BSUK Academy’s Conner Brown returns from MLB Elite Camp
Thu 25 Aug 2016
Conner Brown, an 18-year-old Great Britain Baseball catcher, recently spent three weeks at the Armin Wolf Arena in Regensburg, Germany receiving instruction from, among others, Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and World Series winner Steve Finley as part of Major League Baseball’s annual Elite Camp.
Conner plays club baseball for the Herts Falcons as well as being a member of BaseballSoftballUK’s High Performance Academy. He is the most recent British player to have been selected to the MLB European Elite Camp following Michael Trask and Richard Klijn in 2008, Jordan Edmonds in 2012 and 2013 and most recently Johnny Fretheim in 2014.
Although he has only been playing baseball for the past six years, leaving football to join the Essex Redbacks when he was 12 before transitioning to Herts Baseball Club, Conner has progressed rapidly up the talent pathway. His most recent success came earlier this summer as a key player on the Great Britain U18 Baseball team that made history at the European Championship by finishing eighth and becoming the first GB U18 team to remain in the European Championship group.
Conner Brown (centre) with Hall of Famer Barry Larkin (left) and World Series winner Steve Finley (right)
The Major League Baseball Elite Camp is an annual three-week training programme for the best 50 players in Europe aged 16-19. During the camp, the players played a number of games and received expert instruction from MLB coaches including Barry Larkin, Steve Finley, Greg Swindell, Dave Bush, Stephen Larkin and others, including Great Britain Baseball’s very own Zach Graefser.
Conner said: “As this was my first time at the Camp I wasn't sure what to expect. We started in the classroom learning about the mental aspects of baseball, which to me was the same as what Brian Cain taught us. After this there was plenty of strength and conditioning and work on individual and team defense as well as games.
“I have learnt so much from this opportunity,” Conner added, “especially having coaches such as Steve Finley and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin guiding me to become a better player. They have helped to refine the fundamentals and build up my confidence in the sport.”
The MLB Elite Camp was hel at Armin Wolf Arena in Regensburg, Germany
As part of Major League Baseball’s ongoing efforts to develop and grow the game of baseball in Europe, a pilot of their Coach Development Programme was run during last week of the Elite Camp. The Coach Development Programme is an intensive six-day course (condensed to four days in Europe) consisting of both classroom and field work.
BaseballSoftballUK sent GB Baseball Coach Bryan Tavares and National Development Manager Will Lintern to attend the Coach Development Programme and observe the Elite Camp.
Will Lintern said: “The Coach Development Programme is fantastic for developing coaches. It really focuses on the fundamentals of both instruction and fault correction as well as planning practices, and I hope we can find a way to implement it into some of our own Coach Education programmes here in the UK.”
Conner Brown (left) with BSUK Academy Director and National Development Manager Will Lintern
This was the first year that Major League Baseball began bringing in younger players to the Elite Camp, with 30 players aged 12-15 joining the Camp for the final week. Major League Baseball’s goal is to identify players in Europe who have the potential to play college or university-level baseball in the United States or even sign a professional contract at a young age.
Once identified, those players can then receive the support and coaching needed in their home countries from programmes such as BSUK’s High Performance Academy.
Alternatively, you can attend the High Performance Academy tryouts for baseball at Farnham Park on the weekend of 8-9 October.