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Daily News....."Family Life"

June 3rd

"No one knows what is in him till he tries, and many would never try if they were not forced to." --Basil W. Maturin

One of my goals for our "Family" this summer to continue to not only help teach and educate ballplayers on the field, but to also help educate the "coaches" and (former) "players in the stands". I want each and every person to gain a new appreciation for America's Pastime and as I have mentioned before, to truly "see" things through the eyes of those who make the decisions for you and your ball players baseball future.

With that said, I have put together PART 1 of a series of educational materials (photos & text) for you to review. I am posting this information on the ABC website as well so feel free to check there often for updates.

The link below relates to the Velocity "Boot Camp" that we have been undergoing for the last several months and will continue with each week. The focus for this workout is to increase arm strength, decrease soreness, prevent injury, promote long-term health of the throwing arm.

Today's information is related to Postural efficiency and it's importance:

1. #1 cause of arm injury is a sudden change of direction or "disconnect" late in the delivery of the baseball.

2. Postural inefficiency is the #1 mechanical throwing flaw and can be easily addressed.

3.Postural change late causes inconsistency in location

Click on the link below to review some materials I have prepared and posted to help us all better understand how to improve on one of the 5 very important tools that scouts and coaches evaluate - ARM STRENGTH

http://www.austinbaseballclub.com/new_page_6.htm

__________________________________

We were out on the field last night for a VERY productive and informative field workout.

Our field workout time is a very valuable time for us to get out on the field as individual teams, small groups made up by position, and as a large "Family".

HERE IS WHAT YOU MISSED:

http://playerdevelopment.tripod.com/STymes/id60.html

 

See you soon !

Coach Prater

 

"A really great talent finds its happiness in execution." --Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

I echo that sentiment....

Need to go over a few items of business related to upcoming ABC events and

issues.

1st item:

The 1st annual "ABC Par 3 Classic @ the Lake" tee's off this Friday, May

28th, @ 1:00pm

Several have indicated that they will be joining us for this exciting event.

Please plan to meet at the Butler Par 3 "Pitch and Putt" on Lamar and

Riverside (behind Taco Cabana & Taco Bell) a few minutes before 1:00 to get

"situated". Tournament format has not been decided yet :)

Cost is $6.00 per player (course fee) bring own wedge & putter or rent for

.75 each.

_______________________________________

Coach Prater,

"Just want to say thanks to you and your staff for this weekend. I know it

was

a long, hot and at times frustrating weekend. I appreciate your endurance

and

instruction." ABC mom

_______________________________________

2nd item:

I have received confirmation from the Houston Astros ticket department

regarding the purchase of 50 tickets for the game this Saturday. Game time

is 3:05. Tickets will be picked up under my name at Will Call upon our

arrival.

We will meet to caravan from the south warehouse at 10:15amm Saturday

morning. Those that need a ride please e-mail me with the words "Ride to

Houston" in the subject box by Thursday.

Some have indicated that they will already be in Houston and will need to

meet us there. I am sure there are those that are saying to themselves, "Why

do I have to drive all the way south?"

You don't. By doing so , though, it will help keep the group together and

give us a better chance of gathering at the will call window at the same

time.

Those needing to meet us at Minute Maid can call me at 844.8105 to get an

ETA on Saturday.

**Cash will be accepted in exchange for your ticket. Thanks :)

_________________________________

Coach Prater,

"I just wanted to let you know that I was very impressed by the tournament

this past weekend. It was very well organized and

run.....positive.....instructive...........excellent!

Thank you for your efforts." ABC dad

_________________________________

3rd item:

The ABC advisory board has asked that I announce a mandatory meeting for ALL

ABC ball players and at least one parent for the evening of Sunday, June 6th

@ 8:00pm at the south indoor facility (we will be finishing up our ABC

weekend tournament earlier in the day @ St.Andrew's so many players will be

south already)

**please bring your own chair to sit on**

The order of business for the meeting will be to discuss our organizational

"Code of Conduct", team travel protocol, disciplinary protocol, gather birth

certificates (COPIES ONLY PLEASE), fill out paperwork, collecting travel

expense money, etc....

Players, along with one parent, who are not in attendance will not be

allowed to begin tournament play. Please understand and respect the

importance of this meeting.

_____________________________

"Thanks for all your hard work and support of Doug and the other players!

I'll talk to you soon"

ABC mom

_____________________________

4th item:

Over the last several years, the ABC advisory board has begun to adopt a

protocol for addressing and handling all travel related expenses and

matters. At times, what many of you don't see, are the mountains of details

that are involved in the preparation and the execution of travel plans for

the Austin Baseball Club. Our experience has proven that the most efficient

way to coordinate these types of events and travel plans is to have a "set

fee" that each player pays to cover their own over night expenses, their

coaches overnight expenses, and other misc. expenses that the team occurs

from time to time.

All ABC ball players will be assigned to a "team room" when we travel. Each

player is responsible to pay $30 per night that the team will be on the

road. These monies will be collected up front at our June 6th meeting. To

"estimate" the amount that you will owe simply count the number of days that

your ball player will be "on the road" with the team during the summer

campaign.

**Please note: ABC will be fielding 3 teams in Atlanta at the Perfect Game.

Those rosters and team members have not been solidified. 45 ball players

will travel.

As I mentioned above, we will collect the travel expense money at the June

6th organizational meeting.

