Program Building

Program Building:  Through Sub-varsity Teams


......on their varsity program while tending to neglect their sub-varsity program.  Considering behind every successful varsity baseball program lays a successful sub-varsity program, I have never quite understood this reasoning.  It has often been said winning breeds winning, and in many cases this is true.  However, while winning should be the priority of your varsity team, it should not be the priority of your sub-varsity program.  Winning will take care of itself at the varsity level when teaching the basic fundamentals of baseball finds priority in your sub-varsity program. 


Your sub-varsity program should be learning EXACTLY the same things as your varsity program; thus adhering to the same philosophies and principles in both.  Our program believes in “small ball” at the plate.  Players are taught to bunt when called upon, handle the bat in a hit and run situations, and most importantly move base runners.  They are also taught to hit behind runners and understand the ins and outs of situational hitting.  When players fail to meet these standards consequences must be in place to reinforce our team’s basic fundamentals.   It is imperative these fundamentals are learned at the sub-varsity level before a player can move to varsity level.


 Like a football program, we are lucky to have coaches for every position:  catching, infield, outfield, and pitching.  This way each coach pushes all players just as hard as the next regardless of what team they play on.  Not only does this help hone player’s skills, but they know exactly what is expected of them day in and day out.   


Defense is one of the main fundamentals we focus on in our sub-varsity program.  Players must know where to be at all times in any given situation:  during every cut-off, bunt coverage, run downs, and all possible 1st and 3rd situations.  The goal is for these fundamentals to become second nature by the time players reach the varsity level. 


As any coach that plays us in the Houston area can attest, our program is known for stealing and attacking bases, and we believe this to be one of the things separating our program from the rest.  We demand our players to attack the bases like it is the seventh game of the World Series.  When they fail to meet our expectations on the sub-varsity level, we pull them and set them on the bench.  Jogging down the baseline and not “getting it” from base to base are ways our players find themselves immediately pulled from a game.   


The recipe for a successful varsity program is quite simple:  coaches need to teach players at all levels, fundamentals need to be taught at all levels, and immediate consequence need to be given when players do not perform according to your program’s standards.  It’s the little things that will make your program stronger and more successful so do not push your younger teams to the side.  Winning will take care of itself in the end when your players know how to play the game correctly!

John Cobb
Lufkin High School
Lufkin, Texas