What started as a six-event West Coast Tour last fall is turning into a 20-event Midwest Tour in 2017. The American Baseball Coaches Association is bringing its Barnstormers Clinics presented by Blast Motion to 15 states this year, with 20 locations circling around the upcoming ABCA Convention in Indianapolis next January.
“One of the core missions of the ABCA is coaching education,” said Craig Keilitz, Executive Director of the ABCA. “Our members asked for more ABCA events that are accessible around the country and we debuted with six last fall that were met with great feedback from the attendees and hosts. This year we have more time to reach out to local areas, and we’re hoping to get more coaches involved in these clinics. Our long-term goal is to keep these coaches involved in the ABCA and improve coaching education for years to come.”
These one-day events are held in baseball facilities and feature seven presentations from ABCA member coaches with topics that include hitting, pitching, arm care, catching, practice efficiency and planning, base running and defensive play. The 2017 Barnstormer Clinics are presented by Blast Motion, a leading innovator in motion capture technology.
Tanner Swanson, assistant coach at the University of Washington, helped organize the Barnstormers Clinic on UW’s campus in Seattle in 2016.
“The Barnstormers Clinics are an absolute must for coaches of all levels who aspire to growth as teachers,” said Swanson. “These clinics offer a unique opportunity to engage directly with local college coaches and clinicians to expand your knowledge in all facets of the game. If you are serious about your craft and there is a Barnstormers Clinic in your area, there is really no excuse not to attend. Our Seattle event was an inspiring experience and I’m grateful to the ABCA for the work they are doing to connect coaches.”
“I attended two Barnstormers Clinics last fall and they were like mini-ABCA Conventions,” said Tyler Gillum, assistant coach at South Mountain Community College in Arizona. “The speakers were phenomenal with great information and content, and the events were very affordable. My favorite thing was being able to ask questions on the spot during the on-field clinics. The opportunity to have a coach break down and demonstrate the drill in the moment is tremendous. It’s a ‘must’ for any coach looking to learn and make connections.”
The Barnstormers Clinics are designed to keep coaches and parents up-to-date on creative ways to teach the game of baseball and positively impact young athletes. During each event, Blast Motion will also give a presentation about hitting and the advantages of using motion detection and analytics to improve a hitter’s performance.
“As a speaker at the Cal State Fullerton clinic last year, I found myself sitting and listening intently to the other speakers,” said Dan Keller, a longtime coach and owner of Dugout Captain. “I know this was only one of many events, but the amount of experience and knowledge in this single day was amazing. I really felt privileged to be a part of the day and thought that anyone not in attendance was missing out. The ABCA created an intimate and comfortable environment allowing for clinicians to share real expertise. It’s a fantastic complement to the national convention and clinics and the value is through the roof.”
Clinic speakers will emphasize fundamentals of the game and provide drills and plans that coaches can implement into their practices and games. This year’s clinics will incorporate team batting practice sessions, player bullpens and live scrimmages, providing coaches insight into the daily activities of college baseball programs. Speakers for each event will be announced on www.ABCA.org. The speakers will typically include some coaches from the host programs as well as several others from nearby areas.
One of the goals of the ABCA Barnstormers Clinics is to help attendees and speakers network with each other and share information, informally.
“I attended three Barnstormers Clinics last year and had an opportunity, in an intimate setting, to spend quality time with top-level college coaches,” said Greg Atkinson, head coach at El Camino High School in Oceanside, California. “My coaching game elevated greatly and my network grew to a place where it helped me get eight of my 10 seniors offers to play next level baseball, six of which were accepted. All of this learning and networking is available for an affordable price. This is where good coaches become great!”
The clinics will typically run 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event locations build toward the upcoming ABCA Convention. The 74th annual ABCA Convention will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, Jan. 4-7, 2018.
Registration for the Barnstormers Clinics is open on the ABCA’s website, www.ABCA.org. Clinic registration is just $40, but if a coach signs up for a 2017-18 ABCA membership at the same time, it is discounted to $25.
“The Barnstormers Clinic I attended at USC had to be one of the clinics I have ever attended,” said Mike Viera, head coach of San Gabriel Valley Arsenal in California. “To able to ask a question and have a presenter give you instant feedback on the spot is priceless. The knowledge shared with such passion throughout the day was inspiring. To any coach who wants to develop more coaching ideas on and off the field, the clinics are a must.”
The 2016 Barnstormers Clinics were held at the University of Portland (Oregon), University of Washington, University of Southern California, University of San Francisco, San Diego State University and Cal State Fullerton. The 2016 tour led up to the 2017 ABCA Convention in Anaheim, which was the largest baseball convention ever held on the West Coast.