Monthly Archives: April, 2015

How to Win in Youth Baseball (Hint – the answer is NOT on the scoreboard!)

The “How to Win” formula has been a work in progress for a decade. For a complete ebook on “HOW TO WIN IN YOUTH BASEBALL”, please visit http://gamersacademy.net/win.


We strongly believe that the most important element of youth baseball is teaching kids “how” to succeed. The Gamers program is built around this mission — teaching young men how to recognize and take responsibility for things they can control to be successful. The process of success on the baseball field pays direct dividends in success off the field and in 10 years when young men start making their way in life. Baseball is a PROCESS, not an EVENT.  Although the game seems random at the instance of action, over the long term a series of input factors will control the result.  So, the Formula for Winning is defining the process behind winning, focusing on inputs that are within the control of the player. eck-mainx Over the past 10 years, we have collected and analyzed lots of data and statistics on youth baseball – primarily 12-18u, literally thousands of games. And the introduction of Gamechanger a four years ago makes the collection and analysis of data even easier. To a lot of players, parents and coaches, winning or losing a baseball game seems like a random event, like playing roulette. Our mission has been to teach kids “how” to win – the process of winning. Winning is NOT a random event.


Here is the simple three- part recipe for winning baseball games at the youth level: Win 3 innings (you will win 90% of the game that you achieve this) Have 15 or more Quality At Bats (you will win 80% of the games that you achieve this). Limit Walks + Reached on Errors to 5 or less (you will win 80% of the games that you achieve this) In a single game, if you accomplish 2 of the three above, you will win >90% of the time. If you accomplish all 3 of the above, you will win 98% of the time. It is truly a recipe for winning. It has only happened to me in one in 10 years — where we have accomplished all three goals and lost the game.


I am pretty sure that the same factors hold true in college baseball and professional baseball, but the metrics are different due to 9 inning games and the level of talent. But, the concepts are directly applicable. These three factors give kids simple concepts to focus on. All three are within their immediate control. Winning a game is the result of winning individual battles – one inning at a time, one at bat at a time., one pitch at a time. Each inning, each at bat, each pitch is a battle. Win the individual battles and you will with the game. This is a breakthrough in teaching kids “how” to win a baseball game. And, this approach is directly related to success in life, which is a process that unfolds in a series of daily battles and does not just magically happen.

Click here to get the complete free ebook on How to Win in Youth Baseball.  If you like the ideas, please share with other coaches, parents and players.  The ebook goes through all aspects of the graphic below:

How To Win

How to Win in Youth Baseball (Hint – the answer is NOT on the scoreboard!)

The “How to Win” formula has been a work in progress for a decade. For a complete ebook on “HOW TO WIN IN YOUTH BASEBALL”, please visit http://gamersacademy.net/win.


We strongly believe that the most important element of youth baseball is teaching kids “how” to succeed. The Gamers program is built around this mission — teaching young men how to recognize and take responsibility for things they can control to be successful. The process of success on the baseball field pays direct dividends in success off the field and in 10 years when young men start making their way in life. Baseball is a PROCESS, not an EVENT.  Although the game seems random at the instance of action, over the long term a series of input factors will control the result.  So, the Formula for Winning is defining the process behind winning, focusing on inputs that are within the control of the player. eck-mainx Over the past 10 years, we have collected and analyzed lots of data and statistics on youth baseball – primarily 12-18u, literally thousands of games. And the introduction of Gamechanger a four years ago makes the collection and analysis of data even easier. To a lot of players, parents and coaches, winning or losing a baseball game seems like a random event, like playing roulette. Our mission has been to teach kids “how” to win – the process of winning. Winning is NOT a random event.


Here is the simple three- part recipe for winning baseball games at the youth level: Win 3 innings (you will win 90% of the game that you achieve this) Have 15 or more Quality At Bats (you will win 80% of the games that you achieve this). Limit Walks + Reached on Errors to 5 or less (you will win 80% of the games that you achieve this) In a single game, if you accomplish 2 of the three above, you will win >90% of the time. If you accomplish all 3 of the above, you will win 98% of the time. It is truly a recipe for winning. It has only happened to me in one in 10 years — where we have accomplished all three goals and lost the game.


