ABCA Clinic Recaps - Andy Lopez


Liam Carroll

Yesterday we published my report from the ABCA Convention, held earlier this month in Chicago.  Starting today I will post recaps of each of the coaching clinics I attended.

The first speaker at the convention is the head coach of the previous year's NCAA Division 1 national champion.  I was familiar with Coach Lopez and the University of Arizona for two main reasons.  When I was at UNLV we played the Wildcats every year; they were always very tough, disciplined opponents.  The second is that when I first started coaching, former GB coach and mentor to many Paul Vernon lent me Lopez' book Coaching Baseball Successfully.  Published in 1996, it's still a worthwhile addition to a coach's library.

Building a Championship Programme
Andy Lopez – Head Coach, University of Arizona

Clinic Topics

1. First impression “blues”
2. Plan it out
3. Confused or executed plan?
4. Discipline and patience
5. Honesty
6. Contributor or obstacle?
7. Games, Games, Games
8. Deal with “fate”

Andy Lopez is a highly successful coach, winning national championships decades apart in 1992 and 2012.  Now the head coach of a perennial power with great facilities, Coach Lopez worked his way to the top from humble beginnings.  At one of his first stops, his car was used to drag the infield.  Driving home he would know who had dragged from the station left on the car radio.  Thieves once stole every home plate on his field, bullpens included.  He said that he was “in the fire” but going through that time was part of his destiny and enabled him to grow as a coach and person.  Lopez said that “seeking sympathy will kill you” and that coaches should get over any first impression “blues” they have about their team or programme.

Lopez’ approach is extremely detail-oriented.  He makes yearly, monthly, weekly and daily plans which are posted for his players to see, particularly on a daily and weekly basis.  He follows a process of Explain, Demonstrate, Correct and Repeat to coach his players, using a questioning style to ensure that players learn skills and develop their approach to situations.  He expects them to have a plan for every repetition, resulting in high levels of execution.  He is demanding in not allowing for carelessness, recording every mistake that he sees and using his coaching process to correct them.  He is encouraging by recognising effort, saying that players “want to do it right, but they’ll walk if you let them.”

Coach Lopez believes that his job is to make his players tougher, prepare them to win and enable them to be problem solvers, saying that “if they haven’t learned, it’s your fault.”

My Most Important Thing

Coach Lopez, winner of over 1,000 games, talked of there being “dark places” in coaching and by being committed to continuous learning he is “flipping switches everyday.”

On Deck - Matt Senk.


tagged under: coaching, facilities

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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