Trust, Love, Communication with Coach Eric Peterson, Head Baseball Coach at Benedictine College
Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development
Eric Peterson, Head Baseball Coach at Benedictine College.
On this episode, Host Geoff Rottmayer sits down with Eric Peterson
Show Notes: In this conversation, Eric talks about:
- His coaching path and some of the coaches he learned from along the way.
- What trust means to him and his program.
- How he develops leaders within his program and the process they go through to become a leader.
- How important communication is to him and his program.
- How they work and improve their communication skills.
- How to get a handle on the program when there is issue popping up regarding the TLC.
- What the fall baseball looks like.
- Some of the coach’s best resources.
- and much more.
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Geoff Rottmayer: On today’s show, we have our own coach, Eric Peterson, head baseball coach at Bentonite College. And we’re talking about trust, love communication, and some baseball.
Intro: Welcome to another episode of the baseball awakening podcast where we dive into the raw unfiltered unsexy side of player development. Get ready for some knowledge bombs with your host Geoff Rottmayer.
Geoff Rottmayer: Yeah, I’m Geoff Rottmayer today sitting down with Eric Peterson, the second year head baseball coach at Bentonite College I college coach. How are you sir?
Eric Peterson: I’m great. Big time. How are you doing?
Geoff Rottmayer: I’m doing great coach. Thank you. No, I appreciate your time. Um, we’re going to talk from baseball and coaching and then wherever this conversation takes the lead to just kind of start with, you know, your left, understand your, you know, your coaching career, you know, how, where it started and how you got into coaching as well as thumbed the coach that you’d learned from along the way.
Eric Peterson: Okay, great. Well, I guess I’ll start with where I played and then my coaching stops. Um, the most influential person that I’ve had other than my dad and my uncles. Some of my family members, but the most influential person that I’ve had in my baseball life is it’s rich price. It’s the university of Kansas. And, um, when he came in in 2002, uh, I was part of his first recruiting class in there. So, um, I had actually signed with the former coach. Um, and then, you know, my, the luck of baseball had it. I get to meet my, my mentor and a guy that has guided me through a lot of different things. If a coach price and skip, um, at K U. And then, uh, my father ended up getting pretty sick and I transferred to Johnson County community college, opened over the park, Kansas and, uh, played a semester there and then eventually found myself at Pitt state, uh, Pittsburgh state down in Southeast Kansas. And, uh, got my master’s degree there, started my coaching there. Um, and then went to Fort Scott community college under John Hill. John Hill is still there. He’s, he’s rock and roll and doing a great job down there. And spent two years there with, uh, Niagara university. Spent two years there, uh, came back home for a year and was the director of baseball operations, uh, at the university of Kansas. Got back on the field with, uh, Jay Alexander of the Eastern Michigan, um, spent four years at jury university under Scott NASBE. Um, and then I’m in my second year as the head coach of Benedict in college up in Atchison. So, um, long run, long, long story, a lot of different places, but some, some great, uh, stops along the way. And I’ve certainly learned a lot from a lot of different people. Uh, but probably the most influential have to be good for us.
Geoff Rottmayer: Awesome. I love hearing about a path like that because you do, you do learn different things from different people, which shaped, you know, who you become as the coach, you know, code. Before we get into the, the, the, uh, the coaching side of things, the director of operation position, um, that you did, you know, this kind of shed the light on, on a different side of things though. Can you kinda talk about that position and how maybe it helped you on the coaching side?
Eric Peterson: W well, it completely slipped my vision of, of what, um, exactly I had touched does, it’s really more directed off the field, um, behind the scenes stuff. Um, if we just kind of revert back into my grad school days at Pitt state, um, my master’s degree is in game day management. So I, I, I have a background in, um, what I call the ugly parts of the game where nobody sees and unless you screw it up, right. So that’s, that’s part of it that I really find intriguing. Um, so when skip asked me to come back and be as ops guy, um, it was really a position that they hadn’t really had. Um, so he allowed me to run with it and just, you know, see what we were going to do and um, you know, they were struggling with some camp numbers and, uh, getting their camps re-established. So, um, that was one of my tasks is to get the camps back and, and to get them away to the point where they were stable again. Um, so, so skip really adjusted me and doing that. But really it was the behind the scenes stuff. It was the fundraising stuff. Um, the player development stuff, you know, it really opened my eyes to what, um, a head coach is supposed to do, um, where I hadn’t seen that yet. So, um, I can just keep going back to it. He’s been the most influential person, um, in, in my professional life, um, where he’s really taught me and gave me an opportunity to learn, um, how to do the behind the scenes stuff. Uh, especially at the power five level, um, which, you know, I’ve been addicting. We’re obviously not power five, we’re not the visual one, you know, but we’re trying to do our best to look like it and act like [inaudible].
Geoff Rottmayer: Nice. Very cool. So, so I know, um, I know everybody path different and how things play out, but do you think that one who wants to get into coaching should maybe experience the director of operations position?