I am pretty sure that the same factors hold true in college baseball and professional baseball, but the metrics are different due to 9 inning games and the level of talent. But, the concepts are directly applicable. These three factors give kids simple concepts to focus on. All three are within their immediate control. Winning a game is the result of winning individual battles – one inning at a time, one at bat at a time., one pitch at a time. Each inning, each at bat, each pitch is a battle. Win the individual battles and you will with the game. This is a breakthrough in teaching kids “how” to win a baseball game. And, this approach is directly related to success in life, which is a process that unfolds in a series of daily battles and does not just magically happen.

Click here to get the complete free ebook on How to Win in Youth Baseball.  If you like the ideas, please share with other coaches, parents and players.  The ebook goes through all aspects of the graphic below:

How To Win

Duck Dynasty Beards, Hair and Entertainers

Click on Image to Explore MLB and WWE Grooming

Click on Image to Explore MLB and WWE Grooming

Given the popularity of the MLB and associated video games, fantasy leagues and 24/7 coverage, baseball at that level is as much about entertainment as it is about the actual game.  If WWE is 100% entertainment, then NFL is 60% and MLB is now 50%.  There is nothing wrong with this, because MLB has been able to keep the game relatively pure and without a doubt puts the best players in the world on the field, competing very hard 162 games a year.  The quality of MLB baseball is lot better than the quality of WWE wrestling.

But, the 50% entertainment part is hard to miss:

– Crazy beards

– Crazy hair

– Full body tattoos, etc…

Players want to develop an image, be noticed and standout in the entertainment business.  Goofy hair and crazy beards is an easy way to stand out and establish your entertainment brand.  Hey, look at me.  It makes perfect sense and it works.  It always has worked — from 1960’s rock to the WWE and now to MLB players.  From Al Hrabosky to Brian Wilison — this is not new.

If I was being paid a lot of money to play baseball, and was focused on my personal entertainment brand, I would probably do the same thing.

But, if you are not in the entertainment business, if you are just playing baseball to compete and get better and have fun, it makes little sense to have long hair and Duck Dynasty beards.  It is a summer sport.  It is impractical and lacks common sense to have long hair and a DD beard when competing for 2 hours in 90+ degree sunshine.  Long hair in football may be OK for NFL players looking to standout on the field of entertainment and on Madden 2014, but long hair hanging out of a football helmet incredibly impractical and frankly stupid. DD beards and long hair in baseball are not much different.

So, here is the problem … I am starting to look around and see too many players and coaches in the amateur baseball world imitating MLB entertainers in the area of personal grooming.  Amateur baseball is not entertainment.  It is impractical to have long hair and crazy beards in an amateur dugout.  Seeds sticking in long beards just looks stupid.  When I see coaches wearing Evoshield wristbands, I laugh at them.  What’s the point?  Same thing goes for paid coaches with crazy beards and long hair.  If you are getting paid (anything) to be a baseball coach or are coaching baseball at a high level, there is no reason to have long hair and a crazy beard.

It sends the wrong message.  Amateur baseball is not about entertainment or personal branding.

Obviously, amateur baseball players/coaches will do whatever they want to do and I respect their right to do that.  But, if you want to standout and be noticed for personal grooming habits, you have to recognize that people are going to ask the “What’s the point”.  And, the answer is sometimes pretty obvious.

Hitting Adjustments

It is really hard to be a consistently good hitter.  At the 14-17u levels that our teams play at, the metrics for an elite hitter are >.450 OBP and >.350 batting average.  For a good hitter, it is >.400 OBP and >.300 batting average. Note — this is after about 100 plate appearances, so don’t freak out or celebrate for another 2 months.

To accomplish this level of performance requires consistent effort and competing in EVERY  at bat (i.e. not giving away at-bats).  If you give away at-bats when your team is up 6-1 or down 5-1, you are not going to achieve this level of performance.

