I believe that Jefferson High School can be the BEST baseball school in the state. I believe that we as coaches must strive to reach this pinnacle while keeping the best interest of the student-athlete in mind. Achieving this success will require much work, sacrifice and time. I believe that the drive to be the BEST is more important than the end result of any one game. It is the commitment to success that we as coaches must demand of ourselves and model to our players.
I believe that winning is a by-product of proper preparation, teamwork, willingness to learn, a strong work ethic, and the commitment to excellence. I believe that we as coaches have a responsibility to our players to model and demand these traits. The people that have these traits are individuals who are successful not only in athletics, but also in life.
I believe that education, family and faith are far more important than any game we play. No player that we coach will play baseball for the rest of their lives. They will need a strong support group such as family, they will need education, and they will need faith for the rest of their lives. We need to implement the importance of those concepts to our players.
Goal setting will be an important part of J-Hawk baseball. We will set individual and team goals. Setting and working toward goals will allow our players to attain success based on individual and combined team abilities. We will set goals related to the baseball season, the player’s academic lives, and their personal lives.
Coaching requires the highest standards of behavior from those involved. We will constantly remind our players that they represent the school, the community, and their families rather than themselves when they put on a J-Hawk uniform. This is as true for coaches as well. I believe that we need to develop good sportsmanship, good citizenship, and the type of behavior that will bring credit to the school, the community, and the individual through positive leadership.
Jefferson J-Hawk Baseball Program Rules
- Be on time or expect to run. Excessive tardiness may lead to dismissal of team.
- Excused Absence include: sickness, death in family, family emergencies, education related (college). You must notify your coach prior to your absence if at all possible.
- Appointments and work are not excused and need to be scheduled around practice and game times.
- Unexcused Absence
- Dismissal from team
Players should play the game with pride and class. It is a privilege to play baseball for Jefferson High School and not a right. All coaches, players, fans, umpires, and other school personnel should be treated with respect. The coaching staff will not tolerate inappropriate conduct. Please remember that players represent Jefferson High School, the J-Hawk baseball program, their families and themselves, and we expect them to show respect and restraint at all times. Inappropriate behavior is grounds for discipline from the coaching staff, including suspension or removal from the baseball program. The use of profanity, throwing equipment, arguing or questioning an umpire and/or any other embarrassing, demeaning or offensive behavior is strictly prohibited.
As per Iowa High School Athletic Association rules, “Any player who is ejected for any reason shall be disqualified from participating in the remainder of the game and will be ineligible for the team’s next contest.
After the IHSAA suspension the player may also face additional disciplinary action from the head coach.
DRUGS USE, TOBACCO USE or ALCOHOL USE will result in suspension immediately!
The concept of “equal playing time” does not exist at the high school level, especially on the varsity team. Positions will consistently be earned, and starting line-ups may change from game to game or week to week. Because coaches are looking at an entire roster in a variety of situations, there are players who might play one game and then not play the next. This may or may not be because of their performance or abilities. A player’s attitude and work ethic will also contribute to how much he plays.
Early in the season, playing time will probably fluctuate for most players as coaches determine their strengths and weaknesses in game situations. As the season progresses, coaches often utilize players who are playing well at the time or who fit well with the specific conditions. Players may also be asked to fulfill certain roles, such as pinch hitting, pinch-running or playing defense late in the game. Every role is an important one and is crucial to the overall success of the team and/or program.
A coach makes decisions based on what they think is best for the team and the overall program. Coaches will make decisions to win games. We will play the best 9 baseball players in the program to achieve our ultimate goal in winning a state title. Players who have negative attitudes or who disrespect their coaches and/or teammates may find themselves on the bench – or off the team – no matter their skill level. This applies to all teams. We encourage players to try to work through issues directly with their respective head coach.
Contacting the Coach
In contacting the coach with an issue or concern, please adhere to the following procedures:
1) The player should first discuss the issue with the coach or coaches
2) If the issue is not resolved, the parent(s) may request a meeting with the head coach of the specific team.
3) If the issue is still not resolved, a meeting between the head coach, athletic director, the parent(s), and the player will be scheduled.
Through their daily practices and interaction with coaches, players should have a clear understanding about why they are or aren’t playing, or the positions they are playing. If not, they should ask their coach. If parents have a question about playing time, please talk with your son. We expect them to have an understanding of what is happening with their team.
As defined by in the JHS handbook (page 24), to be academically eligible for an activity, students must:
- Have earned passing grades in at least 20 credits the pervious term/trimester.
- Be earning passing grades in at least 20 credits in current term/trimester at the grade reporting times.
- Be making adequate progress toward graduation.
- Students in co-curricular activities failing or meet 1, 2, or 3 above will not be allowed to participate in the next performance/competition during the current activity.
