Coach Ray Ackerman
CATCHING – BASEBALL & SOFTBALL
As a youth growing up in Upstate NY, I played several sports. However, by far, my favorites were baseball and hockey. They seemed like great complementary sports; baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter. As a ball player my main position was catcher, where I played through youth sports, although, at times, I played third base and center field. I was very fortunate to have great coaches that took the time to teach me the proper mechanics of catching.
During my early years, and while working for my home town’s Parks and Recreation Department I coached youth baseball in the summer time, as well as, umpired baseball games. My favorite umpire position was calling balls and strikes from behind the plate.
While in college my attention turned to golf but baseball was still dear to my heart. So, in order to stay close to the game I took on an internship on the New Paltz College baseball team, helping out the coaching staff while learning how to manage teams, as well as coach ball players on the fundamentals and mechanics of baseball, primarily focusing on catchers.
After graduating from college my attention shifted and building my career in Social Work became my primary focus. However, sports continued to be a touch stone in my life. Today I remain active in hockey as a player and coach, cycling and golf.
After marrying and starting a family my children re-engaged me into the world of coaching baseball. Over the past 4 years I have served as an assistant coach for one of our local Cal Ripken baseball teams. My primary role has been to work with catchers and, in a progressive way, introduce them to the world of catching. Coupled with this, in 2016, I was the catching coach for the 13U Cal Ripken girls’ softball team, as well as, worked with youths in groups and individual sessions to help build proper skills, mechanics and to excel as a catcher.
My coaching philosophy is simple, respect everyone’s learning curve, teach proper mechanics, make it challenging and fun and create great athletes and team mates.
Sports are truly a wonderful tool to build physically fit and emotionally resilient kids. It provides for them experiences that prepare them for the challenges of life. When kids are afforded the proper instructions to achieve in sports it sets them up for success, thus setting the stage for positive experiences and continued success.