Baseball camp offers eclectic approach approach

Craig's 'boys of summer' will be working on their catching, hitting and post-high school marketability Thursday at Woodbury Park.

Joe LeFebre, an associate scout with the Arizona Diamondbacks, will bring his Rocky Mountain Baseball Academy to Craig. His camp works with the athletes not only to improve their physical abilities, but teaches them how to market those abilities to scouts and recruiters as well.

"Most kids understand that a recruiter is looking for physical ability, how well they can throw and hit, but that's just one aspect of whole package," LeFebre said. "Physical ability can take you only so far, recruiters will look for everything on a kid how well he does in school, to his determination."

LeFebre admitted that the camp also has recruiting undertones of its own.

"In a couple days of camp you can get a good idea what kind of player a kid is," he said. "So, if there's someone who catches my eye, there's a good chance I'll keep tabs on them."

Though the baseball academy will take time to examine how to manipulate the recruiting game, its main emphasis will be on fundamental drills.

The camp is designed with the hope of seeing improvement within its two-day span, depending on how much effort is put forth by an athlete. However, it is no miracle program, and a player's skills cannot be refined to razor-fine precision within the camp's time frame.

Instead, LeFebre hopes his camp can work more as a tool to be incorporated into an athlete's overall practice regime.

"If a kid comes out here and expects to become a better ballplayer through just one camp, he's fooling himself," LeFebre said. "What the camp is meant to do is offer the athlete more tools to improve themselves on their own."

As far as knowing what athletes need to do to improve their baseball skills, LeFebre is more than qualified, with his resumeading like a game-day program.

The Grand Junction native played collegiate ball at Eastern Oregon University, which at that time, competed in the NAIA.

After graduating, he also coached at the school.

His collegiate coaching career started in Oregon. He went on to coach at Shoreline College in Seattle Wash., and Phoenix College in Arizona.

After LeFebre's stint in the college ranks, he went back a level to coach high school ball to focus his concentration on professional scouting.

Before moving to Arizona, he had the reins of the Overland baseball program, a Class 5A school from Aurora.

Most recently he coached Moon Valley High School in Phoenix, where he put in five years worth of service. During LeFebre's tenure, Moon Valley compiled 117 wins, and sent five players to the major leagues and 20 onto college programs.

The Academy was founded by LeFebre in 1998 as a promotional tool for Colorado youth baseball, and he coordinates a team that competes in the Junior Olympics each year in Tucson, Ariz.

LeFebre not only holds the credentials of a qualified baseball practitioner, but the youthful enthusiasm as well.

"The other day I watched Larry Walker slide into home plate, after which and while covered in dirt, he was jumping around and was giving everyone high fives," he said. "Walker was just being a kid, just as excited as a little leaguer who made a big play. There's nothing more exciting to me then to see a kid getting dirty and having fun, just like someone like Walker still does."

Baseball camp
What: A baseball camp that offers fundamental instruction and self-improvement drill. Scouting and recruiting practices will also be discussed.
Sign-up: Runs until 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Woodbury Park, and is open to athletes 10-18.
Where: Aspen Field at Woodbury Park in Craig.
When: from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday
Cost: $35 per player per day or $65 for both days.
Bring: Own equipment, lunch and water.

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