At the dugout we have teams for ages 9-15:
About the Dugout Dawgs
The Dugout Dawgs baseball program is focused on development and not only challenges student-athletes to become better players, but also teaches a work ethic and responsibility level that transcend baseball. The goal is to produce players who, through baseball, learn life lessons and values they will utilize long after their playing days. The program is built on several pillars detailed below:
Success on the scoreboard comes when individual players develop their skills and collectively perform as a team utilizing those skills. So the focus at the Dugout is not on the scoreboard, but rather on developing the skills and approach that will help a player succeed at the high school and college levels. Players that have come through our program have traditionally gone on to succeed playing varsity high school and even college baseball. Many Dawgs alumni have gone on to play for prestigious Team Cape Cod, which has reached the Senior Babe Ruth World Series 13 times, including nine times since 2003 when the Dugout was founded.
The core of the program is to challenge each player to develop the work ethic and positive habits that lead to success on and off the field. The players are pushed by an experienced coaching staff to set and meet high standards. The coaches challenge the players mentally and physically so that they are able to respond and succeed under the pressures that may face them athletically and in life. We use baseball as the tool to teach kids to become better athletes, students and people.
All Dawgs teams play a competitive schedule and are taught the importance of competing at their highest level. Our teams often accept the challenge to play against older players as a means to raise our own level of competition.
Dugout Dawgs players are drilled in fundamentals that are taught and enforced at every level. The coaching staff’s love of the game filters down to the players. If players are having fun as they work on fundamentals, they will develop a similar lifelong love of the game and be more inclined to give the effort necessary to improve. Drills to improve fundamentals are designed to be enjoyable for the players. Baseball is a fun sport and the Dawgs have fun playing it.
The Dugout expects its student-athletes to take responsibility for their effort and performance and to understand that details matter. Dugout Dawgs are responsible for their own gear and arriving to games and practices on time with everything they need to have a successful day, including water. They learn that small details matter and play a role in their success – a lesson they will take with them when their Dawgs career concludes. Dawgs are expected to be in uniform, belts included, when they arrive at the field and to leave the field in their uniform. When they wear the Dawgs logo, they represent a successful program with a strong reputation in the baseball community. They should wear the uniform with a sense of pride and a responsibility to live up to the high standards set by those that wore it before them.
Preparing to succeed is an integral part of the program. The preparation necessary to perform at a high level can be compared to studying for a school exam. One cannot succeed at one’s highest ability level without the needed preparation. Our players work hard during rigorous outdoor practices, indoor hitting and pitching instruction at the Dugout’s baseball facility, and through offseason cross fit training. Our coaches ask players to carry a notebook to winter indoor practices so that they can take notes on instruction provided and refer to those notes at home or during any individual drills and workouts. Players are expected to listen, accept constructive feedback and be coachable. Sun Tsu’s Art of War states that every battle is won before it is fought. The Dugout Dawgs adhere to that philosophy. Being properly prepared not only improves a player’s performance, but it also helps him/her play with the confidence that he/she will succeed regardless of the situation or pending outcome of a game. Players who succeed in critical spots do so because they have prepared and have developed the confidence to do so. Players who fail to prepare properly typically lack the confidence to perform in pressure situations. Preparation prevents poor performance.
It’s only a mistake if a player doesn’t learn from it. The coaches expect the players to make mistakes, but they teach the players to accept responsibility for the mistake without excuses and to learn from the mistake to avoid repeating it.
The Dugout Dawgs coaches share their wealth of playing and coaching experience with Dawgs players. Most played collegiately and many coach high school varsity baseball on Cape Cod. The coaches are assigned to an age group and do not move up with any particular group so that Dawgs players have new coaches each year they participate in the program from 9u-15u. The coaches share and preach the same philosophies so that the players receive a consistent message throughout their Dawgs career, but they bring their own personalities to their team. Dawgs players learn to play for different personalities, which we believe prepares them to play for any style of coach at the high school or college level.
