<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=605686969579855&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Upper Hand Sports Pod

Episode 17: Coach Sheets & Coach Bart on the ABCA Convention

Posted by Upper Hand | Dec 27, 2017 3:20:50 PM

Coach Bart and Coach Sheets from the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) join the Upper Hand Sports Podcast to talk about their 11 years of coaching experience, as well as their current positions in the ABCA National Office. Learn about the upcoming ABCA convention here in Indianapolis and what your sports organization has to gain from this year’s convention and showcase. More than 6,000 baseball coaches and 330 exhibiting companies are expected for the 2018 Convention and Sheets and Bart share how you can make the most of this networking and educational event. ABCA.png

You can read an overview of the interview with ABCA Coaches, Coach Sheets and Coach Bart, or listen to the podcast below for the full interview.


Q: Could you provide us with a background on your coaching experience and one reason why someone should attend the upcoming ABCA convention in January?

Coach Sheets: Well it’s an organization that I know Bart and I are probably bias, but super passionate about as former coaches and now working here in the national office. I think one reason to come to the ABCA convention in Indianapolis, January 4 - January 7, is you’re looking at what could prove to be our largest convention to date. We are expecting close to 6,000 coaches to show up... We are the baseball coaches fraternity. That's how we view ourselves. Our membership has grown over the last 4 years with staff and employees from roughly over 5,000 and now we are approaching this year - closing in on 10,000 members... We are a community of guys that love to share, love to connect, love to challenge each other and grow...

Coach Bart: I'm a midwest guy. Originally from Central Illinois... I coached college baseball for 11 years… Then this position popped open at the ABCA which is an organization that I  wholeheartedly believed in as a college coach and I know what it can do...


Q: For somebody who hasn’t attended a show like this, what kind of advice would you give?

Coach Sheets: If you’ve never been before, prepare yourself mentally because your mind will be blown… It’s overwhelming, as it should be, when you again consider 5,000, 6,000 of your coaching peers you’re elbow to elbow with some of the best coaches, that you see on tv, and they’re up on the big screen teaching you… over 300 exhibitors - every bat, kleet, shoe, uniform, hat, all those companies are in there. A lot of products get launched at our show… It’s the quote-on-quote “first pitch of 2018,” this year in Indy… So be prepared…But the really cool thing that we have that these guys can keep in their back  pocket is, we have a fraternity and group of guys that love to share, they love to talk and I think any youth coach, first-timer could reach out via social media, could reach out even on site, you're going to find a lot coaches that are going to want to sit down with them, help ‘em out, connect, trade emails, trade ideas. If you do miss a clinic speaker a cool thing we’ve added here at ABCA if you do check in onsite, you'll have every single clinician video in your inbox post convention which is something new...

Coach Bart: This is like the most looked forward to event of the year for any baseball coach out there… And adding the youth clinic this year as a one-day option for some of those youth coaches from the area or driving the distance is going to be a tremendous addition, in addition to everything else we have going on.


Q: There is a lot of stuff in the exhibit hall to look at, test. But what tips would you give on finding the right tools, resources and equipment - the things that actually help your players get better?

Coach Bart: Well I'm a pretty simple guy when it comes to coaching baseball. There's a lot of those widgets and gadgets that are way over by head. I would say you need to block off hours to go through the exhibit hall. There are products you've never even dreamed of out there to assist with absolutely anything that you could ever think of for the game of baseball…

One of our sponsors… Blast Motion Baseball, they are the official data company of the Houston Astros… I was never a big believer in technology in baseball. I’m a pretty old school guy. But seeing some of the demos they do - and it worked for the Astros and if you paid any attention to baseball this year they were pretty good. They won the world series and they are all in on it… 

Q: How would you guide someone on what to go listen to and what to attend at the convention?

Coach Bart: Well I think it’s important to, before you even walk into the convention, I think you need to take some stock of yourself and understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, which every coach should do every single day… But if you think that you are going to be a head coach for the first time, you probably need to be a little more well-rounded, so you probably need to attack some of those weaknesses that you have. For me I was the pitching coach in college baseball because I was a catcher my whole life. It was very easy for me to communicate with pitchers… When I was an assistant, probably to a fault, I wouldn't go to the infield clinic or the outfield clinic, and I should have. I should have attacked my weaknesses a little bit more…

Coach Sheets: When you look at the speaker schedule, and if you're with a staff of people and let’s say you’re the head coach and you have a couple assistant coaches with you, and a pitching clinic is coming up on the main stage, your pitching coach should probably make sure he's in on that... Let's say there's a Technology Group that's talking in the Expo theater or maybe it's an infield clinic... I think that's an opportunity for guys to really maximize their trip, is make sure you don’t miss what’s going on on the main stage, again those are the best, teaching professionals. But the infield coach and the hitting coach, they can go to expo or go to the trade show, and they will have those videos in their inbox… Find opportunities to really maximize the trip. And spread your staff out or spread your peers out, that way you can really gather every piece of information...


Q: What were some of your keys to success when you were coaching or on the field?

Coach Sheets: Whatever success we had, I think it came back #1 to networking. And how that resulted back to the field is - if you have a large group of people you can call upon, you can reach out to, you can run ideas by… I think more than anything, any success that I ever had as a coach could be shared… And I think from a more practical sense, I think really working to be more organized. I think for any coach whether it's practice planning, daily practice planning, having a global sense of where that’s going… I think if you spend a little bit more time on the planning part of it, you can really maximize your hour and a half or 2 hours that you have with your kids each week, and get a whole lot more out of it, a lot of fundamental work.


Q: Talk a bit about networking how you’ve gone about it, and how we can maximize that at the ABCA show?

Coach Bart: ...I think onsite, if you’re walking into this thing without business cards, you’re certainly not walking in with a game plan. I think when you meet someone and you make a connection, give them the business card… Jump into conversations, jump into a group of coaches, just work your way from the back and start rubbing elbows and say hey man - just wanted to say hello… I think walking away having a group of coaches you can really call upon… we just hope more and more coaches continue to take advantage of the opportunity. 

Learn more about ABCA and the upcoming convention at www.abca.org. Subscribe to the Upper Hand Blog for latest podcast episodes and other news! 

Topics: Baseball, Coaching & Training Tips, Sports Business Management, Podcast

Written by Upper Hand

Upper Hand simplifies front and back-end office tasks for sports businesses, provides cutting-edge marketing tools and offers business intelligence that enables unsurpassed performance for its customers. Customized software and pricing are fit to each individual’s sports business needs with the objective of helping every customer grow their business.