Is there anything more flattering for a high school baseball coach than to be recognized by a national corporation that’s so impressed with the product you put on a field and its success that it wants to make a video about your program?
In the case of Rio Rancho High School baseball coach Ron Murphy — the state’s all-time leader in wins — it was two videos, which he said doing was ‘the hardest thing in my 36 years of coaching.” (This season is his 25th at RRHS.)
The videos are titled “Practice Organization plus Hitting, Base-running and Defending the Short Game” and “Building a Championship High School Baseball Program.”
According to its website, Championship Productions, Inc., produces the world’s best baseball instructional videos and DVDs featuring the top baseball coaches and athletes. With an extensive catalog of baseball videos and DVDs produced for baseball coaches, parents and athletes, Championship Productions is internationally recognized as the industry leader in baseball instructional videos, books and guides, and is regularly distinguished for its first-class customer service.
How and why was RRHS selected to participate in these videos, available at the company’s website for $39.95, or both for $69.95?
Thom McDonald, recruiting coordinator/sports director for Championship productions, said the company “sent an email to all coaches; Murphy responded about the need for a virtual clinic,” which got the company thinking.
“And then, out of the blue, he became the national baseball coach of the year. I said, ‘You need to do educational videos.’”
And he did, along with his coaching staff and numerous players.
“He’s a great guy, very hard-working and loves the kids,” McDonald added. “You can sense that in how he does the videos. He’s so easy to work with — knowledgeable and caring; the players were great.
“I think he’s the first and only high school coach we’ve worked with in New Mexico,” McDonald said, noting the company has worked with former University of New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford and New Mexico State basketball coach Chris Jans on basketball instructional videos.
Coaches can glean a lot out of both videos, with Murphy providing countless tips on how to build a successful program and maintain success.
“There are so many little things that go into it,” Murphy said, referring to overseeing a successful program and doing a video. “I didn’t know it was going to be a good idea.”
Murphy admitted the bulk of what can be gleaned off the videos comes from what he has learned through being an annual attendee of the American Baseball Coaches Association, “all things we learned over the years … stuff we learned as a staff.”
Loyal, hard-working assistant coaches who can be there when needed — and that’s something they know going in, Murphy says — are probably the most important factor, along with a lot of tasks left to the head coach: Support from the administration, marketing to the community, having on-campus and off-campus projects, communicating with area media, honoring former players and staying in touch with alumni, and the Rams’ unique “blue line” painted on the entryway to the stadium, which honors those men in blue.
Something that is probably rare with coaches is something Murphy has been doing for a while: having his baseball team play the Rams’ other sports teams, such as volleyball, basketball and track teams … he notes his team always loses, but it’s fun. And he makes sure his players attend other teams’ games when possible.
In that video, Murphy often appears sitting at his desk, reading over his notes as he talks to the camera, but there are other scenes, shot outside the complex, where the list of team sponsors and previous seasons’ results are posted, and even at the Rio Rancho Sports Complex on High Resort Boulevard, where the team played its first season’s (1998) home games on a Little League field.
“It’s more important to crank out good men than good ballplayers,” Murphy points out, when addressing the importance of his players doing well in the classroom and being polite and respectful to their teachers and other adults.
Kids don’t care about what you know until they know you care about them, Murphy says, certainly not the first coach to say that.
In the instructional video, which runs just over an hour, one gets a sense of how complicated, but efficiently, Murphy and his staff run practices to impart the necessary skills to win ballgames.
There are base-running drills, with runners at home and the other three bases at times, and players seen in two separate lines, running through first base and on their way to second, carefully cutting the inside portion of the base because Murphy stations a coach to literally stand on the outer 2/3 of the base.
There are myriad bunting drills and pickoff moves for every base, too, and certainly more “plays” called from the dugout for his team than one may realize, each depending on a unique situation and how Murphy wants his players to play it — it can depend on the score and inning, mainly, and if the Rams are ahead or trailing at the time.
Oddly, as of now, Murphy had yet to watch either video. Of course, he’s more than familiar with everything on them.
See a preview of the Rams baseball team and its 2022 schedule in the Feb. 27 Observer!