Coaching Spotlight: Myles Swartz
Myles Swartz has been a key part of Team Ontario's success over the past several years and specifically with the pitching staff. Myles has been with the program since 2013 when he joined as an Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator.
Following two years in those roles, Swartz would move into a position where he could focus specifically on pitchers throughout the organization. Myles spent five years in the U.S. during his college career and like many of our coaches, his experience working with college pitching coaches has given him insight as to what a college pitcher looks like, and what a college coach is looking for in his pitchers.
"The experience that I gained while playing in the States has allowed for a strong connection with each pitcher. Each pitcher in the organization is unique, and to provide each pitcher the opportunity to learn new drills, pitching approaches or gain insight from first hand experience, allows for my role to be exciting," explains coach Swartz. "Using the time I spent learning from coaches in the States, from playing against some strong competition and working through difficult times, has allowed my connections with each pitcher to be more than just mechanical."
The college experience Swartz is talking about comes via two years at Macomb Community College, an NJCAA Division II program in Michigan. The right-hander moved on to Salem International University, an NCAA Division II program in West Virginia where he ultimately closed out his college career.
Swartz has always had a passion for coaching and helping develop young baseball players as he began working with the Thornhill Reds during his time in college and carried on in that role following his time in the States. He's gone on to work with several local programs but has really made a mark with Team Ontario over the past few years.
Swartz has done extremely well with his ability to work 1-on-1 with pitchers and improve mechanics, but more importantly he's done a phenomenal job in preparing the upperclass pitchers for college baseball. The college level can be a huge step for young pitchers, especially coming from Canada, and his experience has been very beneficial to the arms in our organization.
"Youth athletes are always seeking out what their next steps are to continue to reach goals, and they are always hungry for new knowledge. Working with young athletes reminds me of the amount of time and dedication they put into reaching their goals and being able to help guide them along their path is a lot of fun," says Coach Swartz. "They have abilities that may not be tapped into for years, but being able to help provide the foundation to allow each individual athlete to excel is always rewarding years down the road."
Team Ontario is extremely proud of all the pitching coaches we have assembled, between those who work with individual teams and those who work with players across the organization. Coach McKay and Coach Swartz have both been great leaders and examples for how we want to work with and develop our arms.
With all of the lockdowns and ever-changing guidelines within the province, it's been a tough year on all of our players and coaching staff, but even more specifically on pitchers. Unlike positional players who can take swings into a net, or fields ground balls, it can be difficult for pitchers to continue throwing bullpens and stretching themselves out while we're in lockdown.
Thus, this has made things interesting for Coach McKay and Coach Swartz who have been working with our pitchers via Zoom for the majority of 2021.
"Not being able to be physically present at a lot of practices and going virtual, has allowed for the use of language to be very impactful. Typically we would demonstrate the drills or manipulate the players so they grasp the movements, with going virtual we have to demonstrate, think how we can explain without overloading the players brain, yet keep it complex," added Coach Swartz. "This year has really opened my eyes to how important quality coaching is for these high level athletes, and being able to adapt quickly, allows for our players to continue to progress."
While the past calendar year has been far different than any other, with coaches like Myles, Team Ontario athletes have been in good hands despite all of the curveballs that were thrown. The hard work and dedication from all the coaches across the organization have allowed our players to continue working toward their dreams of playing college baseball and beyond.