Maplezone Sports Institute’s (MSI) mission is to create a safe training environment for athletes of all ages and abilities which allow them the opportunity to maximize their athletic performance potential. MSI is committed to utilizing our expert coaches, state of the art facilities, tournament venues, and customized training programs to efficiently enhance the athletes' training and exposure experience. MSI makes you better – ON and OFF the field!!


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This Ump Stinks!

May 14, 2018
If you opened this email hoping that I was going to complain about umpires, you’re going to be disappointed. In fact, complaining about anything that is not under our control is pretty pointless in general and is also one of my biggest pet peeves when talking to players, coaches, and parents.    A problem isn’t a problem if you can do something about it. Either make an adjustment or rise above it. Period. Often times, we get caught up complaining about something that we can’t control and end up overlooking all of the things that we can and should be working on.   Here are a few examples…   “This ump stinks”-He’s calling a strike 6 inches off the plate. This happens all the time! So instead of allowing yourself to get rung up on this pitch, what can you do? Be more aggressive early in the count and get on top of the plate. Make an adjustment.   “This field is awful”-Well, first off, it’s awful for both team. Attack the baseball. Body it up if you need to. Bad hoops happen the most when we’re playing passively. If you did everything you could and still get an awful hoop, shake it off. That’s not on you.    “It’s so hot out”-Get a goodnight’s sleep. Make sure you hydrated and ate well the day before and the day off. Bring a cold towel and water to the game. The team that wins under tough conditions come prepared and enjoy the challenge, instead of letting it be the reason they don’t play well. If you were in the pool the all day and didn’t eat, why should you expect to be prepared to battle the heat? Prioritize the game.   It’s really simple…elite players hold themselves accountable for “failure”. Everyone else will find an excuse…whether it’s the umpire, the field conditions, the weather, etc.   Do you think all of these elite MLB players coming out of Latin America (they eventually will be YOUR competition) are playing on beautifully manicured fields, with perfect umpiring, in 70 degree weather with a slight breeze? Not a chance. They just love the game and are obsessed with getting better.    Excuses will end your career. Challenge yourself with consistent accountability. How you deal with any and all of these things can either add or subtract years to your career. It’s your call. Be obsessed.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Teams Maplezone Sports Institute

211=Steal, Swipe of Arm=Bunt Defense #6, Left Ear=Curveball

May 8, 2018
The more I watch youth sports, the more I think coaches try and control the game too much. From the number system to calling every single pitch, coaches seem to need control over every aspect of the game.   What does the coach making all the decisions teach our players? I’ll tell you…it teaches them to obey a command instead of teaching THEM how to play the game! We wonder why players have low baseball IQs these days…this is why!    They are being told exactly what to do and when to do it, rather then being show the WHY behind the decisions. Why is this a good count to run on? What should the bunt defense be in this situation? What pitch should I throw 0-1? None of this is learned from an ultra-controlling coach.   I am convinced it stems from prioritizing “winning” over development. I would hope that most coaches can “outsmart” a 12u team by calling the right bunt play or picking up a tendency from the pitcher that allows them to steal with a high rate of success.   But to me, that isn’t the point of all this…it’s not to win at all costs. The point is to teach our players how to pick up those things up on their own and learn the naunces of game! The only way to do that is by allowing them to make decisions in games and constantly talk with them about the strategy behind those decisions, both in practice and in games.   You will be shocked at how quickly players can pick up these things and how much more involved in the game they become. They just need to be taught what to look for and encouraged to take ownership of their own game.    Most importantly, we need to be patient and not have the “win at all costs” mindset. Think long term development. Not short term “success”. Create baseball players with high IQs by giving them freedom to play the game and make mistakes. It will pay off in the long term. Be obsessed.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Teams Maplezone Sports Institute
Athletic Training Baseball Wellness

Good vs. Elite

April 30, 2018
When do you play hard? When are you a good teammate? When are you locked in at practice? When do you handle adversity well?    For the bad, solid, and good players, the answer to these questions are all fairly similar…they do all these things when things are going their way, their team is winning, and it’s 75 and sunny out.   Elite players are great teammates when their team is losing.   Elite players practice hard even when they’re struggling.   Elite players enjoy playing the game in 30 degree weather with brutal wind.   Elite players carry themselves the same way regardless if they’re 30 for 30 or 0 for 30.   The bottom line is that elite players are ELITE regardless of the circumstances. They don’t pick and choose when to compete and when not to. It’s all they know.   I’m not a huge Connor McGregor fan because of his ridiculous antics, but am a fan of this quote…   “At the end of the day, you’ve gotta feel some way. So why not feel unbeatable? Why not feel untouchable?” – Conor McGregor   You choose how you feel. Don’t allow your surroundings, circumstances, or results choose for you. Choose to feel unbeatable, even when it’s not an easy choice…heck especially when it’s not an easy choice. That’s the difference between good and elite. Be obsessed.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Teams Maplezone Sports Institute

The Last Play of Your Career

April 26, 2018
I had one of my former college players reach out to me over the weekend because he was bummed at how his career was “coming to an end”. He unfortunately suffered an injury his senior year and really hasn’t been able to play much this year. I think it’s natural to let what has happened most recently affect how we view something as a whole (his career).   Now this young man got to play a lot throughout his career, experienced success, won a conference title, made life long friends, and will graduate with a degree from a Top 10 Program in his Major…I would call that a great career.   Very, very, very few of us will win the MVP in the championship game, be carried off the field by our teammates, and get to make the decision to hang up our cleats after a long, successful career. For the overwhelming majority of us, the game will be taken away from us without our consent.   Don’t focus on how, when, or where your career will end. We don’t necessarily have control over that (my former player thinking he had another full season of baseball, for example). Instead, focus on what you can control…your work ethic, your priorities, and the relationships you form in this game.   Chances are, the game of baseball will be the one deciding your career is over, not you. So what can you do? Enjoy GETTING to play. Enjoy your teammates. Enjoy competing. Enjoy your coaches. Enjoy GETTING to leave everything out on the field…because someday you won’t be able to. Be obsessed.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Teams Maplezone Sports Institute


We are grateful for the experience that Ethan is getting and appreciate all you and the other coaches do for the kids. You guys are very good with the kids run a great program.

