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Coaching Management 23.2

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HigH ScHool RuleS cHangeS Dugout Video Ban Erased In a move that wIll brIng base- ball In lIne wIth most other hIgh school sports, the nFhs now allows baseball coaches to use video equipment during games for teaching purposes. pre- viously, teams were allowed to record action during games, but could not use the footage until after the contest had ended. video cannot be used to challenge any umpire calls or rulings on the field. coaches see several benefits to the change, the main one being that players BULLETIN BOARD Preseason 2015 ConTenTs adam wesley/the gazette-Kcrg Coachesnetwork.com Coaching Management Preseason 2015 3 | | | | | | 3 NFHS allows in-game video 3 Coaching drop- down pitchers 5 Cell phone as teaching tool 6 Lessons from fellow coaches 7 Keeping pitchers healthy 8 Minn. coach looks back New NFHS rules allow high school coaches to use video equipment for teaching purposes during games, which can help with immediately reviewing players' at bats. come to the dugout complaining about ball-strike calls," he says. "now I can show a hitter that the pitch he was called out on was, in fact, on the corner so he can adjust during his next at-bat." one of the reasons for the change was difficulty enforcing the previous rule. with so many people having phones that include recording capabilities, it was impossible for umpires to know exactly what a team was doing in the dugout. however, langner emphasizes that coach- es are expected to comply with the limits on the use of video footage. "the purpose of this change is to help young players improve," he says. "It's not to gain an advantage by stealing signs ence to specifically include follow- through and backswing interference. the 2015 rulebook states that "follow- through interference is when the ball hits the catcher after the batter has swung at a pitch and hinders action at home plate or the catcher's attempt to play on a runner," and "backswing inter- ference is when a batter contacts the catcher or his equipment prior to the time of the pitch." previous rules only defined offensive, umpire, and spectator interference. the committee also banned the use of batting helmets with mirror- like surfaces. PitcHing inStRuction Dropping Down to Elevate Success durIng hIs FIrst three seasons at mIssIssIppI state unIversIty, former bulldog lefthander chad girodo struggled mightily and gave up home runs at an alarming pace. looking to get more out of the reliever heading into his senior year, msu associate head coach butch thompson approached girodo in January 2013—with the start of the season just weeks away—and asked him to try out a new approach. "I said, 'chad, the ball is getting up in the air and you're giving up so many home runs that I don't know if I'm going to be able to use you much this season,'" says thompson, who handles the team's pitching staff. "'I want to see you succeed. let's try dropping your arm slot a little bit so it comes from the side and see how that works.'" though girodo initially resisted, he agreed to try lowering his arm slot for a few pitches at the end of a preseason bullpen session. what girodo found sur- prised him—the new delivery clicked with his mechanics. slinging the ball sidearm added more spin to his slider and made it harder for left-handed batters to pick up his pitches. that season, girodo pitched almost exclusively from the lower arm slot. giv- ing up zero home runs while sporting a 1.36 era, he held opponents to a .214 batting average and helped the bulldogs to a runner-up finish in the college world series. at season's end, girodo was recognized as one the country's best left- handed relievers, earning all-american honors. he capped off his successful tran- sition by being drafted in the ninth or picking up on a pitcher's tendencies. while these things are sometimes consid- ered part of the game, coaches are not allowed to use video for this purpose. "ultimately, there was a lot of sup- port for this change," langner contin- ues. "It matches the rules in other sports and enables us to better accomplish our number-one priority: helping players improve." In other rules changes, the commit- tee expanded the definition of interfer- will have quick access to information that can help them improve. "the ability to provide instant video feedback to athletes on things they need to change is critical," says brett hoyer, head coach at Kennedy high school in cedar rapids, Iowa. "For example, when a player swings at a bad pitch early in the count, I can show him exactly where the pitch was, and the loca- tion of the pitches he should be looking for. that's information he can use to make his next at-bat more productive." Jeremy langner, the coaches' repre- sentative to the nFhs baseball rules com- mittee and former head coach at water- loo (Iowa) west high school, adds that video can also help players adjust to umpires' strike zones. 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