marks the end of the college seasons and for many, the end of the high school season and for some the end of their baseball careers. It's usually around this time that colleges finish up final exams and have a few weeks left in their seasons. What that means for players is that if you have not been a contributor, the coaches often have meetings to let you know where you stand for next year. Is your scholarship renewed or not? Do you have to look to transfer? How did I do with my grades and am I still eligible for the remainder of the season and playoffs? Can really be a downer.
MAY marks the end of the high school season with playoffs set to begin in 2 weeks. Is this it for my playing career? Will I try to play at the college I have chosen to attend? For more then half of the high school players the answer is no and now it's over and I'm just a student headed off to a new school. For the underclassmen MAY means an evaluation of, what do I need to do to play more next year or will I be playing a new position next year. MAY means summer ball is right around the corner. Am I prepared? Did I work hard this spring to get myself ready for long days in high heat? Am I going to line up the excuses if I'm not ready or will I use these last few weeks to change something?
For JUCO players, MAY means uncertain times. Where can I transfer to? How many credits do I have? Am I a better player? It's all about the recruiting process all over again. Whats next?

OK enough of that craziness.... Lets move on to the positives

MAY means nice weather and for the first time in the Northeast a high school player can get a feel for the game and may actually be able to get loose. It's about short sleeve shirts and fans coming out and watching a game from start to finish. MAY means summer travel programs are set to start, new uniforms, new schedule, showcases, different teammates, quality opponents, travel, recruiting. A reason to really get excited. MAY for a high school player means that the plan that I've laid out is set to begin. Ask yourself if your ready? Did you send your application in for the showcases or camps you wanted to attend ( ) Have you written e-mails to college coaches? Have you set aside any time to research schools or planned visits with your parents? It's time.. It's MAY. It's that exciting time of year

For high school seniors in MAY, the grind is over, it's easy street, the "I GOT MINE SYNDROME" sets in right?  (WRONG). It's time to really get serious about playing baseball. Graduation is coming up as well as the Prom and just beyond that is August and reporting to college to show the coaches that they made a right decision in recruiting me. That means 2 months of really hard work to get ready, lifting, running, training like never before.You want to be ready....It's the most exciting time in your baseball career up to now..

For the college player MAY is an exciting time. Exams are over, classes done. Sleeping in, great weather and the last 3 weeks of conference play before the tournaments and College World Series begins. Now this is really a great time. It also means that Collegiate Summer Leagues ( ) are about to begin soon too. Host families, new teammates, new opponents, new ball parks, hot days, summer job, night games, big crowds, groupies. Oh man does it get any better?

Then there is me and MAY means another college or high school season ends. Summer is set to begin and there is plenty of work to do. Schedules and rosters are done and now have to be sent out to colleges. Phone calls begin from and to college coaches and and the e-mails pile up. My boys get set for their summers as a player and the other a coach and I wonder when I'll get to spend some time with them like before? My wife and daughter are working and I have time to sit and ponder the next few months. I try to re-assure nervous parents about the summer, help some high school players and give advice to some college players/parents many of whom never played for me but it's what we do. Many months of planning are about to end and the reality begins. Hopefully we are all prepared. MAY is a great month.

This Sunday is Mothers Day. Don't forget it. It's the way to make sure your month of MAY starts out right. Happy Mothers Day to all the moms and especially to mine and my wife.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gave Myself a Quiz

First let me say "Thank You" to all who sent emails regarding Michaels injury. he's doing better and slowing working himself back into baseball.

While traveling this weekend, I was asking myself "How many D1 college coaches are from the Section 1 area"? I started running names of my contacts through my mind and was very surprised to see that there are quite a few.

Dan McDonald, Head Coach at the University of Louisville is from PortChester
Sean McNally, Head Coach at Duke University is from Rye
Kevin Leighton, Head Coach at Manhattan College is from Brewster
Mike Gambino, Head Coach at Boston College is from Garrison
Mike Cole, Head Coach at NJIT is from Arlington
Pat Carey, Head Coach at Iona College is from Rockland
Jerry DiFabia, Assistant Coach at Fordham University is from Pelham
Joe Mercurio, Assistant Coach at High Point University is from Brewster
Bob DiToma, Assistant Coach at Iona is from Yorktown
Myckie Lugbauer, Student Assistant at Maine is from Mahopac

This is a pretty good group of guys working at some solid schools. If you can think of any additional ones, drop me an email and I'll add them to the list.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some Recent Observations

Well first off I apologize for being absent this past week. Mike Mercurio was hit in the face with a bad hop ground ball on Sunday afternoon and broke his jaw in two places. As you can imagine, there was a lot to do travel wise and patient care wise over the past week. 1 lesson learned > parents, trust your intuitions and don't let anyone change your mind.

Having seen my share of college games this year and another half dozen high school games, the change in bats has definitely had implications. At yesterdays Brewster vs Carmel game there were 3 home runs hit and all traveled over the 350 sign in right center. With the BBCOR bats that will be used next year, home runs will be few and far between unless of course you play your games at JJCR. The days of Alex Martinez and a few of the other sluggers who had hit 10 or more home runs as high school players will be long gone. I spent a good part of the morning looking at college websites and just the lack of extra base hits is interesting. I can only imagine how the bats along with the lack of pitchers velocity and hitters physical strength will impact the high school game.

Our summer program and most of the others in the area, play the season in wood bat leagues and tournaments. The results will be comparable. A player with a sweet swing like Scott Hagan will still have success just as Colin Moran has had at the college level. Just do some research and take a look at the guys from Section 1 who were the big home run guys the last 3 or 4 years and see what they are doing now. What you'll see is some of the guys still have pretty good averages (they were and are still good hitters) but the number of extra base hits and home runs are either non-existent or diminished. It will definitely be interesting.

With that being said, hopefully I can get back on track next week.