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A few years ago we added a Thursday Night Thunder session to
the “Be the Best You Are’’ clinic. It quickly became one of our most popular
venues. Now, it is a can’t miss way to begin a baseball weekend that has
been making better coaches and players for more than 40 years.
Four well-respected specialists have prepared a series of sessions
that take aim at improving pitching and hitting and take a direct look at
improving the play of your catcher.
They will speak on different subjects in separate 25-minute
sessions with topics in their area of expertise to open the clinic.
John Cohen of Mississippi State takes a long, hard look at base
running including critical decisions a runner must make and improving
batters speed from home to first base as part of the MSU staff clinic.
Matt Quatraro has quickly climbed the ladder among batting coaches
as the Tampa Bay Rays minor league hitting coordinator. He will be on hand
with live hitting sessions in the cage. Jody Reed, a former major league
infielder, now serves as the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league fielding
coordinator. Reed looks at throwing, ground ball techniques, positioning and
specialty plays during his sessions.
In all there are 24 sessions before Thunder comes to a close and
gets all the coaches in the mood for the next two days of baseball talk.
How do you decide what depth to play your
infield? How do you create competitiveness and mental toughness during
practice session? When do you throw the curve ball and why?
You want answers, just make your way to the Ultimate Rap sessions
on Friday. Pitching, hitting and making the most of opportunities can make
the difference in any program. We take an ultimate look at all three
areas, including hitting sessions live in the cage, and pitching tips that
focus on what pitch to throw and how to teach it. While our four main
speakers are offering advice, the Mississippi State staff, which came
within a game of winning the college World Series, will offer insights
into every area of their training.
Coaches tell us that the Raps are the best sessions to attend at
the Be the Best You Are clinics. These are 25-minute, energy-filled
sessions where a wide variety of speakers get inside the game of baseball.
This year is no different. There will be 37 topics handled by seven
speakers, including Gil Patterson, the pitching coordinator for the New
York Yankees. He will show some techniques for strength and conditioning
of pitchers as well as a series of steps to develop mechanics.
Kevin Long, the Yankees hitting coach, will be live in the cage
showing how to find flaws in a swing and correct them as well as
developing an approach to hitting.
One of the more interesting speakers is Justin Dehmer. A former
high school coach from Iowa who put together an 88-game winning streak for
St. Marys High School, he has developed a series of measurements for
players that can accelerate their improvement and show quick results on
Cohen’s sessions include developing rhythm while on the tee and breaking
down effective batting practices.
These 24 mini-sessions, lasting 25 minutes each, are enough to fill
any coach’s notebook, and surely help enhance any program.
STATE STAFF CLINIC
The path to the College World series championship game will be long
remembered by Mississippi State fans, a fan base that will still go into
its 100-plus season of still wanting to capture a team national title.
No Mississippi State team had ever competed for a national
championship; only two had ever been one win away from such a contest.
Sure, there had been individual titles in sports such as tennis and track,
and those are great accomplishments. However, those wins will not stir a
fan base the way a big three sport will. So given the events that unfolded
over the championship run, why were Bulldog fans so celebratory in Omaha?
For his role as coach, John Cohen cannot be forgotten. For someone
who liked matchups, he was pretty unconventional to guide this team. Who
else uses the bullpen more than the starters? Who else breaks a long
tradition to let his team grow facial hair? Who else sends the pitching
coach out to make changes? But, it all worked.
See, a funny thing happened on the road to Omaha. A Mississippi
State athletic program continued winning where every other team in the
past had failed. A fan base, trained by heartache and heartbreak to see
the cloud as much as any silver lining, poured their hearts and souls into
a team, really believing the team could win. The 2013 Mississippi State
baseball team defied the past at Mississippi State and took the Bulldog
fan base on what might have been the most thrilling ride in the school’s
What a ride it was for the Bulldogs. In some ways it had all the
drama of an old heroic epic poem. It really was Beowulf for the modern
Cohen and his staff, including pitching guru Butch Thompson,
assistant coach Nick MIngione and strength coach Brian Neal will give all
the drills and spills they taught along the way during the staff clinic at
Thursday Night Thunder and during the Friday Rap sessions.
Neal focuses on different training techniques for starting and
relief pitchers. Mingione looks at the stopwatch as well as some
barehanded outfield drills while Thompson looks at how to develop a
bullpen as well as developing your true identity with your staff.
A Note From The Hawks
Former Professional Pitching Coach
I was watching a New York Mets broadcast this
summer when Leo Mazzone popped up on the screen for an interview. I listened
for about 10 seconds when I realized that he was a voice coaches at our
clinic had to hear. One of the greatest pitching coaches in history, Leo
brings a special insight into preparing pitchers that has been lost in the
shuffle of today’s number crunchers. His record of success speaks for
itself. More importantly the arm health of his staffs while with the Atlanta
Braves is nearly perfect. When Leo takes center stage for three sessions
Saturday you can be sure that he’ll help make your staff armed and
This year’s clinic feels special to me. Those who followed the
college World Series saw John Cohen do magical things with the Mississippi
State squad. He’ll be here with three of his assistant coaches holding a
staff clinic that will provide some physical tools to improve your squad as
well as insights into the emotional development you can bring to your team.
An interesting addition this year is Justin Dehmer a high school coach from
Iowa who put together an amazing 88-game winning streak. He has his own
analysis of measuring improvements in high school players that is sure to
cause some interesting exchanges. Former UConn coach Andy Baylock will be
making his 39th appearance as our master of ceremonies.
We think it is a perfect mix and we’re sure you will too.
Jack Hawkins, Clinic Director
For further information or for a brochure
call: (732) 528-5392