_____________________________

Coach Prater,

"On a personal note, I would like to thank you for what you do. After a

very

trying H.S. season, it was so amazing to hear my son talk after Saturday's

game. His passion for the game was actually rekindled. He actually said

that he "loved the workout" and could not stop talking about what he wanted

to work on and how much he looked forward to the summer program. Thank you

for building him up and keeping him believing in himself. Those are two

things that are invaluable and as a parent I cannot thank you enough." ABC

mom

_____________________________

5th item:

I have been pouring over notes from the past three weeks of workouts, the

past three weekend's of games, observations, etc. and I JUST GOTTA TELL YA

how proud I am of the ABC boys.

One of my goals this month has been to teach your ball players how to be

pro-active in their approach to developing their skills. to be accountable.

No excuses.

The goal here is to prepare to the spring HS varsity season 2005.

I will be sending out the "Month in review" training notes this week and I

am sure that you too will be blessed by what you read and learn.

I can't wait though to say how impressed and proud I am of a couple of

players:

Tim Hanson, So. Austin High -

Tim got serious over the past few weeks about wanting to get back on the

mound to pitch some this summer. He took the mound for the ABC Texas team

during the 5:00 game on Sunday and totally shut down the ABC Royal team for

5 innings. SHUT THEM DOWN! He was the "talk of both dugouts" during that

final game and he truly impressed his peers.

Tom Williams, Jr. Austin High -

Tom spends more time in the batting cages than anyone in the organization...

and he needs it :) (love you Tom!) He went out a SQUASHED 4 homeruns in

three games this weekend !!! AMAZING !!

Stephen Mazur, So. Stony Point -

Quietly goes about his business. Pitched a STRONG game Saturday morning

taking a perfect game late into the 5th. Played solid defense all weekend.

Communicated well on the field. Swung the bat a little also, knocking two

balls off the wall !

Jake Walls, So. Austin High -

SOLID, SOLID, SOLID ! This kid has COME A LONG WAY and is really on top of

his game. Fired BB's down to second base ALL WEEKEND catching all three

games for the ABC Royal team. Broke up Mazur's perfect game with a line

drive single on Saturday and came back Sunday to smash a homerun in the

5:00 game. REAL DEAL HERE !

Ben Whiteley, Jr. P-Ville & Jonathan Burns, So. P-Ville -

These "tall drinks of water" from Pflugerville flat out dominated on the

mound !

Strikes, Strikes, and more Strikes ! these guys executed their pitches, had

great tempo, kept hitters off balance and were "Big League" ! GREAT JOB

!!!!!

Michael Wright, So. Lockhart -

No one plays harder. He hustles, he smiles, he gets dirty, he plays smart,

he's fast, he lays down a drag bunt, he's just pretty darn good !

The list goes on !

______________________________

Coach Prater,

You are the best example I have ever known of how a coach, (let alone a

baseball coach) should interact with his players. I wish I could have been

a player in your care.....I would have learned alot about the game, but a

lot more about life. Keep it up. I respect you more than I respect any

adult who has had an impact on my two boys' lives. Thank you for all you

do, all you write and all you say." Your friend, ABC dad

______________________________

One of my goals is have each ball player and parent realize that he game

speeds up the longer you play. The game demands execution the longer you

play. You've got TO GET BETTER the longer you play......

As one dad put it on Saturday, "I guess we are all here to learn together."

Thank you for allowing me to spend time with you and your family-

Coach Prater

 

 

May 25
 
 
May 24

"I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I listen." -- Lou Holtz

I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have had the opportunity to spend 22 hours at the ballpark Saturday and Sunday watching the ABC "Family" compete on the ball field.

I am digesting 8 pages of game notes and observations from myself and coaching staff and I will e sending out a very comprehensive and detailed evaluation of the weekend (You're going to LOVE IT !)

I wanted to briefly touch base regarding the workout schedule this week.

The last week of school, finals, long weekend of baseball.....

***Clicking on the link below you will notice that the South workout is tonight and the north workout has been scheduled all along for Tuesday evening this week RATHER THAN Wednesday (Wednesday being the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL !! ENJOY YOUR DAY !!!).

http://playerdevelopment.tripod.com/STymes/id37.html

Please understand that preparation for final exams takes priority over ANY ABC activity and I am anticipating that the turn out this week could be a little "light".

I encourage each ball player to take a LONG HARD LOOK at their classroom schedule this week and make sure that you are as prepared as you can be. The coaches and I have a GREAT workout planned for tonight and Tues, BUT NOT at the expense of studies :)

**Please note:

Beginning next week, we have two workouts scheduled. An indoor workout and a field workout at St.Anderw's.

During the Tuesday and Thursday indoor workouts we will have our regularly scheduled SWING THERAPY session and during the velocity boot-camp session ALL players will have their velocity recorded by using a radar gun.

The Wednesday field practice at St.Andrew's (June 2nd) will be broken down into two sessions.

The first session will be from 5:30-7:00 and will be for the ABC Royal, ABC Texas, and ABC Cen-Tex teams.

Second session will be from 6:45-8:15 for the ABC Red, ABC Blue, ABC White teams.

Both training facilities are open each week Mon-Thurs for all the extra work you can find time to get by there.

I look forward to seeing you this week and GO TAKE ON the GAME !

Coach Prater

 
May 20

I am excited to write and tell you how much I am looking forward to a GREAT

summer semester of baseball and I anticipate BIG STRIDES of improvement.

