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20 Questions: Mount Michael Benedictine’s Head Coach Tom Swanson

Looking for more information about Mount Michael Benedictine Baseball? Contact Head Coach Tom Swanson today! tswanson(at) and follow on X – @MMBaseball

What is your team outlook for 2024?
We have a lot of returning players who have significant varsity experience and good group of younger players who are ready to move up to the varsity level.

Players to watch in 2024?
Ricky Kmiecik (SS/2B), Thaden Wewel (OF), Ayden Earl (P), Kyle Oldehoeft (P/3B), Barett Sykora (SS/P), Nathan Bluvas (CF), Preston Peatrowsky (P)

How long have you been coaching high school baseball?
21years of high school and Legion (4 as head coach at Mount Michael)

What inspired you to become a high school baseball coach?
I was fortunate to have a bunch of great coaches growing up. That and the opportunity to teach a game I love to a new group of athletes.

What is your coaching philosophy when it comes to developing high school baseball players?
Our focus is on building the whole athlete, mind and body, and hammering the fundamental skills that can scale as players progress in levels of the game. Our mental philosophy is to “Win this Pitch” in everything we do.

Can you share some key principles you instill in your players regarding sportsmanship?
Show respect for the game in the way you carry and conduct yourself. The game remembers. Your high school teammates and opponents will seldom remember your stats. They will remember the type of person, teammate and competitor you were.

What is your approach to balancing academics and athletics for your players?
Our students are held to very high academic standards. Our goal is to be champions in the classroom and on the field. We are the only high school baseball team in Nebraska to receive the ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award each of the last 4 years.

How do you address the varying skill levels and experience within the team?
We treat every player as a future varsity contributor, but each players path will be different. On a daily basis, that means blending individual, skill specific, and differentiated drills and exercises with the larger team and program development.

Can you describe your strategy for preparing the team for important games or tournaments?
This goes back to our “Win this Pitch” approach. The opponent and circumstance can change, but we try to keep our focus on winning that moment. The more of those moments that we can win, the greater our chances for success.

How do you encourage players to set and work towards both individual and team goals?
We are constantly evaluating, tracking and recording, and communicating with our players to plan their growth as baseball players. As a teams and individuals, we talk about stacking those individual wins, pitch-by-pitch, rep-by-rep, as our path towards reaching those goals.

What emphasis do you place on mental preparation?
We talk about strategies to address the mental game: the use of focal points, resets, and breath. We also work on visualization, and mental prep outside of the physical reps.

What role do statistics and analytics play in your coaching decisions?
Statistics and analytics are an important part of the decision making process, but not the only aspect. Especially in the high school spring season, we don’t have a large enough sample size to rely too heavily on statistics. Instead, we place a larger emphasis on our practice reps and execution as well as situational awareness in game.

How do you manage playing time and ensure fair opportunities for all team members?
We view our Reserve and JV teams as primarily developmental, with the spring season serving as and extended spring training leading into the summer. This means that we try to create opportunities for all players to experience and demonstrate their ability. At all levels, we define a variety of roles for our athletes. Not everyone’s role will be the same, or lead to the same amount of playing time, but all roles are integral to the success of the team.

What role do leadership and captaincy play within your team, and how are leaders selected?
We work closely with our seniors to develop their leadership abilities and also to give them the freedom to act as leaders.

What resources or facilities are available to the baseball team for practice and games?
We are fortunate to be able to work closely with Elkhorn Training Camp and to utilize their indoor facilities. On campus, we have a beautiful baseball field, weight room and gym.

What qualities do you look for in assistant coaches to ensure a cohesive coaching staff?
I look for coaches that challenge each other and me, bring a ton of energy every day, and are excited to work with our student athletes. They also need to be lifelong learners that are always working to improve their knowledge of the game and ability to coach it.

What advice do you give to players aspiring to pursue baseball beyond high school?
As an athlete, you need to be the driving force behind your development and recruitment. That means putting in the time, effort and energy to develop as an athlete and baseball player and in putting your name in front of the coaches you want an opportunity to play for. You also need to consider all factors when pursuing the opportunity to play college baseball – level of play, what will you study, location, cost, etc.

What services do you utilize to help players that want to pursue baseball beyond high school?
We meet with players throughout their high school career to map out their recruitment path. We also use FieldLevel and direct communication with college coaches.

How do you engage with parents to ensure a collaborative and supportive environment for the team?
We meet with parents prior to every season to discuss our philosophy and expectations. Year-round, we try to overcommunicate with our players and families about everything we do.

What else should we know about your baseball program?
I am incredibly fortunate to get to teach and coach at such a special place, with such amazing students and families.

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