- Per Iowa Law 36.15 (2) “The Scholarship Rule,” all students participating in athletics shall pass ALL classes at the END of each term in the past 12 months to be eligible.
Students are encouraged to check regularly with their teachers to make sure they are maintaining satisfactory grades. Parents are encouraged to visit the school’s online Power School Web site for current grade and attendance information. Students who are in danger of academic ineligibility should consult Coach Rodenkirk immediately so that all avenues for assistance can be explored.
Class/Study Hall Attendance
Beginning the first day of practice every player is expected to attend classes and scheduled study halls REGULARLY and ON TIME. Every unexcused absence or three (3) tardies in a respected class will result in a game not played.
Parents who have concerns about their son missing academic instruction on game days should discuss this with their respected head coach. Players will be released from classes early on game days (earlier for road games), so please plan ahead.
Players represent Jefferson High School, the baseball program, their families and themselves. Players are expected to maintain a neat and orderly appearance. Uniforms should be clean and properly maintained, and equipment cared for with respect. Players are encouraged to take pride in how they look both at school and on the field.
Strength Conditioning/Performance PE
Nothing comes easy, especially winning. It takes hard work, discipline, dedication, and consistency. Accomplishing this starts with training hard in the off-season. Players are expected to participate in Jefferson’s strength and conditioning program which has been developed and instructed by Coach Orton. In the off-season, players must be in Performance PE. In season, we will lift 2 times per week to maintain our strength and stamina.
The biggest role that parents can play is to support their student-athletes in school and with their athletic endeavors. Attendance and demonstrating good sportsmanship at our games and functions is greatly appreciated. Please remember to keep comments positive, whether they are to or about your own son, another player or parent, a coach, an umpire, or any other opposing player, parent, or coach. Parents also represent Jefferson High School. (Please read Mike Matheny letter in back)
Parents are not allowed at practices or behind or by the dugout during games. Whether you realize it (or not) your presence at practice places pressure on your son. During practice times parents are asked to stay away from the playing field, dugouts, bullpens or batting cages. You can contact a coach via email or phone if that information is available.
8th/9th grade levels - Players are expected to find their own way to away metro games as Jefferson does not provide busing. Please see your coach if you have transportation issues.
10th/Varsity - Players are expected to ride to and from games on the team bus.
Players are expected to attend practice on a consistent basis. Please contact your respected coach for times.
Players should notify their head coach in advance if they need to miss any part of practice and should communicate this to the coach in person at a previous day’s practice. Players are strongly discouraged from missing practices. However, there are times when this is unavoidable. Please understand that coaches can only evaluate the talents, attitudes and work ethics of those players they see in practice every day. If it is impossible to avoid scheduling conflicts, please talk to your head coach so arrangements can be discussed. If a player needs to miss an extended period of practice time, please be sure to discuss the situation with his coach. Also, please try to avoid scheduling activities such as driver’s training, private hitting/pitching lessons, family vacations, camps, and so on during the regular season.
All players are expected to be ready to start practice at the designated starting time. Practice time will vary depending on level of play. Players are to be fully dressed before the starting time.
1. Baseball pants (no J-Hawk baseball shorts allowed until the coach tells you)
2. T-shirt with sleeves, ¾ shirt or sweatshirt (Shirts should be Jefferson related or school colors)
3. J-Hawk baseball hat (worn correctly)
4. No jewelry will be allowed.
5. Sneakers in the gym or cleats outside. If hitting in cage, have shoes tied correctly.
6. Athletic supports and athletic cups (Safety issue).
All baseball players should report all injuries to their coach immediately, regardless if the injury occurred during a baseball game or practice, or is not baseball related. This is important to assure the player can receive the proper injury diagnosis and treatment from our trainer for a healthy recovery. We do have a trainer at Jefferson at no cost to players.
Jefferson High baseball players are strongly encouraged to participate in other JHS sports and school activities during the fall, winter and spring seasons. Multi-sport athletes are well rounded, maintain their physical conditioning, and are placed in competitive situations continually. Athletes involved in a spring sport during baseball should place top priority in terms of practice attendance and competition attendance on the spring sport. However, athletes will still be strongly encouraged to attend all baseball practices that do not conflict with a spring sport practice or competition.
Those who participate in clubs, student government and other organizations gain valuable experience, knowledge and friendships. Student-athletes should enjoy their high school experience and participating in as many activities as they choose. However, baseball players are expected to commit themselves to the baseball program during baseball season, beginning with the first day they attend practice. In addition, student-athletes participating in other activities are expected to stay informed about the baseball program activities throughout the school year.
One of my top priorities is to construct a clubhouse/lockeroom at the baseball field. This will elevate the camaraderie and team cohesion. It is also a place to change, get prepared and go over film. The lockeroom should always be clean and neat. Take pride in what you have and always make it look better than when you came in. It can also be taken away if things are not kept up.