ABC is privileged to have you and your family involved in this exciting

endeavor.

In order to maximize opportunities and exposure, ABC will field more than

one team this summer. Moving forward, you will find information related

to your summer activities listed under the one of the 6 ABC team's.

Please take a minute to click on the link below to review this weekend's

ABC Tournament / AABC league games

http://playerdevelopment.tripod.com/STymes/id38.html

Please take a minute to click on the link below to review our summer

Showcase schedule

http://playerdevelopment.tripod.com/STymes/id47.html

Maximum effort has gone into the planning of an exciting and dynamic summer

for you and your family. I feel compelled to remind you are apart of not

only an organization, but a "TEAM".

At this time it is your responsibility and obligation to e-mail me (so that

I have a hard copy) any scheduling conflicts that you have. At no time in

the future will I be as willing to "work together" with you and your fellow

teammates to make appropriate adjustments. You will see a different side of

me the minute your level of commitment to the ABC PROGRAM slips below a line

of integrity and reflects an air of irresponsibility. If you are unclear or

"not sure" where that line lies or feel that your level of professionalism

might cause you to stumble, please let me know now, Wednesday, May 19th.

Please also notice the page on the website titled "Scout sheet / progress

report"

http://playerdevelopment.tripod.com/STymes/id30.html

Moving forward, each player will be assigned a "code #" unique to them so

that I can post comments related to workouts, games, tools, execution, and

presentation. The I feel that much can be learned from others and that we

(the ABC family) can learn from each other. Comments will be appropriate and

as I mentioned before, anonymously "coded" so that only the person who knows

the "code #" next to the comment will know who I am referring to :)

You've got homework (review weekend and summer schedules)

To all parents and players, I ran across an interesting article on the

Baseball America website.

I feel that you will find it interesting:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/news/040504gonzalez.html

Thank you for the opportunity to spend time with you and your family-

Coach Prater

 

 

 
May 12

I am in the process of finishing up our summer 2004 jersey order and I wanted to address a couple of questions that have come up.

1. ABC wears red and blue t-shirt "jersey" tops for tournament games and ABC league games. Each player needs to have a red jersey and a blue jersey.

2. ABC wears red game cap at all times (tournaments and league games) All players need to have a red game hat.

3. I will order jersey #1 thru jersey # "x". You may end up wearing jersey number 22 or 42.

4. Fee for red top, blue top, red hat is $50. Many have not paid (I'm telling Santa Clause)

Frequently asked questions:

1. Question:

I have played with ABC in the past. Can I wear my red and blue tops from the fall?

Answer:

Yes. BUT, I need to know what # you will be wearing. I MUST KNOW by Friday, May 14th, so that I can let the printer know not to print that #. If you do not let me know by Friday you will be responsible to buy a new set.

2.Question:

I have a red hat already from the fall. Can I wear that one?

Answer:

Ummm......I can only imagine what that hat looks like and SMELLS like after months of games and workouts. ABC prides itself on PRESENTATION and I am very particular regarding what hats look like. My thoughts are that a hat that made it through the fall probably won't stand up to a long summer of heat and sweat. You'll need one sooner or later...how about sooner than later.

3. Question:

I don't like the number I have from last fall and would like to get a new number. Can I?

Answer:

Yes. But just like before, I have no "system" for issuing numbers. At our first summer ball meeting back in January I took # requests and only a few responded.

4.Question:

I have a superstition about a particular # and I just have to wear it. Can you help me?

Answer:

Baseball, in my opinion is one of the most superstitious games I know. I "feel" for you. E-mail me your first and second choice for a number and I will do my best !

5.Question:

This seems awfully complicated. I just want to get on the field and PLAY SOME BALL ! Give me a hat, give me a red shirt with a number, give me a blue shirt with a number, here's my $50 bucks and lets ROLL! Do people really make it more complicated than this ?????????????????????

Answer:

Yes. Oh, but they would never admit it :)

Okay, so here's the deal. In the literature I gave you I explained the $50 fee and what it is for. Those that have "special needs" need to speak up before Friday. If this doesn't apply, I apologize for wasting your time. For those that have already addressed any of the issues above specifically with me already, please respond again anyway.

Deadline is Friday, May 14th.

Regards

Coach Prater - Equipment manager / "Amateur" fashion consultant / Uniform Nazi

May 11

**Please note that due to the rainy weather in the forecast, I am considering moving the start times for Saturdays games back to 1:00 & 3:00. If we are unable to play due to rain we will have an indoor workout.

Everyone should have had a chance to read my e-mail from Saturday titled "Thoughts-Please read".

From time to time I choose to sit down and share very candidly and straight to the point what I feel needs to be heard. Constructive input (I try not to use the word criticism).

I have attached a copy of the e-mail so that if for some reason you did not have a chance to read it you can now.

You will hear me refer to these three "absolutes" time and time again:

Consistent play follows consistent preparation.

Talent without execution only looks good on paper.

average tools and average execution with average presentation = an average player

I want to summarize a few thoughts and observations I made this past week both during our workouts and our games Saturday.

some of you received an e-mail from me after your practice session last week and I would like to share one with you at this time:

Great to see you and have the chance to watch you work last night.

After the workout, the coaches and I meet to recap the sessions for that evening in an effort to stay on the same page regarding each player.

One thing that came up from each of us was how impressed we were with your obvious skills, but, we did not get a good "feel" for your interest in listening or applying some of the things that we were working on.

