More than 20 years of youth baseball expertise, now on MOJO.
| 4 min read
Even a youth baseball coach with two decades of experience under his belt can be stymied by a 7-year-old left-handed 3rd baseman who refuses to pay attention. A few seasons ago, Dan Keller — better known as Dugout Captain — learned this firsthand.
Despite repeated warnings — If you don’t pay attention, you’re gonna get hit — the 7-year-old took a hard ground ball to the butt cheek as it made its way down the line for an inside-of-the-park home run. The 7-year-old walked off the field toward mom and dad. And all Keller and his co-coaches could do is regroup and try again.
It doesn’t matter if you were an All-American pitcher in college, or the inaugural youth baseball speaker at the American Baseball Coaches Association convention, as Keller has been — the task of a youth baseball coach is the same.
“We are always consumed by the challenge of getting 18 eyeballs on home plate,” says Keller.
And it’s that relatable experience, mixed with hard-won expertise gleaned from playing baseball almost daily since age 4, that’s at the heart of the Dugout Captain curriculum on MOJO.
Southern California born-and-bred, Keller was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles but chose to attend and play baseball at UCLA. He has spent the last 20 years coaching all levels. He holds a BA in economics from UCLA and a masters degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific University, where he also taught leadership and administration in the graduate PE department.
A lifelong student of the game of baseball, Keller continues to coach youth, high school and college players, and run camps and clinics. He’s also the author of two books, Survival Guide to Coaching Youth Baseball and Coaching the Beginning Pitcher.
Keller founded Dugout Captain in 2015. Having worked with over 10,000 youth baseball coaches, it was abundantly clear to Keller that practice-planning was the biggest obstacle to their success.
He also knew, all too well, that baseball has been losing young athletes at an alarming rate.
“Games aren’t the problem,” he says. “Most all athletes love wearing the uniform, competing on the field, and hurrying to the snack bar afterwards. It’s practice where we lose kids.”
So, the Dugout Captain philosophy was born: Give coaches a plan to make practice easy for them and more fun for the kids.
The focus on fun and empowering coaches made MOJO and Dugout Captain a natural fit. And that’s one reason why Dugout Captain is the first outside curriculum to be offered on the MOJO app.
Just in time for the spring 2023 season, the week-by-week youth baseball development plan crafted by Dugout Captain can be delivered to coaches with the ease of the MOJO app. The Dugout Captain curriculum on MOJO includes 130+ age-appropriate drill videos and season-long practice plans for tee-ball through age 14+, including youth baseball skill fundamentals and how-to-coach instructions, served via MOJO’s cutting edge technology, which includes one-touch scheduling, communication and team management tools, and player card platform that makes play even more fun.
To find Dugout Captain practice plans for your team:
For tee ball, weekly developmental practice plans are available for practices that are 60 minutes in length.
For all other ages, from 6 through 14+, weekly developmental practice plans are available for practices that are at least 90 minutes in length. (NOTE: If you have a shorter practice on the schedule in the MOJO app, DC practice plans will not show up.)
“I’m thrilled that the Dugout Captain community now has a rocket ship to grab hold of,” says Keller. “Together, we are bigger, bolder, faster and better.”
Dan Keller is part of MOJO’s Partnerships & Strategy team.