The 2023 ABCA Convention, held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville from January 5-8 ended on Sunday morning following four full days of coaching clinics, the ABCA Trade Show and more!
The 2023 ABCA Convention was the largest baseball convention in history with over 12,000 people on-site, including nearly 8,000 coaches in Nashville that participated in the event. In total, over 8,500 ABCA members took part in the ABCA Convention between in-person and virtual attendance.
The Convention officially kicked off in the afternoon on Thursday, January 5 with the opening of the ABCA Trade Show and Expo Theater. The ABCA Trade Show featured over 350 companies displaying the latest baseball products and innovations across nearly 235,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. The Expo Theater, which was presented by Hour-A-Thon, had presentations throughout a three-day span featuring new product releases and demonstrations, panel discussions and talks hosted by some of the ABCA Trade Show companies. ABCA Official Partners like Wilson Sporting Goods, Rapsodo, Pocket Radar, GameChanger, EventConnect, Driveline Baseball, PitchCom, Kinetic Performance Institute, Next College Student Athlete, SmartMitt, and BaseballCloud all presented throughout the event.
Thursday was capped off with the Divisional Coaches Meetings in the evening followed by the Rookie Coaches Mentorship panel presented by The Marines, which covered topics like career growth, balancing coaching & family life, continuing education and more!
Friday commenced the rest of the educational opportunities at the Convention. Following a celebration recognizing ABCA member coaches that were honored this past year as the ABCA/ATEC National Coaches of the Year and ABCA/Marines Assistant Coaches of the Year, the newest ABCA Lifetime Members and the 2023 Youth and Travel Baseball Service Award and 2023 ABCA Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award recipients, the main stage clinics presented by ATEC began in full force on Friday morning with a leadoff presentation by reigning NCAA Div. I national champion Mike Bianco of the University of Mississippi. The 23 main-stage clinics ran through the morning of Sunday, January 8.
The main-stage speakers were all arranged by ABCA Second Vice President Matt Noone of Babson College with the assistance of ABCA Third Vice President Bob Whalen of Dartmouth College.
The Youth Coaches Session presented by GameChanger also began in full force on Friday. The Youth Coaches Session had 13 clinics tailored specifically for coaches of youth-level teams up to age 14 and ran for two days.
Friday evening concluded with more celebrations as the ABCA hosted a Coaches Social in the ABCA Trade Show before the ABCA Hall of Fame Banquet presented by C&H Baseball. Each attendee received two complimentary drink tickets along with their registration materials for the Coaches Social and the Hall of Fame Banquet featured the induction of the newest ABCA Hall of Famers and the presentation of the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award. Two Hot Stove Panel Discussions were also hosted on Friday night to discuss Outfield Play and Pitching.
Six more Hot Stove Panel Discussions followed on Saturday covering Leadership, Strength & Conditioning, Catching, Baserunning, Hitting and Infield Play. Saturday also featured the Diversity in Baseball Committee Workshops, which focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in College Athletics and Building a Solid Base for Diversity within Youth Baseball.
Every member that registered for the Convention or Clinic Live Stream will once again receive all of the clinic videos to watch on-demand in their ABCA account later this month. The full set of clinic videos includes the main-stage clinics, Youth Coaches Session, Expo Theater and main-stage Question & Answer sessions. All 2022-23 ABCA members that did not participate in the Convention will still receive access to the 2023 ABCA Convention on-demand videos on May 22 as part of the ABCA member benefits.
"This year's ABCA Convention showcased why our association is so great," said Keilitz. "The willingness of our coaches to collaborate and share insights with one another is truly unique. For the ABCA to have the opportunity over four days to help educate over 8,500 coaches who will then go back to their respective team's and impact countless players' lives not only with their on-field teachings but also with life skills off the field is remarkable. I want to commend and thank each coach that participated in this year's Convention as well as all of the ABCA Partners and exhibitors that showed up for our members as part of the ABCA Trade Show. We as an organization are proud to serve all 14,000 of our members that represent all levels of baseball and each state in the United States as well as 36 different countries around the world. I look forward to seeing many of our members at our 2023 Barnstormers Regional Coaching Clinics later this year and of course, at the 80th ABCA Convention next January in Dallas!"
The 2024 ABCA Convention will be held January 4-7, 2024 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas. Information regarding Priority Convention Registration for members as well as additional Convention-related announcements will be made this summer on ABCA.org as well as in Inside Pitch Magazine, Press Box e-newsletter and the My ABCA app!