Big leaguers target next generation of ball players
3 December 2015
Two of Australia’s most highly-credentialed baseball professionals have combined forces in creating a service designed to train, educate and enthuse junior players aspiring to be the very best that they can be in the sport.
New South Welshmen Ryan Rowland-Smith and Trent Oeltjen – both Australian Baseball Alumni members - are among the small number of Australians to have made it all the way to The Show as Major League Baseball players and who are keen to provide the coaching and the mentoring to help others seeking to emulate their achievements.
Ryan and Trent have already received enthusiastic feedback about NxtGen Baseball – their joint project that will be introduced in Australia through six training camps on the east coast during January of 2016.
Trent Oeltjen and Ryan Rowland-Smith are two of Australia's most celebrated and successful Major League baseball players, having travelled the journey from junior baseball through professional signings and many years of negotiating the arduous path through the minor league system to make it to the pinnacle of world professional baseball.
Their credentials are impeccable as men well placed to give back to the sport and to inspire another generation of youngsters who seek to emulate their outstanding achievements.
NxtGen Baseball offers an exciting opportunity for aspiring young Australian baseball players.
“As coaches they have an abundance of knowledge,” Australian Head Coach and Boston Red Sox scout Jon Deeble wrote of Ryan and Trent recently. “On top of that they are great communicators and work great with kids. Above all of that even, they are both great people who have achieved greatness in their sport.”
In Australia managing the NxtGen programme this summer, Trent (above, left) and Ryan (right) will be hosting six baseball camps on the east coast of Australia during January. The camps are designed for youngsters aged 8-18 years – all of whom will receive intensive coaching from an eminently qualified staff in a supportive environment that is bound to give attendees a real boost in their baseball endeavours.
Along the way, the kids will be able to learn from Major Leaguers, win prizes and take home giveaways from what is sure to be a memorable baseball experience overseen by two highly committed and visionary sportspeople.
“Trent and I created NxtGen Baseball to particularly target the next generation of juniors coming through – whatever their skill level or stage in their development,” Ryan Rowland-Smith told Australian Baseball Alumni this week.
“We have been talking for a while about ways that we can get involved back in Australia. We have had similar journeys in baseball, we work well together and we are certainly on the same page with our purposes.”
“We not only want to train, educate and inspire juniors,” he said. “We want to provide an ongoing mentorship. We want to go well beyond the sausage sizzle and free T-Shirt camp idea by offering these kids direct access to Trent and to me - before and after the NxtGen camp.”
“I would have loved to have a Major Leaguer to bounce questions off in my young career, and through NxtGen Baseball, these kids get exactly that.”
With an active website and Facebook presence, NxtGen has already fielded a ton of questions from parents and kids and has been able to provide invaluable guidance to some, even prior to any of the camps being held. Ryan and Trent are appreciative of the early support from the Oakley, Nike and Easton companies that have assisted them with prizes and giveaways for the upcoming camps.
“Both of us have coached privately in the states and we are really looking forward to be doing this in our own backyard with Aussie kids,” Ryan Rowland-Smith said. “It has already been a great experience to create these six camps on the east coast. We cannot wait to teach and to inspire kids who hope to one day play at the highest levels.”
“We will have professional coaches assisting us – including Sydney Blue Sox players and guys who have represented their country. These are going to be great events that should really spark up junior baseball for 2016.”
NxtGen Baseball camps have been scheduled for the following venues and dates in 2016:
Sydney, 4-6 January
Wollongong, 7-8 January
Newcastle, 11-12 January
Gold Coast, 13-15 January
Manly, 20-21 January
Port Macquarie, 22 January
Australian Baseball Alumni extends its appreciation to Ryan Rowland-Smith for his assistance in the preparation of this story. We compliment both Ryan and Trent Oeltjen on their exciting NxtGen Baseball initiative, which we are confident will be an outstanding success in connecting positively and effectively with our emerging baseball players.