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Ashland Greenwood Athletic Department

20 Questions: Platte Valley (Ashland-Greenwood – Mead – Yutan) Baseball Head Coach Shawn Emanuel


Looking for more information about Platte Valley (Ashland-Greenwood/Mead/Yutan) baseball? Contact Head Coach Shawn Emanuel today! shawn.emanue(at)agps.org

What is your team outlook for 2024?
We return 9 letter winner from our state tournament team last year. We have 11 seniors on this years team and we will relay heavily on our senior class. We have 2 pitchers who give us a chance every time they step on the mound, Dawson Thies and Timmy Hunt. Statton Corey and Braxton Wentworth will round out our starting rotation with 3-4 other guys in our bullpen that we trust. If we throw strikes and make routine plays we like our chances.

Players to watch in 2024?
All seniors Dawson Thies – Iowa Western commit Timmy Hunt – uncommitted a few NAIA offers, looking at JUCO’s Braxton Wentworth – uncommitted – Cody Pluta – committed to Dakota Wesleyan Statton Corey – more than likely committing to Dakota Wesleyan soon.

How long have you been coaching high school baseball?
This will be my 9th year.

What inspired you to become a high school baseball coach?
My former coaches in high school and college. I grew up in West Point and played at Doane College.

What is your coaching philosophy when it comes to developing high school baseball players?
We want to play the game with great effort, attitude and energy. We keep things simple – we want to throw strikes, make routine plays, and put the ball in play better than our opponent. We try to train and practice at or above game speed 80% of the time.

Can you share some key principles you instill in your players regarding sportsmanship?
We believe we coach more than baseball, we have to coach players about life. We discuss life topics every Monday and Wednesdays. We call them Manner Mondays and Wisdom Wednesdays. Each coach takes a turn to talk about a life topic or life skills.

What is your approach to balancing academics and athletics for your players?
This is hard because baseball varsity games typically start at 4:30 so we miss the last period of the day quite a bit in the spring. I talk with our players in the first semester about creating a smart 2nd semester schedule. When the season hits, we tell guys they have to “get it done in the classroom, before we can trust them to get it done on the field. We then reward guys for having good grades. We make 5 teams out of our entire team and for every ‘A’ that the team has they receive a point. But for every ‘D’ or lower they receive negative points. Kids start encouraging others and holding others accountable in the classroom which is awesome.

How do you address the varying skill levels and experience within the team?
I like being at a smaller school because it allows me to coach all my players and not just the top half. We want all our players to be coached the same way and have the same expectations. For the most part our freshmen are around our varsity at practice so they can preform the same drills and hear the same message. I am at every JV game and make 90% of our reserve games. It is important to me that I watch and help them develop.

Can you describe your strategy for preparing the team for important games or tournaments?
We keep it simple. We say we are playing a nameless, faceless opponent. No matter who or when we play we play the “Patriot Way.” Which is our way of saying play to our standard. Whether its the first game of the year or the championship game we preach the same things. Play hard and the team who makes the routine plays, throws strikes and puts the ball in play more will win. Obviously we will go over some scouting reports, but we want to do the basics better than the other team.

How do you encourage players to set and work towards both individual and team goals?
We hold individual meetings with players and have them fill out a team and individual goal sheet. It’s great for me to know what is important to the player throughout the year so I can have conversations with them about how it is going. Players typically have very successful individual seasons when they prioritize the team and helping the team win. When we have 9 guys who prioritize the team over themselves we have a great chance to have team success.

What emphasis do you place on mental preparation?
We make sure every player has a “reset” routine. Baseball is a game of failure so we want our guys to be able to mentally reset when something doesn’t go right. Each player has to write down the 3 things that they will do if they need a reset. First is finding a focal point to stare at, then its repeating a positive affirmation in their head and finally its exhaling a deep breath to release the past.

What role do statistics and analytics play in your coaching decisions?
We try to focus on stats that win us game. We do not want to overwhelm kids with stats and information. We just want them to compete and play the game the right way. Offensively, we chart quality at bats and how we score runs. Pitching we chart strike %, first pitch strikes, and pitches per inning. Defensively we chart fielding %.

How do you manage playing time and ensure fair opportunities for all team members?
Playing time is earned. It is earned in training and in practice. We give all players equal reps and opportunities there. Unfortunately, there are only 9 spots on a line up card so the players who give us the best chance to win, play.

What role do leadership and captaincy play within your team, and how are leaders selected?
We do not have a leadership council or anything like that. We want leaders to emerge naturally. We split our team into 5 smaller teams and create opportunities for them to work together and compete together. When that happens leaders emerge.

What resources or facilities are available to the baseball team for practice and games?
Outdoors we have 3 cages and 1 high school field. We also have 1 middle school field we can use if needed. Indoors we get access to a full gym if needed. In a separate gym we have 2 drop down nets that all us to hit.

What qualities do you look for in assistant coaches to ensure a cohesive coaching staff?
They have to be good help. Good help is hard to find. I ask them to know their role and to help make the team better. They have to be a good role model for young men. They have to communicate with me and with players effectively. Finally, they need to be able to handle adversity and tough situations correctly, coaching is not easy so you have to have mental toughness.

What advice do you give to players aspiring to pursue baseball beyond high school?
Put a lot of value in your development. If you aren’t willing to train and improve your game than the next level will be hard. Next, if you want to stand out you need to play hard every game. College coaches don’t want guys who play with no passion. Finally, be willing to put yourself out there by talking and emailing college coaches. College coaches want to know you are interested in their school/program so talk with them. Be realistic about what level of college ball you can play at and then go talk to those coaches.

What services do you utilize to help players that want to pursue baseball beyond high school?
First I sit down with the player to develop a recruiting plan. Identify target schools, identify things they need to do to get recruited, and create a recruiting document with them. Lots of our players go to PBR show cases. Some will use websites like FieldLevel or NCSA. Finally, I contact a lot of coaches myself if I think a player would be a good fit at that school.

How do you engage with parents to ensure a collaborative and supportive environment for the team?
Communication. I constantly communicate with parents so we are on the same page. We have a team app with all players and parents on it and they get a message the night before each game about what uniforms, leave times, game times, and game location. Every Sunday I send a parent email outlining what our upcoming week will look like. We also have a parent meeting to start the year.

What else should we know about your baseball program?
Platte Valley is our team name. We coop with Ashland-Greenwood, Yutan, and Mead. Thanks so much for covering us! We appreciate the coverage of our team.



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