Eric Peterson: Yeah, that’s hard. That’s hard to answer. It’s hard to say. Yeah. Follow that path because, um, I don’t, I think I look back on it and I didn’t know what path I was going. I was just going at that point. So, um, you know, I had the, the [inaudible] dream, like, like most guys do that they want to work for that. And um, to be honest, I, I, I got an opportunity with an I agree university and I was very, very fortunate to have that opportunity and learned a lot of there. Um, you know, to say that I wish I would’ve done things differently or you should do things differently. I don’t know that I’m here today doing what I’m doing today without going along that path. It’s a little cliche ish, but, um, I think that the guys that just work hard and get after it and good things happen to them. Um, the, I believe in baseball gods, um, and you know, they, they pay you back and they pay you back 10 fold, whatever you give the games. So I think the path is, it’s different for everybody, like you’re talking to about. Um, I think the first step though is you’ve got to get your master’s degree, especially in this day and age. Um, most head coaches, their requirement is to have a master’s degree. Uh, most full time paid coaches at the college level need to have a master’s degree now. So, um, that’s, uh, I have, I have, uh, an assistant here in, uh, two GA’s that I just impress upon them via to your education cause that’s the one thing that nobody could take away from yet. Um, whether this career path works or not, or which direction it’s HGN, at least you got that piece of paper saying that you got a higher education too.
Geoff Rottmayer: Very cool. Very cool. All right, so let’s jump into the coaching side. Okay. Um, let’s talk about your approach and your style and why you think it works for you.
Eric Peterson: Um, well, [inaudible] works here at Benedictans because of our student athletes because of our players. Um, because they bought into it. Um, you know, if you would’ve asked me what my style was 10 years ago, it’s completely different. You would ask me 14 years ago. It’s completely different. Um, I think that we talked to them, we have to check ourselves, uh, and see what we’re doing and making sure that it works for our current players and in our current roster, which is going to change next year. You know, so, uh, I, I think that we kind of have to have the familial approach to that where, um, we can, uh, we can adjust to our players and what the needs of our players are. But ultimately it’s, it boils down to TLC for us. Uh, that’s trust, love. And that’s communication. And if we can do those three things at a high level, we could do some great things together. Um, and that goes well beyond just the plain fields. We want it to bleed into what we do academically, um, in our social lives and our personalized, uh, we want it to really affect everything that we do. Cause, um, you know, we’ve, we feel like that’s something to last longer than four years. It’s more about what happens 40 years, you know, down the line. Like, what are we doing with our wife’s, you know, or our children, our families, and our future bosses. If we can just instill the TLC mindset that the trust, the love, the communication mindset and understand that it’s an evolving, it’s, it’s a real life thing. Uh, we’re dealing with people every day. Uh, we just, we just feel like that’s a huge part of it. And, um, I guess if I’m going to hang my hat on one thing, I think I’m going to hang my hat on my players, um, and, and our coaching staff and our program and, and really their willingness to buy into the TLC mindset and learn to trust each other and love each other and communicate with each other.
Geoff Rottmayer: Awesome. And I’m a follower of yours on, on Twitter. And I had been for some time and, and I could, I could sense this now. You lived this truck love and communicate. So let, let’s kind of get a deeper dive into the TLC. Um, starting with trust, you know, we all know what truck did, but, but what does trust mean to you?
Eric Peterson: Everything. Uh, you know, it, it, I guess it has to, and it has to start with that because I don’t think you can love without trust it. And if you try to, it’s, you know, it’s fake at that point. It’s your, it’s just eyewash, you know, and you’re, you’re trying to get people to do things that they don’t want to do and they don’t feel like you allow them, you know? So, um, a trust is, is a big thing. And like I said, it’s an evolving thing. It’s a real live thing and you gotta work on it every day and you got to really show, um, you, your players, your people that are around you, that, um, what you say, what you do, your actions. Um, you know, we talked about all the time. Perception is reality. What people see is what they believe. Um, w we try to just emulate that. And, and really we talked about, we talk about being vulnerable all the time and if I can show as the head coach that I can be vulnerable. Um, so we’re all our players, so are our assistant coaches. Um, and I think that creates a lot of trust within the group. That’s, um, you know, we can come to each other, we can rely on each other. And, um, like I said, it, it’s an evolving thing, but it’s something we try to work on every day.
Geoff Rottmayer: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s great. You know, though, let, let’s say that they, the trust is, you know, between you and the coaches, you and the players and the players and the players and, you know, have you been around long enough, you know, you can send things that are going on in your program or they should be able to. Yeah. So when, when, when the trust issue popped up or developed, how do you get a handle of that and reel it back in?
