By Josh Belanger
The American Travel Baseball Alliance (ATBA) was launched in January of 2021 to provide a cost-free resource for coaches, athletes and parents to help learn, network and share ideas on a national-scale.
Founder Rob Hahne is involved in just about every aspect of baseball, both locally and nationally. Hahne is the director of the Northern Virginia Travel Baseball League, one of the largest travel leagues in the country with over 450 teams, and chairman of the youth committee with the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). He also sits on the local county athletic council as the baseball chair, manages his hometown high school team and is involved coaching internationally with MVP International.
Through his life-long career in baseball, Hahne continues to learn new things about the game and has built countless relationships that have positively influenced his coaching, leadership and overall outlook on life. The ATBA was founded on principles to provide those same opportunities to every coach.
“There was a need to have an umbrella organization where league leaders, organizational leaders and coaches from the travel and independent baseball world could connect, network, collaborate and share information, content, ideas and resources,” Hahne said. “We're excited to officially launch it.”
The ATBA is a nonprofit organization that offers a no cost membership. The backbone of the ATBA is their website (ATBAlliance.org) where all their information is posted and shared with like-minded baseball coaches. The Alliance website also offers something for young athletes, high school recruits, parents and even the casual baseball fan.
“We thought that it was important to tear down that wall or that barrier that may exist with any skepticism. We're here to help people help each other, if you will, and hope to be some small part of helping that happen on a local, regional and national level.”
The website features monthly educational contributions from some of the best baseball minds in the country. Each month, contributors will post articles, videos and other resources on their blogs that cover a multitude of baseball topics for all ages and levels.
Some of the contributors include USA Baseball’s Andrew Bartman, ABCA’s Ryan Brownlee, Georgia Gwinnett College head coach Jeremy Sheetinger, JMU’s pitching & associate head coach Jimmy Jackson, former professional player Brandon Guyer and Washington Nationals’ physical therapist Seth Blee. Other topics include expertise on catching, infielding, recruiting, parenting, umpiring, mental approach and coaching. The ATBA will also feature a monthly Zoom interview with a college coach, starting this month with TCU skipper Jim Schlossnagle.
The website also contains interactive pages for potential college recruits, providing map links to every college baseball program website and staff email in the country. The ATBA has also partnered with a free recruiting service to provide recruiting profiles and a national database available to every college coach in the country at no cost. Countless links further provide additional resources and references for the learning to always continue.
“I would encourage everybody to just spend half an hour here and there going through the site,” Hahne said. “There's just so many resources that can help everyone.”
Coaches can get involved on two levels; becoming a member themselves or registering their organization or league. Benefits of the membership include networking opportunities with other coaches and leagues, a monthly newsletter and resources available on the website and more. The Alliance is also looking at ways to provide national purchasing options for coaches and teams to save money on equipment, uniforms and other items.
Hahne is excited about the future of the Alliance and sees the potential power of working together.
“I think the ideas and the collaborative efforts are going to take us places that we are not even aware of yet, which is probably the most exciting part. As we collaborate on things and as we share ideas, we can spread those concepts into regions and into localities to help them grow and promote the game.”
To check out all the great resources of the ATBA or to become a member, visit the home page at ATBAlliance.org.