173 episodes

Host Jonathan Gelnar and an array of guests from differing backgrounds discuss how to develop the complete baseball player. This will be your source for the most up to date coaching strategies for baseball player and coach development.

Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar Jonathan Gelnar

    • Baseball

Host Jonathan Gelnar and an array of guests from differing backgrounds discuss how to develop the complete baseball player. This will be your source for the most up to date coaching strategies for baseball player and coach development.

    Matt Borgschulte- MiLB Hitting Coach, Minnesota Twins

    Matt Borgschulte- MiLB Hitting Coach, Minnesota Twins

    During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Matt Borgschulte, MiLB Hitting Coach, for the Minnesota Twins. Matt Borgschulte discusses where his baseball career has taken him, the importance of working on the swing in the off-season, helping players process the mental side of success, how to train for adjustability and pitch recognition. 
    Episode Highlights: 
     
    How did Matt Borgschulte get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
    How does the off-season look like for Matt Borgschulte as far as goals? 
    What should be focused on in the off-season? 
    What are some different ways to help players make better decisions? 
    Are these particular things that Matt looks for when viewing player videos? 
    Is there an example of a common movement limitation that he sees often? 
    What are some ways that we can train for adjustability?  
    How does he help players deal with the mental process of playing baseball?   
    What are some ways that he gets players to get ingrained in competition? 
    How has he become a better communicator?  
    What does he do to be a better communicator with guys with whom English isn’t their first language? 
    How does Matt Borgschulte prioritize individual development within the season?
    Each player is different when it comes to what they need to get better.
    What are some things that he is very intentional about? 
    What is something that Matt Borgschulte is excited about learning and applying? 
    Is there anything he is looking to improve on? 
    What are things his players get excited about doing during practice? 
    Is there anything that he believes that other coaches might disagree with? 
    What is something we would notice at one of Matt Borgschulte’s practices? 
    Are there any resources that Matt Borgschulte would recommend?  

    Are there any competitions that he likes to use with players? 
    What are things that he is looking for when watching video? 
    How does he help players whom English isn’t their first language? 
    How does he go about individualizing training in the team setting? 
     
    3 Key Points:
    Training pitch recognition is important for helping players make better decisions.  
    Game Sense Sports offers an app for training pitch recognition: gamesensesports.com
    Ways to train for adjustability include: changing the environment, changing the task, and you can change what you implement. 
     
    Tweetable Quotes:
    “Some of the things I really tried to accomplish this fall season is just to continuing to study the swing, a little bit more in-depth than you can do in-season.” – Matt Borgschulte (04:16)
    “I think in the off-season it is a great time to really dig in on the swing in terms of making certain swing adjustments, much more difficult to do in-season, especially when you are trying to perform that day or that week.” – Matt Borgschulte (05:18)
    “The first place you really need to start or you need to look when it comes to any athletic movement is how that specific athlete’s body moves.” – Matt Borgschulte (08:33)
    “As hitting coaches, we really need to be able to work with strength conditioning, athletic training, so we can better understand each athlete’s movement capabilities.” – Matt Borgschulte (08:43)
    “When you talk about the mental side it is just understanding what success is and recalculating and redefining what that is for each guy.” – Matt Borgschulte (14:18)
    “It is such a long season and the work you have to put in day in and day out it can get monotonous for sure. But, creating competition is a great way to kind of keep the energy and focus during a long season.” – Matt Borgschulte (17:03)
    “Communication is so huge, especially when you are working with professional players that have had a lot of success.” – Matt Borgschulte (18:57)
    “What I’ve found is that if you show that you are willing to try and you are willing to mess up

    • 39 min
    Kyle Wilson- MiLB Hitting Coach, Tampa Bay Rays

    Kyle Wilson- MiLB Hitting Coach, Tampa Bay Rays

    During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Kyle Wilson, Milb Hitting Coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, OBU-TPI-FMS Certified, and Owner of TPA (The Performance Academy) in Apex, North Carolina. Kyle Wilson talks about how he got into coaching, starting his own performance facility, keeping players interested and engaged, making training more like real games, the importance of balance in your swing, and giving back to younger players through training and mentorship. 
     
    Episode Highlights: 
     
    How did Kyle Wilson get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
    How did Kyle start his own performance facility?  
    What does he wish he had known last year that he knows now?  
    What were his main goals for the off-season? 
    What are some things they do for teenaged players?
    What are some ways they train for adjustability in the swing?
    How can we train better for decision-making? 
    Are there any competitions that he likes to use with players? 
    What are things that he is looking for when watching video? 
    How does he help players whom English isn’t their first language? 
    How does he go about individualizing training in the team setting? 
    What is something that Kyle Wilson is excited about learning and applying? 
    What are things his players get excited about doing during practice? 
    Is there anything that he believes that other coaches might disagree with?   
    What is something we would notice at one of Kyle Wilson’s practices?  
    Are there any resources that Kyle Wilson would recommend?  
     
