Glebe Baseball Academy – Winter Skills Program

Glebe Baseball Academy Winter Skills Training Program

T-Ball, Rookie, Minor and Major players who register for Spring Ball get access to the new GLL Winter Baseball Academy training sessions at no extra charge. Our Glebe Baseball Academy is a fun way for players to learn and maintain baseball skills during the winter months. Winter baseball skills training consists of twelve skills sessions on Saturdays at Samuel Genest High School beginning January 11th and ending April 25th, 2019.

T-Ball and Rookies Training begins at 12:30 and ends at 2:00 PM.  That’s 90 minutes of fun-filled basics instruction that will make a huge difference to your child’s skill level come Spring 2020.  The Lead Instructor for these sessions is William Barlow, our T-Balll Convener.

Minors and Majors players training runs from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM on each scheduled training day.  Part of these sessions will focus on basic skills development to hone skills already learned at Rookies and to learn new skills.  There will be special advanced training classes for the most gifted Minors and Majors players on an invitation – only basis interspersed throughout the sessions. The Lead Instructor for the Minors and Majors sessions is David Steffler.

David Steffler Coach Coordinator and Lead Instructor Glebe Baseball Academy

David Pitches for Ottawa Fat Cats

A Baseball Memoir by David Steffler 

The best moment of my life as a pitcher was getting drafted by a Major League Baseball team. I was hanging by the phone all day when the scouting director for the Toronto Blue Jays called my parents’ home.  As soon as somebody asked for me in a grown up voice, I knew.  My heartrate went thru the roof.  I went outside and ran.

The worst moment was when I got hurt. I was pitching the season opener for an American University when I fielded a dribbler and threw awkwardly to first base.  My back popped.   I would never be the same again. It was demoralizing to think I’d peaked at age 21.

“It was like getting dumped head first.”

I grew up in a village of 500 called Keene, near Peterborough, Ontario. My father Frank ran a small town law firm and my mother Anne was his legal secretary. Dad was also my baseball coach for all the years I played house league. We played three times a week but when the summer was over, that was it, kids went to hockey.  There was no ‘winter baseball’.

By the time I was 15, our all-star team from Eastern Ontario was playing the top kids from all over the province. I wasn’t a star who came out of nowhere. I just got a bit better every year until I made the Ontario provincial team.  That’s when the community starts to shrink; you know that kid from Moose Jaw who throws 90 and that guy from Red Deer who’s already got interest from UCLA.

By the time I was 18, I was a low level Major League prospect.Those years are stressful but exciting.  MLB Scouts and U.S. college coaches are recruiting and go to your tournaments.  Scouts talk to you. They send Christmas cards. You know they’re watching.

The Blue Jays drafted me the first time in 1994. The team owns you for a year. They don’t have to offer you a contract to begin a minor league journey.  The Jays sent me to play on a team called the National Baseball Institute in Surrey, BC, a feeder program to the national team.

It was an intense and professional environment.  I was away from home for the first time in my life at Simon Fraser University with a full load of courses, training at the ball park every day, with road trips to Idaho and California and everywhere in between. It was like getting dumped head first. Some kids couldn’t cope and went home after a couple of months, but I loved it. I’m still best friends with my first year roommate.  At the end of that year I was not called up so I went to Winthrop University in South Carolina on full scholarship.

That’s where I got hurt.  Before that the hardest I’d ever thrown was 92mph and over the course of a regular game it was 87 – 90mph. Now it was down a couple of ticks and so I had to approach the game differently and find a new way to win.  The lesson is adapt or die.

The Blue Jays drafted me again in 1997. I was a two-time Scholar/Athlete of the Year recipient at Winthrop University and made the Canadian Senior National Team twice. I’ve played ball in Italy, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, Netherlands and Austria. I moved back to Canada and got an MBA in Finance from the University of Toronto where I met my wife. There, I played in the intercounty league for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Baseball was still not out of my system.”

My wife and I moved to Ottawa to raise our kids but baseball was still not out of my system.  I played for the Ottawa Fat Cats in their 2010 debut year.  My ex-roommate and I still meet once a year in a different city to watch Major League Baseball for four days and a few years ago I went back to Barcelona for a teammate’s wedding. The friendships made through those experiences cannot be replicated.

To this day, my back still aches. The greatest success of my career came after I got hurt and I try now to adapt this lesson to coaching kids.  Many of those lessons are not about how to hold the bat or how to grip a baseball. More important is what goes on between the ears. Fear is a big deal for kids and coaches need to talk about that.  I’m trying to draw on some of the things I struggled with as a player and things I wish people had told me. There’s not a major leaguer out there right now that doesn’t have somebody working with him on the mental and emotional aspect of baseball and how to perform at your best. It’s absolutely crucial for kids to walk away from the ball park feeling like they are successful and they are progressing.

Until we go to the grave we could all use some coaching.  Maybe I’ll never get baseball out of my system.

The author is a two time Blue Jays draft pick (1994, 1997), member of the Winthrop University, SC Athletics Hall of Fame, and former member of the Canadian Senior National Team (1998, 2001). Dave Steffler is now a children’s coach and leads a winter skills clinic for Glebe Little League players. He spoke with Glebe Little League parent Holly Doan about his career and coaching kids.

Glebe Baseball Academy Winter Skills Training Calendar 

11-Jan – 25-Apr, 2020

T-Ball & Rookies 12:30 – 2:00 PM; Minors & Majors 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Sat Jan 11 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Jan 18 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Jan 25 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Feb 01 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Feb 08 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Feb 22 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Feb 29 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Mar 07 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Mar 28 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Apr 04 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Apr 18 12:30 – 17:00

Sat Apr 25 12:30 – 17:00