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Ep. 67: Infield Talks With New York Yankees Minor League Infield Coach Ryan Hunt | A Baseball Podcast

Geoff Rottmayer March 16, 2020 4


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Infield Talks with New York Yankees Minor League Infield Coach Ryan Hunt

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development

Guest Bio:

Ryan Hunt, Minor League Infield Coach for New York Yankees

Summary:

On this episode, Host Geoff Rottmayer sits down with Ryan Hunt, Minor League Infield Coach for the New York Yankees

Show Notes: In this conversation, Ryan talks about:

  • His journey as a coach.
  • The impact Andrew Wright had on him.
  • The mental side of the fielding.
  • Technique of fielding.
  • Fielding on the run.
  • Mindset required of an infielder.
  • Difference between middle infielders and corner infielders.
  • and much more.

Website: www.baseballawakening.com

Facebook: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Twitter: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Instagram: The Baseball Awakening Podcast

Email Address: geoff@baseballawakening.com

Geoffrey Rottmayer
On today’s show we have on Ryan hunt minorly infield code for the New York Yankees. And we’re talking to filming.

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, Jeff rottenmeier.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, I am Geoff Rottmayer and today, we’re going to talk from building with Ryan hunt minor league infield coach for the New York Yankees, Brian, good morning. How are you, sir?

Ryan Hunt
Good. Jeff. How are you? Thanks for having me on.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Oh, yeah, no, I mean, thanks for coming on, man. You know, we really appreciate your time. You know, I know you are gearing up and getting ready to head down spring training. So, you know, we appreciate you coming on and talk a little bit of fielding, but you know what, let’s count Get to know you a little bit. Talk a little bit about your journey and coaching after you finish up your playing career that university of Charleston, and how you got passionate on the fielding side of things.

Ryan Hunt
Sure. So, growing up, I just always enjoyed being around the game, had the option to go to a nominal High School, play baseball there and then had the opportunity to play in college never really turned out to be much as a very solid player whatsoever, but join a program and had the opportunity to be part of a program that did some phenomenal things at the University of Charleston under Andrew right. And that kind of experience propelled me towards wanting to dive into the coaching side of things. I kind of wanted to see where I went wrong and my my journey as a player, how I could improve and how I could have performed better and hoping now that it takes some of those things into what I learned to translate the players now. So that’s kind of a short synopsis. But just hoping to have the opportunity to impact players on a daily basis. That’s kind of what gets me out of bed every morning.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. Can you talk a little bit about Mr. Andrew right? You know, I’ve heard a lot about him. And he seemed like a really sharp guy and everyone better being around him. So can you talk a little bit about him and the impact that he has had? I know that he down there with you guys and the Yankees organization, but can you talk a little bit about him and how the impact he’s had?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, it’s, it’s hard to put into words because the guy’s got so much for me, not only the baseball side, but from a human growth perspective. The obviously the planner and for three years was kind of a moment that I’ll forever treasure and the best way to describe how much that guy means to be a sudden had the most playing time but there’s not a day in my life, right don’t cherish the opportunity and the ability to play under and I’m thankful for kind of the impact that he’s made. And then he gave me a chance to talk and in the coaching ranks in the graduate system, and just the growth and development, developing myself with the other staff members and players experienced under him in a short amount of time is, is truly remarkable. I owe him more than he knows for, for everything that he’s done. For me. I think the the baseball side is certainly a huge part of what I’ve picked up and learn from him, but it’s just the way that he treats people. And he’s the the definition of a multiplier in every perspective, intellectually. And just what he brings forth out of people, and his ability to draw talent out of an individual is truly remarkable. So just a phenomenal guy, and he’s certainly reaping the benefits of the work that he’s put in the impact that he’s made on players and coaches alike. Now with the Yankees.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
That’s great man, you know, and now you’re with the Yankees organization and you’re surrounded with, you know, great people and great coaches, you know, so, so a lot of access just being around them, you know, what are some of the key things that you felt like you’ve learned from me to guide on on the coaching side of things?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, I think certainly with the Yankees, we’re we’re pretty blessed with people that we have in the door. And I think if you kind of look at a system and organization, there’s obviously the people side of the equation. And there’s also the process side of the equation as well. And I think right now, it’s, it’s pretty outstanding to have a ton of high quality individuals on the people side. And those are obviously the drivers of the organization. For me personally, some of the things that I’ve picked up that have helped me over the past two years, I would say, it’s kind of on the skill development side of just learning how players learn and then try to teach in a way that fits them. Whether the player learns, and obviously with the way that we design practice, with the way that we talk to players and cue them, and just approach their overall development, like we are more in a business of personal development, which is going to lead to player development down the road. But I think the biggest thing that I neglected early on in my coaching career was I was specifically concerned with developing a player and not so not as much though, kind of the person so the relationships, and the communication side has been a huge piece for me as well that I’ve picked upduring my short time with the Yankees so far.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Awesome, man, you know, you know, I think that’s something that we all learn over the years that the more the longer we code, the more we get into the understanding of developing the person and that and having that relationship. So that’s awesome to hear. So So I heard you say that you don’t have to think that you’ve learned was you learn how people learn. So can you elaborate On that more What have you learned in turn the understanding how people learn?

