December 22, 2016
About Lou Pavlovich
Posts by Lou Pavlovich:
September 28, 2016
TUCSON, Ariz. — Conquering mental demons in baseball is just as important as being physically skilled.
University of Arizona Head Coach Jay Johnson is one of the top coaches in the nation at molding his players into mental razors.
In his first season as skipper of the Wildcats, he led them to a second place finish at the 2016 College World Series as Arizona finished with a 49-24 overall record and wins in 17 of their last 21 games.
The previous two years as Head Coach at Nevada, Johnson guided the Wolf Pack to a 72-42 record.
In 2015, Nevada posted a 41-15 record and captured the school’s first-ever Mountain West title.
Before his stint at Nevada, Johnson was the associate head coach at the University of San Diego from 2006-13. He was part of Torero teams that made six NCAA post-season trips and captured four West Coast Conference titles.
Previously, he coached at Point Loma Nazarene, serving as an assistant from 2002-04. He then took over the program as the head coach in 2005 and led the Sea Lions to a 37-16 record.
At every stop in his coaching career, his players have been students of the mental game and excelled.
“I have had two superb mentors during my coaching career,” said Johnson.
“My first was Scott Sarver at Point Loma Nazarene and the second was Rich Hill at the University of San Diego. Both made the mental game a priority.
“I learned early in my coaching career how to get players ‘minds right’ for lack of a better term so they could achieve more peak performances.
“You hear all the time about baseball being 90 percent mental. If that’s so, why don’t we try to train the mind better? At Point Loma Nazarene, San Diego, Nevada and now Arizona, we have made mental training a high priority.”
Johnson said there is a an overall program-wide approach that his players will not focus on what they will accomplish. Instead, they focus on how they will do it.
“Essentially, it is process over result. The mindset we try to instill is getting one percent better each day. Then over time, you will have a compound effect of having a much better player and team.
“As far as mind discipline, we train through a lot of reading and relaxation. Our players do a ton of visualization, seeing themselves execute skills in their mind before they actually go out on the field.
“Our players perform a very simple 3-5 minute routine prior to leaving from the hotel on a road trip or in our own locker room prior to a home game that does a couple of things. No. 1, it allows each player to flip a switch. It allows them to put their personal life behind them which includes school, family, girlfriends, etc. They now flip the switch to being a baseball player.
To read more of this in-depth article on the mental game, purchase the Oct. 1, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.
September 27, 2016
STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford’s Mark Marquess, one of the top coaches in the history of college baseball, will be hanging up his cleats following the 2017 season.
It will be his 41st baseball season as head coach of the Cardinal. This giant in the profession led Stanford to two national titles in 1987-88.
A member of the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Marquess will open the 2017 season as the nation’s second-winningest active head coach with a career record of 1,585-862-7.
A three-time NCAA Coach of the Year and nine-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Marquess has also guided the Cardinal to 29 NCAA Tournament appearances, 14 College World Series berths, six NCAA Super Regional crowns and 12 Pac-10 regular-season championships.
A culture of winning baseball has been successfully developed under Marquess with 38 of his 40 teams finishing at .500 or better.
During his tenure, the Cardinal captured 12 conference titles and finished either first or second a total of 23 times (including Southern Division finishes) while most recently winning back-to-back championships in 2003-04.
The Cardinal has also achieved at a high level in the classroom under Marquess.
In seven of the last 10 years, the baseball program has produced a 100 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR), and in no year has the GSR been less than 93 percent.
Additionally, of the 57 former student-athletes who have reached the majors under his leadership, 49 earned their degrees.
Stanford’s success under Marquess has paid dividends at the next level as well. His players are normally very visible on the radar screens of professional baseball scouts.
Over 200 Cardinal players have been chosen in the draft since 1977, including 25 first round or compensation picks since Jack McDowell in 1987.
