Best of Luck To Everyone!

It’s that time of year again.  I’d like to wish all our athletes good luck in your regionals, ToC, All Stars, and high school championships.  Grind it out and go get’em!  We will see you after you get a couple weeks rest after your season.  Remember, rest is as important, especially at this time of the year, as your training.  Please give your bodies and minds time to heal and unwind.  You’ll undoubtedly be pressured to move directly into travel/club ball but do yourself a favor and get your rest first.  A couple weeks rest can prevent months of injury recovery and rehab.

STOP THE CYCLE OF BULLYING!! A Victim’s Perspective

Prior to the 17th century the term ‘bully’ was a term of endearment. It was a term to mean ‘brother’ and ‘lover’. The term’s meaning deteriorated through the centuries into what we now call a ‘bully.’ A bully is defined as a person who initiates and carries on the ‘activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally.’ [Besag, 1989] Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.

There are three ways of bullying: emotional, verbal, and physical. Furthermore, bullying has been classified by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences into Direct Bullying, and Indirect Bullying (or social aggression). Emotional bullying includes behaviors that embarrass, or humiliate another person. Verbal bullying includes name calling, and physical bullying includes pushing, shoving, and hitting. To bully another person directly is where a bully singles out an individual and commonly involves physical abuse. Indirect bullying can occur through gossip, and social isolation.

Where does the cycle of bullying begin? It is my opinion that bullying is everywhere and we are powerless to stop it. Bullying occurs in all walks of life, and is not curbed by culture, social status, race, religion, or gender. A component of the definition of a ‘bully’ is an imbalance in power, meaning that one person has more power, whether real or perceived, over another person. By definition, wherever there is human interaction, that imbalance of power will always be present. Consider parent-child, teacher-student, administrator-teacher, management-employee, law enforcement-civilian, military hierarchy, and even coach-athlete relationships. There is an imbalance of power throughout society. I have been a victim of more than one of these social relationships. I have been a victim of verbal, emotional, and physical bullying in my life. My parents used to take things away from me in the most unjust of manners. Both my mother and father lacked the ability to reason, and the ability to empathize. I would be sent to my room and suffered seclusion, precious play time/outside time would be taken away from me isolating me from others. I would be bullied, coerced into doing menial labor and tasks, such as washing dishes, cleaning the house, washing the car, or physically demanding tasks like yard work. My parents lacked the empathy and were unreasonable and made such a big deal out of me talking back to teachers (I am entitled right?), not doing my homework on time (it’s my time, what’s the problem?), ignoring my personal responsibilities (if it was so important, why couldn’t they take the trash out themselves?!) My experience being victimized by bullies went beyond the walls of my house. I felt so helpless. Everywhere I went, I was being physically tormented, embarrassed, humiliated, and was made fearful. My teachers, counselors, and principal would gang up on me (the term is mobbing) and make me fearful by threatening to send a letter home to my parents when my behavior did not meet their standards (whose to say their way is the best way? What do they know?). It was a great source of anxiety for a child. At times, they carried out their threat and it sparked the cycle of bullying at home. I would try to escape the torment of being bullied by losing myself in athletics. The bullying experience was at its highest level. Many times I would perform a task as directed and get totally ignored without a pat on the back, or a ‘good job’ being directed towards me. It left me confused and wondering if I had indeed done things correctly. To be sure, I would successfully perform my task again. Still no acknowledgement. More confusion. At times, I failed to get my task done and was subjected to verbal abuse, comments pointing out my shortcomings, and questioning my mental and physical abilities. At its worst I was physically abused by running more than other kids, or doing more push-ups or sit-ups than other kids. It was readily apparent to me that the coach had the same lack of empathy and understanding that my parents had. All of this done in front of my peers. I was ‘aired out’ for all to see and hear.