Eric Peterson: Well, we have a leadership group called our battalion leaders. Um, and they’re, they’re in trusted. Um, they go through a whole process and interview process, um, where the Tokyo staff sits down with them. Each guy, every guy that we pick to view one of our leaders, um, and this essentially they’re our culture. Uh, we feel like our culture is built from within and our battalion leaders are responsible for a lot of the things that happened within our program, but they’re also responsible to what we call protect Rocky. Um, Iraqis are Maska. That’s the weird look. A little bird. Um, but it’s, it’s something bigger. Our culture is something bigger than, um, just this team. It’s, it’s the future Ravens. It’s our current Reagan’s, it’s our alumni Ravens. Um, and our guys understand that. And so they want to protect it. And, and part of that is they, they believe in the CLC model, obviously, and we’re learning to develop that. Um, but if there is an issue, they note that they can handle it. They know that, um, they’re going to have the support of their coaching staff, of their head coach. And even if they don’t handle it right, we’ll teach them, you know, and it’ll be more of a lesson than, um, you know, what, I’ll punishment, right? Like, we don’t, we don’t really believe in that. We want to teach guys how, um, how to lead, you know. And so our battalion leaders in a nutshell was they, they are responsible for four to five guys, uh, in their battalions is, um, so if there’s issues, it’s essentially handled within. Um, and then if he needs to go up to the, um, you know, the, the ladder it can and um, they know that, that the open door policy that the door is actually open. Um, and they have a, uh, you know, they have a other line of communications. Um, see anybody but especially me that they feel comfortable coming to me with anything.
Geoff Rottmayer: Awesome. So you said there were the interview process that to become one of the battalion leaders, what did, what did that entail? What, what does that interview project look like?
Eric Peterson: Yeah, so what happens is July 1st, um, there’s a, a battalion leader packets, um, that gets sent out to the entire team. Uh, and then anybody that wants to be a battalion leader has 30 days from that point to return the questionnaire. Um, which is just part of the application process. Uh, it’s typically the first time, um, that some of our guys have ever filled out of an application questionnaire. Um, so it takes them some time. So that’s what we give them 30 days. Um, once we get all the, the application, then, uh, we believe that a guy that if they’ve turned in an application, uh, they get an interview, it’s the first step for us to, that really says, okay, this guy wants to be a leader on our team. Um, or at least has the, the walk to, right, the mindset to become a leader. Um, so we sit down as a coaching staff and, um, we, we ask are the guys that are going to interview to dress like, like they’re going for a job interview. So tie the dress to the nine. Um, [inaudible] they essentially sit in front of us and um, what we do is we ask them the same questions that are on the questionnaire, on the application process, um, and we want to see how they respond in a stressful situation. Because a lot of the times, this is the first time they’ve ever interviewed for anything. Um, so it goes back to how we prepare in our guys, uh, in the form, the 40 process. So the four years that we get them, what are we doing daily? What are we doing with them to prepare them for the 40 years after, after we add them? Right. Um, so this, this boils down to we’re getting them in an interview process. Uh, we’re giving them the experience of going through this. Um, so we sit down and we interview them. We ask them the same questions like I said, uh, and see how they respond in a stressful situation. Um, what their answers are. Uh, we kind of let the conversation go from there, um, and just kind of have a life of its own. Um, but we really find out who our leaders are, um, when we need them because it’s pretty easy to leave with the subs out and the rainbows are out, everything’s going great. But what happens when you’re in a stressful situation? What happens with, um, you know, it’s not easy. It’s not tough. We want to figure out who those guys are and try to figure out that those guys very early in the process.
Geoff Rottmayer: Yeah. Cool. That’s awesome. So, so let’s say a, you get 10 kids that applied to be a battalion leader and you know, say only four gets the role. What’s the conversation like among the coaches that are picking out the best four guys?
Eric Peterson: Yeah, so, so we, we don’t have a set number right, of battalion leaders that we’re okay, we’re getting each year because I don’t want to have an arbitration number. So, so say we have guys apply, I don’t want to say, okay, we need 10 there may not be 10 battalion leaders in that 16 that we feel like are going to lead that group. I, I revert back to what something I said earlier, like every team is going to be completely different every year. The needs of that team are going to be different. So we’ve got to have leaders that, um, fit what we think the needs are of that team, if that makes sense. Um, so, so w we don’t want to say, okay, got to have 10, there may not be 10 or there’d be be 15. Right. But the one thing that we, we try really, really hard to do, um, to make sure that we do is, um, have enough battalion leaders that their battalions are between four and five guys. Um, it is much easier to lead a small group of guys than a bigger group of guys. So we, we try to put them in a position where they’re be successful in leading their group. Uh, and so we try to put our battalion leaders within four or five guys. So that would make you know, eight to 10 to 11 battalion leaders, uh, on any given year.