Marquess has also been a well-known coach on the international level. In 1988, he won International Coach of the Year honors after leading the United States to a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Marquess’ success as a coach can be traced to his days as a player. A three-year starter at first base for Stanford (1967-69), he earned All-America first-team honors in 1967 and garnered second-team All-America recognition in 1968.
Collegiate Baseball caught up with Marquess and asked him an assortment of questions about what allowed him to be such a successful coach in one of the most challenging conferences in the nation.
Marquess said that the longer you coach, the greater the appreciation for what you are doing in coaching student-athletes.
“The most important thing I have learned is that we (coaches) are teachers first and foremost,” said Marquess.
“As a young coach, you evaluate yourself on winning and losing, how many players go on to professional baseball or make the Big Leagues.
“The number of players who have made it to the Big Leagues is incredibly small. What is it. . .two percent of the players who come through? It is typically a very small number.
“Even more important for our athletes are lifetime skills that we as coaches can give them. You can’t overemphasize how much learning teamwork, working hard, hustling, dedication, being on time and things of this nature are to your players.
“The longer you coach, the greater you realize this. The guy who was a backup player or wasn’t drafted and comes back 15-20 years later to tell you what great experiences they had in your program and what an important foundation for life you gave them really hits home.”
To read more of this article, purchase the Oct. 1, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.
September 26, 2016
SUN DEVILS BRING IN 8 DRAFTED PLAYERS
It marks the Sun Devils’ fourth national recruiting title. ASU also captured recruiting championships in 2008, 1995 and 1983.
This is the 34th straight year Collegiate Baseball has evaluated NCAA Division I recruiting classes.
Athletes who initially signed letters of intent with a school, but then signed a pro contract after being drafted, do not count in the overall evaluation.
Only athletes who came to school this fall are factored in as points are awarded to drafted players and the round they are chosen, All-Americans, All-State selections and All-Conference picks.
Collegiate Baseball also gives points for Conference Players of The Year, State Players of The Year and National Players of The Year.
ASU landed eight drafted players among the 20 the Sun Devils brought in this fall. Another three would have been drafted, but they turned down substantial financial overtures from professional organizations prior to the draft.
It is the most amount of draft picks an NCAA Division I team has landed since Florida brought in eight drafted players in 2013. It is the first time in seven years that a team from the Southeastern Conference has not captured the title.
The class features 15 freshmen, four junior college transfers and one 4-year college transfer.
“It really is a superb class,” said ASU Head Coach Tracy Smith.
“In our original recruiting class heading into the Draft last June, we expected to lose three players. When we lost six to pro signings, we suddenly had a lot of work to do.
“Historically, I don’t go after junior college players very often. Fortunately we recovered and signed some quality junior college transfers in RHP Jake Godfrey (N.W. Florida St. who was previously drafted in the 21st round in 2014), INF Taylor Lane (N.W. Florida St. who was drafted in the 40th round) and INF Jackson Willeford (Cypress C.C., 12th round pick in 2012).”
Godfrey was initially part of LSU’s 2014 recruiting class and posted a 7-1 record his freshman year in 2015 for the Tigers as the No. 3 starter in the rotation. He struck out 39 in 54 2/3 innings but also walked 33. In December of 2015, he transferred to N.W. Florida St. before moving to ASU this fall.
“We also had three other players who would have been drafted last June, but they turned down significant monetary pro offers in RHP Zane Strand (Hamilton H.S., AZ), RHP Alec Marsh (Ronald Reagan H.S., Milwaukee, WI), and OF Tre Turner, a duel sport football and baseball player from New Orleans (Holy Cross H.S.).”
Another significant addition to the recruiting class was SS Nick Ramos from the University of Indiana.
“Nick was a part of our Indiana team that made the 2013 College World Series. He graduated last year and transferred to Arizona State where he will be immediately eligible next season as a graduate student.”
Another intriguing player is catcher Lyle Lin from JSerra Catholic H.S. (San Juan Capistrano, CA).
“Lyle is originally from Taipei, Taiwan (and was drafted in the 16th round by Seattle),” said Smith.
