At the Plate with Hitting Coach Chad Baum
By: Lauren Donati '13
With baseball season just around the corner, Assistant Coach Chad Baum (CB) is ready to start his fifth season here at Santa Clara University. Baum is the Broncos' primary hitting instructor and third base coach but he also works with the team's catchers and assists in the recruitment process. Last season, with the help of Baum's instruction, the Broncos ranked forty-second in the country for offense with the team's batting average finishing at .325 and eleven of the players hitting .300 or above.
Baum, a veteran of four NCAA College World Series as both a player and a coach at Cal State Fullerton, enters the 2010-2011 season with eleven years of Division I coaching experience. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) recently got a chance to catch up with the coach and ask him about his experience and his expectations for the players throughout the upcoming season.
SCB: What has been your most memorable experience at Santa Clara so far?
CB: My most memorable experience here at Santa Clara came in my second season. That year we had a very good team and we came just short of making the playoffs by a win or two. The reason it was so memorable was because of the players and the great effort they put in that season.
SCB: How has your experience of being a collegiate player helped with your ability to coach?
CB: My experience as a college player has helped me as a coach because I have been in their shoes and I know what they're going through a lot of the time. Just like the coaches I had in college, I coach our guys hard and try to push them beyond their limits because I felt this made me a better player, therefore I try to do the same for my players.
SCB: What was the greatest advice you ever got from a coach?
CB: The greatest advice I ever got from a coach is to have a constant philosophy and be sure to stick to it! For me this is the nuts and bolts of any successful program.
SCB: If your players could take only one thing away from their time here, what would you like it to be?
CB: The one thing I would like the players to take away from our time together here at Santa Clara is accountability. As student-athletes they not only have to be accountable on the field but in the classroom as well. Each day we strive to teach them to make the right decisions and be accountable for their actions. Our goal is to not only produce better baseball players, but better men as well.
SCB: What attracted you to Santa Clara's program?
CB: The thing that attracted me to Santa Clara was Coach O'Brien and our baseball facilities. Coach O'Brien and I had been friends from coaching against each other for five years and I respected him and knew that he was a good head coach. His philosophy and goals for a program were just like mine and I am thankful for the opportunity he has given me.
SCB: What are you working on with the players this season, both offensively and defensively?
CB: Offensively this year we are working on the same fundamentals that we did last season. These include understanding their swings, having the ability to control the bat in situations such as bunting and having a concrete plan and sticking to it at the plate. Last season we were the forty-second hitting team in the country, so we hope that we can continue to be a productive offense. On the defensive side of the ball, we have been really focusing on communication and fundamentals.
SCB: What do you believe is key to successful coaching?
CB: I feel the key to coaching is finding players that fit your program and that are coachable. Basically, being coachable means the players need to listen and trust the coaching staff, take the information and then apply it on the baseball field. They don't always achieve perfect results right away but they never give up and they always want constant feedback from us, which in the end makes them better players. The best players I have ever coached were the most coachable players, and a number of them have gone on to play in the big leagues.