Players are expected to take care of the field and partake in daily up keeping. Each player will have a job to perform after each practice. NO EXCUSES
Fundraising is a huge part to the success of a baseball program. We will be parking cars at Hawkeye Downs, hosting an alumni golf tournament, and be selling Discount Coupon books.
PLAYER & PARENT AGREEMENT
Please return to your Head Coach at first practice.
PLAYERS WILL BE UNABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICES OR GAMES
WITHOUT THIS FORM AND YOUR GOALS ON FILE WITH THE COACH.
I have read all of the information of the J-HAWK BASEBALL HANDBOOK. I understand what is expected and agree to follow and support all policies, procedures, and expectations throughout the entire season.
Print Player Name Grade Level
Player Signature Date
Parent Signature Date
- Personal Baseball Goal:
- Pre-Season Goal/What is your plan to be ready for practice day 1:
- Team Goal:
- What is your offensive goal this year:
- What is your defensive goal this year:
- Life Goal:
- Favorite thing to do outside of baseball:
Hitting the J-Hawk Way
- Hit OUR pitch early in the count, stay away from “pitchers” pitches.
- Get the starting pitcher to the 100 pitch mark in the middle innings.
- Must have great pitch recognition skills to do this! Sound mechanics.
- Must have great pitch recognition skills to do this! Sound mechanics.
- Get our BEST swing off every at bat!
- Maximize bat speed and bat quickness (Mechanics combined with strength program).
- High on base percentage, average, lead the league in doubles and runs scored.
- More walks-hit by pitches than strikeouts.
- Toughest outs in the league!
- Beat the best pitchers!
- Control the lower half.
- Eliminate variables in the stance and load.
- Start the swing from the ground up. Stay in sequence.
- Get to proper contact position.
- Great extension and follow through.
- Something simple and easy to repeat.
- Play the game one pitch at a time!
- Get the sign, wipe the box, big deep breath.
- Positive self talk.
- Eyes focused on something other than the release point. Switch at the right time for best focus.
- Comfortable and workable-Nothing drastic(closed, open, open to closed, high elbow, over rotation, wide, narrow).
- Knees and ankles inside the feet-ALWAYS!
- Check the back toe (not rotated out).
- See the pitcher with both eyes.
- Eye tilt.
- When the weight transfer’s to the backside and the hands, back elbow move to the slot.
- Must be controlled and tension free!
- Weight stays on the inside of the legs! (Volleyball drill).
- Watch for back knee, hip to float or back hip to collapse.
- Teach “stay back”, don’t just say it.
- Back elbow position and proper movement of the hands to the slot. Proper shoulder rotation-Nothing past 45degrees. Mirror drill.
- Stride must be soft and inside out.
- Knees and ankles must stay inside the feet.
- Must stay balanced (not too wide or narrow).
- Keep head as still as you can.
- Try to keep weight on the ball of front foot and off the toe.
- Must be on time. If your late you have no chance.
- On time is best, but early is better than late.
- When? Different for each player and vs. every pitcher. Speed and type of pitcher changes things. On Deck, pre-game important.
- The swing starts from the ground up. Chain reaction.
- Inside part of the back foot and shoe laces drive towards the pitcher.
- Direction is the key!
- No spinners. No squish the bug.
- Back knee and hip drive towards the pitcher.
- Front elbow and shoulder down and in!
- Back elbow on the ribs! Bat lag, not bat drag!
- Hands are the last thing to go.
- Focus on the inside seam!
- All of the hitters energy is going towards the pitcher!
- Must stay connected!
- Front leg blocked on contact.
- Back leg driving towards the pitcher.
- Shoe laces, belly button facing pitcher.
- Palm up, palm down.
- Both elbows close to the body.
- Shoulder tilt to pitch height. Lower half stays the same.
- Head stays behind the ball.
- Front elbow flexed.
- Balanced, head, eyes on the ball.
- Arms drive through the ball and extend after contact for proper back spin.
- Power V before rolling over.
- Direction early is crucial to good extension!
- Extension is the result of a sequenced swing!
- If you break the chain or spin you won’t get have extension.
- High, over the front shoulder.
- Front elbow.
- Balanced with the head in the contact zone.
- One hand or two?
- Weight shifts over the front side.
- Front leg can be firm or bent after contact.
- If the swing happens in sequence and everything stays connected the finish will take care of itself!
- No stride drills! They must learn to hit no stride, then add whatever you want!
- Tee Drills-(How to hit off the tee)No stride, leg lift, jump back, toe tap, slow motion, in, out, pull, high, low, in, out.
- Machine drills-Iron mike, curveballs.
- Short toss-Early load, slow, fast, mix, angles, counts.
