Catching up…


Liam Carroll

The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy preparing for and delivering the National Baseball Championships with GB Baseball and the BBF.  Congratulations to this season’s winners.  One of the highlights for me was seeing so many BSUK Academy players and Great Britain players on those tournament teams.  There are more and more players doing things the right way and it’s great to see the impact those programmes are having.

Another highlight was maintaining the fields at Farnham Park, an enjoyable task despite the workload of preparing and fixing three fields within a tight schedule.  While the weather was impacting the surfaces by the end of the NBL final it's a testament to the quality of the facility that we got through all those games over two weekends.  It was also a lot of fun to drag our infields on our three-wheeler!  If you have a facility that requires a drag, or for that matter if you are just raking your cut-outs, be less aggressive near the edge of the dirt to avoid building up lips, vary your dragging patterns to avoid high and low spots, and go slow.

One of the interesting conversations in the lead up to this weekend's NBCs was dugout assignment.  Following CEB and IBAF tournament rules and wanting to maximise our time and get as many items sorted in advance, we designated the 3rd Base dugout for the home team.  I was surprised that this became a conversation and in the end investing time in making a call on it really didn't maximise anyone's time.  MLB rules stay silent on the matter and of course at team's home ballparks they can do what they want.  Currently there are 18 Big League clubs who use the 1st Base dugout and 12 who choose the 3rd Base side.  These decisions are usually based on where the best clubhouse is (not a factor at Farnham Park) or to stay in the shade (unfortunately not a factor during this year's NBCs!).

A big reason that I'd take the 3rd Base side if given the choice is effective coaching.  If I'm in the dugout it's easier to communicate with the 3rd Base Coach and if I'm coaching 3rd it's easier to communicate with the rest of the club.  This rationale is even more important considering how small our coaching staffs are here.  Every MLB team is currently permitted to have a manager and six coaches which is perhaps a reason why the 3rd Base dugout is less important at that level.  Meanwhile minor league teams have a head coach and two assistants and college baseball teams (at least at the Division 1 level) have a head coach and three assistants, which is a big factor in why the vast majority of college parks I've been to have seen the home team in the 3rd Base dugout.  Where teams have multiple players coaching 3rd, it would make even more sense to choose the 3rd Base dugout.  But like so many other things, there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way.

I’ve been fortunate to be involved with a couple of media projects recently.  Earlier in the month I coached Olympic gymnast Louis Smith MBE for a Sky Sports programme called Game Changers.  He did pretty well, making some solid contact with a bit of pop and for the most part throwing strikes, with some tilt.  His athleticism transferred to baseball – we need more of our players in the same kind of shape he is in.  Thanks to the London Mets for hosting the filming.  This week Top Coach Podcast aired an interview in which we talked about various areas of British baseball including Farnham Park, our national teams programme and the recent Olympic decision.  It’s humbling to have been included in a project that features some of college baseball’s most successful coaches, including Andy Lopez, who I blogged about earlier in the year.  These opportunities reminded me how good a job Herts Baseball Club is doing with marketing and communications.  Kudos to Aspi Dimitrov and his team.

Signing off, we’re close to announcing Academy dates for the off-season.  While I can’t believe that another season is in the books I’m looking forward to coaching players up this winter.


tagged under: coaching, bbf, facilities, season, national baseball championships, farnham park

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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