Geoff Rottmayer: Very cool. So, you know, part of the profit of being a leader is, you know, being, you develop some leadership, something that you’ve developed. So how does that profit go? Because somewhere along the way, when you’re going through the development as a, as a leader, you messed up, you know, you stayed with me, then do things that you regret. So how did one, how does one handle that? All that
Eric Peterson: we encourage it and it’s the same. It’s the same way as we play, right? We, we, we encourage our guys to fail, um, because that, that means they’re trying, you know, and, and, uh, we’re not going to handle things right and there’s going to be problems and, um, but, but we encourage our battalion leaders to try to solve those problems on their own. That’s, that’s why we feel like they are our leaders and we’re gonna, you know, we’re obviously gonna support them and teach them, um, different things. We have, uh, we have, uh, the Italian leaders there to say thoughts, um, text message groups that we just bounce ideas off of each other. And it’s me and the eight battalion leaders, uh, that we have this year, we just communicate with each other about ideas and thoughts and, um, concerns. Every Thursday we spend like an hour, hour and a half. It’s to be two hours. But, um, it just really, what it does is it bounces ideas off of each other. Our leaders are talking amongst each other. Um, I really encouraged him to push the limits of thoughts. I think that we can get, sometimes we can get just mindless in this thing. Um, and we just kind of go day by day and we don’t really push what we can actually do and how we can actually influence, um, our groups and the people that are around us. So, yeah, man, our guys are gonna make mistakes and I really, I want them to make mistakes. That’s the best time to learn. Um, and really like if they make mistakes, I learn off of it too. You know, in our coaches that wears off as a two and we can build a closer team. Um, I think it all boils down to TLC, man. If we can trust that we can love, we can communicate even when we fail this, especially when we fail, man, this is gonna be a good team. This is gonna be a good group of guys. Um, this is gonna be some, a group that can keep developing and evolving as just people, but, but as a team as well.
Geoff Rottmayer: Awesome. And so, so with all that you can tell that communication, that the communication part, it shooed with you. And that’s super important though. Can you talk about that a little bit? You know, did you develop that skill or this something that you kind of had, you know, or what do you do to work and improve communication skills that you have, you know, with, with auto getting, you know, the kids to open up and speak their mind, especially your battalion leader, you know, encouraging them to speak up on things even if they’re scary or go against what you think are said. Um, you know, how, how do you work on all that?
Eric Peterson: I think the, I think the one thing that I guess I have a challenge ad and we’re never going to be graded, right? We’re always going to be continued to work at being great at it. Um, but we’ve got to break this mold that players can’t approach coaches with ideas or disagreements or have a conversation. Um, because we, we have a rather large route roster. Um, those guys are seeing different things and we’re seeing if we’re not allowing them to have a voice, then are we really build this up or really get better every day? Um, I, I seriously doubt it. Um, look, I, I’ve made plenty mistakes. I’m a second year head coach. I made plenty of mistakes. Um, I’ve got no problems here and about it. Um, I, I’d rather have a discussion about it and, and get their opinions. Um, and for me, the only way that we can change, you know, uh, uh, maybe a comment into a discussion is create a for conversation. Right? And so, um, what we do, I guess simply what we do is we have, um, check-ins and checkups. So, um, the first week we could bring in all of our guys and we have check ins and we find out what they’re all about and find out, uh, what’s going on at home, what, what makes them tick. And then every four weeks we bring in every guy. It takes three days from essentially 10 to five every day. But we meet with our guys all the time. Um, and we talk to them, uh, after practice. I try and I need to be better at this, but after practice I try to reach out to three of our guys, uh, in one that, uh, maybe needs to be picked up and one that needs to be celebrated, one that, you know, you gotta do better at this type of thing. So, um, by the end of the month, I’ve either talked to every guy, um, through a text message or through personal communication or through what we call the check-ins. So, um, I think the first step is to have a platform to have the opportunity for conversation. Um, and then you can go from there and you can build from there. Um, every guy’s different. Uh, some guys are tough to break that shell and really find out who they are. And some guys are incredibly easy. Um, and so, uh, it’s just a process. It’s, uh, but I think it boils down to, you’re going to hear me say it a lot. The TLC man, it boils down to trust. If they trust you, they’re going to love you. They love you, they’re going to communicate with you. Uh, and so we try to live that every day.
Geoff Rottmayer: That’s awesome. So your monthly meeting, can you take us through what one of those would look like? You know, in terms of [inaudible] I know the conversation, so their day a back and forth, and you mentioned a little bit, but you know, what, what’s the goal of it and what are you hoping to accomplish and how did the guide respond?
Eric Peterson: Yeah, it’s, it’s, you know, you see progress, right? Progress is process. So, um, every meeting kind of evolves into the next meeting. Um, you know, a little bit of it revolves around what we’re doing on the baseball field, our evaluation, how, how development is happening, what they need personally, and then what, what we’re seeing. Uh, but a lot of it has to do with how to do a math. Like how, how is the academics going, how’s home, how’s your battalion leader, you know, if you’re a battalion leader, how’s your group, whoops, what’s going on within your group? Um, you know, it’s, it’s more of a conversation and like I said, it’s, it’s four. It really forces the coaches, um, to be a part of their life, to give a platform or an opportunity for a player to, to have, um, the chance to say what he or she wants. Right. Um, and it’s a process because the first, maybe the first check in is pretty, um, one sided. A lot of the guys, unless they’d been around, don’t really know what it’s all about. By the second or third one, they’re open. Um, th they’re telling us things that are going on. Um, you know, and, and they also know that they all have to wait and wait for a check in or a checkup to say, to come and talk to us, but they know it’s common. Um, and they know that it’s their opportunity. So, uh, you just see a level of comfortability that that kind of progress is through each check-in.
