This weekend, more than 500 amateur baseball coaches from across Canada took part in the third annual Blue Jays Baseball Academy National Coaching Clinic at Rogers Centre. Blue Jays alumni, Minor League coaches, and first-base coach Tim Leiper acted as instructors. Former Canadian national team members Adam Stern and Chris Robinson were also on hand to assist with the clinic.
Participants attended sessions that included information on hitting, infield, outfield, pitching, baserunning, and other baseball fundamentals.
"We do so many clinics during the summer across Canada for the kids, so it's really nice to be able to do something for the coaches," said former Blue Jays pitcher Duane Ward. "The objective of this clinic is for the coaches to take away some things that they can then apply to their local associations. You would be surprised how some small adjustments can really help out at the youth level. We really want to help give back to the development of Canadian baseball, so doing something like this is very important to us."
"Working with the younger kids is always fun, but when you have a chance to help teach the teachers, that's where you can really have an impact," said former infielder Homer Bush. "Baseball continues to grow in Canada; I have seen a huge improvement since the time I was playing here. This isn't just a hockey country anymore.
"I was very impressed last night at the Baseball Canada Awards Banquet. There has been so much talent coming out of this country lately, it's nice to see."
"There has been a lot of quality information from the Blue Jays instructors over the weekend. There are a bunch of little things that we can now take back to our teams that will really benefit our players," said Marcus Litman from Brantford Minor Baseball. "A clinic like this really helps reinforce the fundamentals. It has taught me to be a little more hands-off as a coach, and to watch and listen more. Ultimately, I think it will make me a better coach."
"The whole weekend has been awesome," said Sean Rogers from Cambridge Minor Baseball. "Everything from the social to the kids clinic to the coaches clinic, it's just been a great weekend. There are a lot of drills that we can now take back and apply to our practices. A lot of times you are doing the same drills year after year, so when you get some new content, it's always a great thing."
The clinic was run in partnership with Baseball Canada. Participants attending had the opportunity to complete National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) certification modules that will only further enhance their coaching skills.