Pitching, catching, defense, practice organization, hitting and base running are just some of the topics at this year’s Winning Team Baseball Coaches Clinic Saturday in Delaware County.

High school and youth amateur baseball coaches will receive useful information to benefit their programs from successful local and collegiate professional coaches.

As part of an overall effort to provide quality programs for urban players and teams with a focus and foundation on African Americans, the Winning Team Group is working with the Metropolitan Junior Baseball League (MJBL).

MJBL is a 46-year-old non-profit organization established during the days of segregation when there were very limited opportunities for African-American youngsters to play baseball.

MJBL provides baseball, educational and cultural enrichment opportunities to primarily African-American youth across the country with teams in twenty states, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

Both programs work together to enhance the quality and provide resources for urban baseball for African Americans and Latinos.

“I was a coach for 20 years, and one of the reasons why I started this clinic was because I would go to numerous clinics inside and outside of the Philadelphia area and I would barely see a handful of people who looked like me,” said Paul Johnson, president of the Winning Team Group and the Delaware and Pennsylvania State Commissioner for MJBL. “I wanted to provide a program that was geographically and economically accessible. When I first got into coaching it was because I had a passion for the game.

“I wanted to do something positive for the city and for my neighborhood,” he added. “As I continued to coach, I wanted to become a better coach as far as the knowledge and strategic aspects of the game. I knew I needed that additional educational information that went well beyond my playing experience. This clinic will offer that educational experience beyond playing experience for the coaches and players.”

Established in 2010, the clinic will feature a community service component, discuss coaching ethics and sports culture and gauge coaches for youth athlete protection needs. This is the first year since its inception that the clinic will also be for players.

Some of the speakers at the clinic include Robert McCreary, former Minor League Player/Collegiate Coach, Mike Larosa of Widener University, Lou Lombardo of Montgomery County Community College, Matt Midkiff of Eastern University, Juan Ranero of Rowan University, Bob Spratt of Chestnut Hill College and Doug Thompson of Williamson Trade.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to speak at the Winning Team Clinic,” said Joe Pavlow, head baseball coach, PSU Abington and Winning Team Coaches Clinic speaker. “I always enjoy talking and working with coaches of all levels who share my passion for teaching and learning about our wonderful game. The common thread in all great coaches is that they are constantly looking to grow their base of knowledge, and constantly striving to improve. Clinics like this are excellent opportunities to get drills, ideas, and strategies to bring back and try with your team.”

The clinic will also provide a segment to discuss recent concerns about coaching ethics and behavior. The segment will address how coaches need to coach in a 21st-century sports culture.

“This should be a spirited discussion, given the attention to coaching behavior in the media within the past few months,” Johnson said. “The Winning Team Group hopes to gauge the interest of coaches to have access to and provide background checks and train for youth player safety. There have been a lot of stories in the news where players were in danger while under the trusting guidance of the coach.

“It’s important for coaches to go above and beyond not just with the tactical knowledge of the game, but to also look out for the best interest of their players. That could mean not screaming at a player all the time or knowing a little more knowledge of the game. Not using your player as a pawn to win the game, but thinking of the overall best interest of the player. Coaches can have an impact on players’ lives.”

Registration for the clinic will be $35 for coaches. Players can register via mail for $10 and online for $15.

The late registration fee for the players will be $20. The clinic was originally going to be held at the Science and Discovery School in Chester, but due to the financial distress in the Chester Upland School District, the location of the clinic had to be changed.

As of Tribune press time, the current location for the clinic is still undetermined.

For more information on the clinic, call (215) 990-3188 or visit: thewinningteamgroup.com.

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