“He was the first player from Taiwan ever to be drafted in our Major League Free Agent Draft last June. After he finished high school last spring, he went home to Taiwan and was treated as a hero after being drafted. We are thrilled he is with us this fall.”
A complete rundown on the top 20 recruiting classes is featured in the Oct. 1, 2016 issue of Collegiate Baseball. To purchase a copy or subscribe, CLICK HERE.
2016 NCAA Div. I Recruiting
Results By Collegiate Baseball
- Arizona St
- North Carolina
- Louisiana St.
- Texas Christian
- U.C. Santa Barbara
- Miami, Fla.
- Florida St.
- San Diego
- Mississippi St.
- Cal. St. Fullerton
- South Carolina
- N.C. State
- Dallas Baptist
- Oklahoma St.
- Texas A&M
- New Mexico St.
- Georgia Tech.
- Southern California
Other Top Recruiting Classes: Missouri St., Iowa, Coastal Carolina, Oregon St., South Alabama, Texas Tech., San Diego St., Duke, California, U.C. Irvine, Cal. St. Northridge, East Carolina, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Florida Atlantic, Alabama, Cal Poly, Winthrop, Utah, Georgia St., Baylor, Minnesota, Missouri, Central Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida International, Wichita St., Fresno St., South Florida, Pepperdine, Georgia Southern, The Citadel, Kent St., Western Michigan, Long Beach St., Oklahoma, Central Michigan, Michigan St., Stetson, Washington St., Texas St., Nebraska, Creighton, College of Charleston, Sam Houston St., Ball St., Louisiana-Lafayette, Notre Dame, Florida Gulf Coast, Illinois St., Southern Mississippi, Kansas, Penn State, Illinois, Tulane, Stony Brook, New Mexico, Troy, Bowling Green, Richmond, N.C. Wilmington, Gonzaga, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Purdue, Wake Forest, Maryland, St. Louis, High Point, Ohio St.
Source: Collegiate Baseball
Previous NCAA Div. I
By Collegiate Baseball
2014: Louisiana St.
2011: South Carolina
2010: Louisiana St.
2008: Arizona St.
2007: Louisiana St.
2006: South Carolina
2005: South Carolina
2004: Louisiana St.
2003: North Carolina
2002: Georgia Tech.
2001: Southern California
2000: Cal. St. Fullerton
1999: Southern California
1998: Georgia Tech.
1996: Texas A&M
1995: Arizona St.
1994: Mississippi St.
1993: Miami (Fla.)
1992: Florida St.
1991: Miami (Fla.)
1989: Florida St.
1988: Miami (Fla.)
1984: Florida St.
1983: Arizona St.
Source: Collegiate Baseball
August 25, 2016
Coastal Carolina’s amazing ride to the 2016 national championship was a wild one as the Chanticleers became the first team to win a title in its first trip to the College World Series since Minnesota 60 years ago.
While it took great hitting, defense and mental toughness to navigate the tough road to the title, one area few talked about was Coastal Carolina’s pitching which was fueled by the concept of Effective Velocity as orchestrated by one of the nation’s top pitching coaches, Drew Thomas.
It was a staff that was able to capture a Regional on the road at N.C. State, a Super Regional at Louisiana St. and then faced a gauntlet of powerhouse teams at the College World Series, including Florida, TCU, Texas Tech. and Arizona.
Thomas felt Effective Velocity was instrumental in Coastal Carolina becoming national champions as the staff lived and died by pitch calling sequences that were governed by this concept.
What is Effective Velocity? After 10 years of studying the timing of hitters, researcher Perry Husband found conclusive evidence in 2004 that pitching in certain locations and in certain sequences can give pitchers a dynamic edge.
Thomas, who just finished his 10th season at Coastal Carolina, gave Collegiate Baseball an in-depth look at why EV worked so well for Coastal Carolina pitchers during the 2016 season and particular the NCAA playoffs and how he learned all the nuances involved.