Unknown Speaker
Sure, I think number one with the way that we’re looking at design practice, as we want our practice to kind of be engaging. And I think first off, like for a practice to be engaging in a way that it’s going to be susceptible to players learning, it has to be effective. And what’s obviously an effective practice effective practices, when the skills that you’re working on in that training environment carry over to the game number one like for, for that to happen, like a player has to have some sort of safety and an individual manner, like he has to feel safe. And then environment, he has to feel like the coach is supporting them. The support staff is there that’s trying to do everything in their power to make that player better. So if we can approach it from a safety perspective like that, we can kind of dive into the individuality of it and we’re going to learn more or less how the learner learns. So, you know, what does he What does he cue on? What type of learner is he is the audio, visual, that kind of perspective and then also approaching like where he’s at, in his playing career, we have to be able to meet the player, where he’s at or where she is at, and kind of understand their journey a little bit on a deeper level. And once that you can kind of dive into, into some motivation pieces and know how you can get the most out of that player from a mentality and from a overall individual basis, that after that, kind of on the other side of the equation for a practice to be, especially as well, obviously, we’re looking for that skill transfer, the things we’re doing in practice to show up in a game. The biggest thing with that is just making your practices representative as possible and close to the game as possible. You’re going to look at just trying to have context, the relevance and some sort of consequence in that printing training environment, and then kind of diving into a How can we add some variability with that, obviously, like, we’re working to kind of create stable and adaptable athletes and with that, your trading environment has to promote those two characteristics. Like kind of dives into the learning side as well, with different, you know, different topics such as interleaving, and spacing and those sort of ideas that kind of help promote a player’s ability to retain what we do in practice, and also be able to retrieve that when they’re playing, hopefully, in the Bronx one day, and pretty challenging environment. So that’s kind of an overview of trying to connect the learner with the training environment and get the most out of that, that setting.

Unknown Speaker
Nice. You know, I love that you mentioned that we must understand where the learner, you know, the player, you know, learn where they’re at, you know, I mean, you gotta learn where they’re at. You got to understand who they are, where they’re coming from. So it’s so true. So let me ask you about the the mental side of things. The being aware part the the being present part, can you kind of share your thoughts on that side of things for private development?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, no doubt. And obviously, a lot of people want to talk about the mental side of the game being the sixth tool, which very much, it probably is, I think the biggest thing is, again, to just go and be able to meet the player where they’re at. And especially in the professional baseball side of things. There’s so many different emotions and situations and contexts to a player that the only really way and the only true way to get the most out of them mentally is to know where they’re at, on a person to person basis, and that kind of starts with the communication and relationships. I think, if you can’t have that relationship with a player, then you’re never really going to be able to impact them mentally from their standpoint as well and kind of this understanding a blade into a player that has There’s so many factors that are influencing what your mind sees that it’s just a revolving door of emotion at this point that we have to be able to understand on the coaching side of things. And also understanding like, Hey, we can dive into the mental training side within our practice environment, trying to make it try to, again, make athletes as stable and as adaptable as possible that hey, we’re going to require a player to perform kind of on autopilot and a game like we have to be able to practice and challenge their ability in a training environment to promote them and grow their ability to learn and I think I was kind of listening to Barry Larkin this morning. His you know, infielders really get into hitters have to be quick on their feet and also quick in their brain. That’s kind of a good way to resemble what we’re looking at from a training environment perspective is Hey, let me challenge not only the athlete’s ability but also their mental capability as well.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, but Barry Larkin man he sharp You know, when he when He talked people listen.

