Andy is a Colorado transplant and is one of our top catching and hitting instructors here at Bardo's. He played college baseball at Sacramento City College and later at Azusa Pacific University. He graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a double major in Sports Psychology and Kinesiology. Andy is also beginning his first year at Valor Christian Academy as the catching and hitting coach.
As a catching instructor, what do you think is the most underrated element as a youth catcher?
I see a young catcher’s ability to be a leader on the field as something that is often overlooked at the younger ages. Even if the player is not naturally vocal it is important for them to take control of what his or her teammates are doing between the lines. That includes defensive placement, game tempo, and overall energy level of the team.
You recently moved to Colorado from California and have been named Valor High School's assistant baseball coach. What are the biggest differences between Colorado baseball and California baseball?
Coming from California I do see a slight difference in skill development due to the differences in weather and the fact that we practiced and played year round in California. That being said, I don’t see that as an excuse for these young Colorado players. The ability to train indoors is something that can and should be taken advantage of if the player intends on getting better and competing at a high level.
As a private instructor, what is your philosophy or approach when instructing a player?
As an instructor I like to create an atmosphere where the player has a high level of focus and intensity, but at the same time feels like they are allowed to fail. I believe that we learn best through our failure and I try to set up scenarios where the player will sometimes fail. My goal is to make a session more challenging than a game situation. By doing this it will raise the players competitive threshold and make the game feel a little easier.
Is the mental game different for a catcher compared to if they were playing another position?
Naturally the catcher and pitcher positions require an extra mental edge because they are active every single pitch. I believe a catcher has to have a certain mentality that is different than the rest of the team. A catcher has to be willing to take responsibility for everything that occurs on the field. If a pitcher throws a ball in the dirt, the catcher must do his job and block that ball. If a shortstop makes a bad throw to first base the catcher must be there to back up that throw and not let the runner advance to second. The position is inherently a selfless position and requires a team mentality.
What element would you like to see changed in the game of baseball?
I love the game of baseball for all the lessons that it teaches us, but I would love for us to reframe how we approach failure. This starts with the coaches creating a positive environment and will transfer to the players seeing failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. In a game that is so full of failure, a kid can either go home with 45 reasons why he isn’t good enough, or they can go home with 45 reasons why he should keep working hard and come back tomorrow with something to work on. It is all about how we teach these boys and girls to respond to failure. That is something that will stay with them long after they play this game.
Book a lesson with Andy.