Good hitters have a plan when they step into the batters box.  What is your plan?  In general, it should be “Get a good pitch and square it up”.   But, what is your hitting approach in more detail?

Well, the answer should be “it depends …. on the situation”.

Runner on 2nd, no outs => your job is to advance the runner unless you are getting paid to play baseball.

Runner on 3rd, less than 2 outs => your job is to to get a good pitch to hit and hammer it.

Two strikes => your job is to shorten up, let the ball travel and battle your butt off to eat up pitches or get the pitcher to make a mistake.

So, your detailed approach is that it “Depends on the situation”  

It also depends on the count.

Adjust to count

And, it depends on the type of pitcher you are facing.

Adjust to Pitchers

Here was a summary from a weekend this past summer:

In Game 1 this weekend, we faced two guys that were #1’s and we kept taking strike one fastballs.  We took 14 strike one fastballs.   You cannot do that against #1 guys. They have good stuff and they are not going to walk you. The strike 1 fastball is the best pitch you are going to see.  Sit on it and compete.  You need to take these match-ups personally as a hitter.  Your future in baseball depends on beating #1 guys.

In Game 3, we faced a struggling pitcher for 3 innings and scored only 6 runs.  In those situations, we need to step on the gas and relentlessly hit and walk our way to double digit runs.  But, we starting refusing to walk and got ourselves out by swinging at bad pitches.

Then, in Game 3, we faced a crafty pitcher who got ahead in the count and then made us look foolish.  We tried to hit the ball in the air with a 30mph wind blowing out.  Instead, we fouled balls off early in the count then chased bad pitches.  The result, was 3 innings and zero runs against a pitcher throwing 70 against the wind.

As the season progresses, we need to understand what kind of pitcher we are facing and how we need to adjust our approach immediately.  Let’s not wait until the post-game talk to discuss adjustments.

Working the Count

Below is a chart of data of MLB on-base percentage as hitters pass through different counts.  Of course, everyone starts at 0-0, so the MLB OB% average is .324 (note there are some quirks in this data and it is a couple decades old, but conclusions are right).

If the result of pitch 1 is a ball, then the batters on-base % goes to .387.  If the result is strike 1, then the on-base % goes to .256.  That is a HUGE DIFFERENCE and sets up the rest of the rest of the at-bat.  You can see how the results further diverge as the counts play out.

The different between the upper right 1/2 of the box and the lower left 1/2 of the box is the difference between scoring 2 runs a game or 7 runs a game.  Pitchers need to throw strikes early, hitters need to swing at strikes early.  That creates a perfect match-up!

OBP vs Count

Adjustments to 60/90 Fields — 4 Things That Work

One of the reasons I enjoy 14u baseball is watching the transition to a big diamond.  Compared to 13u baseball, pitchers are throwing 6 ft. further, bases are 10 ft. further and throws are 10-20 feet longer.  Then, you add -3 BBCOR bats to the mix.  A lot of things in flux.

Players need to get good at making adjustments at this age.

Here are four things that work in making this transition.

1, Pitchers need to challenge hitters to put the ball in play.  It is harder to get a hit at this age — fielders are fast and no one can outrun a baseball. Challenge hitters and see what happens.

2. Infielders need to move through the ball. Bad footwork will not work on a big field.

3. Hitters need to attack the inside half of the ball and go gap-t0-gap and opposite field.  You are going to be out front and rollover 10X more than you are going to get beat by a 14u fastball.

4. The value of speed and good base running just got amplified.  If that is part of your game, push things hard.  If speed is not part of your game, then get to at least average speed and quickness and become a great baserunner.  It makes a difference.

Good news is that the fields are not getting any bigger from now on.  This is it.  This is a good time to make the adjustments.