Ryan Hunt
Yeah. So let’s,

Geoffrey Rottmayer
let’s get into the fielding side, you know, where you are placing most of your focus these days, you know, with the buildings, what are some things that are standing out to you

Ryan Hunt
as to what builders are kind of lacking? that’s a that’s a loaded question. The point that kind of jumps to my mind, the top of my head is, I think, especially within an American context, from a young age, the way that we coach and the way that we develop talent, very much shows conducive to building robots. And I think what that leads to is down the road, we’re going to ask players to perform a very dynamic system and a very complex environment and a game where we’re fielder’s like they’re under a time constraint, because they have to do with the ball and the speed of a runner but they also have to do With spatial constraint is, Hey, this is how far I can reach or this is what my arm can do for me. And it’s difficult with the way that we’re developing players now, because we’re instructing them in a manner that more or less builds robots, with the way that we cue them with the way that we design our practices. And the toughest thing now is to say, hey, like there’s so many different things that could change on one player’s backhand that one form of a backhand is not going to fulfill every ball that’s going to be hit to shortstops backhand side. So just being able to try to create and train the adaptability and stability, different plays on a backhand side or any play for that matter, is kind of crucial. So I think the the missing link is just being able to kind of turn players into kind of a jack of all trades. Right now we’re just kind of building screwdrivers instead of kind of sculpting a tool that can fit multiple different situations and environments.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Makes sense? So, so what? What do you think? I mean, where’s the line with making sure that we are mastering the fundamentals? And those fundamental transferring into robotic movements or what, what the balance with the fundamental word and then dynamic work?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, I think you bring up a great point the fundamentals are obviously they’re going to be there, and they’re never going to leave. was the point that kind of goes back to knowing what are the athletes that and being able to sculpt the training environment that’s relative to their age and their also their skill set. So for instance, five a player that’s trying to avoid his backhand at all costs or is uncomfortable with it, then we’re going to approach that player a little bit differently that we’re going to approach you know, Trey Turner, who might, whose favorite play might be a backhand. So knowing kind of where the players at what their skill set and also their comfortability within that task is very important as well. I think from there, you can kind of layer on the fundamentals and build up to game speed a little bit differently depending on that individual. So knowing where they’re at, for players very young and his current skill and say, hey, let’s take a backhand. And yeah, we’re gonna chunk that skill down a little bit. And then build it up. Moving from kind of a variable environment where we’re saying, hey, these are, these are different types of backhands with maybe a roll ball, and we’ll progress to you know, fungo or a hack attack ground ball something that’s more game like, but yeah, again, just just know are the players that from their age and skill set standpoint is pretty huge, I think. Yeah,

Geoffrey Rottmayer
yeah. Yeah. So let’s, let’s get into the the fundamental side of a building, starting with the B work, what In your opinion, what what’s misunderstood or what what an absolute that you believe when it comes to the Work

Ryan Hunt
on absolutely the footwork, I would say that primarily just being able to get to the spot of the ball and the intersection point of the ball as quickly as efficiently as possible in a way that directs your momentum to the target and kind of the absolute is being Hey, meet the ball, where do you need to meet the ball in order to deliver it to your intended target? And I think there’s so many different ways that the players go about it. That kind of the absolute is just being on time with your footwork, Perry hills dig on that I know he was just recently guest on your show as well. But being on time with your footwork as it relates to that individual i think is is the key and obviously kind of your feet, your feet and your eyes are the driver of a dream machine and being able to use those two together are certainly going to increase your chances of success.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Love it so so when you say on time for for the people that are listening, can you kind of paint a picture picture of what? What do you mean by being on time with the beat, like what have been on time with the P word mean?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, I think if you are you’re kind of approaching, you’re at a red light. And I think like you’re next to a car, there’s a car, stop at a red light, and then you’re you’re more or less, approaching that red light slowly, slowly, slowly, and then the light turns green. And I think now the idea behind that is to say, hey, like, we need to be able to kind of controller momentum right at the catch and then be able to get back up to speed as quickly as possible. The best way to do that isn’t to be stationary on time, such as the car that stopped at a red light, let’s be able to break your feet down to control your momentum through the catch and then again, pick your speed up and deliver the ball to the target. So it’s not about necessarily stopping to be on time, but it is controlling your momentum. In order to start back up again, no different than kind of you think about on the hitting side of things, the player if you said, Hey, get your foot down early. For some people, yes, that might work. But for others, it might completely halt their momentum so that they have to start again and kind of have a second move to the pattern. Whereas we’re looking at being on time with the catch as being a smooth and efficient transition from slowing myself down to then picking myself up again.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Great, great picture and explanation. And a lot of players at the younger level, are not so good at this. And you know, as guides advance in their career, and they get to that next level, they start to be more it starts to be more of an understanding of what it means to be in control, pain and control.

