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ABCA Podcast, Episode 374

ABCA Minority Member Spotlight: Billy Roper, Adairsville High School (GA)

The American Baseball Coaches Association strives to help diversify the baseball community and help bring opportunities in the game to all areas. The ABCA Minority Spotlight series looks to capture the experiences, coaching style, and impact that baseball has had on different ABCA member coaches. A new Minority Spotlight feature is released on the ABCA Podcast on the third Monday of the month and we will transcribe a small portion of the interview, which you can find below.

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The ABCA Podcast releases a new episode weekly featuring coaches from all levels of the sport. Discussions run the gamut of baseball coaching topics, from pitching, to hitting, to the mental game, practice planning, recruiting and more. The podcast is hosted by Ryan Brownlee, longtime coach and current Assistant Executive Director of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).

Billy Roper is in his 11th season as head coach at Adairsville High School (GA). He previously served as an assistant coach at Adairsville and was a head coach at Newton High School (GA). 
Ryan Brownlee: Who instilled your love of baseball?

Billy Roper:
I think it’s just family. I can remember my early ages of staying with my granddad and he would go work out in the garden then we would throw the ball. I’m 53 you know, I was born in '71 and the stories of my family run deep in the south. 

RB: Do you have a feeder program? 

Yes, we have a middle school program, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. I’m fortunate enough the head coach for the middle school was my assistant for six years. I’m fortunate he is able to instill the same principles that we instill up here. 

RB: How do you balance what’s best for your players and what’s best for the program? 

Well, when our kids come in we say from day one if you are going to play baseball at Adairsville you’re gonna lift weights. We start there with the foundation. We talk about building a house and if you want a strong house, we need a good foundation. 

RB: Have you noticed your in-game injuries go down with being this regimented in the weight room?

Oh without a doubt, you know, you have your little ones and everything but the biggest issue with injuries that I was seeing is overuse and not taking time off. I think I see more injuries from overuse than I see from happening in the weight room. 

RB: Did coaching both football and baseball help you early on?

I loved it, I grew up playing football and baseball. If my son wasn’t 19 hours away and he was closer to where I could watch him play I would probably still be coaching football. 

RB: What are some things you have added from a practice planning standpoint over the years?

I would say this second stint as a head coach, because I was a head coach then an assistant and now back to a head coach,  is practice organization. The head coach that was here before I got here was probably one of the most organized gentlemen I have ever been around. 
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