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

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.