Ryan Hunt
No doubt and I think it’s like, the whole ability to catch the ball is obviously primarily number one. Now Andrew, kind of instilled this at University of Charleston, just defensive society. catching the ball and delivering it accurately to your target. So your feet are going to be a huge component of that equation because it sets up how well your hands can work. And then also on the throwing side of things, being able to deliver the ball accurately to your intended target.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I love it. So let’s talk about the the whole, but downer but you know, what have you found and what should the conversation be in terms of but down but but but

Ryan Hunt
I think it starts with just understanding that we’re trying to create and promote athletic and creative technique like every ball that we feel, there’s going to be different. There’s going to be different pace, different environments that we’re trying to complete that task in and just understanding that they like one simple movement pattern to feel this ball might be a little bit different. So within the way that you’re teaching a player just try to avoid certain explicit cues and saying, Hey, get your blood down. But it could be, hey, let me put a hula hoop between my players feet and see what kind of field position we get at, where we’re just trying to drive their attention, outwards and out of their body a little bit to kind of get their body in an environment that’s more conducive to them as an individual, you might have players that different flexibility, different body types, different length of their legs. And it’s a little bit harder to kind of direct that and to know, as a coach, what your player needs. So being able to facilitate an environment where a player can kind of figure that out out on his own is pretty huge. So whether that be putting a hula hoop between their base and say, Hey, this is kind of the position we’re going to get at, or just driving their attention by saying, Hey, I’m going to put a ball on your back and try to balance it with a flat back maybe that’s that’s part of the equation as well, but more or less just understanding that we’re trying to promote individuality and knowing what a player needs within the way that we’re gonna cue that. Nice.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
So So let me ask what’s the biggest difference between the corner infielders, and the middle infielders.

Ryan Hunt
I think first it’s going to start with, obviously, the proximity to the batter. So the quarter as builders are going to have different reaction time demand, are also going to have different batted ball, that ball profile demands as well. In the middle guys are going to be tested a little bit more laterally, side to side, but on the corners, there’s going to be more tested, moving forward and backwards. So taking that information, kind of translating it into how we practice and how we hit fungos is pretty key as well. Understanding that guys in the corners, we’re going to be tested more north and south. And guys in the middle are going to be tested more Eastern West. And also understanding that hey, like, the balls gonna come off the bat differently to those positions. As well, you’re gonna have a steeper launch angle for the corners and a flatter launch angle at the middle as well most of the time. And then again, some of the information will tell us that majority of the balls hit to a pull side, pull side a righty are going to be hooked and they’re going to be hit to shortstop, a third baseman, the majority the balls on the right side of the infield from a lefty, we’re going to be hooked as well. So understanding there’s different spin. There’s different basketball profiles involved with it as well. There’s also different reaction times and anticipatory skills that the positions require.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Now, I love that you brought that up. So so so then the question becomes, you know, how do we, how do we replicate the spin in the fungo pack attacking you know, you know, what the technique using for the finger work?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, I think it definitely starts with doing the best you can. I mean, if you’re inside, you’re most likely going to be on a harder surface. So it’s probably going to be easier to get a topspin on a ball. If you’re outside, you know, use a harder surface. If you’re dirt hard, then hit off of the hidden position where the first bounce can be off of dirt, because you’re more likely going to get toss it off of that. First out. If you are rolling growl balls to players that hey, maybe I’m going to, I’m going to throw overhand ground balls with a curveball to players because now they’re going to get a curveball spin off of the ground, which will be more or less a topspin ground ball for that. So just being creative with the way that you’re trying to use, the environment that you have. And just knowing that kind of our practice design needs to shape the game as much as possible in the characteristics that we’re going to be asking players to perform it.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. Let’s talk about the data that’s out there. How can data help or impact What do you guys are doing from a building standpoint?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, I think there’s, there’s a ton of information out there that you can try to even dive into, I would say a really good place to start is just understanding how our footwork correlates with our throws. Somebody found, I was looking at the versatile so I was there with our guys that we had a couple in particular, who whenever they resorted to kind of a two step forward pattern where it’s just Hey, I’m gonna catch the ball and get rid of it as quick as possible. They lost a lot of accuracy in the throws. But there are some guys that were more accurate when they were catching, get rid of it, rather than take their time has a lengthier footwork pattern to the target. So understanding that hey, how I catch you get rid of the ball is going to be a strong indicator of my accuracy is a really good place to start because then you can dictate what players are doing in practice with the The task, you’re asking them to complete by a shortstop, that’s he’s really good catch, you get rid of the ball, but he’s having trouble kind of timing out his arms and his feet. When he has time to make the play, then we’ll kind of design a task that’s going to force them to kind of get uncomfortable in that setting, whatever that might be. So understanding how footwork impacts the throws was pretty important. I think. Another thing is one handed versus two handed success. Obviously, you mentioned earlier, kind of the difference between the corners and the middle infield and I think the corners as well or is predominantly a one handed position. We’re in the middle. We’re going to ask us to be more two hands oriented. But you know, like we said earlier, got to be able to do both. But I think understanding success rates and how guys feel from a comfortability standpoint with one or two hands is also important as well. Hmm.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
So you mentioned the two step foot pattern You know, for the people that are listening, can you kind of paint a picture of what this two step pattern would look like? And then Are there other foot patterns?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, there’s play. So if you think about if you’re in a position, you’re breaking down, you just caught the ball. Sheesh, that footwork pattern is I’m going to take my right foot, and whether I’m going to replace or in five step, I’m going to take one, one step with my right foot and then one step of my left foot towards my target, and then make a throw, which is essentially like the picture you’re more or less making kind of one shuffle what he throw was plenty of others but we’re patterns as well. There’s there’s no step to think about a backhand in the hole where you just stick the catch and then you deliver throw. There’s plenty of others to four step on the run several different but the biggest thing is being able to, to kind of promote and creativity and athleticism within this footwork patterns for each player and not hindering them to rely on Mostly I want

