10/20/19 Coach's Message

Subject: Spring 2020 Spring Break Trip and our Efforts to Obtain Value-add Technology to help improve Player Development

Reference is made to earlier coach messages, most recent was dated 10.12.2019.

I invite you to access our MaxPreps site to see our Spring 2020 Varsity game schedule (minus our Spring Break 3 games). JV & C Teams Schedules are not available yet.

We continue to research the best option for our Spring Break trip (3/23-29/2019). Cost and best return for our time (investment) is critically important. We are committed to traveling with our V and JV, playing 3 non-league games and having access to quality facilities for extended practices (on-field defensive work, bullpen sessions, hitting, throwing/long-toss and conditioning). It is a balance and please be assured that our research has been exhaustive. I have made contact with H.S. coaches in NV, NM, TX, UT, AZ and FL. I have looked at all-inclusive (stay, eat on campus) for profit facilities; and non-profit tournaments and/or schedules games. I am also in direct contact with other H.S. baseball coaches in those states.

A decision has to be made by the first week in November since many of the quality offerings get booked earlier and earlier each year.

Preliminary Findings have led me to the following 3 Spring Break options:

Option A: return to AZ and play in the Greenway Festival. V and JV get 3 games each with 2 full practice days. We can take the chartered bus or players, coaches travel on their own with an “arrive-by date/time” to a designated team hotel. AZ hotel is expensive (upwards of $225.00 night) since it is Spring time in AZ, rate includes a daily breakfast. We are trying to find a better lodging option (lower rate, still 4 players to a room). The chartered bus has to be let out through a bid process by the School District but our preliminary read is that the cost continues to rise, as it did last year. It is complicated, since if we do not take a chartered bus, then we will need local rental vans to get from the team hotel to fields (one each for V, JV). I have asked a few AZ area H.S. coaches that I know to help us with any partnered lodging options. Deadline to register for the Greenway Festival is 11/1/2019. Also, the cost of shipping team gear and equipment is an issue (baseballs, pitching machines, coolers, medical kits, and batting tees).

Option B: travel to Sanford FL and play in the Florida League H.S. Invitational at Sanford Memorial Stadium and/or the Boombah Sports Complex. Area hotels are cheaper than AZ (around $130.00 night includes breakfast) would require flying into Orlando or Sanford Regional. Tournament is minimum of 4 games so I would schedule 3 games against other H.S. teams and schedule practice times leveraging Florida League and Boombah Complex facilities. Florida League can accommodate our V, JV and C-Team needs.

Option C: travel to Jacksonville FL area and play at Providence H.S. (PHS). PHS coach has been very responsive. PHS hosts a number of tournaments or Spring Games and can accommodate our V, JV and C-Team needs (play and access to practice facilities). Area hotels are cheaper than AZ (around $130.00 night includes breakfast) would require flying into JAX.

I am waiting to see if the H.S. coach who manages the Greenway Festival can provide us with a better lodging option in AZ and access to practice facilities. I also realize that if we take the chartered bus, the number of travelers is important – we need to fill the bus with all V, JV players and the number of coaches going or amount of gear is not as big of an issue. If we fly, then coach airline costs are reimbursed and the number of coaches eligible for reimbursement then becomes an issue. I will keep you informed of our progress. This trip is during our 2020 Spring H.S. season, hence I have to conform with certain CHSAA and District guidelines.

Need for Value-add Technology to help Improve Player Development:

I have completed by due diligence research. Bottom line is players should have their own bat sensors, we will sync player sensors to a team App. Our team bat sensor will either be through Blast Motion or Diamond Kinetics. (It is voluntary for players to purchase the soon-to-be identified bat sensor estimated at $90.00 each). I have appointments scheduled with both companies next week. Whichever sensor we go with, it will allow for data points to be real-time broadcast in the cages to our Bluetooth speakers and the flat screen TV; and player data uploaded real time swing-to-the cloud for each player to access and review. I will be charting player development by beta groups (players assigned to the following sub-groups): strength/conditioning; pitch recognition; underload/overload work; hardest workers; and a placebo group.

Pitching – we need to purchase a slow motion camera kit with heavy duty tripod that will sit behind our pitchers and capture ultra-slow motion video of our pitchers. This technology has been developed and is proven to help with pitch design and pitcher biomechanical analysis. I recently attended a college coach’s clinic and it is truly amazing how this type of information when shown to a high school player leads to significant improvement. It is not cheap but is now a goal of our program to add this resource.

Hence, as I work hard to implement value-add technology I am looking for parent or private-sector assistance in obtaining the following:

1. We need two donated iPads (newer version, wide screen, with Bluetooth). These will be placed on heavy duty tripods next to hitters in the cages this off-season then on the field during practices and games. We also need to find the heavy duty tripods with iPad brackets. I have the data collection points used by progressive programs. We will sync to the bat sensors for each player participating in this voluntary program.

2. This high speed camera kit is not cheap but of proven value. A baseball specific all-inclusive kit is available with SCI camera, cables, heavy-duty tripod, internal and external memory. They are so popular that lead time is 6 weeks for the kit. The kit costs $7599.00. This will allow for Pitcher individualized profiles then we can use this tool to evaluate position player throwing/efficiencies. I have contacted a couple Pro-teams to see if we can purchase their used kits since many are in the process of upgrading.

3. One video camera in an all-weather enclosure mounted to the concession stand behind Home Plate to collect game time video of our Pitchers and Hitters; with a video recorder.

4. I am trying to build an Analytics Group comprised of EHS students. They would help us with the processing of collecting hands-on data and charting. Data “mined” by these students will include 1. Play-by-play data off of MaxPreps in advance of our Spring games; 2. Bullpen data from the aforementioned slow-motion camera kit; and lastly, 3. The Blast/Diamond Kinetics player bat sensor data. I am targeting volunteer students interested in computer science, economic, and mathematics. I am looking for an adult mentor and am canvassing our community for such.

I hope this note helps update you and answer any of your questions. Our program enhancements are forward leaning but needed.

Coach Lipka

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