Geoff Rottmayer: Awesome. That’s cool. So let’s jump over to the baseball side. Okay. So you are big on the development side. What does the development mean to you?
Eric Peterson: Loaded question. Um, well, I’ve never really, let’s start from this. So I’ve never really coached at a place that was transfer driven.
Geoff Rottmayer: Does that make sense? Yeah. So I never, I’d never
Eric Peterson: the opportunity to not develop, right? So, so we’ve always had to develop young guys into be and players, whether that was from the Juco level, the division two level, the, you know, mid-major division one, um, power fiveK you stick believes in developing freshmen. Um, once again, probably my biggest influencer of, of my career is, is that guy, and he taught me from an early age, if, if you can develop your guys, you can be, you can sustain success, right? Um, I think that you get in trouble sometimes when you get too many transfers. Um, and that’s not enough at all at all about programs that bring in trash. I get it. Some, some programs it’s easier to do that. Right? And that’s what they have to do. And, and hats off to them. Um, for us, we bring in freshmen and we develop it. We played 270 plus innings this fall. Um, we believe in game time experience. Um, and essentially they played half the season already. Uh, so they’re, they’re really not freshmen at this point. Um, but what is, what is development man? That’s, it’s taking, um, it’s taking a guy who has some type of tubes, right? Everybody on your team has some type of tools, whatever it is, and it’s expanding on those tools and getting him to play at a high level with those tools and whatever that lovage is, it’s going to be specific to that person. Right? I think that sometimes it’s coaches get in trouble because we all expect every player to play at this certain month. Right? We’ve put this bar on everybody. Well, we’re more individualists, we think, uh, in a, in a hyper focused thought process on development. Okay. So option a or player a and player B, their ceiling, their levels are gonna be completely different. But if we can get to the top of their levels on each of those players, then we’ve got a chance to be really good as a program, as a team. Um, so we think very individualistic. Uh, and, and, um, one of those ways is we have our you programs for each position and each player specifically. Um, so we have pitchers you programs and then we have a hitters you program, uh, this design, the individual development and what their needs are. Um, and what the players do is they filled out these programs, they turn them in each week and then they start over and there’s a process and a progress to that, um, where they see charts and flow charts that, um, track their data and track their stuff that they’re doing each week, um, and then they get to look at it and then review and adjust for the next week. So, um, that basically takes us through the fall of [inaudible] programs of what guys need for us at the four year level. We got 25 year old seniors, right, that are registered seniors that, yeah, his need is completely different than a 17 year old freshman that just needs to figure out how to place a tach, you know. So, um, that’s why we try to identify as coaches, uh, really quickly, um, maybe starts in the recruiting process. Um, and, and then we develop in it and we put, uh, put it into play when they get here on campus.
Geoff Rottmayer: Nice. So when you, when you look at a guy, and this is this guy’s strike, but, but he thinks that his strength that, you know, obviously with, with your experience and being around, you’re going to probably know better. Um, no, but have you had a situation where a player said, you know, I could, I don’t know, you know, I really want to focus on this. You know, how does that conversation go there? There’s
Eric Peterson: a group of people and I mentioned it earlier, called the baseball gods and the game of baseball. We’ll let the players know what they can or can’t do. Um, we, I try to impress upon our coaches and then myself that who are we to say that somebody can’t do something? Um, the game will do it itself. If we get out of the way, most of the answers will come to the players themselves. Um, you know, we have a theory we would, we want to find out what they can do before we tell them that we can’t. Right. It’s, we try to just shut up, you know, and um, we really live or die on, on show us what you can do before we tell you you can’t. And a lot of the times we find out more information than we knew before. Um, and really we could speed up, we talk about the development process that we could speed that up just by watching them. Maybe they don’t need to do rundowns and cuts and relays and bond coverages and, um, my new things, cause they already know how to do it right. You know, I was thinking about this the other day, kind of besides goodness, but like Midwestern players sometimes they get a knock because they’re not flashy. They, they can’t, they can’t or they don’t make the plus play. But you know what, what the Midwest coaches do a really good job of is teaching the fundamentals. They teach, um, the very basic parts of the game. And if we just get out of the way, we watch those kids play, um, they, they know how to play the game and they know how to play it at an edit elementary, rudimentary like foundational love. And that’s awesome. We don’t have to teach that. And um, for us, we can go, okay, now push, push it. See we have, we have a freedom Friday practice where guys can’t make routine plays, right? And if we do, we stop the whole practice and we boom, right? Like we want them to push the boundaries of what date do we want them to push what they’re comfortable with. Um, our, our practices on Monday are called Monday, Monday, and that’s all of our routine place. That’s all of the things that we do. Uh, so to win a game on, on Monday, and what you see over a course of, you know, six to eight weeks of team practice in the fall, is that our freedom Fridays push our Monday, Monday, Mondays because we’re, we’re allowing development to happen within the practice, right? And we’re giving them freedom to make mistakes. We’re encouraging them to really push the boundaries of what they’re comfortable with because a lot of the kids we get are really, really well taught at their high schools or their club coaches or, um, the, the facilities they go to. Um, just the basic core fundamentals of playing in this game and what they need to do to be successful. And so we, for the most part, we don’t have to do that. Um, and so we just encourage it. We encourage them to push and, and to really see how far they can go. Um, especially in the fall.
