Coaches Box: Rudy Garcia
MVP Hustle Coach Rudy Garcia leads the Number 1 12U squad from the 2018 Baseball Youth Elite 25 D1 Postseason Rankings. Coach Garcia’s team went 93-2 on the season and won the NYBC Championship and the USSSA International World Series.
Baseball Youth: What are maybe some characteristics of your team as a whole that resulted in such an amazing run?
Rudy Garcia: I’ve been preaching for years and trying to lead this way, we don’t focus on the winning or the success, we focus on what it takes to win, but what it takes to have that success and getting the kids to buy into that and over the years eventually that’s all they know is to just trust the process and know that if we play our game and we do things correctly that the winning takes care of itself. It is easier said than done but over the years they bought into that so that they don’t get too high or too low. We’ve been down five, six runs and it didn’t matter.
BY: What are your values as a coaching staff?
RG: It is always team first. It’s always putting in work. It’s really important to us that these kids don’t just work at our practices. We set it up where we expect them to do a lot of training on their own time and what I preach is “you guys are elite players, we have an elite coaching staff, I expect you to go to elite trainers and instructors.” So all of them go to instructors and they find the best instructors in the area, the best instructors that they can afford, and they train a lot on their own time. That’s something that started when we were 9 or 10 years old. Two or three kids were posting and sending me videos and I was posting them on social media and letting the rest of the team know what kind of work these kids are putting in and it just so happened that our better players were the ones putting in the most work. Before you know it, another three or four kids are starting to put in some extra work and then a year later every single kid is putting in extra work, whether it’s before school, after school, and they just got after it.
All I had to do was work on the team stuff like baseball IQ, bunt coverages, first and third defense, pick plays. Then, on their own time is when they got their skill development. So that’s one of the things is constantly getting better. And I expect that for myself and my staff so we’re constantly trying to get better, whether it’s talking to other coaches, going to the ABCA, watching videos, just always trying to get better as a staff and then it just trickles down to where the players just don’t know any different. If I want to be great, I have to continue to work.
BY: Is there a structured plan from the team or organizational standpoint throughout the winter months?
RG: We sit down for a few months and we tell them we don’t want them throwing a baseball for a couple months. We play so many games and so there’s just no reason to pick up a baseball for a few months so we shut down. Then we start off really slow, practicing just once a week and playing once a month and then we pick up the pace as the season gets going. But the way we monitor them is just constant communication. Just talking all the time.
*This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.