“I was intrigued with the concept of Effective Velocity and purchased Perry Husband’s first book which came out in 2004 (The Science of Effective Velocity). The information was excellent and I then purchased the other two books in the series as they came out (The Hitter’s Attention Theory and The Science of Pitch Sequencing).
“Then I took the Advanced Effective Velocity online course which gave me a deeper understanding of how I can utilize the concepts with my pitchers.
“It’s a very complex subject to be perfectly honest. There were a lot of things that I had to learn myself before I could teach those concepts to my players. With teaching kids about Effective Velocity, it is very individualized because it depends on the pitcher’s arsenal of pitches, movement of pitches, arm angles of pitches, the flight of pitches and deception.
“Another big area is what the pitcher’s control/command level is. That gets better when kids are with our program over a period of time. That showed during the past season. We had older guys who had been in our program and who could apply Effective Velocity.”
Thomas said the Advanced Effective Velocity online course was an important step in being able to teach his players.
“As humans, many are visual learners. When kids get to our school, we have them take a VAK Test so we can identify how each player learns in the most efficient way. We must find out if they learn better in visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning style models.
“Over the years, we have found that more of them are visual or kinesthetic and less and less auditory. So it does me no good as a pitching coach to sit up there and talk all the time. With Perry Husband’s Effective Velocity concepts, I can show each player how to implement it within our video system with the specific arsenal of pitches each one has.
“We changed how we did our bullpens so we could integrate EV. Our pitchers really bought into it.”
Thomas, who calls all pitches for his staff during games, explained how Effective Velocity concepts have helped him with pitch selection.
“It is absolutely vital that the pitcher on the mound and I are thinking along the same line with pitch selection. Our pitchers understand what is going on. They have a feel of what will be called and the reason behind this.
“It is important that pitch selection is settling with the pitcher on the mound. You don’t want him second guessing every pitch that is called.
To read more, purchase the Sept. 2, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The rest of the story includes information on how deception was accomplished, how Coastal Carolina charts EV, breaking down hitters, controlling contact, hitter’s attention to pitches, adding and subtracting speed, reverse engineering, functional movement screening, velocity improvement plan and improvement of the visual game, among other intriguing topics.
August 25, 2016
OMAHA, Neb. — The 2016 College World Series had a surprising 25.7 percent viewership decline over the 2015 event on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU from figures obtained by Collegiate Baseball through the NCAA.
Thirteen games had viewership declines comparing Nielsen Ratings from the previous year, including 10 of the first 11 televised games. Game 13 was not played in 2015 and was not factored into the numbers. But the other 16 games were compared to 2016 ratings.
The largest decline was game three of the Championship Finals which saw a 73 percent dip in viewership.
The game was scheduled to be played on Wednesday at prime time starting at 8 p.m. on ESPN. But rain postponed the contest until the next day as the NCAA made the difficult decision to start the game at 1 p.m.
ESPN preferred rescheduling the game to prime time in the evening, but the NCAA decided to play it at 1 p.m. because of weather concerns.
Because of the NCAA’s decision, the national championship game pitting Coastal Carolina and Arizona was switched to ESPNU and only had a 0.31 rating.
That was a 73 percent audience decline from the previous year which was on ESPN in prime time and had a rating of 1.14.
Only two games had increases in viewership. Game 12 between Coastal Carolina and TCU had a 21 percent increase while there was a 9 percent increase in viewership in game two of the Championship Finals between Arizona and Coastal Carolina.
To read the entire story, with a breakdown of how the Nielsen Ratings were for each game, purchase the Sept. 2 edition or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.
July 13, 2016
OMAHA, Neb. — What is the best way to get baseball players to relax in high stress situations like the College World Series?
Over the past 70 years of this event, many unique and strange rituals have taken place in dugouts.
Perhaps the most creative and entertaining was what transpired at this year’s CWS.
