Waterloo Baseball: 400 Wins and Growing!
Here’s a number you don’t hear very often in baseball: 400. It’s the number of times Coach Mark Vogel has seen his Waterloo High School Bulldogs victorious on the baseball diamond.
Vogel has been coaching for 24 years, 23 as a varsity coach. He says one of the aspects of the game that has changed in the past several decades is strength training. Vogel said that in the 80s when he played in college there was no weight training program for his team. Any players who wanted to lift were “on their own,” and said that many players tried Nautilus programs as this type of training was popular at the time.
There was no weight training program for baseball at Waterloo High School until Coach Dan Rose was started working with Vogel’s players in 2001. “Coach Rose brought the BFS program to our athletes and that’s been the biggest change in our training and the results have been night and day,” says Vogel.
“We routinely compete with larger schools, and get the most out of our kids and to me it’s a direct credit to our weight room and the BFS program and what Coach Rose is doing,” says Vogel. “I can’t thank him enough what he’s done for our athletic program at Waterloo. Our kids are bigger, faster, stronger and more competitive, and that can be attributed to the weight training program that Coach Rose brought to the school.”
Asked about the theory that baseball players should avoid weight training because it can make them “muscle bound,” Vogel replied. “There are still a few ‘old school’ coaches who are reluctant to have their players lift, but most baseball coaches have come around to where they see the benefits of weight training for their players.”
With a successful high school season, there is often a tendency for athletes to slack off on their training. It’s not so much an issue for Vogel’s players. “We are in a baseball community and that provides motivation in itself, but it comes down to the individual. Once in a while we get a player who had a good season the year before who needs to be reminded how he got to be successful the year before.”
Vogel says one of his concerns is when his players join summer travel leagues and decided to focus just on baseball. “We are losing our perspective on youth sports with this emphasis on early specialization – I just don’t think the kids get the same experience and enjoyment from playing multiple sports. Also, we just don’t have enough quality athletes to support all our athletic programs without multi-sport athletes. I believe five to 10 years it’s going to be the biggest challenge to get kids at a young age to play more than one sport.”
Vogel’s victory occurred in May of 2014 against Gibault High School, another school in Waterloo, Illinois. In fact, Vogel’s 200th win in 2004 and 300th win in 2010 also came against Gibault. It’s unlikely that Gibault will give Coach Vogel his 500th victory, but the odds are that Waterloo will continue to be a baseball powerhouse for many years to come.