Indianapolis, Indiana – Michael Garciaparra, the founder of Garciaparra Baseball Group (GBG), announced the organization has signed a one-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, apparel, and gear for the club.
Eastbay has been a leader in the athletic performance and lifestyle product market for over 40 years, with a vast selection of gear from all the biggest brands.
Garciaparra, who founded GBG with his father Ramon, is excited for what the partnership will bring saying, “It’s awesome that our families and our players are going to have access to so many great products. A lot of us have been fans of Eastbay since we were young kids getting the catalog. As an organization with players across the country, it’s awesome to be with a company that can get product into our players’ hands fast and efficiently.”
GBG recently won the 2020 WWBA World Championship, the largest event in travel baseball, down in Ft. Myers, Florida. Ninety-six teams from around the country, and teams from Canada and Puerto Rico, battled it out with some of the top players in the country going head to head. GBG was able to place first in their pool, winning two games and drawing one. They battled to the final, where they overcame an early deficit en route to a 9-1 win.
Garciaparra said the team showed a lot of fight despite barely practicing and playing together due to the pandemic. “We haven’t had official games and our practices have been limited. The time we did get to play together we had to go to Arizona or Nevada, and we could only do that so many times because we were trying to be COVID conscious.”
2021 will see the club participating in several huge USA Baseball events during the summer and the Perfect Game 17U World Series out in Arizona.
Eastbay representative Shay Maltese worked closely with GBG to organize the partnership. “I’m excited to be working with one of the top clubs in the US. I love interacting on the baseball side daily with them.”
Eastbay recently chatted with renowned basketball trainer DJ Sackmann to talk about the most important aspects of training, pet peeves of his, where the game is going, and what you can do to stay ready during COVID. Make sure to check out the training video as well to add some tricks to your jab game.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about coaching?
A: That’s a loaded one. I like empowering the players I’m working with. Empowering and helping them understand that with diligent and hard work you can accomplish anything. Say your goal is to make it to the NBA. The majority of players will not make it to the NBA, but if they’re working hard on that goal, they will eventually land where they should be. Hopefully, it will be doing something they are passionate about, that they love. I love helping kids build the right habits and work ethic through the game of basketball that will carry over for the rest of their lives.
Q: What are some key things you think middle and high school kids forget to work on?
A: For middle and high school kids, I think the basketball training world is oversaturated. Players are training too much and not playing enough. I think kids need to be playing in a more uncontrolled environment. Whether that’s 1v1, 3v3, or 5v5, I think that’s a missing element right now. Training is good, but mixing in playing with their training is a missing component with that middle school and high school group.
Q: Yeah, that’s where you really learn because you can be as comfortable as you want in a controlled environment, but if you can’t perform in a game situation then what have you really learned?
A: Exactly! When a lot of the kids are playing now, it’s only with one of their coaches, either AAU, high school, or middle school, so they can’t make mistakes. Anytime they make mistakes, they’re getting yelled at or taken out of the game. Uncontrolled environments allow them to explore some of those weak points in their game without getting yelled at or benched.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to work on with young athletes?
A: First off, I want them to enjoy the process and have fun with it. I think it’s important for them to remember why they’re playing the game; they’re playing because they love it. Once they find some success in it, they’re enjoying it, then you can go a little bit more attention to detail and really expand on what they can already do.
Q: What do you think is the hardest position to master (guard, big, wing) and why?
A: I think all the positions are equally hard to master. I would go by whoever is the leader of the team because they are responsible for making sure every player is maximizing their potential. Typically, that’s the point guard, but not always. Look at someone like LeBron James – he’s not necessarily the point guard but he is the leader of that team. Whoever it is that’s responsible for managing all the personalities and maximizing everyone’s potential, that’s the person with the most difficult job.
Q: What are some of the mental aspects you think kids are overlooking these days?
A: Number one is confidence, without question. Without confidence, you can’t play the game. I see this a lot with players overthinking during training. They’re getting too much instruction, and suddenly they’re overthinking. Once that happens, your confidence is going to be affected. Focusing on having fun and keeping your confidence is super overlooked, and it can be challenging to do.
Q: What is something a player does when you’re watching a game that is your biggest pet peeve?