Arizona’s reserves performed a type of ritualistic water dance usually in the fourth inning when special music was cued up in the press box just before the Wildcats were ready to hit.
Five or six players would start jumping up and down which would morph into players squeezing the life out of water bottles which shot water straight in the air and fell onto the dance group.
Their hands would gyrate up and down to the beat of the music as they screamed for joy.
Watching the big smiles on the faces of the starters who were about to bat was a revelation since they were obviously focusing on what they were planning on doing in their next at bat during the most important games of the year.
This dance always broke the tension and relaxed these players instead of being focused robots who may or may not perform under extreme pressure.
As we saw Arizona hitters perform time and time again, we wondered if this technique, which had never been done before in the history of the College World Series, was something coaches should embrace in their programs during the season. The Wildcats had the most hits (63) in the College World Series and most runs scored (32). Time and again, Arizona hitters came through in the clutch as they finished second at the College World Series.
This amazing group of reserves also cheered loudly when Arizona did anything well and always squeezed water bottles as columns of water shot into the air. It was water world Wildcat style. They also adopted a Spiderman figurine for good luck in the dugout and sported rally mustaches.
While there are a number of old school coaches who obviously cringed when they saw the antics of Arizona players dancing in the dugout, we started thinking about whether similar techniques have been used by teams during the 70-year history of the College World Series. While not to this extreme, the answer is a resounding yes.
“My first reaction is that it was pure genius what Arizona players did,” said Tom Hanson, author of the best selling book Heads-Up Baseball: Playing The Game One Pitch At A Time with Ken Ravizza.
“All you have to do is look at the results they had.
“However, my first question with such antics is whether it is negative toward the other team or disrespectful and a form of taunting or ragging their opponents. If so, I would be against it. If it was all about their players, then it was great.
“The question is what works for an individual and a team? The challenge for every team is to play to a high level of performance with freedom and without interference. The formula for this success is performance equals potential minus interference.”
To read more of this article or subscribe purchase the July 15, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.
July 13, 2016
You would think pitchers would have more difficulty gripping balls with the adoption of the flat seam ball the past two seasons. But that hasn’t been the case.
Strikeouts per nine innings for each NCAA Division I team have dropped every season from 2009 (6.96) to 2014 (6.48).
But the past two years, strikeout numbers have spiked.
Strikeouts rose to 7.02 per nine innings in 2015 and 7.17 in 2016. Since statistical trends have been kept since 1970, only twice has the number gone over 7.00 which were in 1998 (7.07) and 1999 (7.12).
The 7.17 figure of 2016 is the highest strikeout numbers since these records have been tabulated.
To read more about the 2016 College World Series, which includes 4 photo pages, purchase the July 15, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.
July 13, 2016
STERLING, Va. — Accuracy is everything in pitching.
So many of us spend long hours working with pitchers on their location. Every now and then (which seems to come more often sometimes), you become frustrated working with a pitcher who has great mechanics but just can’t seem to throw the ball where he wants.
First I video and analyze, shooting at about 1/2000 of a second. That will freeze the ball and allow me to focus down to the fingers. I also carefully watch the throwing motion, isolating my vision on a single aspect of the motion.
After years of looking at pitchers, I swear my eyes operate at 1/2000 as well; I just can’t freeze and reproduce the motion.
During those sessions I study basic mechanical actions that may be the cause of the problem.
Static and dynamic balance, core stabilization, stride leg angle and landing, and head and eyes level to the horizon are primary body factors that cause control difficulties.
Occasionally I, as I’m sure you do, sneak up behind a pitcher in a set position to see how he is holding the ball in his glove. Taking a quick look or asking him to suddenly show me the ball, has uncovered basic ball grip flaws.
I’ve learned never to assume a pitcher truly understands how to hold any pitch. Assured that he is holding the ball correctly, I retreat to the back of the bullpen mound.
