Championship Coach’s Corner
with Coach Scott Belger
Another installment of Championship Coach’s Corner. Before we dive into the interview I wanted to personally say thank you to all the coaches who purchased my newest product: Lessons in Leadership and have made its release a huge success. I know you will find it useful in building a program of leaders on and off the field.
I have known Coach Scott Belger for a very long time. He has been the coach at Southeast Polk since I started teaching there. He has always been a student of the game and a believer in the mental game. It was great to see his team do so well this past summer. They played amazing baseball down the stretch. I was in attendance at their championship game, they were ready from the first at-bat of the game! Read how.
What is your baseball/softball background? Resume? Talk about your program.
Varsity Baseball Coach
Southeast Polk Community School District, Pleasant Hill, Iowa 2007 – present
- Achieved 477 career wins
- State Championship (2014)
- State Tournament Appearances (2008, 2011, 2014)
- District Coach of the Year (2008)
- CIML Metro Coach of the Year (2008)
Hoover High School, Des Moines, Iowa 2003 – 2007
- CIML Metro Coach of the Year (2003)
- CIML Conference Champions (2003)
Adel-Desoto-Minburn, Adel, Iowa 2000 – 2002
- Coached in IHSBCA All-Star Series
Savannah High School, Savannah, Missouri 1995 – 2000
The SEP Baseball program typically has 80-85 players each year…..9th grade team, 10th grade team, JV team, and a Varsity team. Our main feeder programs are: The Rams Baseball Club and The Altoona Baseball League. Combined, the 2 leagues provide opportunities for at least 500 Baseball players.
What are some of the biggest factors in your success last year?
Senior Leadership played a big role
The players had a genuine care for one another
The players weren’t afraid of the game
Pitching and Defense proved big at the most important time of the year!
What role has the mental game played in your success? How have you implemented the mental game in your program?
The players really bought into the mental game – performance routines, quality at-bats v. getting hits, controlling what the players can control, black/gold line concept, “flush it” – toilet in the dugout, staying process oriented, each player had a bat ring that they used with their hitting routines (I will get you one…) – there is a ton of stuff here….almost too much to type
How have you created a program of excellence? What advice can you give to others about making those strides from good to great?
You NEED good assistant coaches
Trust your assistants…give them ownership and responsibility
Get involved in the youth program
Have productive, game-like practices
Wear practice uniforms
Establish a few core covenants and build your program around them
Don’t get hung up on wins/loses….stay process oriented
Measure things you stress with your players……
Reward your players for process related concepts – quality at-bats, practice player of the game, best teammate award,…..
Here are my goals for the program as a whole…. I make them public at my parent mtg….
GOAL: A Develop Players
- Follow Baseball Curriculum
- Be a teacher of the Game (Process over Outcome)
- Provide Opportunities to Get Better
GOAL: B Demonstrate Sportsmanship
- Use Good Body Language
- Control what you can Control
- Respect Umpires, our Opponents, and the Game
GOAL: C Have a Well Respected Program
- Continue to Lead the Rams Baseball Club
- Put a Good Product on the Field
- Seek Professional Development Opportunities
What are the things you love most about coaching? What keeps you motivated?
The relationships with players, parents, and the community are the things that I love the most. Also, I love to teach the game of life through the game of Baseball……
The fact that I am a competitor keeps me motivated to find new techniques and strategies to keep a top level program at the top of their game year in and year out…
What is your favorite practice technique, drill, or game that you use at your practice that others can use right now within their program?
One of the most beneficial things we do when we do coach-pitched BP is called “Lightning Round”. This stresses situational hitting rather than just taking pointless swings on the field during BP….
1st Round = Hit & Run
2nd Round = Runner at 1st or 1st & 2nd, hitter must hit behind the runner and advance the runner – hitter must look for a pitch that will allow him to hit a groundball to the right side!
3rd Round = Infield is “IN”…..Runner is at 3rd….Hitter must look for a pitch that will allow him to hit a ball in the air to the outfield to score the run
4th Round – Infield is “Back”….Runner is at 3rd…Hitter must look for a pitch that will allow him to hit a groundball to score the run
The name of the game is executing here and not necessarily getting a hit! None of the rounds in the lightning round call for the hitter to get a base hit. It emphasizes the hitter looking for certain pitches in certain situations to execute with runners on base. In some of our biggest innings this year, we scored runs with no hits. This drill also promotes and relies on a player’s willingness to be unselfish and help the team in any way they can. Our guys got to the point in a game where they would yell from the dugout “lightning round” indicating to the hitter the importance of executing during his at bat!
Thank you Coach Belger for the interview and for helping others out there who are striving to be in your shoes one day. You have certainly created a program of excellence and one of the best in the state of Iowa. Congratulations on your success.
If you are looking to contact Coach Belger he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org