The Lake Cowichan Royals, a Mosquito level baseball team here in town, has a new coach this year. Calvin Convery has coached hockey for the last couple of years, and acted as assistant coach for local baseball teams last year, but he is pretty excited to be taking on the role of coach for the Royals this year.
Convery says he grew up in Youbou and played for the Youbou Cubs as a kid and he has always been athletically active, playing slo-pitch and recreational hockey as an adult, and it seems that his whole family has a love for sports and the outdoors. Convery’s wife Kristy can be seen keeping score at every game, and cheering on the couple’s son Jordy, who plays for the Royals. Convery says he was pretty proud of his son on Saturday’s game, as Jordy pitched for the first time and managed to strike an opponent out.
Convery says he is trying to keep to the basics when it comes to practices and training for the team, but he is also trying to focus on pitching and back catching. He feels it is important to introduce first year players to pitching, and he starts off with teaching them how to throw the ball correctly. He says its all about confidence in baseball and the more time he gives the kids with a bat or ball in their hands, the better. The team practices every Friday in Mesachie, however, Convery says they were sort of thrown into the fray at the beginning of the year with games starting before they had a chance to get any practices in. Even so, the team has being doing quite well, with more wins than losses under their belts.
Convery says it’s been great to watch the kids develop their skills and confidence over the last month or so and he loves being out there on the field seeing their smiles and enthusiasm. But it’s not always easy. One of the challenges is keeping the kids focussed and up-beat. He says he tends to have a loud voice during games and that he often asks the kids “where we’re at in the game” just so he can keep the kids engaged and focussed. This year is not as bad as last year, he says, there is not as much sandcastle building going on with the outfielders, and fewer vacant looks when the ball goes into play.
There are many kids on the team that have shown improvement, and Convery says that everyone has taken little steps of improvement. Erin Croteau has been Convery’s closing pitcher and has been doing a great job. When Croteau pitches, Ethan Brown plays the position of back catcher because he’s the only one who can catch Croteau’s strong armed, and fast pitches. Sometimes he will give the pitcher a bit of a breather and approach the mound during an inning. This is to calm the pitcher down and reestablish communication between the pitcher and the back catcher. Convery says that sometimes the pressure can build up for the pitcher and they can become worried and “a bit wild” when they are throwing balls instead of strikes. Convery likes to offer words of encouragement and tries to help tweak the pitchers strategy to help them through the game.
Convery says he would like to stay on with the team next year, but it depends on if his son, Jordy, wants to stay on. He says it’s easier to stay with it than to take time off and then come back as he can follow the players progression and stay more involved in their development.