There’s no official baseball workouts being held while the world seems to have hit the pause button on sports (and many other things). But that doesn’t mean that professional athletes aren’t spending some of their time at home working on their professions, either. Cincinnati Reds hitting coach Alan Zinter spoke with the Cincinnati media this afternoon and discussed a few players, as well as the overall way he’s trying to work with guys remotely.
“We’ve never experienced this before. The good news is we’ve got phones, we’ve got video calls, we’ve got social media to connect with. I’ve been in contact with the players, and they’re all over the country and all over the world right now. It’s been nice to be able to connect with them and we’ve stayed in touch pretty much over the last two weeks,” said Zinter.
“Everybody has gone home for the most part – there’s a handful of guys that have stayed out here in Arizona. In talking with them, working with them – what’s available to them at their home, in their public parks, we’ve got guys going to public parks here in Arizona. A lot of guys are just trying to get into a batting cage, maybe at a neighbors house. Just talking with them about their routines, making the best of their situation, trying to stay positive, and giving them good feedback on what they’re capable of doing with what they have available to them at this point.”
When he was asked about the most challenging part of this situation, Zinter said “Guys are going to be resourceful. They’re going to do what they need to do to stay physically in shape. I think it’s more of the mental side of it – being able to wake up everyday and see this as a challenge and make sure your mind doesn’t wander. We are human beings, and it is a gloom thought process right now – it’s not fun to get up and hear the news and listen to all of this going on, but if we can maintain our focus and seek out the positives and keep our mind there. I think that’s the biggest challenge, keeping your mindset focused in on what we have to do and what’s important in their little worlds going forward.”
On Nick Senzel
As you are likely aware of, last season saw center fielder Nick Senzel make a swing change mid-season, and it was one that after the year was over he noted that he would be abandoning in favor of returning to his previous set up.
“I like to pride myself on coming in and not changing players stances or set ups because that’s who they are. I like to come in and help players understand what they are going in those set ups and stances and make sure they are following the processes that could lead them to their success,” Zinter said. “I think Nick was a player who just did what he did – I don’t think he really understood how he was successful. When players are not consistent, for the most part they always want to go and start changing the physical aspect of who they are, hoping that new physical change will click it in and that they can just go and not worry anymore about it.”
“But there’s a mental to this component that’s bigger than the physical part and understanding that side of it and trying to peel back the layers so that you can follow a process within what you bring to the table physically is the key. So in Nick’s case, he tried to do some physical changes last year and everybody was trying to help him out to do that, and that’s great. But he didn’t feel comfortable in that, because he didn’t feel that’s who he was. So we had a great conversation and he wants to do what he wants to do. I’m there to support him, to help him understand in his physical – the way he comes into the box and what he does, I’m trying to get him to understand how to do that more consistently and how it unfolds each and every day. He’s enjoyed that and I think we’re in a good spot.”
On Shogo Akiyama
“I saw a very good, very focused player. Obviously he knows what he’s capable of doing, he’s very confident in what he does. Love the way he goes about his business, his work ethic – as I knew he would since he was one of the better players over there. Coming over here it’s just fun to watch him do his routine, what he thinks about, how he studies the opposing pitchers and what he wants to do,” Zinter said.
“We’re here to support him and we want him to be who he is, and not try to come over here and try to do something different. We want him to be successful – we liked what he did over there and we want him to come over here and do the same thing. Our main focus with him is to make sure that he understands that we don’t want him to come over here and start pulling the ball or start trying to hit more home runs, just come over here and get comfortable and be who you are. And we think that process is going along really nice.”