The Munich-Haar Disciples announced today that the Bundesliga team has established a baseball academy. Leader of this academy will be Chris Howard, former catcher of the Regensburg Legionaere, whith whom he won five German titles. Howard recently hung up his spikes at the age of 27. According to the former German international, he was forced to stop playing baseball due to several injuries that made it hard to continue playing the game.
The intention of the academy is to guide the best young talents in the Munich area at the age of 14-17 with a professional program that does not only contain baseball training but also training to get stronger (both mentally and physically) and a running program to improve the stamina. Even though the kids should participate in training schedules 3 – 4 times per week in Haar, the intention is to let them stay at home, attend school in the home area and play games at their own club, unlike the boarding school in Regensburg.
The academy is a part of a bigger plan that starts at the bottom of the club with a baseball education system. The German word for it is Nachwuchs or offspring in English. It will start with the youngest kids at the age of 6-7. The intention of this education system is to raise homegrown ballplayers that will be good enough to play for the flagship team of the Disciples, instead of acquiring foreign players to fill the key positions, which is very much the way that many German clubs are creating their teams. By acquiring foreign players, the “Nachwuchs” as far as it exists, will be blocked.
Howard will be supported by a coaching staff that contains former American professional players, National team players and players from the German Bundesliga. An example is Disciples flagship team catcher William Thorp.