We’re back! Coach Vincent had a ton of wonderful things to say about baseball, effort, and improvement, so we’ll keep our introduction to a minimum this week. As always, try to take some of the wisdom and suggestions from Coach Vincent going forward — it doesn’t matter if you’re a coach, parent, or athlete, there’s something you can learn in every scenario. Without further ado — enjoy our interview and send him a message if you live in Ohio!
CoachUp: Hey, Vincent! Tell us about yourself and your experience with Baseball.
Vincent Licursi: As a young person, the baseball field was always the place where I felt most at home and it still is today. Some things never change. I was a shy kid, but baseball helped me gain confidence because I saw the effect that a small amount of talent, luck, and some hard work had on my ability to play the game. I was able to play All-Conference at the D-II level in college and have a lot of great memories and lessons from my time on the mound. I was able to learn some great things about work ethic and perseverance. My perspective of the game has changed a lot since my playing days. I feel very fortunate to be the #1 rated baseball instructor in Ohio on CoachUp and #9 nationally! My goal is to become #1 in the US, and then hopefully CoachUp will have a global ranking available that I can go after. Most importantly, I am grateful to have the opportunity to help coach kids make their dreams come true to play in college or even higher. I have coached very young players with disabilities and ones that had never played the game before. Some of the kids I coach are by far better than I was at their age.
CU: What is your coaching style or philosophy?
VL: As a player, baseball was mainly about competition, and a dream to play professionally. Something I push kids today, as a coach, is to aim really high. Even if you miss, you’ll probably end up pretty darn good! I let these ball players know – they have no idea how good they can be. Their potential is incredible! I also let them know that it really does take hard work and that nothing just happens. As a coach, the main goal is to shape athlete’s futures in a positive way and now I am literally living my dream! Regardless of whether it is as a baseball player or not, we have the opportunity as coaches to build strong habits like confidence, work ethic, and determination in young people; which they can use the rest of their lives. Confidence helps with the need to fully commit to the correct form needed to execute baseball skills. Whether it be hitting, pitching, fielding, whatever; putting the athlete in the best position to do those things will result in the highest rate of effectiveness. That is the goal. And, that is what private coaching can provide athletes. A path to consistent results based on fundamentals, evaluation, and repetition. We always strive for making the most out of each session. Having a sense of urgency and motivation to get better today, tomorrow, and the next day – constantly pushing yourself. To be realistic and stay within yourself.
CU: What can a client expect from private lessons with you?
VL: A well-rounded, structured session with progressive goals and take home workout guides including arm care, agility, power, core, drills, and routines. Each baseball lesson includes a dynamic warm up, drills, instruction, advanced workout, and proper cool down. I emphasize energy and effort as well as confidence and positivity. These are characteristics that will help anyone at anything!
CU: Can you describe any big or little “wins” that you’ve had with the athletes that you train?
VL: I was able to help an autistic 5 year-old learn the fundamentals. He had been having difficulty learning in a team setting so his caring mother thought an individual session might help. The child is having more trouble and was in the hospital. It was extremely rewarding but then pretty hard knowing they can’t do what they love and even what many of us take for granted. Another victory was with a 13 year-old who had never played baseball until this season. The righty clearly had potential after the first session — loose, quick, and powerful arm. He fixed his stride and follow through in two months. If he commits to his current wind-up, pitching in college is a definite possibility. Young players like this have a ton of potential if they have a good foundation of fundamentals established.
CU: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a coach?
VL: Being a good listener is so important. By being a better listener, I have been able to transform my style from very structured to a synergistic, free-flowing collaboration session and discussion which ultimately helps guide the athlete to a place of mechanic/form mastery, confidence, and situational advantage. I was always able to get results from my lessons, but they have been improved immensely.
CU: Do you have any specialties within the sport that you coach?
VL: I can make the most progress with athletes on pitching, hitting, and fielding. This includes skill development like arm strength, speed, power, and also includes situational know-how and strategy. Overall, one of the main goals is to help the player become a better athlete which in turn helps achieve better results at each specific position. I address every skill set because each improves makes the player more valuable to the team. That’s the goal ultimately, to help the athlete play at a high level and experience what a lot of kids dream about. And, being good is fun. Each part of baseball is a little different, and some the same which is one of the reasons why this sport is so great.
CU: What’s the most important advice you give to your athletes?
VL: It takes time to be great and you don’t always start out great. There will be times when you need to evaluate yourself and be honest. At that point make a change if you need to or stick with the plan you had already set forth. But, at very least have a plan. Being good doesn’t just happen – it takes work, dedication, confidence, resources. Have a long term approach with goals. You will reach them!
How do you recommend athletes train in between sessions? During off-season?
CU: I value in between session training as important as lessons with professionals. Those times are used to practice and reinforce the information and feedback given by the coach. My approach is to hit all angles of training principles – position specific skills, strength and conditioning, speed and agility, drills, live sets, fundamentals, dynamic flexibility, sound nutrition, warm up, and recovery — I value all of those aspects equally. My athletes are provided with resources that explain routines for at home training, in between session work. Weight room guides make the player enabled to succeed. Technique is broken down and provided to students and their parents in easy to understand graphics of professional level players executing skills correctly. Once again, thanks to Coach Vincent for taking some time out of your day to truly answer these messages thoroughly. There’s tons of great stuff here, so we challenge you to learn and grow from these type of opportunities. Are you being the best player you can be? What extra steps can you take? Are you satisfied with where you’re at? As Coach Vincent says, you don’t magically get good, you have to work really hard at it. So what are you waiting for?