Looking for more information about Benson baseball? Contact Head Coach Thomas Sibbitt today! thomas.sibbitt(at)ops.org and follow on X – @OBHS_Sports!
What is your team outlook for 2024?
We are still developing our program. Looking to field a freshman reserve team and focus on recruiting and fundamentals.
Players to watch in 2024?
How long have you been coaching high school baseball?
What inspired you to become a high school baseball coach?
Love of the game and inspired to teaching new players
What is your coaching philosophy when it comes to developing high school baseball players?
Social and emotional skill building is as important as building ball playing skills. We are strictly a positive feeback coaching staff, invested in the growth mindset.
Can you share some key principles you instill in your players regarding sportsmanship?
Never talk to the opposing pitcher. Always pick up your teammates after an error. Talk to each other positively. Do not chirp at the other team.
What is your approach to balancing academics and athletics for your players?
We started academic tutoring early this year, in hopes of avoiding loosing so much practice time to tutoring. We have a coach dedicated to academic tutoring and we have to make that the first priority for our players.
How do you address the varying skill levels and experience within the team?
We not only have players who have never played, we have players who have never seen or touched a baseball. We have been working with Benson Little League with summer camps to begin to develop the skills of children around our neighborhood. There are 4-6 players in our program who have prior baseball experience. That being said, there is tremendous talent in our program. Creating Summer and Fall opportunities for our new players is very important for their growth.
Can you describe your strategy for preparing the team for important games or tournaments?
We have not experienced a high level of play yet. However, I believe we work hard on the easy days so we are ready for the tough ones.
How do you encourage players to set and work towards both individual and team goals?
Goal setting is very important, especially since we are behind the skill curve in our conference. Our goals our improvement oriented around the fundamentals.
What emphasis do you place on mental preparation?
Breathing and being in the moment.
What role do statistics and analytics play in your coaching decisions?
We are currently more character focused than data focused. I’d love to integrate the two.
How do you manage playing time and ensure fair opportunities for all team members?
Everyone on our program plays. We spread our players across our different levels of play to give them as many opportunities as possible.
What role do leadership and captaincy play within your team, and how are leaders selected?
Our players vote for our captains. We are developing leadership fundamentals similarly to baseball skills. We are still very basic in this area. Showing up every day. Hallway behavior etc.
What resources or facilities are available to the baseball team for practice and games?
We have a city dirt infield for practice, with no drainage and no bases. This is a problem for infield practice because we cannot start until after the dirt thaws and dries. There is also no contemporary equipment. We use Fontanelle for our home games with no access to concessions. This is a challenge for raising funds during the regular season. We have no home field over the Summer and Fall. The conditions are frankly terrible but we never use that as an excuse. We have worked in basements and hallways and out in grass fields. We focus on team development and positivity.
What qualities do you look for in assistant coaches to ensure a cohesive coaching staff?
Modeling our expectations with timeliness, self discipline, commitment and positivity. We dont currently posses these qualities as a coaching staff, but we are working on it.
What advice do you give to players aspiring to pursue baseball beyond high school?
Take every opportunity to play and be coached for the 4 years you are in high school. Commit to successful academics.
What services do you utilize to help players that want to pursue baseball beyond high school?
We haven’t had that opportunity yet, but I am on field level. I would love any resources to support my players in this area.
How do you engage with parents to ensure a collaborative and supportive environment for the team?
We have a parent/player agreement. I also send a weekly email to the parents and work closely with our booster group. We have very low parent engagement and a high level of fostered players.
What else should we know about your baseball program?
We are doing the work to earn the respect of our conference. We also have wonderful students, who deserve every opportunity to compete at the high school level.