Kurt Russell has taken over the reins of the Dragons for the 2020 Pro League, having served as an assistant coach to Pete Torpy for the past few seasons. After helping to get the Dragons to the final last year, Russell hopes to do it all over again as they face fierce competition from the Wolves, Ravens and Lions rosters.
While two teams pulled ahead for most of the 2019 program, Russell notes this year’s competition looks wide open. “I feel like every team has a legitimate chance to make a run at the top spot,” Russell said. “There is going to be an abundance of quality pitching and the biggest challenge we will face as a team is finding a way to consistently execute at the plate and put up runs against it.”
Russell is no stranger to coaching players to overcome challenges, having coached in the Baseball WA winter programs for the last eight years. He’s also had coaching stints across multiple charter programs as well as the WA State Youth Girls and 16s teams.
As Russell continues to learn and further develop his coaching skills, he looks forward to this opportunity to lead the Dragons in another fantastic season and seeing what his lineup can accomplish. “My goal is to create a team environment where each member of my team is put in a position to get the most out of this program as possible,” he said. “As good as it would be to win the program, I need to put these young men in a position that will give them the necessary preparation to make a run at getting on a state team roster this year.”
Russell thinks the Dragons have a lot to offer and should be seen as frontrunners to compete for Pro League finals glory. “We have a really strong returning crew and we were able to compliment that group with the right pieces at the draft table,” he said. “The end result is a roster that won’t see us log jammed at any one position, which should allow me to get the most out of each player by keeping them in their primary positions for as long as possible.”
The Dragons will need to keep their eyes on the ball and focus on execution at the plate, which Russell thinks will be the main key to their success. The Dragons struggled at times last year to put up runs against quality pitching, which will be another challenge as the 2020 season gets underway. “We will have a strong defensive team and we pitch deep enough to hold teams so it will all come down to our offensive production,” he said.
Pro League is designed to prepare players for state team tryouts and other exciting opportunities in their future. Even for those players not looking to compete on the national stage this season, he hopes they leave the program as better athletes with more confidence to chase their goals.
Russell thinks the program will be especially important this year after the COVID-19 pandemic halted many sports and beloved Australian pastimes. “Personally, having the opportunity to be involved in this program goes a long way towards getting some normality back in my life and I hope the same applies to other participants,” he added.
Any chance to share his love of the game is well worth it for Russell, who wants to remind players that they will always be students of the ever-evolving game. “I love sharing my experiences and knowledge with kids in the hope that I can continue to progress their development so that in turn they can continue to play and love the game for as long as possible,” he said. “We need to find a way to continue to make adjustments and move with it.”
Russell encourages his team to learn from their mistakes to get better, and he finds coaching to be fun and inspiring, especially as he works to ensure players are enjoying themselves and don’t feel on edge. “I feel this is the best environment to get the most out of people as they are relaxed and will be more inclined to go out of their comfort zones,” he said.
No matter what this year has in store, Russell will always have fond memories of previous Pro League seasons, including last year when he witnessed the progress of Caitlin Eynon. “She was going through a batting slump in the back end of the program and we were working on a couple of things to help her get through that,” he recalled. “She kept working and making adjustments and was rewarded with three hits in the Grand Final including a home run.”
Having been mentored himself, Russell acknowledges the important role coaches play in the lives of athletes. He credits Jason Hewitt, Arnie Noel, Pete Torpy and Owen Reid for their significant impact on his baseball playing and coaching career. His passion for coaching gives him a lot to look forward to in the next few months, especially some of his favorite moments like when the switch flicks and a player finally gets something they have been working so hard at.
“Baseball is a very humbling game and it teaches adversity and how to respond and overcome it,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in coaching a sport that consists of life lessons that reach far beyond the game of baseball itself. Knowing that I am having an impact on the lives of the young men and women I coach and that hopefully I’m helping to shape them into better people as well as ball players is a really rewarding experience.”
Russell and the Dragons are gearing up for the 2020 Pro League to kick off in term three.
Diamond Fitness is pleased to offer exceptional opportunities for those who want to earn their fitness certificates and pursue a possible career in fitness training.