Geoffrey Rottmayer
nice. So So you mentioned building on the move. What What is the thought process there and what what needs to be happening happening whenever we’re building on the move?

Ryan Hunt
I think it depends, I think, in a lot of ways like that’s, that’s a good problem to have if your players in a default aggressive mode, that’s much better than being passive, we would much rather slow guys down later on then kind of forcing them to speed up as they mature and developing their Playing career. So there’s nothing wrong with being incredibly aggressive with the way that we’re gonna approach fielding ground balls. But it’s understanding that kind of the momentum piece of that as well like, what At what point do we need to break down at what point are we being too reckless and too, they can to begin advancement on the ground ball, the key point as well, but Being able to play through the ball is a very, very important skill and I think is a separator play for moving forward. And for young coaches particularly like being able to reward players for doing that and being able to kind of embrace their desire to play aggressively is certainly very beneficial. And I think something that I felt like I was maybe trained out of a little bit earlier on in my career that I could have been better at, in my collegiate playing days.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Okay, um, the the clarification or the language of playing through the ball what what does that mean?

Ryan Hunt
I think you think about it, generally, it’s just playing on the road, being able to feel the ball without your feet set, and then being able to deliver a throw accurately on the rocks you’re thinking about, you watch Patrick mahomes or Marge actually and get out of the pocket and then they deliver throw down the field. That’s a perfect example of being able to play on the run. Those guys don’t need to drop Back in the pocket to make an accurate throw, they can escape and scramble and still be able to find a receiver down the field. So taking that and saying hey, like my shortstop, there’s a ground ball in the middle, the other play on the run, whatever that might be, but promoting kind of the athleticism and the creativity that you’re looking for that are letting guys just be able to react and play instinctively.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Okay, cool. Cool. So let’s, let’s talk eyes. What are the fielders looking at? And when do we get to the hitting zone?