By all means you were doing nothing WRONG. I offer you this feedback so that you have a better sense of the types of impressions coaches receive back when working with different ball players.

First and foremost, I respect your talent and your willingness to work at your skills to improve. Like the others, your "game" needs improvement. All areas. Tools, execution, and presentation.

Here, I am referring to your presentation. Part of my role is to help ball players recognize areas that need improvement and often times this area goes neglected.

Coaches are human. I am not saying that it is right, but many will "read into" a players demeanor. I want each player to be in tune with the kind of messages they are sending because ultimately, your baseball career (in many ways unfortunately) hinges upon what "others" (HS coach, college recruiter, scouts) observe and formulate about you. It is a very delicate process

Again, all is well.... I just wanted to pass that along. See you Saturday :)

This ball player took to heart my message and came out Saturday and again yesterday at our workout and was AMAZING! Pointing out the tiniest of detail made all the difference in his approach and guarantee it is going to pay off !! I am proud of his ability to process what was said and make an adjustment.

Second example:

As always, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with you and watch you train last night. I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your focus and your very apparent desire to improve and make adjustments.

You are a very talented ball player and you have a tremendous amount of athleticism. Right now, in my opinion, your focus should be on "fine tuning" different areas of your game. Drag bunts, putting the ball in play EVERY TIME you go to the plate, consistent throws to your target (EVERY TIME). You already know "HOW TO" do all those things..... now it's time to be more consistent :)

On another note, keep working on becoming more comfortable making eye contact when we talk or when a coach is talking. At times, I feel that you tend to "shy away" with your eyes.....

When you look someone in the eyes and keep that contact, to me, it communicates confidence and a sense that you are intent to listen to what that person has to say.

You're doing a GREAT job and I look forward to lots of good work !

Obviously a different "tone", yet still, in my opinion, something to work on.

Make no mistake, baseball, in my world, is less about "x's and o's" it's about making adjustments. Baseball affords us the opportunity, if we choose, to parallel life a little bit and often exposes what exactly what we are made of. When the going is "good", well you know "life is good". When times are rough, again you know "stay out of my way". Life's got it's own curve balls and pop-ups to the catcher.......lets prepare for both.... SHALL WE?

Saturday's games...

Let me focus, at this time on one tiny.... YET painfully obvious reality. We (players, coaches, parents) want our ball players to be "noticed". May I ask, "noticed for what?"

As I stood out in the middle of the field and observed, stop watch in hand, and at times as I observed from the sidelines, here are something's that stood out:

-Josh Troyer means business when he is at third playing defense. HE COMMUNICATES! LOUD! Reminding guys how many outs, etc....

-Steve Gonzales was not in the game for the first 4 innings but kept himself loose and in the game the whole time by swinging the bat back behind the dugout and staying in the game. Hustled every play in right field backing up 1st base on throws to first.

-Burns and Whiteley threw strikes like that's all they know how to do. GREAT tempo, excellent job.

-Steven Mazur takes pride in his position at 3rd. Hustled on and off the field, communicated how many outs, talked and encouraged his pitcher and other teammates, etc...

-NOBODY plays harder than Michael Wright! Busts his tail ALL the time. Made a Big League throw to 2nd on a guy trying to take two on a single.

-Kenny Matthews, great tempo on mound... "give me the ball, lets go" I LIKE IT !!!

I could truthfully go on and on and will have the remainder of the observations posted. Each player by name will have comments out to the side.

NOW, as I said, each ball player wants to be remembered...wants to be noticed....

(Today, I have CHOSEN to leave names out, but.....)

So Saturday, "you", were remembered by the scouts in the stands for:

-Struggling to throw strikes early in the count.

-Throws off line to your target resulting in errors and runners reaching safe (INF's, OF's, Catchers)

-No communication AT ALL !

-Not sure "where to be" or what your responsibilities are when you are the cut off man, backing up a base, etc... (P, INF's, OF's)

-POOR POSTURE! You would be embarrassed to know how many OF's and INF's we had with their hands on their hips, looking "non-athletic", and basically not looking ready.....

-There were a few cars parked down by the baseball field even AFTER I instructed everyone to please park by the gym or in the other paved lot (yes, I watched you do it)

-There was a Burger King cup left on my field. Big deal? Sure, I take pride in the facilities I own and operate. I, personally, wouldn't DARE leave trash on your living room floor.

-Base runners not sure how to react to certain situations (hit & run, secondary leads)

-SHOW Athleticism !!! OOZE with ATHLETICISM !!! I used the stop watch to time everyone running from home to first. Lets just say...... no so good. VERY LITTLE 100% effort !

Okay that's enough.

Understand the exercise please.

These are the "messages" ball players send.

Perception is a very delicate thing. I intend to help "expose" you to the realities of the actions that "speak volumes".

Coach Prater

May 8th

Wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed our time today. The more you two are able to observe and be a part of the Baseball Solutions / ABC operations I feel that you will certainly begin to realize the benefit and baseball value of what you, your ball player and your family are apart of.

As I mentioned already at the ball park today, I have already begun to develop and establish a tremendous relationship of mutual respect with our ABC "Family". My experiences coaching at the HS level, collegiate level and professional level have afforded me the opportunity to "draw" from experiences with some of the best baseball educators and teachers in the game. I feel confident without a doubt, that your ball player would convey the same message of trust to you as well. At this stage of their careers, they need and will benefit greatly from this type of relationship (ALL the boys need it).

