Iowa Baseball Club
Player (2004 - 2005)
Coach (2006 - 2011)
When the University of Iowa Baseball Club first decided to participate in the annual NCBA Spring Training Showcase, there was excitement with the team, but concerns with me. As the head coach, it was important that my players understood that this was Spring Training, and not just Spring Break. Being a part of four separate trips to Tampa, each year proved to be more valuable and memorable than the last.
I would like to share some things that worked for us:
Invite your families:
- Your parents have watched you play baseball your whole life, why should they stop now? Your parents need a vacation too. This is a great way to set your fan-base, which will eventually help in fundraising too. We tried to involve our families as much as possible. We had a great group of parents that came and watched us each year and provided support to our program that we needed in order to be successful.
- Itinerary - One of the things that I preferred was to have all aspects of our trip planned out. I understand that this may not work for you, but there are benefits. Based on our game-times, I would have everything scheduled out to when we needed to depart the hotel for Plant City, game-times, Team Meals, Clearwater Beach, free -time, etc. This way you can avoid having to answer a bunch of questions about the schedule and everyone knows what to expect.
- Team Meal - The NCBA provides you with several dining options/team nights, so this is a great way to have a Team Meal. During my tenure, we researched several restaurants in the Tampa area, but we found a great place called “The Rack.” I would highly suggest contacting the restaurant directly and booking a reservation early.
- MLB/NHL - If your team would like to attend a MLB Spring Training game or NHL game as a group I would suggest contacting the team's Group Ticket Sales Coordinator and booking your tickets early. It is possible to getting a discounted rate, so your whole group (team & parents) can attend.
- Research the Sponsor Hotels that the NCBA provides. Each hotel has something unique that may or may not suit your needs. We stayed at the Homewood Suites, one of the more expensive hotels provided. However, the hotel provided a buffet breakfast each morning, plus a buffet dinner Monday-Thursday (including wine and beer). We booked quad rooms, meaning 8 players per room, with a full kitchen. After a trip to the local grocery store, players were able to save money on food.
I would like to wish all of your teams the best this season. Enjoy your time playing baseball!