Geoff Rottmayer: Very cool though. Look, can you take us through, you know, you talked on the Monday and the Friday, but can you take us through what a typical week would look like during the, during the fall?
Eric Peterson: Yup. [inaudible] so let’s, let’s start with the first week. Um, well we have battalion lift practice week, um, where the battalion leaders is. So the first year it was a little awkward, uh, because nobody knew what we were doing. Right. And so this year was awesome to watch and our offices are right at the field. So, so the coaches, I was like, don’t talk to them, don’t do anything. Set the field up. Then let the battalion leaders listen, let’s see how they do this thing. Um, so they took over for the first week and they implemented everything. So our stretch or run, um, the prayer before practice, like they did everything they implemented at all. Um, so, so here’s what a week looks like for us. It’s money Monday. Um, I guess I’ll just break down what the game looks like.
Geoff Rottmayer: Yeah, be great. We view ourselves, we view ourselves as professors,
Eric Peterson: teachers. Um, so we want to have office hours. I ask our coaches to have office hours. And so simply what that is, is that we’re there, um, we’re, we’re there from eight 30 to two 30, and if anybody needs us, they can come to our quote unquote office, which is the field. Uh, they want us to throw BP. They want us to hit ground balls. They want us to just work with them. Personally. We are there for them. It’s just like a professor in their office hours work. They’re there for our students. Um, we’re there for our athletes, right? So that’s eight, eight, 30 to two 30 open fields is two 30 to three. Uh, and then practice team meeting starts at, uh, three and then we stretch her on throw, do our dynamic, warm up, all of that stuff from three to three 30. And then team practice starts three 30. We go, uh, to about five 20. And then we go to dinner and we go left on Tuesday. We got flipped to the Wednesday, Friday morning. So that’s kind of the shell of what our practice.
Geoff Rottmayer: Nice Monday,
Eric Peterson: uh, mentioned that with what that’s all about. That’s, that’s all our routine plants. That’s everything that we need to do to win a game. Um, but at a high pace. So we, we call it a push. Um, we’re, we’re, we don’t stop. We don’t stop temper for anything. Every coach has a practice plan on them. If a guy makes a mistake, we don’t stop practice to correct. We write it down on our practice schedule. Um, and then we move on. So we just continued the development process at a high level. Uh, we want to practice extremely high pace, um, where we’re creating mistakes where we’re making guys nailed, right? We want them to do that in practice. We want them to learn what that’s like. So that’s money one day, every practice is at that tempo is that, that face. And we go, go, go, go, go. Like I said, we don’t stop then we get the Tuesday a two for Tuesday. It’s essentially our mentality is a push. Everything is a double out of the box. Um, so we’re running out w we’re going hard. Uh, we’re pushing, we want our defense to understand how to play at that temple. So when we play somebody that doesn’t play like that, the game is slow, the game is extremely slow, and so we can play faster. Um, and that’s, that’s normal to us. So honestly, it takes, it takes new guys a week to two weeks to get comfortable with how fast we go and how fast we want to play the games. And really to, for Tuesday’s all about that. I’m going first to third and taking the next bag. Um, scoring on an easy single. It’s, it’s just the typical of the game that we want to play. What happens is, so that’s, that’s an office of mindsets, but it influences our defense. So our defense now also plays at that pace and they learn that like there’s no Crow hops anymore. There’s, there’s eating a, what we call a pro step. Um, there’s a turning T like a turning throw instead of just like, um, you know, get shelter throughout. We, we, we just eliminate a lot of the do offices like this we call time-wasters. We just take those out and we simplify everything. Uh, and we just, we TLC on the field, we trust, we love and communicate. So if you came to a practice, it looks like a mess. It looks like a scramble, guys moving everywhere. Um, but if you’re there for a few days, a few weeks, it starts to look, um, like a court. I had met a mess, right? Like it looks like it’s, it’s supposed to happen that way. So that’s two for Tuesday. And then winning. Wednesday’s all about winning everything that we do in the practice plan. And it’s either we’re driving in that winning round and we’re stopping that living run. Um, we’re making a winning play. Uh, we’re making a dieting catch with doing something about winning that day. Um, so there would be competition, skills-based, that kind of thing. Um, and then mind you that we don’t stop practice average, right? So if there’s a mistake or an adjustment and correction, we write it on our practice plans. So when we get to Thursday, we have throwback Thursday. And so we cover all the adjustments, mistakes, corrections that we made Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday on Thursday. So now we’re not stopping practice for the entire week. We slow it down just a little bit on Thursday and make our corrections with each individual guy. Does that, does that make sense? So that’s, that’s our Thursday. And then so prep practice can, they can flap socks, right? They can just long and they can get monotonous. And so we try to eliminate a lot of that. Um, and, and really during the course of the fall, it could be, it could become a long fall. And we want, we want our guys that at high energy don’t go crazy every day practice. We want them blind around the park. Well, how are you going to motivate 18 year old kid to do that every day? For us it’s about giving back and giving them something to look forward to. The best way to do that for us, it’s at three Friday and freedom Friday, our guys can wear whatever they want. Um, they don’t have to work team issued year, they can tell. I saw a full football uniform, I saw it, Canadian tuxedo. Um, and these were George. So he took some lumps that day. But it’s, it’s their day. They, they get to decide what we’re doing at practice, how we’re doing it. Um, what kind of things we’re going to do, um, during that practice time. They look forward to it. Um, and really when you can get a group of guys to look forward to a Friday practice, eat, you know, do, you’re gonna probably have a chance to have a productive week, uh, Monday through Thursday because we can ask more of them. Um, the only rule that we have on Friday, and I mentioned this, is that we can’t make routine place. If you get a Sunday hop at third base and you just flip it over to the first, then we stopped practice, right? And we’ve turned the music off. That’s the other thing. Music blaring music go and they play whatever they want. This gets a little crazy at times, but um, but we stopped practice and the whole team boobs to that guy. Right? And so it, the first time it happens, everybody starts laughing and it’s a good time. But the point of it is that we want our guys to push, we want our guys to break the barriers of what they feel comfortable doing, um, and, and really it makes them better. Um, it really expands what their top three zone is and, um, and uh, wraps up a good week. And so, so that’s what our reach look like. Um, that’s kind of the shell of what we do in the fall.