My experience as a victim continued into adulthood. Managers, supervisors, department chairs, administrators all took their turns pointing out when I was late to work, called in sick (the only college student to do so, apparently), failed to perform a job up to company standards (what happened to individuality?), missed a deadline in turning in academic calendars and lesson plans, or forgot to fill out proper paperwork. I was at wit’s end. I asked myself why everyone was picking on me. After all I’m only human and I do make mistakes. Why did everyone; by everyone I mean those influential in my life, parents, bosses, teachers, coaches; feel the need to always correct me and point out my failures and shortcomings? Why didn’t they know to shelter me from the angst? Why did they not communicate to me that I was the victim, and console me telling me I was perfect, and everyone was out to get me? I was tormented by it all. I needed a way to get back, get even with all those attacking me.

My initial plan was to ignore all these negative people in my life. That did not last long. I found that the only one who suffered was me. My parents continued to strong arm me until they got their way. Restrictions got longer, tasks piled up until I could no longer hold out. I was forced to give in and do things my parents wanted me to do, and to do things how they wanted. I mean, so what if there was still dried up food on the dishes after I ‘washed’ them? My parents were unreasonable. I ignored my supervisors and coaches. In turn they ignored me. They did not even take the time to ask me how I was, or inquire into my well being. My supervisor fired me. My coach replaced me with another player. Now I could see how heartless everyone was. I was getting a clearer picture of how life would be. When my supervisor told me to show up at a certain place and a certain time and I failed to do so, it brought out how self-centered, and mean spirited he was when he angrily took the job away from me. When my coach challenged me to complete tasks in the proper manner, and in a timely manner, and I fell short time and time again, it exposed him for what he really was. He was an impatient, selfish, and uncaring individual. He did not care that turn after turn, I was trying my best. I was TRYING my best. Isn’t that what’s important? That I tried my best? Why was the coach, and my supervisor for that matter, so caught up in getting a task done? It’s not like I was a soldier, or a heart surgeon, and if I didn’t get my job done people would die. What was the big deal?

Year after year, I tried to cope with being bullied. Just recently I made a startling discovery. In trying deal with the hell my parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, bosses had subjected me to, I realized I had become one them. I am a parent. I am a teacher. I am a coach. I was an administrator. I am a boss. I AM A BULLY.

It hit me all at once like the ending of the movie The Sixth Sense. I replayed the times of my adult life. I had subjected my own children to restrictions and house chores, I had subjected my athletes to demanding and challenging tasks, I had removed employees and subordinates that weren’t performing up to standards, I sent letters home to parents, humiliating my students and forcing them to do crazy things like beating the mailman home.

Somehow, my life is different now. It is better. Instead of a victim mentality that I burdened myself with, I let that go and did three things: Listen, Learn, and Toughened Up and proved my parents, teachers, coaches and everyone else wrong. I proved to them that I could do well in school. I hold a bachelor’s and Master’s degree (ha! take that mom, dad, and teachers!), I proved that I could be a highly productive athlete (thanks for yelling at me coach. I played baseball in college, how ya like me now?), I started my own successful business (hey bosses, you think you taught me a life lesson? Thank you…).

Listen, Learn, and Toughen Up. Do it. Save yourself from being a victim like I used to be.

Looking forward to a great 2013!

It’s that time again.  Time to remember fondly our accomplishments, and to have learned from our mistakes from the passing year.  The new year is a new beginning, a fresh start.  I see the new year as an opportunity to improve, and anxiously await new challenges and adventures for 2013.

My first task…well, I’m doing it.  I want to keep you all regularly informed about the goings on with Golden State Sports Training, and our wonderfully talented corps of athletes.  Stay tuned because these athletes are moving toward great accomplishments!

Putting first things first (credit to Stephen Covey), I want to incorporate the teaching of leadership qualities to our athletes in a formal, organized manner.  Athletes inherently learn some leadership qualities from participating in sports, but I feel as though I owe our athletes more than that.  I feel as though if an athlete can learn and practice leadership traits, then those leadership traits will definitely improve their experience as an athlete, and more importantly, give them an advantage in life outside and beyond athletics.

In 2013, Golden State Sports Training will develop great athletes, as well as future leaders!

Stay tuned as I highlight the Golden State Sports Training model for Effective Leadership Characteristics.

Visit the site regularly in 2013 as there will be Skill Instruction Video Series as well.

Happy New Year!