    3 Key Points:
    If you are not balanced through your move it becomes hard to control and adjust when you are swinging.  
    Facilitate environments that are more game-like for players. 
    The average attention span of people is 8 seconds. The attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.  
     
    Tweetable Quotes:
    “The game of baseball has taught me so much about life and how to overcome adversity and just the team camaraderie and the friends. I wanted to get into coaching to mentor kids through the game, which has taught me so much.” – Kyle Wilson  (02:15)
    “I think why I truly enjoy coaching is just purely being able to impact and see the development of kids turn into young men and learn things through this beautiful game.” – Kyle Wilson  (05:05)
    “Guys that are in professional baseball or have an opportunity to have a little bit of a break, I highly encourage to try and to get set up with some type of facility to give back to the youth, for one. For two, to maintain your craft .” – Kyle Wilson  (08:51)
    “I set up evaluations. They come in and it’s an hour evaluation. We are sitting down, first and foremost, and I'm asking them a bunch of questions about what that player’s goals are.” – Kyle Wilson  (13:05)
    “It should be a goal of every hitter in my opinion...become more adjustable, to have and create movements that allow you to sit on a fastball and adjust to an off-speed and still be able to do damage with that.” – Kyle Wilson  (16:32)
    “I think we can learn to reward guys for taking good pitches.” – Kyle Wilson  (21:55)
    “At the end of the day, if you aren’t competing and having fun, then it is going to be a long, long season.” – Kyle Wilson  (25:29)
    “I personally believe there’s a lot of really, really good things from, call-it ‘old-school baseball.’” – Kyle Wilson  (45:03)

    Resources Mentioned: 
    Ahead of the Curve Podcast
    Twitter: @AOTC_podcast
    Kyle Wilson: Twitter
    The Performance Academy: tpanc.com
    Kyle Wilson’s Email: kwilson@tpanc.com
    Book: Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson

    • 58 min
    Michael Deegan- Head Baseball Coach, Denison University (OH)

    Michael Deegan- Head Baseball Coach, Denison University (OH)

    During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Michael Deegan, Head Baseball Coach at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Michael Deegan talks about writing his book Let It Rip: Life Lessons Learned Through Sports, being elite as a coaching staff before being elite as a program, competitive scrimmages, meeting with players individually, and facing the struggle of wanting to make everyone happy while knowing this is virtually impossible. 
     
    Episode Highlights: 
     
    How did Michael Deegan get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
    What made Michael decide to write a book?  
    How can you go about forming a strong team?  
    Michael talks about 2013 and taking the job at Denison?  
    What did this past fall look like in their baseball program? 
    What are some of the details of building up his team culture? 
    What are some of their favorite practice competitions? 
    One-on-one meetings are crucial with players.  
    How do they create a ‘culture of coaching?’”
    How does he prepare assistant coaches to be ready to be head coaches one day? 
    What are some standards they have and how do they hold each other accountable for them?   
    What does a typical day look like in the spring? 
    How does their BP setup work? 
    How does Michael handle the struggle of wanting everybody to be happy?  
    What is something that Michael Deegan is excited about learning and applying? 
    What are things his players get excited about doing during practice? 
    Is there anything that he believes that other coaches might disagree with?   
    What is something we would notice at one of Michael Deegan’s practices?  
    Are there any resources that Michael Deegan would recommend?  
     
    3 Key Points:
    Michael Deegan has been able to learn from fantastic people by sharing his own thoughts through his writing.  
    Identify where you are has a coaching staff or as a baseball program, get your ego out of it, set goals, and take action. 
    They do six individual meetings with the players to ask questions and listen to what motivates them. 
     
    Tweetable Quotes:
    “What I’ve learned is that by having the courage to put something out there, then you learn a lot in return and so I did that through the newsletter and I’m just excited to see where the book takes it.” – Michael Deegan  (03:41)
    “One of the things I have been able to do over my life is surround myself with really good people and put myself in environments that allow you to thrive and are curious and allow you to learn and grow, and to me, that is what team formation is.” – Michael Deegan  (05:26)
    “If I were taking over a program right now I would say what you have to do is strip away everything. Take the emotion out of it and decide, where do you sit right now?” – Michael Deegan  (08:31)
    “I think you really have to identify where you want to go. It’s creating clarity. We use a phrase that ‘clarity is king.’” – Michael Deegan  (09:07)
    “We want to be elite as a coaching staff before we are elite as a program.” – Michael Deegan  (09:44)
    “We want to play baseball a lot. I think there is sometimes a push for ways to manipulate our game. Our game is also beautiful in itself. So just a straight-up scrimmage is an opportunity to compete.” – Michael Deegan  (18:21)
    “The biggest competition that we try to focus on is ‘me versus me.’” – Michael Deegan  (19:29)
    “That inherent wrestling match between wanting everybody to be happy and also knowing that’s never happen, right? That’s just not going to happen. So for me, I always call on the shared vision of the program.” – Michael Deegan  (39:34)