Ryan Hunt
That’s that’s a loaded question as well. I’d say primarily understanding one that the eyes are our most important organs for being able to play a sport. We were driven by our vision and using and controlling our intention or attention and then being able to use that to direct our attention with our movements. It’s pretty huge. And knowing that our brains for cognitive processing is a big piece of that. So directing attention, wherever you want to direct it as a coach into the hitting zone, as far as the optimal time is what’s going to promote and be able to instill your players react quicker and more intentionally and more precisely to the ball. So without giving away too much information related to that, I think, knowing that our eyes start our process of being able to react anticipate movement, I mean, promote quality decision making is really important. So he takes out on the on the hitting side of things as well. Like, if our vision isn’t very good for our pitch recognition, our pitch tracking isn’t very good. It’s gonna be really hard for our movements, and our mechanics as a hitter to more or less get on top of the pitch. And that’s Very similar with the way that we direct our vision in our eyes, the hitting, or the feeling side of things as well, because our vision isn’t accurate, and is not intentional with where we’re looking at the ball. Now we’re going to struggle.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. What about positioning? You know, what, what kind of information should we be taken in as far as reading hitters and the data? You know, well, how do we position guys?

Ryan Hunt
that’s a that’s a big question as well. I think it starts with kind of developing the anticipation and the anticipatory shields that players need at a younger level. So we go back to the vision, are we directing our eyes at the appropriate point in time, because that’s going to be a big piece and to being able to read a player swaying, take the pitch location with all the other information, a process that effectively and then being able to translate that into our anticipation. So That’s, that’s the primary piece that I think we should really start at at, you know, youth levels and high school and college before we, we get into shifts and anything like that is being able to anticipate and teach a player to read swings, to be able to read ball flight, and read these cues that exist in their environment to the best of their ability. After that, then we can take that ball information and swing data and then more or less look at how we’re going to shift players to collect as many hours as possible. We’re obviously gonna run prevention business. And, you know, I think if you’re going to try to win games and at a high level, like being able to collect as many outs as possible, that’s what’s going to get you there. But I don’t think that comes before teaching anticipation. Being able to understand and let athletes kind of dive in on that matter first.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, what about our mind that builder. You know, let’s start with with the cornering builders. You know they’re different mindsets. So what what should my mindset be? I’m sitting there and you know I’m waiting for 100 mile an hour ball come right at me

Ryan Hunt
fearless and aggressive. But understanding that the primary pull that you have as a core builder is unplugged the ball get by you, and it’s not about a Time Square this ball to feel that it’s, can I try to get a decent hop and can I try to get my eyes in a way in a position that I’m going to be able to see the ball effectively into my glove. That again kind of starts to the anticipation reaction side of things, but like it’s tasting system, fearless and aggressive attitudes and mindsets to be able to play well at those positions. To be able to kind of test yourself and say, Hey, if I need to go forward, I need to go forwards but football smoke that As well, like, there might be times where there’s drop steps involved too. But going back to wanting the ball hit at you, and being a giant fan of just trying to collect as many outs as possible, more or less kind of that vacuum mentality.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. What about the middle? What about middle infield

Ryan Hunt
along the same lines to I think, you know, over the course of a long season, it’s you could be an over 20 swap and the plate girlfriend might have just broken up with you and you might not have had a ball hit to you in the last 14 innings. But it’s pretty important to stay locked in every pitch. So we talked about kind of having a reset in the mental reset in the box. If you take a bad, bad swinging curveball in the dirt. How can you have that sort of reset in the field as well? Obviously, you’re gonna have fewer, fewer opportunities to to make plays. But when you are asked to make a play like it’s, it’s going to be incredibly important. So being able to reset your mind and Lock in is important as well.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right? So so for the professional guy, and even the college guy, you know, there are a lot of things that go into their routine, you know, to get ready to play every day. So, you know, on this show we hear a lot of example that the pitching in the hitting and the vision type of routine but haven’t really heard of a fielding one. So what what the field name routine and I understand that, you know, everybody different in terms of what their what they need or what they’re trying to do, but what would be like a generic building routine.