Winter Baseball Camp, December 26th-28th at West Hills High School

Join us for this year’s winter camp.  Experience true teaching and coaching at its best!  Let us help your athlete reach their potential!

UPCOMING EVENTS

Spring Training is here!  Golden State STaRS would like to wish the best of luck, and the best of health to friends Amad Stephens (Wichita Wingnuts), John Jaso (Tampa Bay Rays), Jack Spradlin (Washington Nationals), and Johnny Lowe (Chicago White Sox).

On the home front, there are three upcoming events.  The Hitting School is going to be held at Stadium Golf Center & Batting Cages.  The Hitting School includes five consecutive one-hour sessions beginning March 30, 2009.  Separate sessions will begin March 30th, and April 1st.  Choose either a Monday night session, or Wednesday night session, which ever fits your schedule!

Softball Clinic: Santee ASA and Golden State STaRS are collaborating to put on a clinic on Friday April 10 and Saturday April 11.  The clinic will be held at Town Center Park near Rio Seco Elementary School in Santee.  The 2-day event will cover all aspects of the game of softball.  It is a great opportunity to learn cutting edge training techniques to help you improve your game this season!

FREE hitting clinic: Our next free hitting clinic will be held on Wednesday, March 18 from 6:30pm-8pm at Stadium Golf Center & Batting Cages.

For more information, or to register for an event, please see our “Upcoming Events” calendar.  Click on the event to get the details.   We welcome you to join us!  Get After It!

Stadium Golf Center & Batting Cages

I am proud to announce that Golden State STaRS has teamed up with Stadium Golf Center & Batting Cages!  Stadium Golf Center and Batting Cages is San Diego’s premier golf practice facility.  Golden State STaRS is proud to be a part of the team!  It is my goal to make the baseball/softball side of the operation at Stadium Golf and Batting Cages as stellar as the golf side.  The baseball staff is in place and ready to go.  I am assembling a fastpitch softball staff at this time.  Please join our staff for our first two events at Stadium Golf and Batting Cages:

FREE Hitting Clinics:  Wednesday, February 11, 2009,  and Wednesday, February 25, 2009.  Both events will run from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

Golden State Sports Training & Recruiting Services will be providing a full range of services at Stadium Golf and Batting Cages.  We provide pitching, hitting, fastpitch, position specific, small group, as well as team instruction.  We also offer speed, agility, and strength and conditioning training.  Please visit the services page for detailed information, or stop by Stadium Golf & Batting Cages for details.  They are located at 2990 Murphy Canyon  Road,  San Diego, California 92123.  It is easily seen from interstate 15, and is located off of I-15 and Aero Drive.

2009: New Year, New Seasons, Better Training

2009 brings about an exciting time for Golden State STaRS.  I look forward to continuing to help in the development of our athletes, and I also am excited about working alongside new colleagues.  I had the opportunity to work a camp over the winter which allowed me to share training ideas, and learn training methodology from several MLB instructors.  The sports performance ideas I learned are fantastic and I cannot wait to learn more and to apply those training principles to our athletes.  It also never fails to amaze me that after all my years of coaching and teaching, that I get so fired up about getting an opportunity to learn even more.  Working with high level coaches also provides an affirmation in seeing alot of the same training methods we use on our young athletes being taught to professional athletes! I am continuing to build upon the already successful programs implemented by Golden State STaRS.

As our athletes approach their new competitive season, we are confident that they have put in all the effort and dedication to be successful this year.  No one sees the extra repetitions during their workout, no one witnesses how they would bear down and grind through tough days, days they really didn’t want to workout but some inner drive would allow them to do it.  No one sees them work out when all their friends decided to pass and take the day off from training.  What people will see are more improved athletes.  And people will say that they “sure did fill out since last year.”  People will see a faster, stronger, more skilled, and more agile athlete. People will see, but still not understand how it all happened.  Best of luck to all of you!  I’ll see you on the field!  Get After It!

