Ready to Re-Start 2020 Season!

Ready to Re-Start 2020 Season!

Practices Resume June 15

Where We Go From Here

Where We Go From Here

The "New Busy" Keeps Us Going.

Ruffnecks – The Game We Teach

Ruffnecks – The Game We Teach

Are we teaching Baseball as it is no longer played?

Ready to Re-Start 2020 Season!

Massachusetts has begun Phase II of its Re-Opening Plan.  Youth sports, including Ruffnecks, are approved for gradual return to practice and training activities.  We are excited to get back on a baseball field.  We are also committed to following the State guidelines.  It is the good fortune of the Ruffnecks program to be able to call the New England Baseball Complex (NEBC) “home.”  It is at the NEBC that we focus our efforts during Phase II of Massachusetts Re- Opening.  For three weeks, commencing Monday, June 15th, the Ruffnecks will conduct “Spring Training” at the NEBC.  Each morning from 8:00am to 11:00am the Ruffnecks program will use all three fields at NEBC for the purpose of drill work and preparation for the resumption of game activity and tournament play when Phase III permits.


Guidelines and protocols governing practices at NEBC and ongoing Ruffnecks activity are available on the new COVID-19 page of this website.  This page provides informational links, directives, and schedules.   We ask all players, coaches, and families to abide by the guidelines.  Link here to The COVID-19 page on this website.

Spring Training – Practice & Development

With three fields for our use, we turn to the proven model of Spring Training (familiar to players and families who have made the pilgrimage to Florida).  Our 13U and 14U teams will have 6 to 9 hours per week of instruction, drill work, and team preparation.  Our 15U, 16U, and 17U teams are scheduled to practice in a combined format for five out of six days each of the first two weeks: June 15-20 and June 22-27.  This adds up to 15 hours of training and instruction per week.  For the older players each field will be devoted to different elements of training and preparation.  For example, pitchers are assigned to Field 3.  A separate field will be devoted to batting practice; another to positional work.  Drills and station work will be carefully coordinated to adhere to participant limitations.  We are confident that the game of baseball is compatible with training regimens that put the components of the game together for players while adhering to restrictions.  For instance, infielders, outfielders, catchers, pitchers, can all operate in drill groups of 10 or fewer.  We can even conduct full infield drills with “social distancing” and number restrictions.  Our coaching staff has been working for weeks planning for this phase of development and practice.  Players will benefit from the different approach.

For pitchers, these weeks of preparation provide an exceptional opportunity.  The program is fortunate to have Ace Adams serve as pitching coordinator for the period of Spring Training.  Coach Adams has nearly three decades experience with several Major League organizations doing exactly what we plan to do.  This is an opportunity for older pitchers to prepare, learn, and get ready for competition by the beginning of July when games resume.  Coach Adams and the other pitching coaches in the program will cover a lot of the little things that often get overlooked. Pitchers will work on a variety of drill work, throwing, side sessions, pens, PFP, and mental preparation in an unhurried format.  Pitchers will arrive to Spring Training at various levels of preparation.  Our goal is to work individually and collectively to get them all ready.

We all hope that Phase II goes well and we return to competitive play in Phase III safely and responsibly.

Where We Go From Here

When we meet again!

Sunday, April 12th… Easter… The world still remains “closed for business.”  The bases are empty.  No one is in the batter’s box or on the mound.  No seeds, gum chewing, and definitely no spitting!  So where do we go from here in our baseball lives?  There are some answers to that question.  And the answers depend upon which segment of the baseball universe and population we talk about.  As a program, we are in a “New Busy.”  We prepare for the day we can resume.  Contingencies warrant consideration and imagination.  We will be ready when the time comes to take the field again.  For Ruffnecks in the classes of 2021 and 2022 it has never been busier off the field in March and April.  Why?  Because the baseball universe has changed and continues to change.  There are more questions than answers for players who aspire to play in college.  And everyone has lost the high school season to a “season-ending calamity” no one expected.  So what do we do about it?

The Wise Player: Academic Performance Rewarded

The “New Busy” for Ruffnecks players turns to the classroom.  Many Ruffnecks players in the classes of 2021 and 2022 have reached out to arrange individual conference calls to review their personal profiles along with the developments in NCAA recruiting.  These are the most proactive players.  They are the wise players who ask questions, review their academic performance, and develop self-awareness.  They reconsider and search for colleges and universities where they can be competitive candidates without baseball. Why is this important?  Because the baseball snapshot is frozen in a state of suspended animation, but the academic profile is not!  Those with strong performances in the classroom will likely have more doors open to them.  No player has an opportunity to present himself on the field.  It does not matter if he is from Massachusetts or Texas.  But all players can hunker down, become better students, better writers, better readers, better communicators.  All players can take practice SAT or ACT tests, whether they can afford a tutor or not.  All players can move the needle on their academic performance and what they present to colleges as students.  And frankly, those who have been good students all along are better positioned because when Vanderbilt does not recruit them, there are plenty of schools at various competitive levels that may be options for admission with or without baseball.

The Dedicated Athlete

There are things to do to advance athletic fortunes as well.  Athletes have control of core strength and conditioning.  Access to a gym is not necessary.  There are hills to climb and run up.  There a flat distances over which to sprint.  There are videos of core strengthening techniques to learn from.  And Amazon still delivers bands, barbells, and other accoutrements to set up your own “gym” work area.  The dedicated athlete can get faster, get stronger, become more flexible.  Hitters will find a way to hit and swing a bat.  Pitchers and position players have every opportunity to develop arm strength during this period of suspended time.  Make your arm a stand-out tool! Keen-eyed coaches and college recruiters will see those who did the work during this time.  Pitchers who are “ready to go” will outshine those who ask out of a game because their arm is sore or not ready.  Injured players have time to heal.  There is no reason NOT to be ready!

Beware of False Promises

Players and families ask about the emails, offers, and enticements from baseball outfits, recruiting services, etc.  There are many opportunists seeking to profit from this disaster.  We get the emails too.  Organizations offer “free” info sessions that lead to the sales pitch for something else.  Others rush people to register for July and August events that claim to make up for the exposure lost in April and May.  Some even offer free tokens for their batting cages that are closed!!!  Beware!  Stay the course.  No one can see anyone play right now… and unfortunately, no one knows when or where baseball will resume.  So stay the course on what you can control.

What Ruffnecks Coaches & Program Counselors Are Doing

Virtual 13U Practice

Ruffnecks coaches continue to engage our players on the 13U and 14U roster.  We conduct virtual practices… who would have imagined?!  But we have fun and we see each other.  We fill in gaps of baseball knowledge, history, and provide direction to work on skills.  Players have direction to work individually or with siblings, parents, or a trusted friend with proper social distancing.

On the college recruiting front, we are busy keeping abreast of the changes in rules, guidelines, and general landscape with college coaches and conferences.  We continue to present our players to colleges and respond to those players who initiate conversations and seek guidance (See “The Wise Player”).  We maintain communication among our core of Ruffnecks coaches, many of whom are high school or prep coaches (also in a suspended baseball universe).  We share ideas, commiserate, but largely plan for the resumption of action, discussing how to help our players.  We love what we do.


(Updated Monday, Oct. 26)

Fall Baseball
Has Ended.
Thank you to all who participated.

Stay Healthy!

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