    Resources Mentioned: 
    Ahead of the Curve Podcast
    Twitter: @AOTC_podcast
    Michael Deegan: Linkedin Twitter
    Book: Let It Rip: Life Lessons Learned Through Sports by Michael Deegan

    • 57 min
    Michael Schlact- MiLB Pitching Coach, Milwaukee Brewers

    Michael Schlact- MiLB Pitching Coach, Milwaukee Brewers

    During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Michael Schlact, MiLB Pitching Coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. Michael Schlact talks about ways to properly communicate with players on your team, the importance of learning how to lose, how he approaches data, and why pitchers needing to learn how their fastball works. 
     
    Episode Highlights: 
    How did Michael Schlact get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
    What are some different changes he is making from last year?  
    What has been Michael’s process to become better at incorporating data?  
    How does Michael Schlact communicate with a large range of diverse players? 
    What should a pitcher’s off-season look like? 
    What are we missing at the amateur that at the major league level they need to know? 
    What does Michael look for when viewing a player video?
    How does workload management factor into working with players? 
    What are some different ways to address player development from a pitching standpoint? 
    How do you address a player who needs to be convinced to use a better pitch?
    What is something that Michael is excited about learning and applying? 
    What are things his players get excited about doing during practice?   
    Is there anything that Michael Schlact believes that other coaches might disagree with?
    Strive to make your players better people. 
     
    3 Key Points:
    Learn who your players are first, and then help them second.  
    Be vulnerable enough to prove to your players that you are there for them when they are playing well and when they are making mistakes as well. 
    Pitchers need to understand how their fastball works, what does it do, and how they can play it into your benefit.  
     
    Tweetable Quotes:
    “I want to continue to learn what makes a player better, and specifically for me being a pitching coach, what is it that I can use that allows the pitchers to get better.” – Michael Schlact  (05:22)
    “For me, it is what is most important and how can I communicate that to a player without overwhelming him?” – Michael Schlact  (06:04)
    “Understand the player’s background that you are coaching. You have to know them as people. You have to know where they came from. You have to know what their learning styles are. There are so many different learning styles.” – Michael Schlact  (07:56)
    “There is something really rich about a player asking you a question and you saying, ‘You know what, I don’t know. But let me find that out for you.’” – Michael Schlact  (12:54)
    “If you don’t understand your fastball and the profile that it has, you’ll never truly understand the best pitches for you to work off of that.” – Michael Schlact  (17:44)
    “If you don’t learn how to lose, you will never really win.” – Michael Schlact  (19:08)
    “Pick out something each time. Don’t feel like you have to just watch that video, that one setting for 10 minutes, and never go back to it.” – Michael Schlact  (22:27)
    “Everyone wants to be told the truth. People don’t like to hear the truth all the time. But everyone wants it.” – Michael Schlact  (37:52)
    Resources Mentioned: 
    Ahead of the Curve Podcast
    Twitter: @AOTC_podcast
    Michael Schlact: Twitter

    • 59 min
    Casey Dunn- Head Baseball Coach, Samford University (AL)

    Casey Dunn- Head Baseball Coach, Samford University (AL)

    Suggested Title: Developing Players Individually Inside the Team Structure with Casey Dunn
     
    During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Casey Dunn, Head Baseball Coach at Samford University. Casey Dunn pulls from his extensive experience to talk about helping his players develop their own development plan, the importance of concentrating on advantages instead of what you are lacking in your situation, building a strong connection with players, and being aware of their needs. 
     
