As the bulk of our Fall schedule comes to a close this Halloween weekend, we will begin to transition into our indoor training.
I sent a bunch of talking points out to our coaches this week, so ensure you get with them on how things look and apply to your own individual teams.
Here are some things to update you on:
The Den survived the Nor’easter!
Fall Schedule: Overall a major success. 12/14U have one more week and 16U has two more November events. We got two championships in the Jefferson League (8u and 12u W) and our 18’s played very well. 12uBl won Scarsdale. 10’s came a long way. We also had 4 college commits and are expecting 2 more soon. That’s probably our greatest success.
Fields: We had more teams and more field in use this year than ever before. Considering we lost all facility use, what we accomplished this fall in terms of field access was not easy and quite remarkable. Field permits are at an all time height of difficulty and will continue to get worse and more expensive. The 2022/23 budget will have to account for that and as always, we ask for any and all introductions and referrals to keep this cost down. Some fields are asking for $275 per practice. Norwood really stepped up to help us in our time of need and Wyckoff gives us what I consider a very fair deal, I do not expect us to retain Park Ridge in the Spring or in the future unless Nick F can assist (no pressure brother Nick). Hogan should be able to be retained with Mrs. Kirch on the board, and hopefully expanded (no pressure either Sarah).
Facility: I expect the Den to be in full operational use by this weekend. We have some punch list items to check off and the bathroom is not yet done (it was gutted as of 10/20). I do not want any type of team access in there until 11/1. We hope to continue outdoors as much as possible and the weather cooperates. Some fields may need to be moved but we will try and accommodate everyone. This is a week to week thing and many towns change their schedule in November.
- Can teams request additional facility time? Yes, but do not assume it is open. Between private lessons, pods, rentals, etc.…, clear its availability first.
- Can our pitchers come early to throw? CBC. Team times are your times. We may be doing lessons or clinics right up until your practice time. Check in weekly to see what is available.
- Can we swap a time? If one coach wants to swap out for another one week, feel free to do so.
- What if we are cancelling our practice? Up to each team and coach…but I must be notified. If the facility is open, we can find a use for it. We can get another coach to cover. If I get a call to ask about practices being cancelled, I need to be in the know.
- If a player cannot make a practice due to a conflict, they can ask to practice with a similar level team (ie. a 12U player with 12U,14U or even 16U; 10u with 12u, 16u with 14u or 18u and so on). These need to be arranged with your coaches.
- Parents have asked me in the past about having access for private workouts on demand. If anyone is interested in that, I will consider based on availability. The cost will be a donation to my scholarship fund at $60 per hour. Member only & payable upon use (I offered this same deal to a family last year…used it several times, never made the donation and left the organization this year).
- Facility Team Rental: Yes, it is available for rental to non Viper teams. This is the friends and family plan. Contact me for details & pricing. example, if a ton travel team wants to schedule some indoor workouts, we can likely accommodate you.
Clinics: I will be scheduling these over the next few weeks. I’ll pick some topics and get them on the schedule. Will include catcher’s clinic sessions over several weeks. We have already started to schedule a series of hitting sessions for 10u
November/ Winter Schedules: We are going to revert more to our historical practice schedules this year. Those who have been around will see what I am talking about and those who have not been, here is what I mean.
- each team gets its own time during the week. These are intended to be mostly defensive practices. Teams are free to do whatever workouts they want, but my strong suggestion is to focus on defense.
- I am working out the indoor hitting times or the weekends. As I urge defense during the week, i urge hitting, exclusively on the weekends. Allows teams to focus on what I will be advising them to focus on…it is not a grip and rip session. These are very specific sessions that need to be drilled over and over again.
Here is a list of the indoor den times.
Weekend times to follow
Winter Shut Down Time: I am a big believer in down time. Give the kids an opportunity to rest. I’ve worked all different approaches here during my coaching and here is the best option, in my opinion:
- Go weekly slots until 11/21.
- Go every other week or once per week between November & December. Not a complete shutdown but go casual
- Some teams will stay on schedule…up to them. AVOID BURNOUT AND REST YOUR BODIES! We start up hard with no looking back on 1/3.
WestRock: Once again this year I have contracted with WestRock Indoor Club for indoor training. I increased our access to 16 weeks this year (from 12). Just so you know, when I say during our tryouts and previews that we like to deliver “+1” and invest back into the kids…this is an example of that. I do not represent or warrant this facility or its access in any offer letters, nor is it factored into the price point. This is all added value to our membership.
- What dates do we have: 12/6-3/28 (except 12/20 & 12/27).
- What times do we have? 6-8pm. We will schedule two teams for one hour each week.
