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Chatham, Mass. — Entering his twenty-fifth season at the helm of the Anglers program, field manager John Schiffner emphasizes the importance of individual development and overcoming difficulty in the transition between college and Cape League baseball.
“That’s the idea of the Cape League as far as my eyes are concerned — it’s a developmental league,” Schiffner said. “You’re going to deal with adversity.”
This week, over thirty Anglers have begun this change. While a place in the league offers great opportunity, it does not come without difficulty. Players must adapt to using the fields, which are often of a lower quality than the NCAA Division I facilities that they are used to, Schiffner said.
Furthermore, the players must devote more attention to baseball in an environment without the academic pressures of college life.
“This is pure baseball, and to some that’s a little daunting,” Schiffner said. “This environment’s just totally different.”
While the mandatory use of wooden bats previously hindered some past Anglers, Schiffner does not consider the transition from aluminum bats — a popular choice in college baseball — to wood as a major concern.
“It’s not like it used to be,” Schiffner said. “Many of the schools use wooden bats as training devices anyway, so they [the players] are pretty comfortable with a wooden bat.”
With less than a week remaining before the season opener at Falmouth, Schiffner underscores his ultimate goal of generating improvement in individual players. This is achieved by encouraging attitudes of resilience in difficult situations, he said.
“I’ve seen teams where a pitcher makes one bad pitch or one bad batter and he’s out of the game,” Schiffner said. “We don’t do that here.”
“Our job is to help these guys to develop, and you don’t develop by punishing, you develop by coaching,” he added.
While a championship crown would be a satisfying achievement for the team and coaching staff, Schiffner views success as a personal feat.
“How are these kids getting better'” he said. “It’s been a successful summer for them once they sit back and see what they’ve accomplished.”
The Anglers open their season June 14 at Falmouth. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Take a look at the full schedule here: http://bit.ly/1jJcFmy