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Scaleable Skills vs. Succeeding Now

July 22, 2019
It’s easy to get caught up in short term success. Which totally makes sense and reminds me of that study where researched polled people to see if they would prefer $5 now or $50 in five years? Almost everyone will take the money now. Same thing goes for success.   When it comes to your baseball career, I urge you to turn down the $5 now and wait for the big pay day. Here’s why…   You can do things to be “success” now that will not be scaleable in your long term success in this game.    Now, what do I mean by “scaleable”? It means tools and skills that will play at the HS, college, and professional level.    For example, hitting the ball on the ground is an AWESOME strategy at the younger levels. I saw a stat that batted balls, in play, at the Little League level resulted in a .600+ batting average.    Great odds right there!   However, batting average on ground balls drops drastically to .238 (2008-present) at the MLB level.   Why the drastic difference in batting average? Defense and overall player athleticism improves tremendously as players get older (the Royals currently have only 40 errors thru 101 games played this year). Not to mention that between the small dimensions and short base paths, a Little League field is built for offense.   So hitting ground balls is a perfect example of a “success now” skill, but NOT a scaleable skill long term because it will not remain an effective strategy as you get older.    Ingraining a swing that produces a high percentage of ground balls may be good for youth baseball, but it will fail you when it truly matters. The numbers don’t lie, in fact, they’re very clear.   So before you practice something, whether it be a swing or a defensive play, ask yourself if this is something that will play as the competition gets better.   Build scaleable skills rather than chase short term success. Be obsessed.   PS-Hit line drives…they play at all levels ;).    Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute
Baseball Wellness

This Is Not A Grind

July 15, 2019
Here is what a typical day of a college baseball player looks like…   6am-Team Lift 7:30am-Shower and get ready for class. 8:30am-Class Noon-Lunch 1pm-Class 3pm-Early work before practice 4pm-Practice 7pm-Dinner 8:30pm-HW and studying 10:30pm-Bed   And that’s not a game day where you would be traveling hours both ways on a bus.   What am I getting at?    Your summer schedule is not a grind. College baseball is a grind. Pro ball is even more of a grind.    Summer travel baseball is not a grind.   What you prioritize, on a daily basis, is where your priorities lie. If you are too exhausted from a DH or traveling the day before to get better TODAY then is this game really for you?   And I’m not saying this to call you out. I’m bringing this to light because it’s probably not something you’ve considered before. “Feeling fresh” is a mindset. It’s your choice. It just isn’t an easy one.   Do you really think Mike Trout wakes up and feels amazing every day? Heck no! He’s playing 162+ games a year, traveling literally all over the country, and being critiqued on a daily basis by millions. Does that sound like an environment that creates feeling fresh? No shot!   But he (and all these dudes on TV) make the hard choice, daily, to feel AMAZING despite all the reasons that they shouldn’t.   This isn’t a grind. This is a test. Is your answer, “I need a day off” or is it “bring it on”? Be obsessed.   PS-Recovery/Rest absolutely play a huge role in development and high level performance, but it is a very misunderstood concept and a topic for a different time.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute

The Work Place & Bowling

July 8, 2019
How would you like it if your employer stood over your shoulder and critiqued everything you did the second you did it?   Would you learn how to do your job if they sat there and gave you step by step directions all day every day?   I would venture to guess that you wouldn’t like that and that wouldn’t be optimal conditions to learn/work in right?   Then why do it to our players (or sons)?   Players need the freedom to make decisions, fail, and rebound…and that only happens when we take a step back and allow them to do so.   I once heard that we, as coaches (and parents), are the bumpers in bumper bowling. We are here to help guide the ball back to the middle when it gets too far offline. We are NOT there to actually throw the ball for the bowler.   Let players fire that ball down the lane! The only way for them to learn how to bowl a strike is to throw some into the bumpers first. Support, but don’t control. Be obsessed!   Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball Maplezone Sports Institute

Leaders Eat Last

July 1, 2019
In case you have been living under a rock, Vanderbilt recently won the College World Series!    The series against Michigan was full of big moments and spectacular plays, however, something very powerful happened after the championship was won and spot light was turned off…   Now some of you may be thinking…what’s the big deal? It’s only picking up trash. And that’s fair…he is only picking up trash.   But please consider this thought…how you do the little things is how you do everything.    The fact that a team leader would prioritize something like this, after winning a national championship, shows the type of culture that Vandy has which clearly plays a massive role in their success.   Good teams become elite teams when their best players AREN’T above the little things. Whether it’s picking up trash, reading the practice plan in detail, or taking pride in finishing every single rep of their workout…the little things are taken care of.   On elite teams, NO ONE is above anything.   On good teams, the better players are allowed to do what they’d like.   On bad teams, everyone can do whatever they’d like.   When you add up the thousands of little things that a player and a team do or don’t do…over the course of a season, it REALLY adds up (or doesn’t add up!).   If you want to be an elite player…if you want to play on a truly elite team…realize that means holding yourself and your teammates to elite standards. A million “little things” bound together can create one serious force to be reckoned with. It all starts at the top. Be obsessed.   PS-Please note that en elite team doesn’t mean the most talented team…but we’ll talk more about that another time.   Ken Spangenberg Director of Baseball 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

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

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

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 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

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

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

Pat Shevlin was great. We’ll be back. Thanks!

Ian McDonald, MSI Lesson Client

Great lesson with Cory last night. My son responded to the couple flaws Cory picked up quickly. He hasn’t listened to me in 15yrs but listened to Cory in 30 min.
Thank you.

Stan Ciesielka, MSI Lesson Client

Chris, I wanted to compliment you, your staff and your location. This was my first visit to your facility and I was very impressed. I have played in dozens of venues on the east coast and our experience this weekend was one of my most enjoyable. The umpires, staff and facility were A+, and we as an organization can’t wait to come back in July! The competition was strong in the playoffs and we look forward to playing many tournaments in the future. I will be spreading the word here in CT about your facility for 12U and up! Thanks again,

Bill Granata, MSI Baseball Tournament Client