I challenge you to continue to "think outside the box" and let go of some of the "conventional" thought processes that you posses related to your baseball "world".

The elite athletes in this game have premier TOOLS, they EXECUTE, and they have tremendous presentation. "Conventional" baseball environments to not cater to the exceptional or "gifted" athlete, much like the school system doen't cater to the gifted student as a whole. My passion is to create the optimal baseball learning environment that is challenging for the "exceptional player" as well as the player who desires to get there. Exceptional from a physical stand point, mental stand point, intensity stand point, and anywhere in between........ CONVENTIONAL (mediocrity) does not cut it for me. Just look around at my training facilities and the ball park we all enjoyed today. My baseball "WORLD" is that way for a reason. I have opportunities to work with athletes at all levels. High School and younger, collegiate, professional (coached with the Brewers Class A team last year) and Hollywood Stars (check out my latest project at www.mr3000.com) It's not because of anything I have done in the game or because I have a tremendous resume, but because my passion for the game and my ability to teach and create for others a certain sense of enthusiasm and intensity that they have been unable to find.

Baseball Solutions and ABC are a byproduct of my desire to afford ANY ball player (elite or average) a chance to reach their potential. I look for the "little things". I "see" everything through the eyes of the people that make and will be making the decisions about these young men's baseball futures (HS coaches, college recruiters, pro scouts). Success at one level does not insure nor does it guarantee success at the next. In my opinion, more times than not, talented ball players are their own worst enemy because they let their own success and ego's get in the way of their development. On the same token, at times all a player needs to push them up to the next level is direction, purpose, and a plan. All in all, we as ball players are on a "time table".... a "time line". It's my job to open the eyes of those involved and help them recognize areas that need adjusting so that the learning process can begin.

I would like to extend to you (and others) a formal and official long standing open invitation to come in and teach an area of the game you feel led to teach. To embrace the teacher with in you and then pour out that knowledge to these young men in a way that is innovative, challenging, and impacting.

Conventional baseball wisdom is not working. Ball players have all heard coach yell "stay back, let the ball travel, keep your weight back, keep your eye on the ball, swing level" or "get on top, hustle, throw strikes, balance, etc". Ball players (just like kids in the classroom) must learn the "why's" before they will ever accept and trust the new information meant to help them make adjustments. You don't just "walk in" and tell someone how to run their business, run their household, or even how to cut their grass. BUT, as soon as you establish a repor, gain credibility, show them how you can save them "x" amount on the bottom line, they are "all ears".

Accomplishing this with teen-agers can be a very delicate matter. Something of which I am an expert. Yes I said it, I am an expert at relating to ball players and open their eyes to the "why's" of baseball and the nuances of the game. Revealing that the tiniest of adjustments in their game, are at times, all they need and that indeed they CAN become better and improve their tools. They WILL become more consistent. Their presentation WILL enhance their marketability.

Remember:

Consistent play follows consistent preparation.

Talent without execution only looks good on paper.

average tools and average execution with average presentation = an average player

As I watched today during "in and out" and as I often watch ball players go about their business I saw OF's not throwing through cut off men. OF's whose throws were off line and were often uncatchable. INF's who threw the ball off line to 1st. Catchers whose throws to second sailed wide. Their "tools" shown through loud and clear. Arm strength, "carry on the ball", foot work, athleticism, etc. BUT the execution was awful. What happened in the game? Runners took extra bases on errant throws, missed cut off men led to extra bases for trail runners, throws that were off line (but in time) allowed runners to slide in safe rather than be tagged out, INF's errant throws to first allowed runners to take extra bases, and on and on...... and thats only a "snap shot". INF's and OF's hands on their hips while on defense. Batters giving less than maximum effort when running down the first base line. How do I know, observation and the STOP WATCH DOESN'T LIE. Home to first times on the watch today were marginal at best. I recorded them.

As I close, please know that I am the least bit unnerved or anything of the sort. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that "they had heard some negative things about me" I would be a rich man....come to think of it, you probably would to. It's called LIFE ! God created you and I and everyone else just the same...... imperfect. But what God didn't do is give every breathing human being the intuition and insight into this game I love called baseball like he did me. My suggestion to all who care to listen and to those who have come and gone and "missed the point" and choose to "say" what ever it is....... I hold no hard feelings, aggression, or criticism for their feelings or thoughts. I missed the mark, obviously, and the Bible says I will do it again.

God made us all unique. It may only be one ball player, one family, or it could be a thousand who choose who "listen up", lend an open mind, think outside the box (batters box that is :) ...... but for that one or those thousand who make that choice, I will give my best, my all, my 100% to make their baseball experience and journey the best it can be. I don't have all the answers but what I do have a God given gift and I have been blessed beyond belief because of it!

I love what I do and that you for the opportunity to spend time with you and your ball player.

Coach Prater

May 5

It is my understanding that there may have been a few that did not recieve this e-mail yesterday. Appologies.

Please disregard if you have read this :)

 

 

"Games are just moments in time. Wins and losses just a blip on the learning line. Coaching is permanent"

-- John Kessel, Coach

A hearty CONGRATULATIONS to all who are involved with the area high school playoffs !

I wanted to say a special "way to go" to ABC family sophomore Scott Wallace (Austin High) and freshman Robbie Kilcrease (Round Rock) who were promoted to varsity for the play offs !!

