A former baseball player, Darren Stumberger is an NJ volunteer coach who instructs over 1,500 young players in the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Over the years, Darren Stumberger has gained immense experience and excelled in his baseball coaching role.
Baseball coaches play a critical role in the success of a baseball team as well as contribute to the overall team experience for both players and fans. With a passion to train others to improve their baseball skills, coaches understand each aspect of the game and work closely with players to improve the standards of the team.
A good baseball coach should be willing to lead using a “give and take” approach. Despite their extensive knowledge of baseball, each coach must be willing to learn just as they’re willing to teach. Coaches should be able to explain basic rules to beginners and provide more complex and tactical advice to advanced players while at the same time, encourage players to share their ideas and be part of formulating the game strategy. A good coach should encourage a culture of giving, learning, and collectively aiming for shared excellence.
Successful coaches are also strategists who rely on their intelligence and observation to decide which adjustments should be made to win games. They watch the game closely and advise accordingly. For instance, coaches know when to utilize relief pitches and pinch-runners and where opposing batters should hit the ball and shift their defenses accordingly. Experienced coaches know how to come up with an effective battling lineup to ensure maximum run production.
With an extensive background in professional sports, Darren Stumberger is an Atlantic Highlands, NJ volunteer baseball coach. Working with thousands of kids each year, Darren Stumberger emphasizes sound fundamentals in a game that requires a multitude of skills to excel in.
When on base, one of the critical skills for the runner is knowing how to advance on a steal. Timing the steal just right is essential, as starting too soon will result in the pitcher throwing to the base and catching the runner for an easy out. Getting too late of a start runs the risk of the catcher throwing the runner out.
The most common base to steal is second, as it is the farthest base from the catcher at home plate. The third base carries more risk as the distance to throw is shorter, while stealing home is a rare occurrence. This is because the ball will generally reach the catcher’s mitt significantly earlier than the runner slides into home plate.
The runner’s chances of a stolen base increase when the pitcher has a lengthy windup, which prolongs the time until the ball is released toward the plate. Off speed pitches are also advantageous, as they take longer to reach home plate than fastballs and have a higher likelihood of winding up in the dirt.
When taking a lead before stealing, be careful not to give anything away. At the same time, pay careful attention to the pitcher’s eyes and specific motions associated with pitching to the plate and throwing it to a baseman. Having this type of situational awareness will significantly improve the chances of a successful steal.
Based in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, Darren Stumberger has a background in professional baseball that includes time with the Cleveland Indians organization in the 1990s. Currently a youth baseball coach in NJ, Darren Stumberger emphasizes sound fundamentals that enable young players to gain confidence and skills on the diamond.
One of the essential tools of any batter is the ability to bunt, either to get on base with a hit or to advance runners through a sacrifice bunt. The latter requires making contact with the ball, even if it’s outside of the strike zone, because the aim is to prevent the catcher from cleanly catching the ball. With the bunt stance having telegraphed the play in advance, there is a good chance of the catcher picking off runners on the move if he gets his mitt on it.
In situations where there is a single runner at first, it makes sense to lay the bunt down on the first base line, as the first baseman will need to stay at the bag to field the potential out. When there are runners at first and second, or only at second base, the bunt should be directed down the third base line. This reflects an opposite dynamic, where the third baseman will often stay at the bag to field a throw by the charging pitcher or first baseman. If there is no easy play at third, the third baseman will charge down the line and field the ball, throwing the runner out at first. This will still leave the runners safe at third and second base, and get them into scoring position.