By STEVE KRAH
In Adrian Heim’s vocabulary monotonous is not a negative word.
It’s doing the basic things over and over again that has helped him be successful as a high school baseball coach.
Heim led Anderson (Ind.) High School to a 19 wins in 2018. During the campaign, he picked up his 200th career victory and goes into 2019 with 205 earned in eight seasons at Elwood (Ind.) High School and three at Anderson.
It is something that was instilled in Heim when he played at Elwood for head coach Joe Williams and it’s something he’s carried on in his coaching life.
Williams was devoted to the fundamentals of the game.
“We did a lot of monotonous stuff,” says Heim. “Fundamentals is the most important thing. We do tons of fundamental work before we do any of the fun stuff so to speak.
“We hit off the tee first. We look at batting in the cage as a privilege. You’ve got to earn that.”
A 1995 Elwood graduate, Heim played four seasons for head coach Don Brandon at Anderson University.
Heim has nothing but kind words for Brandon, a member of the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association, National Association of Interscholastic Athletics and Anderson U. halls of fame.
“The most important thing in coaching is your relationship with your players,” says Heim. “(Brandon’s) relationship with us was awesome. He was there with you, helping you through the tough times.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at now without Don Brandon.”
Heim says Brandon made the game fun, but also expected much from his Anderson Ravens and the same is true with Heim and his Anderson Indians.
“We demand a lot,” says Heim.
And if he has to get on a player, he is also their to build them up.
Heim is now leading fall workouts. Rather than having a coach working with two athletes at a time, a new IHSAA rule allows coaches to work with players for two hours a day two days a week during certain windows of opportunity. The Indians are lifting weights on Mondays and Wednesdays and practicing baseball on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“It’s extremely hard to come out on a baseball diamond and only work with two kids at a time. This is much better.”
The window closes at the end of next week and opens again the first week of December. Teams are allowed to lift weights and condition year-round.
“The reason for (the new rule) in my eyes is that there was a set of coaches who felt that they could do whatever they wanted,” says Heim. “Now there’s no gray area about what’s an open gym or an open facility.
“It’s much better for us. We go up to Oct. 12 then we have to shut it down.”
After that, Heim’s baseball players will lift weights on Mondays and Wednesdays and attend Baseball 101 classroom sessions on Thursdays.
“A lot of these kids don’t know the game the way they should,” says Heim, who wants players to pay attention to the Major League Baseball postseason. “You learn from watching.”
Last spring, Anderson carried 30 players for varsity and junior varsity schedules. Heim expects the number to go up a little next spring. However, the two teams still need to share storied Memorial Field until two new fields are built. Those are expected to be ready for the 2020 season.
Heim’s coaching staff includes Garrett Jones, Chris Waymire and Jeff Johnson and he’s looking to hire one more.
Among seniors expected to return are Andrew Bliss, Jordan Harris, Cameron McGlothlin, Cameron Pratt, Mike Stewart, Brayden Waymire and Braden Zirkle.
Anderson belongs to the North Central Conference (along with Arsenal Tech, Harrison, Kokomo, Lafayette Jefferson, Logansport, Marion, McCutcheon, Muncie Central and Richmond).
The NCC is broken into two divisions — Anderson, Arsenal Tech, Marion, Muncie Central and Richmond in the East with Harrison, Lafayette Jeff, Kokomo, Logansport and McCutcheon in the West.
Teams play each divisional opponent twice and then there is a seeded cross-divisional tournament. Anderson was the No. 1 seed in the East and wound up placing fourth in the 2018 tourney.
Anderson is in an IHSAA Class 4A grouping with Connersville, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon (Fortville), Muncie Central, Pendleton Heights and Richmond.
The Tribe has won seven sectionals in program history — the last in 2012.
Anderson’s program is fed by the Highland Middle School combined seventh/eighth grade team, Brooklyn Little League and various travel organizations.
Besides his baseball duties, 2001 Anderson U. graduate Heim, is detention school supervisor for the Anderson High School Area Career Center.
Heim has a daughter named Kennedy (12).
Anderson (Ind.) High School head baseball coach Adrian Heim (right) shares a moment with former Anderson (Ind.) University coach Don Brandon. Heim, who played for the Hall of Famer, has 205 career victories, amassed at his high school alma mater — Elwood — and Anderson High.
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