Schlossnagle Explains How To Utilize Hustle 0

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — Hustle is one of the most important elements in the game of baseball.

However, way too many players walk to their positions defensively or slowly jog and do the same coming back to the dugout. Many don’t hustle during games either.

This lack of respect for the game causes the blood to boil with coaches who strive for hustle.

There is no coach in college baseball who treasures hustle more than new Texas A&M skipper Jim Schlossnagle.

He has enjoyed tremendous success during his 20-year career as a head coach, including the last 18 seasons at Texas Christian University.

He guided the Horned Frogs to five College World Series.

Over his 20 seasons, Schlossnagle has amassed an 811-393 (.674) mark.

He has been named National Coach of The Year two times.

Let’s say a fly ball is hit down the right field line with the rightfielder, second baseman and first baseman converging on it. 

After the play, each of these fielders sprints back to their normal defensive positions when the play is over if it was less than three outs.

On every ground ball to an infielder, the TCU catcher sprints from home plate to back up first. Once the play is over, with less than three outs, he takes off for home in an all-out sprint.

And that includes games in the searing heat when temperatures are close to 100 and 90 percent humidity.

His teams hustle on the off the field with tremendous intensity.

None of this is false hustle.

It simply is the way baseball is played under Schlossnagle, one of the top skippers in the business who has seen the value of hustle up close.

“If you see us play a game, then you have also seen us practice because that’s the way we do it every day,” said Schlossnagle.

“That’s been a staple of our program during my years at TCU. We believe that the two things you can control are your attitude and effort.

“One thing I tell my players is that I refuse to coach your effort. That better be a given to play the game with energy.

“We believe whether you are winning or losing, you can always play hard. Sometimes when things aren’t going well for you, you can create something positive by just playing the game with energy.

“That’s part of hustling on and off the field. We don’t allow our pitchers to walk on and off the field whether they are coming in the game or out of the game. They are expected to sprint to the mound and back to the dugout after the inning is over.”

Schlossnagle said that every throw must be backed up by defensive players.

“When a play is to be made, everybody has a responsibility for backing up. So our guys sprint to those positions.

“Then we sprint back to our positions and throw the ball around after outs. I don’t think that’s too much to ask during the course of a baseball game when there normally is a lot of standing around.”

To read more of this in-depth article on hustle, purchase the Sept. 3, 2021 issue of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. Schlossnagle explains how hustle is taught in his system as well as backing up every type of play, pickoffs by pitchers and catchers with the intent of getting outs and why great hustling catchers are essential.