Weekly workouts have begun and I would ask that you would please take a minute to review the May-June calendar provided at the link below.

***please play CLOSE attention to the dates of each scheduled activity. From time to time (although I never anticipate) a situation will arise warranting the need to adjust the scheduled workout) Ex: next week the north workout will be on Tuesday rather than Wed; Next Saturday we will play games at St.Andrew's rather than Sunday due to an awards ceremony scheduled on campus Sunday. I assure you, OUR ability to schedule and plan LONG TERM is "win-win" for us both

http://playerdevelopment.tripod.com/STymes/id37.html

Please make a note of two "special dates" towards the end of May:

Friday, May 28th, ABC is hosting our first of three PAR 3 "Classic" golf tournaments @ Butler (I think that's the name) par 3 course near town lake (Lamar & Riverside behind Taco Bell and Wendy's) We have a limited number of spots and the cut off to sign up is next Wednesday, May 12.

Saturday, May 29th, ABC is sponsoring a "team day" to travel down to watch the Astors host the Cardinals. I will need to have a head count by Wednesday, May 12th as well.

I am "chomping at the bit" to get started and I trust that you all share that same anticipation !

PLEASE call or e-mail if you have any questions. Together we will have an AMAZING summer experience ::

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to get to know you and your families !

Coach Prater

April 15th

"Don't be content with average. Average is as close to the bottom as it is to the top." -unknown

I want to pass onto you a quote from Augie Garrido I read in today's sports page:

Augie Garrido implored his team to give a maximum effort, something that's not always easy in a midwek practice. "It's important because games are always decided on the fundamentals." Garrido said. "You always want to take advantage of any opportunity that's presented and that comes from practice, which in turn, comes with the development of confidence."

One of the many recipe's for elevating the Horns to the #1 spot in the country.

 

District races are heating up and it will be a true test of which teams can do "the little things". Execution under pressure is critical. As athletes we must continually go about our business (whether in practice or game) with the highest level of intensity.

 

Sunday, April 18th

South workout 2:00-3:30

catchers workout @ 3:00

North workout 4:30-6:00

catchers workout @ 5:00

Feb 6

 

"All people have the right to pursue success" --unknown

One of my goals for Baseball Solutions is to be a resource of information where a player or parent will be able to access testimonials of "those who have gone before them."

I am requesting that those players and parents who experienced tryouts for the first time to please SHARE your perspective. Keep it short and brief, but please let those who will come after you know what to expect:

  • How many kids tried out
  • Level of competition
  • What I could have done to be better prepared
  • I am glad that I did _______ to prepare.
Parents and players alike please feel free.....
 
Now for those who are returning to the spring HS baseball scene, I also would like your perspective on the first week of practice.
 
Parent & player insight of this kind is invaluable and can prove to be incredibly effective throughout your baseball journey.
Put down your thoughts and e-mail them to me :)
 
Below you will find a couple of examples already:
 
  • My son  continues to comment about how SLOW the game is compared to ABC.  His confidence is very high right now & he feels it's because he has been playing at ABC & facing much better competition.  Hopefully this will last! :)
  • There was about 60 kids trying out, however, several of the kids did not look like they had ever played baseball at all!  These 10-15 were cut after Monday's tryout. The remaining kids continue to tryout today.  I think they are going to scrimmage today.The coach timed them in a 60 ....The outfielders threw 3 balls from shallow center field  to home & the coach TIMED their throw.  The infielders threw from 3rd to first with the coach once again timing their throws.  The outfielders then took fly balls & the infielders took ground balls turning double plays, etc.  Once again, there was a handful of infielders who looked like a ballplayer & the rest looked satisfied if they actually caught the groundball.We originally were told the coach was going to put 17-19 kids on the freshman team.  Kids that play basketball can not attend the tryout today so they AUTOMATICALLY made the team.  There was probably 7 or 8 of these kids.  Given that these kids automatically make the team,  we are thinking the team # will probably increase to mid twenties.Well thats it for now.  Just thought I would drop you a note & let you know how the first day went. 
See you Sunday !
 
Coach Prater

Jan 28

BASEBALL SOLUTIONS

-Active in the community-

 

The Christmas Holiday break afforded me the opportunity to remember Christ's birth and his blessings as well as get out in the baseball community and continue to "network" and lay the groundwork for Baseball Solutions. As many of you witnessed at the Jan 4th "Scout Day", Baseball Solutions sole purpose is to bring together ball players their families and  help them truly "Enjoy the Journey" through their  HS baseball experience. Whether you're destined for greatness or just a "great time", Baseball Solutions is there to be your guide on the side.  No "team affiliation barriers" or "politics".  A pure motive to teach and do all that we can to help each and every one of you. Different times of the year take you through a different stage of the journey and together we'll find the positives!

 

 

 

"Meeting of the minds"

 

About 2 months ago I began trying to make contact with Tommy Boggs (SLAM) and James Ellison (WINGS) in an effort to sit down and visit about "perceived differences" as well as see if there would be opportunities for mutual benefits (ex: games, tournaments, etc)

My efforts were rewarded with a meeting at Connally HS in late December where I was able to extend my compliments to their programs and let them know that if there is anything or anyway I could be of assistance to please let me know. We discussed the various strengths of each program and I left them with the understanding that I speak in only positive terms of what they are doing.