- Gadgets-One hand, small balls, heavy bat, Muhl drills, mirror.
Fielding the J-Hawk Way
- Make the routine play every day and every time! Top team in the state.
- Consistency is the key to success.
- Footwork is crucial to ensuring consistency.
- Mental approach is just as important as mechanics.
- Throwing program crucial!
- Drills that build consistency and confidence.
- Right size.
- Break it in properly.
- Take care of it.
- Practice with small glove or paddle.
Ready Position/Pre-Pitch Routine
- Relaxed, focused, subtle movement with the eyes focused on the hitting zone!
- Not too high or too low.
- Subtle right, left or hop to the balls of your feet as the pitcher releases the ball.
- Glove extended out in front of the chest, relaxed. Limp wrist.
- Expect the ball every pitch.
Perfect Fielding Position
- Bend at the waist, knees and ankles.
- Back flat like table.
- Glove on the ground in front of the head, elbows flexed.
- Bare hand over the glove.
- On the balls of your feet.
- Left foot slightly in front of the right.
- Chin to the chest.
- You field with your feet!
- Left, right, left footwork with rhythm.
- Field through your left shoulder. Banana route.
- Gives you rhythm and gets your feet in proper position to throw.
- Shortens distance.
- You’re set to go in the proper direction to throw.
Glove Position on Approach
- Stays in front of the chest during the approach (routine groundball) for consistency.
- Keeps the approach under control, prevents glove flipping and gets the glove on the ground on time.
- Forces the fielder to develop good rhythm with their feet.
Funnel or Push Through
- Where the ball hits the glove is what’s important.
- Must be done correctly whatever style you teach. Plus and minus to each.
- Secure the ball when it hits the glove.
- Push through is aggressive and you can see where the ball hits the glove.
Footwork for Throwing
Inside crow hop. Right foot in front of left. Glove to the target.
Aim at something small on the 1B.
Shuffle. Make sure the back foot goes in front.
Work on double shuffle.
Great for in season. Lots of quality reps.
Use it after throwing program.
Use a flat area.
Kids learn better when you “chunk” the drills. Small portions done slowly.
Give direct specific directions.
Use small ball, glove or paddle.
The partner rolling the ball plays an important role.
- 1 hand no approach
- 2 Hand no approach
- Right/Left Left/Right
- Approach-Stick it
- Footwork for throwing
- Fast, Slow, Fast
- Slow Rollers
Add whatever you want to the drill series. Short hops, left-right breaks, dead ball drill, different arm angles, field from your knees, DP feeds and pivots, relays.
Fungo series after using the same mechanics.
The quality of your infield will in large part determine how good your infielders play.
JEFFERSON BASEBALL FIELD ENHANCEMENT
The Jefferson High School baseball field has been around for many years. It has made many improvements over the last 20 years, thanks to the parent and community support. It is in need of some major improvements currently. Last year was Coach Rodenkirk’s third year in leading the program. He has installed an all-field irrigation system and bought the old scoreboard from the Kernels, single A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Jefferson plays in one of the premier conferences in the state of Iowa. Many of the schools have built new facilities or upgraded their fields. We are the last to give it a facelift. Recently, we received a $20,000 private donation to construct a locker room attached to the home dugout. This will be a place to store equipment, conduct team meetings, and a changing area for the athletes. The other improvements we would like to do in would take place in phases listed below:
*Turf Halo Behind Home Plate
-The turf halo provides aesthetic appeal to the field and keeps us from replacing sod every year.
*New Stadium Bleachers
-Currently our bleachers have been repaired 3 times and are unsafe. These new bleachers will seat 550 fans and will have railings to be safe for all. These new bleachers are wheelchair accessible.
*New Musco Lights
-Our lights were installed in 1991 and have not been upgraded. A ball hit above the lights, you cannot see the ball and poses a safety hazard. Currently have a lot of “blind spots”
- There is a 3 foot drop behind the infield dirt all around the field that is a major safety issue to the athletes.
*Concrete Under Bleachers
-Currently our bleachers are sitting on wood 2x4’s and crushed gravel. This is making the bleachers uneven and poses a safety hazard.
We understand that this cannot happen overnight. Our goal is to reach Phase 1 and continue onto Phases 2 and 3 in the future years. Each year the baseball program does 3 separate fundraisers to help with field improvements but we need help from our alumni. Our field is one of the most unfavorable fields in the Mississippi Valley Conference. We are looking to upgrade our facility to give the fans and players something to take pride in. Our field has such great character with its location and its blue collar persona. You all were a huge part in making JHS Baseball what it is today. With your help, this vision can become a reality!
“With these improvements, our players will take pride in what they have and realize they have a 1st class facility to help them achieve goals on and off the field.”
–Coach Rodenkirk JHS Grad Class of 2002