Burlington High School baseball coach Scott Staude (left) traveled to Europe this past winter to teach baseball to coaches of youth programs in Sweden and Germany.

Burlington coach had a chance to teach game in Europe

By Mike Ramczyk

Correspondent

Scott Staude is one of those special types of coaches.

He not only has the pedigree of a great former player, but he’s also reached the pinnacle of his coaching craft with a state championship in 2016.

But what separates Staude is his personality, passion and devotion to the game of baseball.

Everyone wants to be around him, to feel some of his boundless energy for baseball, and they have the potential to become better players and people in the process.

That’s why it comes as no surprise Staude was invited on a dream trip to Sweden and Germany back in January to spread his love for coaching and baseball to hundreds of youth coaches and players.

The Standard Press caught up with Staude, who plans on giving his Burlington High School players some type of season in July, to discuss baseball in Europe, new dogs and teaching from home.

 

      SP: First and foremost, how are you holding up and is everyone healthy?

      SS: We are doing well. The family has figured out how to do this new normal and we are surviving.

SP: Tell us about your coaching experience overseas.

      SS: I was asked by an organization called the International Sports Group (ISG) to speak and instruct about baseball in the countries of Sweden and Germany.

One of the directors of ISG is Tom O’Connell, a former Catholic Central coach who has had a very successful coaching career in Wisconsin. I traveled with the UW-Whitewater baseball coach, John Vodenlich, and Mark Fuller, who was a baseball coach from Cumberland, Wisconsin, and is a respected clinic speaker throughout the world.

We traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, in early January. There, we instructed 50 to 60 youth coaches and taught them drills and strategies about baseball. Kids in Sweden do play baseball, but it is not as popular as hockey and soccer.

The clinic was held at an Olympic Training center in Stockholm called The Boson. The three of us demonstrated drills and had classroom sessions to better teach them the game of baseball.

After three days in Sweden, we traveled to Berlin, Germany, where we spent two days. There we worked with two different baseball academies and tried to give them ideas on how to improve and promote baseball in Germany.

SP: What did you learn on your trip?

      SS: The people in Sweden and Germany were very gracious hosts. They have a passion for sports and a willingness to learn and get better.

We did quite a bit of sightseeing at the end of each day. It was my first time to Europe, and I was amazed by the old architecture, history, and stories. The two German academies are in desperate need of equipment. There aren’t traditional sporting goods stores that carry baseball equipment, and it can be an expensive game to play.

My plan this spring was to organize an equipment drive and send it over to Germany. The German kids would have loved to get some used baseball equipment that people do not use anymore.

I know the people of Burlington would have loved to contribute to this cause. The hope is to do it next year.

SP: What is your feel of the game overseas? How does it compare to the U.S.?

SS: The number of foreign kids playing baseball pales in comparison to the kids in the US. Soccer is their big sport, but more and more are playing baseball each year.

There are some very talented athletes who truly enjoy the game. They love the American game of baseball and all of its star players. I was surprised that there were so many Christian Yelich fans.

SP: What have you, the coaching staff and players been doing to play baseball during quarantine?

      SS: This has been tough for me and the Burlington baseball program as a whole.

We have nine seniors (Tyler Duesing, Otto Traxinger, Collin Degroot, Luke Walesa, Michael McGinley, Caleb Daubner, Skyler Danielson, Christian Brenner, and Dalton Damon) that were really looking forward to the challenge of repeating as conference champs and hoping to make a return trip to the state tournament.

I really feel for those players and am working diligently to find some type of baseball closure for them. They have been such an instrumental part of our success and they would love to be playing for their school right now.

I have been sending our players workouts and drills to pass the time and to hopefully get them ready for some type of season; whatever that may be.

We have 10 amazing coaches on our staff, and I miss teaching and interacting with them. Each day I remind myself who we would be playing that day or what we would have been doing for practice.

SP: The WIAA is allowing contact with coaches and players in July. What are you planning?

      SS: The hope would be to have some type of conference season for the varsity. I am not sure if that will be an option; it depends on the administration of the conference schools.

If that doesn’t happen, I hope to use the contact days to practice with all of the players of our program and to set up some intra-squad scrimmage games.

SP: As a coach, father and person in general, have you changed your lifestyle at all with all this chaos, and what will you change moving forward?

      SS: Well, we got a dog. His name is Louie (named after Louisville Slugger). That would have never happened prior to COVID-19. Our family has laid pretty low during the quarantine.

I have two high school daughters that had their softball seasons shut down and it’s killing them not to be able to compete and be with their teammates. I am trying to stay as positive as possible, although it can be tough, as everyone knows.

Not being able to teach my seventh-graders and coach my high school baseball players leaves an emptiness in my soul. Our normal is going to change. I envision this going on for a while, and we will have to make the necessary adjustments.

SP: After this trip, do you have any travel plans the rest of this year?

      SS: My summer calendar was full of coaching my daughters’ softball teams and traveling around the state.

We hope to have at least some of that this year. I speak for many when I say that we need sports back soon in some capacity.