Geoff Rottmayer: That’s awesome. You know, I want to talk a little bit about Thursday, the day where you addressed everything. So there, the mistake that happens on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and you addressed it on Thursday. And I love that. So can you take us through what a Thursday would look like? You know, are you taking, you know, a guide booting a ball or a Mitch communication on fly ball? I mean that the type of stuff you’re taking into consideration or you know, what would be an example? What, what would, what would Thursday look like?
Eric Peterson: Yeah, yeah. So, um, if it’s more individual skill, space issue, then we work with that player individually. Right? But if it’s more of a team based, um, maybe our outfielders aren’t getting great rates, then we’ll, we’ll put that into the practice plan of, alright, we’re gonna, we’re gonna set up, um, our, our, our machine to do outfield breeds, right? And so we’ll just spend, our student manager was spend his 20, 25 minutes just shooting these guys, fly ball rates. Right. And identify, okay, we got to, we’re not getting to this ball in 4.7 seconds. Right. Which is a normal time that we want to get the ball in. So we will just focus on that. That’s in that hyper skill set within, in the individual position. So for infielders, we play deep. That’s a little bit different. We play in a pool shift. Um, so a lot of the guys got to get comfortable with that and where they’re going, um, how to route their ball and what lanes they need to be in, what seeds they need to give to. So if we’re not given the right feed from the right angles and, and if we’re not in the 56 hole or exactly where we want to be, maybe shifted from the bag freedom bag, like, um, our third basements are responsible for a lot. Um, they basically direct the left side of our infield. And when we played the, the, the pool shift for our left-hander, um, we put our third basement on an Island over there. So, um, they’re responsible for covering a lot. So those are the types of things that if we made the mistake on or we want, like we want another guy to place third, right? We have on Fridays, we also let our guys play different positions and we actually encourage it and we demand it. Um, so we can be versed in a lot of different things. So on Thursdays we just go back and we try to cover those nuances. So like if our catchers aren’t thrown into the right spots, it needs, need development work. Right. Um, a lot of the times what we’ll do is our assistant is attaching guy have an infield guy and I have a pitching guy. Um, and so they’ll take their small groups and they’ll go and work individually. So sometimes on the, there may not be anything going on, but we have individual work, um, throughout the practice on a Thursday because, um, maybe we’re not reading our four hop drill well our bucket drill or, um, you know, our, our, our catchers need to block and recover. Um, or you know, they essentially cover all of our bumps. Um, so if we’re working on the short game, they’re covering the bonds, they’re, they’re executing place doing that. Um, it can be a wide variety of things. It could be something that you’ve never seen before. Like I said, we play, we played 270 plus. Anyway, there were things I’ve never seen before. Um, and I’m in my 14th year of coaching the games crazy. You know, so we can address those things. Um, you know, on Thursday and we don’t have to stop practice and we don’t have to stop screaming.
Geoff Rottmayer: Right. Yeah, no, that, that’s awesome. You know, I love it because a lot of time gets wasted when you can do it. The dress things before or after, or in your case on Thursday, which I love. Yeah.
Eric Peterson: Well, you know, it’s the shortstop makes a mistake. It’s not the right field. They’re small. Right, right. You know, and so you talk about, Oh goodness, if we’re taking time away from somebody that has nothing to do with whatever you’re talking about, then we’re taking time away from the development.
Geoff Rottmayer: Yeah. You had mentioned some of the metric you guys are focused on. What are the, the, the other metric that you guys are looking at?
