C.J. Rhodes is in his first summer as head coach of the New Market Rebels in the Valley Baseball League. He is as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. Rhodes helped the Yellow Jackets win the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Championship and advance to the NCAA Division III Championship.


Rhodes spent two years on the staff of the late Paul Keyes at VCU, primarily working with the hitters and catchers as well as assisting with daily administrative duties. He was also director for the Rams Baseball Camps. While with the Rams, Rhodes served as an assistant coach for the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the Northwoods League.


A native of Williamsburg, Va., Rhodes played four years at Virginia Wesleyan College, earning All-Conference and All-Region honors as a catcher.


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June 17, 2013


Be Better When You Leave Than When You Arrived


When I accepted the job at New Market, a common goal was addressed between the members of the board and me. Competing for the Valley League championship goes without saying. But more importantly, my responsibility was to provide an opportunity for my players to return to their respected college programs better than how they arrived at the beginning of the summer.  This alone does not just focus on their maturity between the lines; this process also includes their maturity off the field as well. One of the first messages I portrayed to my team was that this experience was going to be a humbling one. They will face challenges mentally and physically, and they will learn to be tough enough to leave New Market with it being a positive experience. 


Building a team was our main focal point during the week before the season began. We started out with two-a-day practices, one first thing in the morning and one underneath the lights of Rebel Park. This gave the players an opportunity to not only get comfortable with their new home ballpark for the next 10 weeks, but it also gave them a chance to get comfortable with each other. These practices involved going over team defenses and situations that we needed to be prepared for when it came to game time. Was I over-preparing them for situations that may never arise? Yes, but it was imperative for me to have all the bases covered just in case. Also, it was important for each member of the team to see the player beside him giving everything he had to accomplish a common goal. Once they learned they could trust each other, I knew than we could achieve the success that we want to this summer.  


Opening Night has finally arrived. And we board the school bus to head to Rockbridge. The Valley League is very convenient when it comes to travel. Interstate 81 runs north-south and many of the teams are located right off Interstate 81. In the South Division, the farthest we will travel is a little over two hours to Covington, Va. I am biased in every capacity, but I would be lying if I said that our bus and our bus driver aren’t the best in the Valley. Vic Moyers has been driving Rebel teams to away game for years and there is little that he hasn’t experienced when it comes to life on the road in the Valley. And the white wagon cannot be missed if you are driving on Interstate 81 at the same time we are. Vic keeps the bus in the right lane at a steady 55 mph and you can count on getting  honked at least four or five times during a trip because of people recognizing our bus. 


As soon as the day arrived, the faster it ended. Our first victory of the season was an exciting one as it came down to the team who wanted it the most and was going to fight for it. Both teams were putting players in situations to figure out where they could be the most successful and my players ended up thriving in certain positions and situations. One of most important things that I will continue to harp to my team about is that the energy and effort has to come to the ballpark every day. It starts with early work before games and continues until the last pitch is thrown. Their talent will only do so much for them. There has to be other intangibles added to the equation and that is where their energy and effort play such a big role. High energy and relentless effort will equal positive results.






(photo courtesy of R-MC Media Relations)