2018 Falls Aces uniform ordering and pickup

2018 Falls Aces players will be able to size for uniforms starting on Monday, February 12th through Saturday, February 17th at Burghardt’s Sporting Goods in Brookfield. Sizing is needed for jerseys, pants, socks, belts, hats, and helmets.

Once complete, email your Head Coach with the details – including uniform number if you have not done so – and we will take care of the rest.

Uniform pickup will be at The Garcade on Sunday, March 25th from 1-3 PM. You can come earlier and stay later – enjoy the experience of playing old school video games! All admission for Aces is $10, a 33% savings from normal admission.

Come for the threads, stay for the fun! Bring the whole family!

This is not a fundraising event. We partnered with The Garcade to offer a discounted admission as a token of our appreciation for the kid’s work over Winter and your support. THANK YOU!

New Partnership: Team Rehabilitation!

One of the founding principles of Falls Aces is to provide athletes and families with a value-based program that hits on the total experience of being an athlete in today’s highly competitive youth sports environment. In doing so, we strategically align our program with other businesses that are like-minded and offer a value proposition to our program.

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Colin O’Brien – Clinic Director

Team Rehabilitation is the latest local business that we are partnering with to provide our Aces with an outpatient rehab and physical therapy avenue should they become injured while in our program. Benefits to our athletes include:

  • Guaranteed same day consultative appointments to diagnose issues (just mention you are with the Falls Aces when calling)
  • Jaeger Bands for our athletes to use to improve overall arm care
  • Professional, high-caliber, sport-specific care for unique baseball injuries

To learn more about Colin O’Brien, Clinic Director at Team Rehab – Menomonee Falls, and his team visit their website or continue reading below.

Colin has studied at the James Andrews Sports Medicine Institute of Birmingham, Alabama, working with athletes from high school to professional ranks. Colin works to empower his patients utilizing a collaborative approach, combining education relating to the patient’s condition and the proposed course of therapies. Colin’s focus is to get his patients back to their desired level of activity and provide the tools to stay there.

The Falls Aces Baseball program now provides a full spectrum of arm care unique in our area. Our partnership with BRX Performance provides the best sport-specific training to strengthen and condition athletes, our internal arm care program builds up stamina and strength, and our partnership with Team Rehabilitation provides immediate care for when things go wrong.

Welcome to the program Colin and team!

Practice Efficiency

One of the largest obstacles as a coach is trying to figure out the best way to take a mound of information and filter that into a cohesive plan for young athletes to learn from. We have all made the same mistakes: too much to learn and not enough time, too little to do, too complex of a tactic, too easy of a movement, etc.

One of the first things you may consider doing is just outlining what it is you want the end of the practice to have accomplished. Was it a competitive environment? Did it teach individual skills specific to the sport you are coaching? Were there drills that dealt with sport specific scenarios? Was a specific skill improved upon? In baseball that could be pitching accuracy, catcher receiving, hitting line drives, or improving footwork as an infielder. Was an often forgotten part of the game reviewed – such as the importance of outfield defense or aggressive, smart, base running?

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Work on base running while you also work on fielding to maximize Practice Efficiency. 

All of these areas present challenges to even the most battle-tested coach, and also opportunities to increase what we like to call “Practice Efficiency”. Practice Efficiency is creating an environment where there is little wasted time during and between drills. It is also an environment where one drill may have multiple benefits to multiple facets of the game.

In essence, there are very few times when an athlete is standing around with “nothing” to do.

An easy way to increase Practice Efficiency is to eliminate unnecessary conditioning exercises – jogging pole to pole on a baseball field – and replacing those with quick paced drills. Drills with quick paces could be fielding (including pitcher fielding practice or PFP) or base running related, and offer the ability to achieve more reps for more athletes in more game scenarios in less time. All of those outcomes are beneficial.

