Spring Training Wrap Up
Spring Training 2023 is in the books and it was a good one! Five Ontario Blue Jays teams went to IMG Academy for ST. The players showed exactly what we expected: Talent, Passion, Willingness to learn, and a very high compete level. We asked our head coaches various questions about their week in Florida, and here’s what they had to say.
Q: "Does Spring Training put a little fire in the players/coaches to get back on the field? And is it hard coming back indoors after it's done?”
A: Head Coach 16U - Shawn Schaefer, “Being able to be on a field everyday to practice and play especially at a place like IMG with first class facilities definitely gets all the coaches and players excited for a new season.
We can see the progress from the off-season work put in the weight room along with the work done on offence and defense. From a playing standpoint, this was the most prepared we have been before heading down to IMG and that showed with the success we had on the field.
Knowing the season is just over a month away keeps everyone focused and excited, even though we have to move back indoors to get ready for competition when we start our season in May. Being able to have live at bats in our facility really helped get game ready, and that will continue leading up to our exhibition and regular season schedule. Having a few weekends of exhibition games in April helps fill that void before the season officially starts.
Q: “What is it like getting to be on the field for the first time in months?"
A: Head Coach 14U Red - Brandon Dhue, “It’s one of my favourite times of the year.
Especially when you get a chance to be on some of the nicest fields and facilities. So much energy, the thrill of putting a uniform on again, getting to see where the athletes are at this stage of our year. Seeing how we stack up with our competition and what we need to work on.”
Q: "What are your overall takeaways from this year's Spring Training?"
A: Head Coach 15U - Francis Cubos, “We still have a lot to work on, but spring training gives me an idea of where these players are at from a development and team standpoint. Some need to go back to the drawing board and fix things. Some just need minor tweaks, and some saw success with their hard work and attention to detail. Most need to understand that spring training can be used as a gauge of a player's development and what they could bring to the table... Oh, and we will be damn good should everything come together.”
Q: "How does OBJ Spring Training benefit the players?"
A: 14U White Head Coach - Donny Fell, “The experience benefits the player tremendously. Not only are their on-field skills developed, but so are their off-field skills. Responsibilities for time management, laundry, expenses, living with others... I watched these young men mature a little bit more, right in front of me this week.”
Q: "What aspects of the game do you focus on most during Spring Training?"
A: Collegiate Head Coach - Conner Morro, “During ST the main focus for me is getting all of our players on field reps both in game, and at practice. This is very valuable for us as a team from Canada, as we are inside for half the year. The value of both in game & practice reps outside, on a field can not be overlooked.”
Safe to say it was an amazing trip to IMG Academy again. The Ontario Blue Jays are excited for this season to begin and to see what our players have in the tank. For now we wait anxiously to start the season and look forward to providing updates for you! Thank you IMG for another great Spring Training, we can't wait for next year.