A: I think body language is huge. I work with a lot of players who are working on getting a scholarship. I’ve seen bad body language become the difference between getting a full scholarship and having to pay for school. It’s something most players can control too. I see way too many kids who aren’t comfortable making mistakes. They’re a little insecure, and that’s when you’ll see bad body language come out. It’s a pet peeve of mine because it shows they haven’t worked on it, or they haven’t had the right people around them to harp on the idea that this isn’t ok.
Q: Kids are playing so much more basketball nowadays and receiving so much more instruction, whether it’s their high school coach, AAU coach, or if they have their own personal trainer. What are some things you think these coaches could do a better job teaching?
A: They could do a better job giving their players more freedom rather than boxing them in and just focusing on the things they’re going to do well for their teams. In high school, coaches need to allow their players to explore some of their weaknesses in their game. Coaches can still give players a plan of what they expect from them this upcoming season. It’s about working to maximize those few components while also expanding on their overall game.
I don’t think coaches are giving their players enough plans or setting expectations for them about the future. These players are out here training recklessly, unsure of what their jobs are. I think there is a more systematic way to go about, “Hey this is what you’re going to do this season, this is what I’m expecting from you, and these are 2-3 weaknesses you can improve on.” Then a more long-term approach where it’s, ‘Hey, in 2 or 3 years we’re expecting this and this from you, and maybe we’ll be able to get you a scholarship if you work on these things.”
Q: How is high school basketball different now than when you were playing?
A: More positionless basketball is trickling all the way down from the NBA. There are more players able to handle the basketball and shoot than when I was playing. Our 4s and our 5s, when I was in high school, they weren’t shooting 3s. You’ll have a couple of true 5s on some teams, but the majority of players are putting the ball on the floor. The floor is more spread out, and if you can’t shoot or handle it, you’re going to struggle to reach a high level one day.
Q: How do you see the game changing moving forward, and are there any rule changes you would like to see at the high school, college, or NBA level.
A: I think you’re going to see players be able to shoot from even deeper. The further your range is, the easier the game is for you. It forces defenders to pick you up much higher, which causes the help side to be much deeper. This creates more room to attack once players step over half-court, because there’s now extra space between there and the three-point line.
One of my biggest things I would love to see changed in high school basketball across America, is the shot clock. It sounds silly, but New Jersey doesn’t have a shot clock, and New York does. It’s messing with a lot of stats for a lot of kids, and it completely changes the game. I wish there were more concrete guidelines across states so that everyone is competing under the same set of rules. In New Jersey, you’ll get a team up by 10 in the 4th quarter, and they’ll hold the ball. It’s not fun for the fans or players at all.
Q: COVID has obviously impacted sports in ways we could never have imagined. There are a ton of kids out there right now who don’t know if they’re even going to play this year. Do you have any advice for kids who are out on their own training without the benefit of a system?
A: I think right now, players should focus on controlling what they can control. What I mean by that is you can always continue to work on your game. Stay ready, so when the time comes, players are conditioned, feeling good, and confident in their games. It’s also a good time to work on a couple weaknesses. Take shooting for example. If you’re struggling shooting the basketball and you need to make a switch, now is the perfect time to do that. You can focus on repping it out so when games are back on you don’t fall back into bad habits. Then hopefully in a few months when we’re playing again, they’ve fixed that subtle detail they were missing in their game.
It’s 2020. You’d think by now we’d have flying cars, alien best friends, and gender equality, but before those dreams come true, science has more to discover, and we’ve got more to conqHER.
In the meantime, Eastbay continues making history of its own. For Women’s History Month, Destyni Swoope designed our March catalog cover, becoming the first external artist to do so. If you’re on our catalog mailing list, you’ll be able to see her cool art in person, but her inspiration and her story are equally amazing, so we decided to talk with her about Eastbay, her art, and women’s empowerment. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: What was your experience with Eastbay growing up?
A: Growing up as a young athlete, I anticipated getting the Eastbay catalogs in the mail. It was like the sneaker bible! Back then, my brother and I would circle and star all the things we wanted and leave it out on the table in hopes that our mom would feel generous and buy us something. Haha! It was fun to see the gear that our favorite players wore and then be able to copy their swag. Eastbay catalogs have always been a huge part of the culture; I don’t know too many people who didn’t love flipping through them as a kid.