One day my son Patrick and I were reviewing a tape of a pitcher who was having velocity and location problems. We were viewing a segment of tape that was shot from a camera directly over the pitcher’s head. To our surprise, and quite by accident, we discovered the exact cause of both problems.
As the pitcher pulled the ball out of his glove, his fingers moved on the ball. At the cocking position his thumb was completely off the ball! In order to do that the ball has to be held tightly against the knuckles.
Imagine throwing a change up without your thumb on the ball. The pitcher, who was sitting next to us, had no idea that this was happening.
The very next week we worked with another boy with worse location problems. I mean you weren’t safe standing behind him wearing a mask and holding a twin mattress! He was doing the same thing.
The grip in the glove was good, but like the other pitcher, again we found the thumb flying off the ball during the cocking phase. This shot is now a routine when we videotape our pitchers.
To read more of this story, purchase the July 15, 2016 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE.
July 1, 2016
One of the most respected coaches in college baseball, Gilmore led the Chanticleers to their first national baseball championship at the recent College World Series with a 4-3 win over Arizona.
Previously Coastal Carolina’s best team finish in any NCAA championship was fifth-place in men’s golf.
The Chanticleers were 6-0 in elimination games during the 2016 NCAA baseball tournament and 5-0 at the College World Series. CCU is the first school to win five elimination games in Omaha since Oregon State in 2006.
Coastal Carolina also became the first team to win the championship in its College World Series debut since Minnesota in 1956 — some 60 years ago.
Coastal had a remarkable run through the playoffs as it first knocked off N.C. State, 7-5 to win the Raleigh Regional. Then the Chanticleers stunned Louisiana State two straight in Baton Rouge to qualify for the College World Series. In a first-round matchup in the College World Series, the Chanticleers also knocked off No. 1 national seed Florida, a team that had five players chosen in the first two rounds and five pitchers in the first four rounds of the recent MLB First-Year Player Draft.
After losing game one in the CWS finals to Arizona, 3-0, Coastal Carolina roared back to win the next two games in dramatic style. The national championship victory pushed Gilmore’s overall record to 1,100-540-2 in 27 years of coaching. He has been at Coastal Carolina for the past 21 years with one national championship, three super regional and 14 regional appearances.
A total of six Chanticleers were taken in the 2016 MLB Draft. It marked the most Coastal Carolina players taken in one season since seven were selected in 2010. Overall, it was his seventh time at least five Chanticleers have been drafted in one year. Overall at least one player has been selected in the MLB Draft in 20 consecutive seasons.
Gilmore, who is a nine-time Big South Conference Coach of The Year, has coached 26 players to All-American honors while he has coached the Big South Player of The Year 10 times.
Previous Collegiate Baseball National Coaches of The Year include:
• 2015: Brian O’Connor, Virginia
• 2014: Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt
• 2013: John Savage, UCLA
• 2012: Andy Lopez, Arizona
• 2011: Ray Tanner, South Carolina
• 2010: Ray Tanner, South Carolina
• 2009: Paul Mainieri, Louisiana St.
• 2008: Mike Batesole, Fresno St.
• 2007: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
• 2006: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
• 2005: Augie Garrido, Texas
• 2004: George Horton, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 2003: Wayne Graham, Rice
• 2002: Augie Garrido, Texas
• 2001: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
• 2000: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1999: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
• 1998: Mike Gillespie, Southern Calif.
Mike Batesole, Cal. St. Northridge
• 1997: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1996: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.,
Andy Lopez, Florida
• 1995: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1994: Larry Cochell, Oklahoma
• 1993: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1992: Andy Lopez, Pepperdine
• 1991: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1990: Steve Webber, Georgia
• 1989: Dave Snow, Long Beach St.
• 1988: Larry Cochell, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1987: Mark Marquess, Stanford
• 1986: Jerry Kindall, Arizona
• 1985: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
• 1984: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1983: Cliff Gustafson, Texas
• 1982: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
• 1981: Jim Brock, Arizona St.
• 1980: Jerry Kindall, Arizona