Ryan Hunt
Alright, got it kind of starts with the fork in the hand. So potentially trying to isolate each of those with different drills, whether that’s short hops or balls rolling the ground, or maybe you’re playing wall ball with yourself, but being able to isolate how your hands work and catching different types of hops. It’s probably the most important piece and then tying in your footwork with that as well. Well, your feet drive your hands and being able to read the last 20 feet of ball flight, whether maybe your dad’s rolling your ground ball in the backyard or, again, you’re playing wall ball, but just isolating your feet and your hands in a way that just builds comfortability with different types of balls, different types of catches, and different types of footwork patterns, for you to be able to make a throw to first day. I think, as much as you know, kind of the biggest topic recently is how many hours we need to really practice in order for expertise to be developed. And just understanding that, let’s rely and more so on being able to kind of test ourselves and make practice a little bit more difficult. So that later on we can practice and play more comfortably. So once you once you build the ability to be really good with your hands and your feet, then hey, let’s ramp up the intensity a little bit, make it a little bit more challenging within our routine. So we can go out And kind of test ourselves a little bit more. But after isolating your hands and your feet, then it’s more or less trying to get as many balls off the bat as possible. Whether that’s in VP or office, Longo or machine, whatever that might be, but taking as many ground balls as possible and developing skills and an environment that’s as close to the game, I think is is where you start. That’s gonna, that starts at early age and it doesn’t stop. Yeah, in my opinion.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. Let’s, let’s say you got a guy and he’s,he makes all the plays. But the feet are the hands on work. They don’t work, ideally. But anybody making all the plays? What What do you do with a guy like that? Do you say, you know, he’d make him play or do we say okay, maybe that’s something maybe at the next level, that may not that may not work. So what’s that conversation like?

Ryan Hunt
Sure. I think it starts with can have a conversation with the player as well. And a lot of times, it’s really difficult to have that conversation when players are experiencing success. So then I think it goes back to saying, hey, like, what is your current situation look like compared to what’s happening at the level that you want to play at, ultimately, for instance, a guy in rookie ball might be doing one thing, but he’s not gonna be able to do that playing in the Bronx one day. So yes, you might be having success, but it’s helping the player realize that there’s another level that this is taking it to, he’s more talented, and he’s giving himself credit for an understanding that if we want to perform in that ultimate environment, then we’re going to do the skills to be able to do that. So maybe that’s sacrificing a little bit of short term gain for some long term, long term growth. But hey, like, we just need to be able to develop this because one day like this is where you go I want to want to play want to live. These are the skills that you’re going to need. So starts starting the conversation and just helping a player realize that there’s more or less than the tank.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, and what are you seeing you know, guys come in, you know, what, what do you see in that they are or what what not gonna transfer they’re gonna be the feet in the hands. What do you what are you seeing?

Ryan Hunt
I think it I think it honestly has to relate to an internal clock. And I think every level that players progress from now maybe you’re 13 you team up until high school to college, to the professional ranks like every level you progress. The pace of play gets even quicker and your internal clock needs to be to be reset to fit the level that you’re playing at. So understanding how your feet and your hands shape into molding your internal clock is really big. A lot of guys That I experienced last year where I was at with, with players understanding that or not understanding, I should say that they had more time than they realized. And yes, the pace of play, runners get faster, but balls also get harder as well. So balls get to you quicker than there’s there’s more time and the equation so being able to be flexible with the way that you use your feet and your hands to kind of fit the demands of what the ball and the runner is forcing you to do is pretty big. And I think that’s kind of the internal clock pieces, the biggest part of the equation.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Cool. So what’s the conversation that you have to get guys to separate you know, you mentioned you touched on it a little bit if the guy who is struggling at the plate the guy who you know that the girlfriend broke up with how do we keep them separating or let’s look more you struggling at the plate juggling at the plate but thought to get out there make plate and help us team win games. What’s that conversation like the activity younger guys? To get them to understand it, there’s basically several different there’s three different parts of the game. You got to be able to do your job. And other areas, other areas aren’t doing well.

Ryan Hunt
Doubt and the biggest thing that we’ve kind of stumbled upon recently with how we’ve been able to quantify defense is understanding that we can create runs in two ways we create run to the plate and office or we create runs on defense, whether you’re a fielder or you’re a pitcher, or you can save runs, I should say, as a pitcher and the defender. And knowing that yes, part of your equation is what you do with the plate. But, you know, another part of the equation too is what you do in the field. So understanding that yes, we might not want the four pop ups to the second baseman at the plate, but in the ninth inning or the seventh inning, we’re going to go ask the guy to make a play in the hole. might save that prevent a runner on second from from scoring. So just knowing that instilling in a player that there’s more to the game than just what your your batting averages or what your, what the box for says about what you did at the plate is big as well. And then I think with the parent side of the equation so many so many of us are just wrapped around, wanting to perform now wanted to succeed now and let’s just not sacrifice long term progress for short term gain, you know, maybe you know for right now is really good because in two weeks or two years he’s going to be able to handle failure. He’s going to learn from that and be able to develop I think if we look at we look at competition in a manner of winning and learning rather than winning and losing Yeah, we’re we’re more so approaching where we need to be with developing playersrockin

Geoffrey Rottmayer
who are who’d been what’s been kind of some of your research is to kind of help you I you know, obviously, Andrew right be one of them, but what would what are some of your resources that kind of helped you develop as a person and as a coach?