Some coaches will call a party foul on this, suggesting that teams who do not perform conditioning are the ones who falter late in the season. Standard conditioning – treadmill work, etc. – is not a practice tactic or skill improvement area to focus on in our opinion. Athletes should be working on these areas outside of practice so that (y)our practice works on what (y)our team needs to work on.

Do you require your athletes to leave their equipment in the dugout, and then waste two minutes as your corner outfielder jogs to the dugout to swap his infield glove for his first base mitt? Think about how else you can lower the downtime between drills, stations, or tactical games. Where can you best place equipment or how can you move athletes around less? Maximize the energy dedicated towards skill improvement and tactical offense/defense.

If you find yourself having completed your practice 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule you have two choices: 1) reward the kids with a break if they earned it or the weather is unbearable, or 2) have a reserve of competitive games or drills in your back packet to utilize when time is available.

What are some of the challenges you face while practice planning? How have you overcome them? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Pitching is as easy as 1, 2, 3

In today’s adult game of baseball, it seems that velocity has dominated the conversation about what makes a Pitcher good. This concept has worked it’s way down to the youth level, to a point where developing players who do not have the velocity are no longer chosen by programs to pitch or develop further simply because “they don’t have what it takes”.

What makes a Pitcher effective, no matter what level of play they are involved in? To us, we see effective pitchers having at least two of these three attributes on their pitches:

  1. Command
  2. Movement
  3. Velocity

imagesYouth Pitchers tend to develop velocity at different stages, some right out the gate have been able to throw hard, and some need years of development of those throwing mechanics, muscles surrounding the shoulder and elbow, or just the intent to throw harder. So while some may come with velo, and some may not, it’s been our mission to help concentrate on the other two areas while the velocity gains are a work in process.

Command of the strike zone is incredibly important to Pitchers of all ages. Being able to throw “quality strikes” – those pitches that flirt between strike and ball – is vital to offsetting a hitter’s comfort level at the dish. It doesn’t matter too much whether those pitches come in at 60 or 70 mph, if they are quality strikes they will produce positive outcomes. On the flip side, if you struggle with command and end up throwing pitches center-cut, it doesn’t matter if you throw 60 or 70 mph as at some point both speeds will get crushed. Command is extremely important for developing pitchers.

Movement is often attributed to offspeed pitches like curves and sliders, but it doesn’t only apply to those pitches. Having good movement on two-seam or sinking fastballs, change ups, or tail on cut fastballs all can produce quality outcomes while being taught at younger levels of play. Once players have developed command of at least one fastball and change up, Pitchers in our program can start tinkering with other movement pitches.

CPRGU5bUYAQDKD6We’ve seen a number of young athletes struggle with their command, or not have much movement, and rely only on velocity with very mixed results. Typically, the first time through the batting order hitters are “blown away” by the velo the Pitcher has. However, as the game progresses and the hitters start to time up the pitches better, the results change and change very quickly.

Likewise, we have seen Pitchers with good command and movement carve up hitters the first time through the order, only to lose command and/or movement later in the game and start to get crushed as well. Again, it takes at least 2 of 3 in order to be effective.

Our program works hard at developing all three areas with a number of drills, competitions, and data points that provide feedback on the effectiveness in each area. This allows our Pitchers – with or without velocity – to continue their development without being passed over because of misconceptions about what makes a Pitcher effective.

Good hitters need good tees

downloadWe’ve abused a lot of hitting tees over the years, yet no brand of tee has taken our abuse better than Tanner Tees has. Most young athletes should take 150 or more swings per day to build muscle memory vital to in-game success. You  just can’t do that with a $20 tee, especially as these kids get bigger and stronger.

 

If you are looking for a tee that you will likely never have to replace, then we suggest looking at the Tanner “heavy” tee. For your convenience, you can click on the link below to research and purchase. Comment below after you have purchased one and let us know what you think!

Tanner Heavy Tee – BaseballSavings.com

Uniquely Developing Elite Athletes