Surprising Seven Secrets about College Prep Baseball

harvard-business-school-5.4 Three key factors drive the college baseball process for high school age players:

1. Talent/Skill level – basically you need to look the part and be able to play.

2. Good grades – a lot more important than most people realize

3. Being a “good kid” – hard worker, committed, able to overcome failure, coachable, etc.. (i.e. are you a Gamer?)

The only thing a college prep, select baseball program can do for you is to help you develop along those three dimensions and to give you the opportunity to play in front of college coaches.  NO COLLEGE PREP BASEBALL PROGRAM “GETS” YOU A COLLEGE BASEBALL SCHOLARSHIP!! (this is secret #1 – don’t tell anyone) College prep programs either help you directly with a these three things or they don’t.  If they don’t then … ?

If you are 6’3″, throw 89, have a 29 ACT and are good kid => you are going to play at a high-end Division 1 program.  Of course, it is a very competitive world and there are literally hundreds of HS players out there that fit this criteria. If you are in this group, congratulations!  There are a lot of people lined up to take credit for your success.

Here is surprising secret #2 : for the clear, high-end D1 players… your actual success in college (i.e. actual playing time, having on-field success, having off-field success and graduating) will depend almost entirely on #2 & #3 above, not #1 that you are being recruited for. This is why so many highly recruited and early-commit players do not make it through (or to) college, switch programs after one year, etc..  This is why a lot of D1 recruits get passed by before they even show up on campus.  A lot of SEC recruits never play in the SEC.  This is especially true for players who look the part and matured early but were never challenged or taught the importance of #2 and #3.

So, the long-term success of the high-end D1 recruits will depend primarily on how good of a student they are and if they are a “good kid”.  This is very counter-intuitive and very top-secret.  Many high-end D1 program have bullpens & benches  full of kids that throw 90+, but cannot get outs or hit curve balls or are academically ineligible.

But, the clear high-end D1’s do not represent most players in college prep, select baseball.  The majority of players are either borderline D1 players, or are more likely to play at D2/D3/NAIA or Juco.  That is right — the majority of players playing college prep, select baseball are not going to play high-end D1 baseball.   (that is secret #3). This is true for almost EVERY program in the country — maybe 8-10 total exceptions across the country (you can usually find one in our pool at East Cobb).

In the Gamers program, 90% of our players go on to play college baseball.  But, a little less than 1/2 go to D1 baseball programs.  It sometimes changes year to year, some years 60%, some years 40%.  But on average, a little less the 50% over 6 years of graduating players to college baseball.

So, here is a surprising secret #4 for this majority of players … the NCAA level of the baseball program DOES NOT MATTER nearly as much as whether the college is a GOOD FIT with your overall goals.  


Here is some good info on college baseball “fit”:
college fit


The single most important goals for you are to:

– use baseball to learn what it takes to be successful in life

– recruit yourself into a baseball program that fits with your academic and baseball levels — i.e. where you “fit”

– have a great college athletic and academic experience

That should be the focus for every player, but especially the players that do not fit clear high-end D1 profiles.

The misguided notion that Division 1 baseball is always the best option is flat-out wrong for LOTS of players.  

Here is surprising secret #5 …. At the end of 4-5 years, a player that goes to a high-end academic D3 college and plays baseball is usually BETTER OFF than a player that goes to a high-end D1 baseball program.  Not always, but most of the time.  

Degrees from schools like MIT, DePauw, Rhodes, Wheaton, Wash U, etc.. matter A LOT.  Some of these academic experiences are life altering.  These degrees matter more than Division 1 baseball.  If you play baseball and successfully graduated rom a college like this, you will have great opportunities in front of you.

The chances of ever earning a living playing baseball are REMOTE (is there a way to make this text larger? — this is secret #6). What matters is having a good experience, developing as a person and emerging from college with the capacity to succeed in life.

I have incredible respect and affection and am VERY proud of the handful of former Gamers now earning a pay check in professional baseball.   They are awesome young men.  But, I am equally proud of the kids that played college baseball and are graduating from great schools with good degrees that set them up for success in life.

Finally — secret #7 — this process is not about baseball.  This is about learning how to work hard at something, fail, get back on your feet and keep working. It is about learning how to succeed.  Baseball is simply the best platform invented to teach this to young men.