Frank Maury Named Director of Player Development
The Toronto Mets are happy to announce that Frank Maury has been named the Director of Player Development. Maury who has been the Mets Infield Coordinator for the last two seasons, will continue to lead the infield development as well.
Frank gives us the details about the infield program and his thoughts behind the development of the plan.
Frank's Toronto Mets Infield Twitter account is a must follow, click on the link to follow
Infielders Taking The Wheel
Embarking on my second season as the Toronto Mets Infield Coordinator, I spoke at length with Baseball Operations about the establishment of some objectives for our Infield Program for the 2019 season.
In short, I hoped to:
Bring all Toronto Mets Infielders 14U - 18U into the same 16 week Developmental Program
Utilize Infield instructors from as many rosters as possible to maintain consistency of instruction with their respective teams in season.
Maximize our time on the turf to best attack the myriad of things we hoped to accomplish in bi weekly 50 minute sessions of infield-specific training.
Make the individual athlete integral to their own skill developmental process.
Our first 2 objectives were achieved with the creation of the Indoor Training schedule and distribution of Toronto Mets coaches amongst the position specific and hitting sessions.
A Toronto Mets INFIELD Google Classroom was established and all infielders were registered. Our student athletes are familiar with the platform since a majority use it in school every day.
The first thing posted to the Class was a simple Infield Questionnaire that all infielders were invited to complete anonymously.
Describe 3 attributes that all great infielders require ?
How would you rate your mobility / flexibility ?
Describe your most typical error.
What do you feel is the toughest ground ball requirement you see in game ?
What would you like to take away from the next 16 weeks of indoor training ?
Any baseball coach would be able to identify the skills they needed to work on; it’s not a secret. However, the ATHLETES themselves had recognized their own deficits, and consequently had ownership of their own development.
Our INFIELDERS felt they needed to:
Improve mobility / agility
Improve footwork in attacking ground balls
Spend more time refining glove angles
Throw the ball more accurately, from various arm slots under different time
Now it simply became a matter of preparing our training sessions to afford them the opportunity to develop the skills that they acknowledged they needed to work on.
The players were driving the car, we simply had to lay out the race track. Training sessions are broken into 3 Phases, each which dedicated emphasis.
Preparation Phase: Development of overall athleticism
Foundation Phase: Development of specific components of infield skills
Application Phase: Development of appropriate responses to game play requirements
Every session follows the same template, but the drills vary from week to week.
Taxing hip mobility stations and footwork patterns with no ball in sight
Kneeling / Standing hand circuits and fielding fundamentals
Transfer / Redirect tasks on thrown balls
Constantly evolving catch play variations
Ground ball tasks in all fielding lanes; rolled balls, batted balls, machine fed balls
Athletes working individually, in pairs, triangles, boxes
And never, not once, has there been a single pair of rolling eyes. They come, they work, they slap hands. Repeat.
And no one has had more fun than me.
Our challenge over the next two months will be to maintain current athlete engagement as players begin looking towards the outdoor season.
I’m really excited about a Mets Infield Mentor day where 17/18U infielders will be paired with 14/15U players. They will progress through the session together; on the turf, batting cages and into the weight room.
The objective is to foster collaboration and cohesion amongst Mets infielders. Younger athletes will be encouraged by more experienced / more physically capable athletes. In turn, our older players should recognize the standard they are establishing for our program’s infielders and how far they have come in their own development.
COMPETITION is a huge motivator for any athlete, and the next two months will see an uptick in opportunities to compete
Our #Metcoin Index competitions will ramp up where individual fielding percentages are charted and players able to see where they stand within their own age cohort / entire program. This same data helps identify the type of ground ball requirement / throw requirement that is leading to errors. We use this information to drive the individual development plan for that athlete in subsequent training sessions.
Coach’s Eye software will allow players to see elapsed times in completing 2 step / 4 step / OTR plays, in addition to Double Play Pivots / Feeds.
Monthly 15 minute SpikeBall tournaments have been a popular addition to training sessions, and the intensity level has been picking up in advance of SpikeBall 3.0 in a few weeks.
Bi monthly video of infielders will continue to be taken, broken down and uploaded to individual player folders in Google Drive. Players are encouraged to take note of their own gains in footwork, glove angles and arm slots.
“If you dare to coach, you have to constantly learn.” - Jeff Albert, St.Louis Cardinals
I joined the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2013, and never cease to be blown away what coaches at all levels have been willing to share in terms of drill ideas and resources. I have been fortunate to represent the Toronto Mets at the annual convention of 5000+ coaches since 2017.
Our @TMetsINFIELD twitter lists a number of influences on my own coaching development. Kai Correa, Tucker Frawley, Darren Fenster, Marty Lees, Billy Boyer have always been willing to chat in person or via email.
I’ve borrowed, stolen, tweaked drill ideas from all of them, and many others ;)
Perhaps even more valuable from their council has been an affirmation that the Toronto Mets are on the right track in terms of fostering skill development with young infielders.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our entire Infield Development team; 16U Head Coaches Duncan Watt and Chris Sereda, 15U Asst Coach Mitchel Wilbur and 14U Assistant Coach Joel Gattoni.
It has been a collaborative effort during our indoor sessions, and our Infield Development Program would not be as effective without the contributions of all their talents, energy and enthusiasm.
Together we would like to commend all Mets infielders on their dedication and work ethic to date.
There is another race just around the corner.