Q: You said you were a young athlete, what sports did you play growing up?
A: My love for basketball began when my older brother introduced it to me. We shared a room most of our younger years, so I naturally took after him and embraced hoop culture. I started playing with the kids on my block, and eventually my family signed me up at the rec center where I played through high school. I had coaches, but my father was the one who really pushed and supported my desire to play – we practiced and worked on my game constantly. When I got older, he even took me to the gym to play games of 21 with grown men on the courts to really put me to the test. That’s where my drive and love for basketball flourished.
Q: So, as a former youth athlete to now being an artist, what life advice would you give to young Eastbay athletes?
A: I’d say, always let the passion you have for your craft lead the way. Be open to learning experiences and remain a student of the game, because, outside of the game, you’re a student of life. The fundamentals and skills you learn in your craft follow you into life. Embrace your inner beast and constantly reach for perfection. A great high school coach of mine drilled this into my head saying, “MTXE,” which stands for “Mental Toughness, Extra Effort.” I found that this follows me outside of athletics in my journey as an artist. I strive to always reach higher and put my all into each opportunity.
This September, Benedictine University announced a ten-year partnership agreement with Eastbay to supply apparel, footwear, equipment and athletic accessories to all the university’s intercollegiate sports.
“We are excited for the opportunities this partnership with Eastbay will bring,” said Benedictine University’s Chief Engagement Officer Mark McHorney. “This partnership will strengthen our brand while also creating an investment in our student-athlete experience.”
Both Benedictine University and Eastbay felt that the partnership was a unique opportunity that extends beyond premier product offerings. It was a chance to build a long-lasting relationship that will benefit not only the university’s athletic department, but the entire campus and the surrounding community over the next decade.
“During our process to determine the best partner for our institution, it became obvious that the leadership at Eastbay wanted us as a part of their team,” McHorney said.
Eastbay was founded in 1980 and is a leading provider of athletic footwear, apparel, and equipment worldwide, offering the industry’s top brands, as well as the exclusive Eastbay brand of products. Eastbay was purchased by Footlocker in 1997. For more information, visit EastbayTeamSales.com or call for team pricing at 1-800-841-5748.
ninth annual Ballislife All-American game is fast approaching. Here at Eastbay
we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about one of the premier
showcases of high school basketball talent in the nation.
This year’s game will take place on May 4 and feature some of the top recruits in the nation including USC commit Isaiah Mobley, Michigan State commit Rocket Watts, Jr. a couple of undecided 5 stars in Jaden McDaniels and Precious Achiuwa, and the top ranked point guard and second overall recruit of the 2019 class Cole Anthony, who recently committed to UNC. With all this skill, it’s sure to be a high-octane affair with plenty of scoring and highlight dunks. There will also be a dunk and three-point contest before the game which is sure to create some highlights and maybe get a couple of fans to fall out of their seats.
The jerseys this year are drawing on inspiration from the 1996 NBA All-Star Game in San Antonio. Everyone playing in the game will also be receiving a pair of the newest Crossover Culture shoes that they can choose to wear in the game.
The game will be played at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center with over 5,000 fans expected to attend. Taking place alongside the game will be HoopCon, which is a must attend for sneakerheads. This will be the first time HoopCon has collaborated with Ballislife.
You can check out highlights from last year’s game here:
Stanford volleyball player Kathryn Plummer was named the 2019 AAU Sullivan Award winner during a ceremony on Tuesday in New York City.
This adds to the long list of awards
Plummer has racked up this season which includes the AVCA Player of the Year,
ESPNW Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year. To top it all
off Plummer helped lead her team to the NCAA National Championship where
Stanford defeated Nebraska for their 8th title.
what volleyball means to her Plummer said, “Volleyball shapes my life in almost
everything I do. My teammates become my family, and the support I receive from
everyone around me makes me appreciate the sport even more. It is a sport that
brings new challenges every day and it is always fun to learn and break new
Plummer beat out a strong class of finalists which included McKenzie Milton from UCF, Mikaela Foecke from Nebraska, Rachael Garcia from UCLA, Luke Maye from UNC, Aleia Hobbs from LSU, Townley Haas from Texas, and Morgan Hurd who competes as a part of the USA Gymnastics team. All of these finalists were well-deserving and each has made an incredible impact on their sport and their community.