Upcoming events:

February 8, 2009:  Coach’s Clinic, Chula Vista American Little League

February 28, 2009:  Inaugural Tom Logan IV Memorial Baseball Clinic

March 1, 2009:  Player’s Clinic, Chula Vista American Little League

TBA:  FREE HITTING Clinic @ Stadium Golf Center, San Diego

Evan Wadginski, Class of 2009, St. Augustine HS, R/R, MI

Please leave your comments on Evan’s skills displayed on his video.  His coach’s contact info is at the end of the video, but you can also leave contact info through info@goldenstatestars.com, put Evan Wadginski in the subject.

Thanksgiving Camp 2008

What a day!  I was fairly certain the campers were wondering what in the world they got themselves into when we started the day with a thorough dynamic warm-up, and agility drills.  Any question of what was going to happen to all the Thanksgiving leftovers were soon answered as the players stretched, bounded, zig-zagged, and sprinted their way to a renewed appetite.  After the kids were thoroughly warmed up and ready to go, their day was filled with professional throwing, hitting, infield, outfield, and baserunning instruction.  Our host, Head Coach Ryan Thompson of Scripps Ranch High School, has nothing to worry about as the youth in his area are quality players and people.  He may have to wait awhile for the hitter of the day, 5 year-old Alex Kopenhaver, to come through his program.  Don’t be fooled by Alex’s size…this guy has some hidden power! 

Much thanks to the the great instructors, Aaron Detty,  who is a collegiate coach at nearby San Diego City College, and to former professional player, and current Scripps Ranch High School assistant, Nick Crouch.  As usual, their instruction was top-notch.  Great job guys!  Let’s do it again next year!

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Fastballs and Life Lessons

The Pitching/Catching Clinic held at Southwestern College November 8th & 9th was a very productive two day workout. The clinic was a full spectrum workout covering baseball specific conditioning, focusing on a strong and stable lower half and developing core muscles, proper throwing mechanics focusing on natural body movements and rhythm, and pitcher/catcher communication. Pitchers were also drilled on fielding their position which seems at levels below varsity high school baseball, to have become a forgotten skill. A pitcher fielding a groundball, a bunt, or covering first base all seem to be unimportant and boring tasks. However, these details play a huge part in a pitcher’s ability to control a game. The pitchers and catchers were put in very good hands with Jack Spradlin working with the hurlers, and Kelly Buber, former Division I catcher, and current Southwestern College assistant coach, put the catchers through their paces.

The featured instructor for the clinic was Jack Spradlin. Jack is currently a pitcher in the Washington Nationals organization, and has drawn comparisons to Jamie Moyer, and John Tudor. Jack teaching young pitchers about creating movement on a fastball, or discovering an effective change-up grip was a small lesson compared to the life lessons that he had to offer the players. We have all had the same advice passed down to us from either our parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, or others that took the time to guide our development: “Work hard and good things will happen.” I believe this to be true. I also believe that just because it’s true, it doesn’t make it fair. Enter the game of baseball. Throw a one-hitter with no walks, and lose a game 1-0? It happens. HIt the ball well…right at somebody? It happens. The reality is that we are never sure when our hard work will pay off, but it will. It seems like hard work AND perserverance are the key. Enter Jack Spradlin. What a great story! He is the hard work and perserverance personified. He was written off as not being good enough, being too small, too weak, too skinny, too whatever… to play baseball at his high school. He got cut, then reinstated with a demotion as the only sophomore player on the freshman baseball team. (That has no effect on a teenage ego…) When all was said and done, Jack’s desire to play overshadowed all the obstacles placed in front of him. He went on to play baseball at the University of Southern California, and currently as a professional with the Nationals. I thought it very important that the kids at the clinic not only hear how hard work and perserverance pays off, but to actually SEE and MEET a down to earth example of it. No silver-spoon fed athlete, just a guy that loves baseball, just like the kids at the clinic. Thanks to all who participated! I hope the lesson stays with you, and I will see you down the road at future events.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Thanksgiving Camp, Scripps Ranch High School, November 28, 2008

Homeruns for Hunger Charity Food Drive, Santee United Juniors Field, November 30, 2008

Speed, Agility, and Multiplanar Movement & Conditioning for Softball Players, Dec. 15-20, site TBA

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