Pitcher Longevity- We are ALL Responsible Coach Blaesing

Every person in a young man’s career plays a vital role in the long term development, success, health, and longevity of career.  I think it is time that we stop focusing on whom to blame and instead start educating ourselves on the subject.  Let me place a disclaimer…we don’t all need to become experts on arm care.  We simply need to understand our role and the importance we play in a young pitcher’s life.

You may have heard the news that was recently released about a high school boy named Dylan Forsacht from Washington that threw 194 pitches in 14+ innings in a high school game.  He struck out 17 hitters. He was pulled in the top of the 15th and was replaced by his catcher, Dustin Wilson who finished the 17 inning game.  Wilson then started and pitched all seven innings of the schools second game that day.  In addition, the opposing starter worked the first 12 innings, striking out 13 and allowing two hits without a walk.  
The head coach and the assistant coach have since apologized and said Forsacht should not have thrown that many pitches.  And currently that seems to be the end of it.  However, former major leaguer pitcher Tommy John, who underwent the first ever Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (UCL) in 1974 disagrees with the decision to not punish the head coach.  He said he sees no reason for a prep player to throw that many pitches. "The guy (head coach) should lose his job. He should be fired right now.  He would be collecting his last paycheck if I were the athletic director.” 

I couldn’t agree more.  As many of you know, pitch count, days rest period, showcases, summer ball, fall ball, and year round throwing programs are hot topics right now, as they should be.  Seeing the number of youth pitchers getting elbow or shoulder surgeries is astounding (UCL Reconstructions are up 700% over the last 10 years).  It is common place to see a high school athlete with a scar on their elbow that looks like this:

TJ Scar

This scar is the result of UCL Reconstruction, better known as Tommy John Surgery.  This surgery takes place when the ligament near the elbow becomes stretched, frayed, or torn due to overuse.  The surgery is most often seen at the major league level, but commonly the damage from overuse has been done way before they reach their college or professional careers (ages 8-18).

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Start Holding Yourself Accountable - Coach Tierney

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As a coach, you see everything.  As a player, you are often lost in the midst trying to compete and be your best.  You rarely see things from the outside, and that’s expected.  But that is no excuse to not find a way to maximize your potential, especially when you have a staff around you that is dedicated to bringing out the best in you.

Rhino Baseball is one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of.  We have people here that dedicate their lives to developing young athletes on and off the field.  We are second to none in this aspect and we are proud of it.  Yet there are some things as coaches that just leave you shaking your head.  Here are a few examples:

Pitching with Aggression - Coach Tierney

          “Pitching is the art of instilling fear”
                         Sandy Koufax

There are three kinds of pitchers out there:

1.       The pitcher that is passive and avoids contact.

2.       The pitcher that is neutral and just tries to get outs with good pitches.

3.       The pitcher that is assertive and attacks the strike zone regardless of the situation, batter, circumstance, or intangible. 

Let’s discuss each one in detail.  Let’s go with the first example, the pitcher that is passive and avoids contact, #1.  Here are some traits of this pitcher:

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Old School Communication Goes a Long Way in Recruting - Coach Brian

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Getting the opportunity to be the recruiting coordinator at Rhino Baseball was a very exciting opportunity for me.  There is nothing more exciting and gratifying to find a young man a college to pursue his education and baseball career at.
After learning the promotion game over the last six months, I have learned the importance of communication.  I found homes for all five of our High School Seniors this year to play college baseball.
This was huge accomplishment for myself, and it took a lot of learning, and a lot of different types of communication.  Their is a lot of great tools used today in society to communicate.  A lot of these social media tools we ourselves use in helping us promote our players from Rhino Baseball to college coaches.  We are constantly updating these social media sites, and using them to our advantage.  For myself, being on the older side, some of these social media tools were new to me.  For example Twitter, FaceBook, and Field Level.  I have never used any of them in the past.  It took me a little while, but I quickly adapted and become pretty good at using them.  I do not discredit these forms of communication at all, but I learned very quickly that a good old fashioned phone call or face to face meeting will always get you better results than social media out there today....

Why Do You Play Baseball? - Coach Tierney

Rhino Home Plate
To me, it was always easy.  I played baseball because I loved it.  It’s as simple as that.  Sometimes you can’t even express that love into words; you just know that it’s the greatest thing in the world. 

When you’re 5 years old, hitting whiffle balls in the front yard, pretending you are your favorite big leaguer, hitting home runs over the giant maple tree, you do it only because it’s the greatest feeling in the world. 

There is no money, there is no fame, and there is no status. 

There’s just a little white ball and all you want to do is hit it over the fence and round the bases.  Every day your Mom asks you how you can possibly be so full of dirt, but while she is getting the stains out of your clothes she smiles because she wouldn’t have it any other way.  This is baseball, and that is why we love it.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget why we love this game.  I was lucky.  I was fortunate. 

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Playing to Win - Coach Greg

Bryce Harper PassionI recently saw a youth travel tournament where every player in the tournament got a trophy.  It was called a "participation trophy".  It made my head spin and my heart break.  Can someone please tell me what the hell we are teaching our youth?  A participation trophy?  Really?

I've been playing or coaching baseball for the past 27 years.  I've been on and coached teams that have competed and won on a state and national level at all ages.   I've been through all the ups and downs that baseball brings on a daily basis.  And through it all, what I've seen every single day is that competitive players are the deciding factor in a game. Here is how I was raised to play:

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