Ryan Hunt
Sure, I think number one I model probably love to hear this. But as like as a kid growing up, she always tried to get me to read, to read more to be interested in picking books up and just diving into resources and that never really happened until probably my sophomore year of college and I think that’s kind of where I became interested in taking outside concepts and just apply them to what I was trying to do on a day to day basis. So just going out there and try to find answers would be kind of the biggest place that started with I kind of transitioned to the into diving into Twitter as much as possible. And you know, the the info guys on there, just the coaches in general, there’s so many the name and I think they all know who was mentioned on there as well, but there are people that are returning Reading content and they’re providing information that is mostly useful and just being able to search for answers and ask the right question is huge. So looking for answers and stopping at a no fork in the road to be able to kind of know where you’re going. But Twitter honestly was has been a huge piece of, of my growth and probably a large piece of where I’m at today. why I’m here today.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. Yeah, no, I think you now that they when I when you said what you said, taking the information and asking the right question, because now they do look at the Internet and you’re like, Okay, there’s so much information. Who do you believe? Or what do you believe? And so that’s where the whole questioning part comes in. Really? You may just take a little bit of everything from everyone and develop your own thing.

Ryan Hunt
Sure, no doubt and sorry to cut you off, but no, it was the best The best coaches are the best leads. And you hit the nail on the head right there. Yeah.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
All right. Well, listen, just one last questions. Now I just been great. If you were me interviewing yourself, what would you have asked? I didn’t ask.

Ryan Hunt
I have stuff to say because you navigated the conversation really well. Something that I love answering. It’s kind of why I love doing what I do. And that’s just the opportunity to impact players on a daily basis. I want them to ultimately come to though Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior, and hopefully that rubs off on them in some capacity as well, but just the chance to work with the player on a day to day basis. And knowing that I’d be able to impact their family, or just their career in general is a pretty significant driving piece into what gets me out of bed in the morning. So that’s it. Not that you didn’t ask that for a reason. But I love just being able to kind of throw that in there however I can.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I got one more question. So if I if I’m a young guy, and I want to be an infield coach what what the biggest advice you give them on on how they can start that practice? Because there’s again, there’s so much information. How do I how do I where do I start?

Ryan Hunt
that’s a that’s a big question. I think it starts with trying to dive in and work with as many players as possible and being able to journal your successes and your triumphs and your failures along the way is a significant piece. Andrew at the University of Charleston really gave us the freedom to fail. And that’s, that’s a big contributing factors to why I’m here now. You let me go out and experiment, test and work with different players and try different things and they That’s, that’s the best way to just dive in and start to learn. After that you can you can kind of track your successes and failures and correlate that back to what different people might be talking about or different drills that you see or different things. You read about movement and learning along those lines. But I don’t think there’s any substitute for being hands on. Yeah, putting yourself in uncomfortable environment, working with as many players as possible.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I love what you said, you, you journal. I don’t think people understand the value of that. And it’s something that I try to get kids to your time.

Ryan Hunt
There is a huge part of it. He’s part of it kind of reflecting piece as well. And so for a while, I was really gung ho on just trying to take in as many resources as possible, and I hope to kind of shift that in 2020 to being able to reflect more on the stuff that I take in or the information that you know, occurs and conversations and drills on a day to day basis hoping to be able to reflect a little bit more. Cool. Very cool.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Well, Ryan, man, this is this has been good. I appreciate your time.And I’m sure we’ve all learned or I’ve learned a lot. I’m sure our listeners will.

Ryan Hunt
I appreciate it. Jeff, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.

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Download now: Ep. 67: Infield Talks With New York Yankees Minor League Infield Coach Ryan Hunt | A Baseball Podcast

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Geoff Rottmayer

Geoff Rottmayer is the owner of Athletic Mission Baseball Academy, a training facility in Tulsa Oklahoma. Geoff also host The Baseball Awakening Podcast, which was developed to provide content to the baseball community straight from the source. In addition that that, Geoff, is helping coaches and professional start their own podcast and find their own voice.

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