This is the introduction to the Dawgs programs and it is when players will first begin to understand the importance of taking responsibility for their equipment and their effort. The focus at this level is introducing players to proper techniques, fundamentals and baseball situations. The Dugout coaches will emphasize repeating proper techniques and developing strong hitting, fielding and pitching habits that players will carry with them through their playing careers. While players have likely been playing at younger levels, the 9u level will be introductory in nature and seek to begin developing a lifelong love of baseball through a positive experience.
The 10u program continues to develop a player’s fundamentals and techniques as it builds on what players were taught at the 9u level. Players will learn the importance of repeating successful techniques each time they play or practice. They will also begin to better grasp the work ethic needed to succeed. The goal is to build confidence and the skills that will propel the player forward in his playing career.
This is the first transition year for our players as they make the jump to a 50-70 field — 50 foot pitcher’s mound and 70-foot base paths (as opposed to 45 and 60). Baserunners are introduced to leading and stealing while pitchers first learn how to hold on a baserunner and attempt pick-off throws. Catchers are introduced to the technique needed to throw out would-be base stealers who are able to run on the pitch as opposed to when the ball passes the hitter (like at the 9u and 10u levels). Additionally, players continue their focus on fundamentals, development, preparation and work ethic. At this age, our coaches begin emphasizing the need for pitchers to develop a quick pace and teaching proper mechanics pitching from the stretch.
The 12u team also plays on a 50-70 field as its players prepare to move up to the Major League-sized diamond. Players at this age are expected to build on the skills learned as an 11u player. As always, skill development is critical at this level, but it also is important that players making the jump to the 13u team develop the confidence to play on the bigger field. The 12u players learn the proper defensive cut-offs they will need to know when they advance to the Major League-sized diamond. Players will begin to understand the importance of playing long-toss during warm-ups to develop arm strength.
Players are introduced to the Major League Baseball-sized diamond at this age level and begin a much different learning process. Head Coach Dave Iava, one of the region’s best 13u coaches, brings a high energy level to the field with the goal of boosting our player’s confidence levels despite the new challenges they face on the bigger field. Coach Iava is the perfect fit for this age group as he patiently instructs our 13u players on the major differences between the small and big diamonds and how the game changes. Many of the fundamentals remain the same, but 13u players learn to think about how baseball situations develop and how to respond to them. They focus more on baseball’s “little things” and begin to understand what it means when someone refers to the sport as “a game of inches.” They start learning the foundational techniques at this level that will eventually make them more successful as they progress through the program. Our 13u team typically plays a 35-plus-game schedule around New England while it competes in the New England Baseball Association (NEBA) and various tournaments.
This is an important year for our players as they approach high-school age. First, our 14u players build on what they have learned at the 13u level. The skills they were taught at 13 are re-emphasized at 14, but the expectation level is higher. With a base of knowledge in place, the players are expected to execute at a higher level and cut down on mental mistakes. Coaches at this level look to build on our players’ confidence and emphasize the importance of competing on every pitch. While always emphasizing fundamentals, the coaches at the 14u level expect to see players develop sharper mental skills and start to understand the importance of conditioning. The 14u Dawgs compete in the New England Baseball Association (NEBA) and various tournaments while playing a 40-plus game schedule.
The focus of the 15u summer program is to ensure that players leave the Dugout Dawgs prepared to compete at the high school varsity level both physically and mentally. Head Coach Ryan Kinski, whose successful playing career included Division 1 baseball at Providence College and the Cape Cod Baseball League, challenges his players to perform under the type of pressure players face at the varsity level. The 35-plus-game 15u schedule begins at the conclusion of the high school season in early June and continues through early August. Players at this level continue to build on what they learned at the lower levels and to polish those mental and physical skills so that they have an edge as they try out for their high school baseball teams. As always, the focus is on player development. A Dugout Dawg should leave the program as a confident player prepared, both mentally and physically, to compete at a high level.