 

 

UT holiday break "Skills camps"

 

 

Spent an afternoon out at UT visiting with the staff and participants of the annual holiday break "skills camp". Had a chance to catch up with Howard Hurrera & Tommy Harmon (UT) Coach Musorino (Loyola Univ) Coach Salazar (A&M Corpus Christi) and several other high school and collegiate coaches on staff. ABC "Family" members Logan Wyeth, Alex Victor, Andrew Stauch, Austin Presley and Michael Wright were on hand and made quite an impression on the camp staff. I enjoyed watching the various instructional activities. I heard and witnessed A LOT of great tips and true to tradition, the UT "skills camp" experience was a delight to "hang around".

 

Perfect Game ID camp in Waco

 

Perfect Game hosted an "ID Camp" at Riverbend Park after Christmas in Waco. Representing the Milwaukee Brewers and wanting to get a general feel for the "ID Camp" process, I made my way to Waco on a beautiful afternoon. The format was "basic" in nature (60 yard dash, catchers pop times, throws from RF & deep SS to test arm strength, 8 swings of the bat, 2 games in the afternoon). There were just a hand full of Austin area kids (no AISD kids just a few Lake Travis HS & St.Stephen's). I was the only pro scout present and there were not any college coaches there. I kept the stopwatch for the catchers pop times and stayed long enough to watch the 8 swings per player BP session on the field.

Over all I felt that the participants did not look as prepared or as sharp as they could. There are certainly a lot of ways to best prepare yourself to "showcase" your skills. One of the goals at Baseball Solutions is to teach ball players "how to" show well.   TOOLS / EXECUTION / PRESENTATION

 

 

 Baylor University hitting camp

 

After leaving Riverbend Park I made my way over to see Steve Smith and Mitch Thompson over on campus. I caught up with them in the middle of their hitting camp. As I observed, Coach Thompson had all of the campers listening intently as he stressed the importance of being a good BUNTER. He mentioned several times how important to their program the "art of bunting" is. The ability of a ball player to do the "little things" successfully speaks volumes. Montreal Expos scout, Ray Corbett, was on hand as a guest instructor.

 

American Baseball Coaches Association

 

As an active member, I was able to attend this year's ABCA national convention held in San Antonio. What a treat to have EVERY college coach in the country on hand for a weekend of workshops, seminars, exhibits, and fellowship. I had a chance to catch up with one of my college coaches, Kevin Smallcomb, who is now the head coach at Northern Colorado University in Greely, Co (north of Denver). He is in his second year as the head coach and this is his first division 1 job. He says it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and would love to have interested players sent his way.

Had the chance to say hello to UT coaching staff, Chris Rupp (Sam Houston), Ty Harrington (Texas State), Todd Whitting (TCU), David Pearce (Rice), etc... It was nice to see fellow HS coaches as well. Coach Alvarez (Bowie), Coach Brown (Austin High), Coach Kinan (Lake Travis), Coach Bratcher (Westwood).

I attended Ron Wolforth's pitching workshop in the main workshop room (Pitching Central) and was BLWON AWAY. Baseball Solutions will be incorporating his innovative throwing and arm strengthening program.

Guerry Baldwin, director of East Cobb baseball, was on hand all the way from Atlanta and he and I had a chance to talk a little "business"...

 

 

Texas High School Coaches Association

 

Waco is the site each year for the THSCA annual convention. The two-day event is a chance for all active members to get together for workshops and fellowship. Always a great time to catch up with each of the Austin HS coaches and talk a little "shop" about the players in the Baseball Solutions program!

 

 

Texas Scouts Association

 

In conjunction with the THSCA convention, the TSA meets to discuss the upcoming years schedule of activities and important dates. Having the privilege to sit and be apart of such a dynamic group is such a treat. These guys have seen THOUSANDS of ballplayers through the years. SO MANY future Big leaguers have crossed their paths.

 

"Scout Day"

 

Nearly 100 ballplayers representing various high schools and club teams, came together at the Baseball Solutions south facility for an excting afternoon of workshops.

Guest instructors for the day included:

Tom Allison - Milwaukee Brewers scout

John Bonafay - Tampa Bay Devil Rays scout

Bill price - Pittsburgh Pirates scout

JohnDanks - Texas Rangers organization

Mamon Tucker - Philadelphia Phillies organization

Matt Goebel - Tulane Univ

Jimmy Thoma - Dalls Baptist Univ

Ty Davis - Vanderbilt Univ

The event was free for all players and parents to enjoy the opportunity to learn more about scouting, be observed swinging the bat as well as at their defensive position, and hear about a day in the life of colloge baseball and professional baseball.

 

 

Round Rock Express banquet

 

The 4th annual RR Express Sports Banquet was once again a special night to remember.  ABC "Family" members Jordan Danks and Cory Thell were honored as pre-season All-Central Texas nominees. Keynote speaker Brooks Keishnick did an outstanding job communicating a message of perseverance. Longtime Round Rock baseball coach, John Langerhans, was recognized with a lifetime achievement award in a moving presentation by John Danks, Jordan Danks, and his son Ryan Langerhans of the Atlanta Braves.

The event was attended by many of the Austin baseball community "who's who" crowd. I counted 5 former first round draft picks and two future first round draft picks in the crowd along with a great group of talented high school, collegiate, and current and former professional ballplayers. What a special time for parents and well wishers. All should consider the event next year. The Round Rock Sertoma club serves as host and proceeds go to benefit their charity.

