For the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets, there is no ‘off-season.’
While actual weekend game competition has reached its fall slumber, now is the time head coach Les McTavish says the player’s skill sets really awaken.
“I think as we went through 10 years as a program and an organization, we’ve seen that this is where your career is made or broken,” said McTavish.
“The kids that are extremely self motivated, extremely competitive in every aspect, be it school, baseball or conditioning, whatever it may be, measurement comes in so many different measures.”
It can be vision training to track things better, it can be strength training and it can be mental training in the offseason.
“It can be hard to measure your mental game, but it can certainly get better. Over the course of the four month offseason, we have seen players separate themselves from the pack and they come out in the spring and look like a different person,” said McTavish. “They are playing like a different person, their mind thinks like a different person and their game takes off to a different level. we have also had kids who didn’t get the most they could out of the offseason and they passed. It’s not so much they fall behind, it’s just they don’t take that next step. There are kids who take two or three steps in the offseason.”
McTavish has seen kids put 30 pounds of lean muscle on their frames in the winter offseason of training which can be attributed to making their minds and bodies healthier.
“Strength and conditioning is important. But, they are at an important part of their lives where their bodies are changing at 15 or 16 years old regardless. But when you fuel that body properly by eating right and lifting weights, your posture gets better and you’re getting proper rest, not partying all the time, good things happen.”
McTavish cited an article which he posted for players that pertained to becoming world class at anything.
“If you want to be world class at anything, you need to improve by 60 per cent at whatever that is over the course of five years. When you break that down, you need to improve .036 per cent every day for five years. But that’s easier said than done,” said McTavish.
“As soon as you miss a day, or skip a week, you can’t get that back. You find a new girlfriend and cut your lift by a half hour, it accumulates. It’s like brushing your teeth, you may skip brushing one day, you may not get a cavity, but once you skip brushing multiple times it starts to compound.”
Having 10 years of measurable outcomes as the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball program as progressed, McTavish stressed the players who make the most progression in the offseason have a plan of attack.
“There needs to be goal setting and setting up a plan for development in the winter time and sticking to it. It’s certainly important, and it is certainly has been fun watching kids transpire over the last 10 years,” said McTavish.