Crissi, MSI Parent

We just wanted to thank you for all your help with Jonathan. Today on Super Bowl Sunday Jonathan verbally committed to the Golden Rams of West Chester. Their coach was very excited about his commitment and sees him as one of his top guys for the next four years. The MuckDawgs program has been a great experience for Jonathan right from day one, verses where we came from. Jonathan has worked hard right from the start when you told him to fill out his jersey. You have given him the tools he needs to be successful on the field and in life. We are very thankful for all your help!

Alan & Gretchen, MSI Parents

Brooke is throwing her change-ups and they are working big time! The girls were way ahead of the pitch. Brooke could not stop smiling!
Nice work coach!

Scott, MSI Lesson Client

I wanted to thank you again for putting on a great winter lacrosse league. This was our first year in your league, and it was the best winter league we have played. We will definitely be participating next year.

Jeff, MSI Lacrosse League Client

The instruction and guidance offered to Michael by Corey during a batting session is truly appreciated. Just to see Michael’s expression when he gets that “ha-ha” moment after Corey improves his swing or stance is priceless. Everyone at MSI is truly wonderful. Please convey my Thank you!

Teresa Eze , MSI Parent

We couldn’t be happier, Rizz is a great instructor!

Tom Gartland, MSI Lesson Client

My son Ryan Beyer just completed his 8th pitching lesson with Todd Rizzo last Thursday, and I just wanted you to know how much Todd did to help Ryan improve. I was really impressed with how Coach Rizzo explained things to Ryan in an adult way, but a style that was easy for a kid to understand. He gave Ryan a lot of confidence and re-assurance as to his delivery mechanics and his abilities. I have to say that I was amazed and impressed by Coach Rizzos ability to spot even the smallest mechanical flaw and explain how it impacted his pitches in both location and velocity. Ryan has a pretty decent arm for a 10 year old kid, but last year, he really struggled with his control. He used to walk more than he struck out. This year, his first game at BYC, he threw 33 pitches, 28 of them were strikes, and he struck out the first 9 guys he faced. Needless to say, he was walking around on 3 feet of air after the game. I’ve never seen my son so happy and proud. So, I just wanted to let you know, since you are the general manager of MSI, that Todd did an outstanding job with my son. Cant say enough good things about the guy!! The lessons were super helpful and effective. Thanks

Brad Beyer, MSI Lesson Client

Chris, Just wanted to say you did a hell of a job getting everybody 3 pool play games. I’m sure it was a scheduling nightmare. That’s why you’re the best!!

Tom Hunter, MSI Tournament Client

Andrew did a great job with Daniel, he really liked his lesson. We will be putting him on schedule for lesson every week till the start of the season in March.

Paul Jacobs, MSI Parent

Coach Ty is an amazing coach. He provides great insight to the game inside the game. He develops the player physically as well as mentally. My son has been going to Coach Ty for years. I am amazed how much knowledge he has about the game as well as his demands in each session. He is the main reason why we have joined the MSI Team this year.

Dexter Felder, MSI Parent

Thank you very much for allowing me and my teammates to use your facility, it’s the perfect place to get everything we need done to get ready for the upcoming season!

Edwin Lee, Goldey-Beacom College 1B/OF

Our sessions with Ty Gainey have been outstanding. Ty really cares about my son and his baseball progress. We will continue to seek out sessions with Ty as my son progresses through high school.

Joel Lang, MSI Lesson Client

We had a wonderful first session with Ty. He was very informative, patient and humorous with my son. My son really enjoyed his lesson, thought it was very helpful and is looking forward to next Monday.

Shannan Roberts, MSI Lesson Client

Our MSI experience has been amazing. My daughter is about to start her 3rd year of softball. Michelle has been incredible with her. She is very new to catching and her first 2 lessons have helped her gain some confidence. She is so excited for her next lesson! We will definitely continue with lessons and clinics.

Julie Bossler, MSI Lesson Client

Session was great. Todd Rizzo was excellent with my two boys.
The 2 player small group package is a good fit. I plan to roll them through batting, fielding, catching and then back to pitching.

Ray Lewis, MSI Lesson Client

I cannot say more about how wonderful Cory is with my son!! He has made such a positive impact on my son’s hitting and is always kind and respectful of him. I constantly recommend him to my many baseball mom friends!!!

Julie McHugh, MSI Lesson Client

My son Cole raved about his experience with Carlos. This is his first year in little league and he has been very intimidated with batting. We are hoping the lessons will give him more skill and confidence so he can enjoy his experience to the fullest. So far, things seem great.

Lori Captain, MSI Lesson Client

I am so happy with MapleZone especially with Todd Rizzo. He has worked with my son so much this past winter and Jackson is off to a great start of his high school season and is direct reflection of the work with Coach Rizzo. Thank you so much!

Ian Kelly, MSI Lesson Client

Nick did a great job instructing my son Patrick. He took the time to teach him the proper mechanics and build his confidence at the same time… I was very impressed with Nicks ability to get through to my son and get him to respond much better than I could.

Rick Godfrey, MSI Lesson Client