Australian Institute of Fitness Certificates III and IV are now available through Diamond Fitness, and the Baseball WA community is invited to learn how to be a personal trainer with their certified strength coaches. Through dedicated sessions covering comprehensive course materials, aspiring fitness and group exercise instructors and personal trainers can take the next step in their careers.
Please click HERE to view the Certificate III flyer and click HERE to view the Certificate IV flyer.
To get started, please contact Dean White via phone: 0439 700 083 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baseball WA is pleased to announce that registration for the first of our Youth Girls programs for the 2020-21 season is now open.
The Pony Girls Futures (formerly known as Youth Girls Development Program) is an ideal way for female players to grow and develop their skills in an all-girl environment. It is held annually in Term 4.
Players will train once per week and play on Sunday afternoons, however during the first two weeks both the midweek and weekend sessions will be "Spring Training" for all teams combined at the Baseball Park. This will see players training as one group under the guidance of the expert coaches.
Game scores are not kept, allowing coaches to put players in positions to gain valuable experience that girls often miss out on if only playing Saturday juniors. This includes pitching, catching and key infield positions.
It also also ideal for girls currently playing or graduating from tee-ball to gain valuable skills development to prepare for Little League and the Pony Girls League.
The program is for female athletes aged 10 through 14 years old and will take place across October & November.
Program cost: $80 includes team cap and uniform top hire.
Registration is now open HERE.
The Pony Girls League will once again offer all females of League Age 13 to 16 the opportunity to play in a "league of their own." Registrations for this program will commence in late July.
All players will be able to select from a menu of available clubs who have advised BWA they are interested in fielding a girls team.
The purpose of the League is to provide teenage girls with a competitive game environment to compete, participate and develop.
The BWA registration cost will be $80 plus each club will have an additional cost, which is reflected in the drop down menu when you select your club. The BWA registration fee component shall provide you with a numbered player tee shirt and WA Women's player cap, both to be worn on game days.
Games will be played each Sunday afternoon and some midweek times - your club will advise you of training day information. Where clubs do not have sufficient players to field teams in their own right, BWA will group clubs together to create joint teams.
Training for the 2020-21 season will commence in early December.
At the completion of the League, and subject to Covid-19 restrictions, an All-Star team is selected to play in the Pony Girls Baseball World Series in July - more information on this exciting opportunity is available HERE.
Baseball WA is pleased to announce a return to play with the 2020 Think Again Little League State Championships to be held over the week of Monday, 13 July – Friday, 17 July 2020.
The Little, Intermediate and Junior League competitions will be held at Crimea Park, home of the Morley Eagles, and the Senior League competition will take place at the Baseball Park.
“With all the trials of recent times, it will be great for players to get back on the field, especially after putting in so much hard work over the past season,” Baseball WA CEO Lachlan Dale said. “While it was disappointing to postpone the events in March, it was in the best interest of the health and safety of the Baseball WA community, and we are pleased that we can get the tournaments back up and running now. Although the national and international pathways were cancelled this year, we felt it was important to offer this standalone competition to remind us all why we love the game.”
Baseball WA would like to thank the committee members and volunteers at Morley Eagles Baseball Club for stepping up to host these events despite the challenges of a global pandemic and organizing a summer sport in the winter.
Baseball WA would also like to thank the charters for their cooperation over the last few months, as well as wish all teams and participants the best of luck in the upcoming tournament.
Baseball WA is pleased to announce the launch of a pilot program for 2020 involving the establishment of an interschool baseball competition.
The pilot program will involve 16 schools, eight primary (years 5/6) and eight secondary (years 7/8), in a one-day event using our MP70 (machine pitch) baseball format.
The one-day event will be held in Term 4.
Once the pilot program has been completed, plans will be developed to expand both competitions and grow the number of competing schools annually.
Full details, including how to register your school, are contained on the Baseball WA website HERE.
There are already a number of schools that have registered and once the 16 places have been filled, no further registrations for 2020 will be accepted. All positions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
For further information, please refer to the website information or email email@example.com.
Baseball Western Australia
Corner Nicholson and Wilfred Roads, Thornlie WA 6108
PO Box 1489, Canning Vale DC WA 6970
Phone: 1300 557 353