Jan 27

"Games are just moments in time. Wins and losses just a blip on the learning line. Coaching is permanent"
-- John Kessel, Coach

Congratulations to Baseball Solutions "Family members" Austin Presley, Phillip Brown, and Bobby French for their strong showing at the St.Edward's University private showcase workout. Coach Farber was very complimentary on how well prepared each of the boys were.

Congratulations to Baseball Solutions  "Family members", Jordan Danks and Cory Thell for their recognition last Sunday night at the annual Round Rock Express All-Central Texas pre-season dinner.
Express president, Reid Ryan, commented to me that he is proud of and impressed the fine young men and athletes that the ABC program has involved year in and year out. The evening was AWESOME and made for some great fellowship with fellow baseball community supporters.

Congratulations Baseball Solutions "Family" member, Todd Gilfilan, on his strong showing in Florida at the Perfect Game "Top Prospects" Showcase where he was a standout behind the plate. The following weekend the Pittsburgh Pirates had Todd down to Houston for a 12 player private workout/combine.

THIS WEEKS SCHEDULE ADJUSTMENTS

Wednesday (Jan 28th)

There will be no pitching workout south due to Coach Anderson's  travel schedule. All pitchers report to NW Pony at regular designated times (5:30 or 6:30)

Sunday (Feb 1st)

After visiting with the boys on Sunday regarding the upcoming weekend (Jan 31-Feb1) the guys decided that the post-poned games between Team #1 (West) vs Team #3 (South)  and Team #2 (north) vs Team #4 (Central)  should be played Sunday (Feb 1) afternoon prior to the Super Bowl.

Team #1 vs Team #3 report @ 12:30. Game starts at 1:00.
Team #2 vs Team #4 report @ 2:00. Game starts at 2:30.
 
Teams 1 & 2 wear blue. Teams 3 & 4 wear red.
 
**Games will be 1.5 hours and WE WILL USE A PITCHING MACHINE, NO LIVE PITCHING !
Fungo's will be hit between innings and THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF ACTION !!!!
 
Traditionally I have hosted an informal Super Bowl gathering at the Waterloo Ice House (burgers) at 6th & Lamar blvd. Any and all are welcome to join for the first and/or second quarter of action! Burgers are great and the Cinnamon Chocolate milkshakes are the best !
 
Please note
 
Please be advised of the training adjustments for next week due to tryouts and the first week of practice.
SWINGTHERAPY session 5 will be held on Sunday Feb 8th at both north and south facilities.
Facilities will be open for extra work and/or training at the regular times during the week, but due to the "stresses" of the first week of baseball, our "formal" session will be Sunday.
 
ALL PARENTS
I would like to extend an invitation to you all to stop by the warehouse this Saturday afternnon (Jan 31st) for an informal time of Q&A and fellowship. You may have a question about tryouts or the start of the Varsity season or simply something on your mind....... Come by around 12:30 for a visit. I'd love to talk..... AP
 
 
YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS
 
I can hardly contain my excitement for the new Velocity and arm-strength development program we are going to "roll out" beginning the second week of February. ALL POSITIONS WILL SEE AN INCREASE OF SVERAL MILES AN HOUR. LESS STRESS ON THE ARM AND ELBOW. I PROMISE !
I am investing several thousand dollars to outfit both facilities with the latest innovative training equipment and training program to better understand and develop "What it takes" to increase velocity and arm strength as well as decrease and prevent injury.
The boys and I have already begun taking a look at various facets of the program and the results are already beginning to surface.
I have a detailed 6 week breakdown to pass along to you all so be on the look out.
My plan is to have a formal gathering to discuss the program in detail as well as "walk" both players and parents through the process before we begin during the second week of Febraury.
stay tuned.
 
 
Thanks so much for your attention and I cannot tell you enough what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to get to know you and your family -
 
Coach Prater
 
CHILD'S "BATTING CAGE WISH" HITS A HOME RUN WITH AUSTIN'S PRO BALL PLAYERS



Make-A-Wish child Zachary, age 13, diagnosed with leukemia, asked volunteers to grant his one wish - his very own batting cage in his backyard.  Thanks to volunteers and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South Texas, Zachary's wish will be granted on Thursday.



The media is invited to join the presentation of this very unique wish, complete with a live batting practice.  A surprise crowd of 40 members of Zachary's family, friends, and nurses will join Make-A-Wish volunteers and guest pro baseball celebrities at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday January 29, 2004, at Zachary's backyard, located at 357 CR 368, Taylor, Texas, 76574. 



Wish granting volunteer Andrew Prater of Baseball Solutions, Austin, has been instrumental in coordinating the ultimate baseball wish.  Prater, a former catcher with the Florida Marlins organization, will conduct Zachary's first real batting practice live, with the help of some fellow professional baseball colleagues.  Special invited wish granting guests include: 



Kirk Dressendorfer (Oakland Athletics, UT legend, and Media Director for the Round Rock Express), Ryan Langerhans (Atlanta Braves), John Danks (Texas Rangers), Mamon Tucker (Philadelphia Phillies), Kelly Johnson (Atlanta Braves), Brian Edwards (New York Mets), Todd West (Cleveland Indians), Travis Schlichting (Tampa Bay Devil Rays), and Justin Maureau (Toronto Blue Jays).

follow this link for some special pics:

http://roundrockexpress.com/newsroom/?id=633

 





 

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