Eric Peterson: Dallas, how many, how many doubles can we, can we get, and we have a, we have a whiteboard. Did we take her with us all, all over the place to any game. Um, do we play and it’s called the Medina board. Um, and it’s, it’s, there’s like eight to 10 categories on it, but one of the staple categories is a hustle double. And that’s anytime that we can create just a normal single, a double, um, what we call a push off. Um, and you know, that sometimes we’re going to get thrown out and sometimes w w we’re going to do things that look stupid, but more often than not, we’re going to do things that win games and we’re going to push and we’re going to create havoc. And, um, ultimately we’re going to create mistakes, um, by being aggressive and it’s all wrapped around, um, the double, it’s all wrapped around too. So that’s, it’s so important. We named a day after, right? For two, for two, for Tuesdays. Um, if we’re just thinking singles or home runs, we’re in trouble. We can’t steal first and we gotta get to second. Uh, we got to figure out how to get the third piece on just a routine play, uh, and then easy scoring from second. Right? So, um, that’s gotta be key number one. Um, on the deepest society, we have to stop it right? And singles won’t hurt us. We play the full shift to basically defend the Delbert. Um, and our outfield plays in the gaps on the opposite gaps. And, um, just the numbers tell you that most of the time it’s, it’s oppo gap and then pull aside like a pull side swing, right? So, um, our infielders will ship poolside and our outdoors or some be an APO gas. Um, we, we put the fence a little bit different in the outfield. Um, usually you think that it’ll like your, your center fielder is your director. Um, for us, we think more of our right fielders. Our director, um, he stays pretty much plucked, uh, and then everybody at just off hand. Um, the reason for that is because the majority of hitters that we see are right hand. Um, and so the, the Apple flare gap, we set with the right field area basically in it. Um, and then, uh, let everybody adjust off the hit. And so it all wraps around to man, it all wraps around the double. Kim, can we hit them and can we defend?
Geoff Rottmayer: Yeah. Wow. [inaudible] looking down at the, at the clock and we’re already approaching the hour Mark, so I got a lot more, I’d love to get into, um, man, I would love to ask you, but I know you’d be the guy, I got some stuff going on, you know, if my daughter school. But, uh, let’s kind of wrap up with a few things and, and hopefully I can get you back on a time, but let’s just kind of wrap up with, uh, whether some of the best resources that helped you develop that. The coaching of the person.
Eric Peterson: Yeah. Well, I’d be remissed if I didn’t talk about my family. And, uh, my wife is incredibly, uh, supportive of what, what I do and, um, you know, without her, I, that’d be absolutely nothing. So, um, and then, and then, you know, my extended family, my uncles, everybody’s been involved in athletics in my family. And so I knew that that was of course. So, um, they had been huge, hugely influential on me. Um, obviously coach price, I can’t thank him enough. If it’s somebody that I lean on constantly, um, and I’m going to leave people out and they can call me out on Twitter or whatever, and that’s fine. But, uh, I, I like Twitter. I probably on it too much a book, man. I’ve, I’ve learned a lot. Um, just from watching, just just from talking and listening to, to other coaches and seeing what they’re doing.
Eric Peterson: Um, I, I heard somebody say the other day that, uh, I think a lot of young coaches get in trouble, um, or have a hard time developing in this game because they’re, they’re always saying, all right, that’s not what this is. I’m not going to do, instead of what I’m going to do, rather I, these are the things that I like and I’m going to implement this and they’re really focused on, I don’t like that. I’m not going to do this. You know, I think that, I think that, um, Twitter to get into that game a little bit too much and I try to stay away from that, but, um, there’s so many resources out there. There’s so many good podcasts. Um, you know, I, I think that, um, I’m a huge supporter of the ABC CA, uh, what Jeremy, she, her did with his podcasts and they just saw that they’re coming back out.
Eric Peterson: Um, you know, I, there’s so many things out there. If you just give yourself an opportunity to listen and watch, um, for me, probably shut up a little bit more. Um, I, I think that we can get better as coaches. Um, but here’s what I think it boils down to. I think the players that taught me more, um, in my career than anybody, uh, those guys have provided me with an opportunity to one, be a coach. Um, but learn from them, uh, and, and communicate with them and, you know, it boils back down to GLC it to trusted a love and communicate. If we could do those two things at a high level, we could do some great things.
Geoff Rottmayer: Very cool. So, so you were me and you were interviewing yourself. What would you have asked yourself that I didn’t ask?
Eric Peterson: Oh, uh, Pat, I dunno, I probably have to answer that on if we do this podcast again. Um, you know, we don’t, we don’t talk, uh, as a team after Gates, right. We give ourselves a 24 hour rule and um, this is, this is probably one of those where I need a 24 hour rule just to think about it. Um, kind of digest it and go from there. Um, but I don’t know, man. I think you do a great job. I think, um, the questions were awesome. I just enjoyed the, the entire experience.
Geoff Rottmayer: Well, coach, I really appreciate your time and again, I would love to have you on again. You know, I felt like we kind of just got started, but I really do appreciate your time and looking forward to doing it again.
Eric Peterson: Okay, thanks. I thank you very much. Take care.