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article imageChatting with Frank Battaglia: Assistant Baseball Coach at NYIT Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 9, 2020 in Sports
Franklin Square - Frank Battaglia is the Assitant Baseball Coach and Equipment Manager of the NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) Bears. He chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about his coaching career, which spans nearly two decades.
On serving as the Assitant Baseball Coach at NYIT, he said, "It has been really fun and exciting. "This is the second coaching staff that I have been with since I came on board three years ago," he said. "Last year, we won 37 games and we went to the College World Series, which was a phenomenal experience."
He noted that he previously served as Queens College baseball head coach, where he led the Knights from 2002 through 2009. "We struggled a little bit with winning games and being successful at Queens College, so it was tough. It was a great learning experience for me and very humbling," he said. "Back then, my coaching style was more of a player, as if I were still playing the game."
"I learned that coaching is more getting the best of each player and understanding each player as opposed to telling them what to do. I had to learn that lesson," he said.
After he left Queens College, he became Head Varsity Baseball Coach at the Portledge School, a private school in Locust Valley.
In his six years at the high school in Locust Valley, Battaglia's squads won two Private School Athletic Association championships and they earned three tournament bids. "In 2013, I was able to guide the school to its first league championship. We had three straight New York State Association of Independent Schools tournament bids," he said. "The coaching style that I had going there brought out the best in them. I had to understand my players' psyche and understand what worked best to get the best out of them. They believed in what I was doing and I was very successful there," he added.
On being a coach in the digital age, he said, "Believe it or not, I love video analysis because if you show the players what is going on, they are able to understand it better. Now, I have something tangible. I don't get too crazy with all of the analytics and metrics aspect of the sport."
While quarantined in the COVID-19 pandemic, Battaglia shared that he has been doing things around the house. "It has been tough since there is no recruiting to do," he said. "I have a lot of baseball books and videos that I watch and keep track of."
Battaglia began his collegiate baseball career as a second baseman at Queensborough Community College (QCC). After two seasons there, he moved to Queens College, where he led the team to its first-ever league title as a senior captain. Following his tenure as a player, he remained with the Knights as an assistant coach for three years, and then he became one of the nation's youngest head coaches. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Queens College in 2001.
For young and aspiring coaches, he said, "Continue to learn and don't stop learning. I still live by that now. If you think you've arrived, you haven't arrived. Always try to learn and always try to pay attention. It's all about listening, seeing, and being able to slow everything down. Don't think that you know everything. Pay attention to what your players and your athletes are doing. They are the best ones to go to to find out what is going on."
"The relationship between a player and a coach should be as intimate as the two people's personalities allow. That way, you trust each other and you can get the best out of them. Just be honest and tell your players the truth," he added.
Battaglia lives in Franklin Square on Long Island with his wife Kristen (a former Queens College second baseman), as well as their daughter, Kaitlyn. "My daughter turns 15 in August so I am trying to support her during this time. She is concerned and she misses her friends, but hopefully, we will get back to some sort of normal," he said.
He defined the word success as "developing a good relationship with his players and seeing them succeed." "When they come back and visit me that means that I played an important role in that person's life," he said.
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