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Player Development - The Focus for 2019

By Johnny Arnold, 08/08/18, 8:45PM CDT


As the Director of Player Development there is a balance between the overall growth of every baseball player, developing strategies to continue the growth of every player in the organization, looking at improving the strategies currently in place, evaluating opportunities and resources to manage these strategies, and coaching my own age group. I am already working on some additions to our Development Program for next year. I look forward to communicating those as we cement the details.

Many of you are aware that in the past year we have placed a major focus on development of our players. We want to have the kids that exit our program and head off to the high school to be the most fundamentally-sound players not only in our community, but anywhere.

The Flex Roster philosophy is one of the unique methods that we are implementing across all age groups to give us some increase opportunity, accelerate the skill level of our players and have a cohesive approach to developing all of our players across a singular age group. This year, the U10 level was a pilot for this strategy. With any new strategy, it was not perfect, but we have identified areas that we can enhance the Flex Roster approach moving forward.

Here are some highlights of what occurred at U10 with this approach:

  • 6 Players with a batting average increase of 100-245 average points (4 with 180 or more)
  • 2 Pitchers with 25 more innings pitched
  • 1 Catcher with 50 more innings caught
  • Red Core finished their season 31-7 while the White Core finished 30-8
  • 9 Tournaments participated with five 2nd place finished and three 1st place finishes

With free substitution it is difficult to give you specifics on the change in terms of the number of innings individual players had played outside of their primary positions.  However, we can say with confidence that the majority of the players had played more innings in positions where in previous years they saw less opportunity at those positions.  That’s development.

As you look at these results it is easy to focus on the combined record and tournament results and think that this is what we are trying to accomplish. The truth is that we focused on the skill development and experience, WHICH LEAD to the results.  As we look to 2019 we will work with our coaching staffs at all age levels to make sure we are utilizing this approach correctly to maximize development and opportunity. There are some key components to this method that are required for success.

We will continue to add more Skill Specific Camp opportunities. We are exploring strength and conditioning programs that will serve our players as athletes, not just baseball players. We are committed to continuing to add resources and training for our coaching staffs. I believe this philosophy is a big part of why we had a record number of kids come out in late July and try out for our 2019 teams.

As the season comes to a close and you look towards 2019, it is important to focus on the overall mission of the Jr. Chargers. The tournament wins are great, league championships are awesome, but they are not the true measure of our goal. How we will measure our impact as an organization will be seen in the years to come when we see our efforts play out during Hamilton High School’s baseball games, and maybe for some, on a college team someday.

Thank you for your commitment this year. I look forward to communicating some exciting development additions very soon!

Johnny Arnold