I finally got a good connection and so am loading the inflied pregame warmup as promissed.
I will be posting a seperate position each time from now on and start here with shortstop. The key is how the boys get around the ball whether they are throwing to first or second. This is to foster better fielding but also to ensure that momentum is always moving towards the base to which we are intending to throw. The Warhawk shortstops perform the moves with grace and precision.
Of the things to note in the drill most interesting are the constant movement and lack of interuption. The Warhawks all know how and what to do and execute without interuption or much instruction. As far as technique, I am hoping to bring back some good pointers on inflied footwork and to use this or other videos to demonstrate the correct footwork for approach, fielding and throwing on a ground ball play. Oh and yes, the weather is fantastic in Florida!!
As a final point, please make all the comments you want and especially questions on things which may be helpful for you. If I know what to look for from you then I am sure I can find it, film it and post it.
The practice was organized in 2 groups for infielders -outfielders and 2 others for pitchers-catchers. Each ones had to rotate during the stations at batting cage and other for BP exercices. After finishing their work, the pitchers stopped in the weight room for cardio excercices. The practice ended with a dynamic infield pratice. Coach Joe Skerbek makes here a great job and thanks to him for his disponibility.
Later in the night, Al droves me in Chigago downtown. A nice tour in the city by night. Like the other days I had to discover a new speciality: the famous Uno's Chicago Dip Dish Pizza. Nothing else to say than big and tasty. I've met there Aaron a funny waiter who memorize all names of the clients ! A restaurant to advise...
Day after, I've got whith Al and Pete a VIP card for the official presentation ceremony of Joliet's Slammers new logo and uniforms. This team will play this season in the Frontier League (Professionnal Independant Baseball). A big event at the Joliet Rialto Theater. I've met there some old time Negro League and recent MLB players.
After those 4 days, I would thank a lot Al Budding for his kindness, hospitality and sharing of his baseball knowleges.
2:30 hours after landing, I will have my first experiance here: an indoor practice at Moraine Valley Community College. Al was Head Coach there for 18 years. We meet Coach Dave Murray and Tom Rads for a dynamic practice. A lot of different stations wheer the work to do is well divided: infield / outfield, pitcher defense routine, pitcher / catcher, BP... At the end, it was a good practice to see and a good experience for me (a lot of ideas to reproduce myself in France because we practice indoors too).
Day after, big program. In the morning we drove to Joliet Junior Collège. Cold and rainy weather, but to come an outdoor practice. Once there I found a nice and dry baseball field, home of the Wolves. Then I meet Coach Wayne King. He is known in the area to be the coach who practices and plays the earliest in the season. At the program today, a lot of BP and an inersquad game. Here all runs perfect and each player knows what to do.
Later in the afternoon, Al and I went to Sandberg High School. we met their Coach Jim Febianski and Anna Olson. Here too, was a very interesting softball practice to see. A lot of different indoor stations (pitching/ infield-outfield) and game situations. But here the most interesting was the BP: 2 batting cages (1 for live BP / 1 with 2 pitching machines high fast balls and change-ups) + 3 stations (1 outside pitch / 1 batting tees / 1 conditionning). During all this practice, all runs fast and simple and girls have fun.
Thank you all for this first 2 days.
He was welcomed at O'Hare International by coaches Pete Caliendo and Al Budding (Moraine Junior College). While Bertrand Rue is visiting the US, coach Budding will be coaching a German team for 10 weeks this Spring.
On his first day, Bertrand went to see a high school practice in the area and finished the day enjoying real home-made Chicago Hot Dogs.
More info to come on this trip in the next few days.
The weather was lousy and it had been raining heavily for the last couple of days. The White Water River, nearby the baseballfield, was about 9 feet higher than normal but the baseballfield was in great shape.
It was freezing cold, somewhere between 30 and 40 Fahrenheit and a little windy not a day which you actually want to be playing baseball or even worse just sit and watch.
Team Breakfast had been scheduled for 8.45. For Team Breakfast some parents of the Butler Baseballplayers organised and cooked Pancakes, Gravy, Biscuits, Bacon, Eggs, Drinks and more.
Butler lost the first game but shut the opponent down in the second game and scored three runs, on a three run bomb by Michael Letzter, after he missed two bunt attempts with runners on first and second. Great pitching pitching by Wagoner (7 Innings)and Earle (2 Innings) who both owned the strike zone with great breaking stuff and a good fastball. Pictures and more news about the game you can find here.
Up in the press box it was warm...here a video of the press box crew...
It was raining most of the day.
Coach Farley and I went to the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indy 500 race track, and the Indiana Indians AAA Stadium.
Sonya Hopkins, the athletic student advisor, dropped by for a quick chat about her work while I was at Coach Tyners office. She helps the athletes to perform in the classroom if they are struggling.
At the beginning of practice I was talking to the Bulldog players about the oppurtunity to play baseball in europe, after they finished going to College.
Coach Tyner took me out to eat at Champs restaurent (I had a blue cheese hamburger some good local beer) and later to a music bar in Broad Ripple, where we got the chance to listen to a very talented musician called St.Claire.
The Butler Baseballteam took me from there to a few other Locations in Broad Ripple, and we had a lot of fun.
Took a cab and crashed on the couch at the house where some of the senior players live.
It started off with getting late into Indianapolis cause I missed my connection flight from newark to Indy. Had to wait for 6 hours on the airport to get the next connection flight.
Coach Steve Farley picked me up from the airport at a quarter to midnight, armed with some food and drinks assuming that I must have been hungry and thirsty after travelling for 23 hours.
During the car ride he told me very interesting information about his work, being the coach for Butler University. When we got to his house I met his wife Lisa Farley, also a teacher at Butler University. They have to children Hannah and Sarah and a dog called Griffin.