    Episode Highlights: 
    How did Casey Dunn get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
    Baseball was very much a part of Casey’s upbringing.  
    What are some of the first steps that Casey took as a coach? 
    Don’t get caught up in what you don’t have.  
    What did the fall look like for his team? 
    How did he transition into his team and develop the baseball culture there?  
    What are some ways that he connects with his players individually?  
    How does he help develop his assistant coaches into potential head coaches? 
    What are some rules and standards he has for his team?  
    What does a typical spring practice plan look like? 
    What does their BP setup look like? 
    What is something that Casey is excited about learning and applying? 
    What are things his players get excited about doing during practice? 
    Is there anything that he believes that other coaches might disagree with?   
    What is something we would notice at one of Casey Dunn’s practices?  
    Are there any resources that Casey would recommend?  
    3 Key Points:
    Casey Dunn started at Samford University in 2004 and he has been there for 15 seasons.  
    Focus on the advantages of where you are at.  
    Know where your team members want to go in order to provide them valuable opportunities and prepare them.  
    Tweetable Quotes:
    “As a coach, it is tough to have a lot of family time with what we do and growing up and having a close relationship with my dad, going to the field, going to practice, going to the cage, that was the way for me to spend time with my dad.” – Casey Dunn  (02:30)
    “It is so easy to get trapped in what you don’t have or get trapped in what other people have that you don’t.” – Casey Dunn  (05:15)
    “There are positives to every situation.” – Casey Dunn  (05:25)
    “The fall is a developmental time. The fall is not a period of time where you are trying to win games.” – Casey Dunn  (06:54)
    “The thing I tell our guys all the time, in the game of baseball, I think more than any other sport, you have to take personal ownership in you. You have to invest in yourself.” – Casey Dunn  (10:06)
    “The thing I like best that I get the greatest value out of at this time in my life is watching guys do it at an elite level.” – Casey Dunn  (12:52)
    “One thing I tell our guys is you have to represent our program as you would your family, as you would yourself, your mom and dad, your last name.” – Casey Dunn  (25:52)
    “A lot of this quote, ‘new stuff’ that is out there with the enhanced video and all the technology and all the metrics we’re getting on players, I don’t think it is that new.” – Casey Dunn  (37:01)
    Resources Mentioned: 
    Ahead of the Curve Podcast
    Twitter: @AOTC_podcast
    Casey Dunn: Twitter

    • 46 min
    Demetre Kokoris- MiLB Pitching Coach, Toronto Blue Jays

    Demetre Kokoris- MiLB Pitching Coach, Toronto Blue Jays

    During this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I interviewed Demetre Kokoris, Pitching Coach for the Vancouver Canadians, an affiliate team of the Toronto Blue Jays. Demetre Kokoris expresses his dedication to the game of baseball, the ways he solves problems with pitching development, strategies to enhance skill acquisition, communicating with players, and prioritizing individual player development within the team structure. 
     
    Episode Highlights: 
     
    How did Demetre Kokoris get involved in baseball and as a coach?   
    What should off-season pitching development look like? 
    Are there any common problems that he sees with development?  
    How does Demetre use video in training? 
    What is an area of skill acquisition that Demetre has gotten better at? 
    What is Demetre Kokoris’ advice regarding prioritizing individual development within the team setting with a small budget or a small staff?  
    How does he communicate particular needs with players? 
    In what ways does he assist players whom English isn’t their first language?   
    How does he tackle workload management? 
    What are some of Demetre Kokoris’ favorite data to track?  
    What is something that Demetre is excited about learning and applying? 
    What are things his players get excited about doing during practice?   
    Which three pitching tools would Demetre Kokoris focus on if he could only have three? 
    Is there anything that Demetre Kokoris believes that other coaches might disagree with?
    Which resources does Demetre recommend? 
    The more information you put out the more information that comes back to you.
    Be sure to learn everyday. 
     
    3 Key Points:
    The more athletic and fluid players can be, and the better they understand the game, the better off they can be on the backend.
    Is a particular weakness a detriment to the club or to the individual? Or is it just something that would just be nice to have corrected?  
    You’ve got to listen to your player and find out what that player thinks is going on and his impression of his skillset. 
     
    Tweetable Quotes:
    “What I learned at the collegiate level that I saw guys be very successful with was, your off-season is your best opportunity to change your body.” – Demetre Kokoris (03:13)
    “With the off-season there is no competitive environment. So, it’s your chance to really slow things down from a movement standpoint on your throwing. So, I think that is your best opportunity if you want to make a mechanical adjustment.” – Demetre Kokoris (03:50)
    “At the age of 24, I took my first yoga class and I felt like I really felt my body and was able to begin to get a lot more coordinated.” – Demetre Kokoris  (04:15)
    “When kids play the game of baseball and they start competing and they start learning the little nuances and the tactics of the game, that’s when they start doing things instinctually.” – Demetre Kokoris (06:46)
    “As far as skill acquisition is concerned, I think the things that I always go back to are, start with the anatomy, is making sure the guy is physically capable of performing the thing that you need.” – Demetre Kokoris (12:14)
    “I think first and foremost, you’ve got to understand your team and what you need each person to do. What role do they play?” – Demetre Kokoris (15:35)
    “If you do want to make changes, is having objective data. Showing him. Showing him with the numbers. ‘Hey man, I know you think your knuckleball is a good pitch. But you throw this at a 20% strike clip in such-in-such situations.” – Demetre Kokoris (19:07)
    “I think you have to take it back to the three things that you want to do with a pitch. Do you want it for called strike? Do you want it for a swing and miss? Or do you want it for weak contact?” – Demetre Kokoris (19:50)

    Resources Mentioned: 
    Ahead of the Curve Podcast
    Twitter: @AOTC_podcast
    Demetre Kokoris: Linkedin

    • 51 min

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