My first blog post comes at a time that brings mixed feelings for some of us college coaches. Today is the last permissible day of supervised skill instruction and weight training for us at Seton Hill. Our players have put in about 14 weeks of awesome work between fall practice and off-season training. The daily grind has raised our fitness and skill levels tremendously this fall semester. But as our guys head into finals and Christmas break, its now in the hands of our players, and we rely on the old adage of “Character is what you do when nobody is watching.”
Division II baseball brings a unique opportunity for teams to open the season a bit earlier than most. We open our 2013 slate at Francis Marion on February 16th. Nothing like coming out of the gate against one of the perennial powerhouses of D2 baseball! Our philosophy is to approach the season as a marathon, striving to play our best baseball about two-thirds of the way through the season. But we certainly want to compete early against top notch competition, most of which have a distinct advantage being far south from us.
Our guys return on January 11th, giving us just over 1 month to prepare for our opener. But that preparation has its limits for us, most notably weather wise. We’ll do most of our training in the gymnasium and in the batting cages. We’re fortunate to have an artificial turf field and have been lucky enough the past couple of years to get some live action on the field in January. But that crucial time from the end of November until mid-January can be make-or-break for a lot of college baseball players.
We strive to provide our players – through team practice, weight training and individual skill work – with a solid foundation from which to build for the season. With about 4 official weeks of practice prior to our opening game, the six week break between semesters is such a pivotal lead up time to the pre-season. By the time we begin practice, our swings and deliveries are, for the most part, what they are. When we return from break, its all about getting “game ready”. Its about hitters getting their timing, pitchers increasing pitch counts, and getting a feel for the flow of the game.
With the end of the fall semester approaching we’re sad to lose the ability to work hands-on with our guys on a daily basis. But we trust that they have not only the knowledge on how to prepare, but more importantly, the WILL TO PREPARE. There’s so much at stake for our squad… but the visualization of a dogpile and trip a to Cary will carry us through those cold winter days!
Head Baseball Coach
Seton Hill University