- What does that mean for our regular practice? This is an additional practice. If you plan to use this as your weekly practice that week, you need to tell me so we can re-assign your time.
- What if my team cannot make a week? Since we are paying for each week and session, having this space go unused is unacceptable. It is the coach’s responsibility to ensure your team is attending and if not, let me know ASAP so I can offer to another team or schedule a clinic.
- Who gets this when? It will be assigned per team…HS ages will only use through 2/28. March times will be all for 8U-14U
- 10U: we will need to work in some extra dates for you when you go and use the WestRock facility. We will work that through your coaches.
- 10U: Fastpitch Nation Indoor March
- 12U Black: 12/30, TBA
- 12u White: 12/27-28 Danbury
- 14U: Presidents Day Danbury
- 16-18UP: Will participate in the Danbury HS Winter League. We will rotate game assignments and all three HS level rosters will backfill if additional players needed. Pitchers will get their reps
Spring Tournaments: We are being asked already about spring and summer tournaments. Fall seasons are not over and 99.9% have not posted and will not post for another 30-45 days. This is a fluid item and will start to populate in November and finish around February. As of now, the only tournaments booked are 12U Bl, 12U W and 14U in the JF Invitational on 4/23-24. I sent a mock showcase schedule out to our 18U coaches yesterday who signed off.
- Since many of our coaches and parents are integrated into town travel teams,…I cannot overstate the importance of communicating with the town travel teams about your schedule. If you are playing somewhere, say the weekend of the Ramsey tournament on or about 7/9-10, your town team should not be counting on you to play there if you have a Viper tournament.
- We will avoid scheduling the 10/12U teams during the Midland Park (+/- 6/11-12) and Wyckoff (+/- 6/25-26) tournaments. If you get any insight as to when they finalize their dates, let me know so we can avoid these ugly conflicts. Any other conflict between a town travel and Vipers team, we expect our players to go to Vipers as agreed to in our registration agreement.
- 18’s will definitely attend Northern Exposure, NE Finest and TNT. Will look to put 16s in Northern Exposure too. I will get with LG this week
Spring Practices: I share this as well in ALL my tryout and expectations talks and it bears repeating. Do not expect much practice or field time in the spring due to Rec taking over all fields. Typically, since our teams are made up of multiple grades from multiple towns, trying to coordinate indoor weekly events is near impossible (since all fields are taken by Rec departments). When I coached the levels that had rec and middle school, I became a weekend only tournament team due to conflicts with a rare exception if I could fit it in and had the need.
- HS will practice up until 3/3/22. All younger regular practices may be re-assigned or moved from 2/28-3/3 to account for our HS kids getting ready for tryouts. This is a viper tradition. We do not see our HS kids again until June.
- Easter is Sunday, 4/17. That means rec likely does not start until the week before or after. As stated, once rec starts, your times to practice diminish greatly. AVOID BURNOUT
- 12/14U: You will have kids playing both middle school and/ or Rec. WATCH BURNOUT. Use your common sense.
When you consider all the above…that is why we rely on our winter workouts and winter tournaments to roll out ready for spring.
Batting Gloves/ Headbands: Have all been distributed except for 18U Black I believe. Will get to SO & SS ASAP
Blast Motion: Done. All disseminated. Link here for instructions
Website Pages: I asked our coaches to do an audit of their team web page. Let me know of any changes (not schedule related). If I have not been provided pictures of players, and team pictures, this is a reminder to do so.
Sports Recruits: All HS players have been uploaded since early September. Many have yet to even log in. Lets get on that. Best decision we ever made in this organization! Maybe the second best, but if it is not #1, it is #1A.
Fundraising: The 12s have done a remarkable job fundraising to play in additional tournaments. We will do our annual Super Bowl pool this year that benefits the entire organization, but I think we may have some more new ideas to introduce throughout the organization. We typically do not do these extra fundraisers but some folks had some really cool ideas and they are way beyond buying popcorn, wrapping paper or candles.
- We are extremely fortunate for the work and effort with the facility breakdown and re-surface from Matt Alberti and Mark Plescia. Mike Candullo, Gregg Schanck, Laura Germano, Mrs. Germano, Lindsey Germano, Raegen Germano, Olivia Cataldo and Vin Molina all chipped in too. We received private financial donations from 3 families to assist us with our down time and rebuild and we are so grateful for that.
- Viper Legends Collection: ETA is +/- 12/1. That will be delivery to me, so figure we will disseminate throughout the following week
Hope this gives you some insight on how things work and all the moving parts.
As always, please reach out with any questions, suggestions, or anything else on your mind