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 30, 2013


When It Rains, It Pours


When it rains, it pours. That statement sums up my first week of games as head coach in New Market. We are not the only team affected by rain, as the rest of the Valley League has been impacted by the weather as well. Opening weekend concluded as expected. The way that we prepared as a team showed as we were the best team on the field for the entire weekend. Things were looking very positive for the Rebels in the coming week and it was important that the players had some time to themselves on Monday, to recharge the batteries and be ready to the rest of the week.


Baseball is a game that relies heavily on routine. When people claim that baseball players are extremely superstitious, I always like to respond to that comment by saying that it is more about being on a consistent routine. Habits are created and formed because of the numerous repetitions that are involved with being the best baseball player that you can be. As players begin to mature, the harder it is at times to have them break out of bad habits. To retain new information and break old habits takes that many more repetitions. This is the fun/challenge when it comes to summer baseball because players arrive from many different programs that all have philosophies of their own. New situational defenses, new signs, new structure, and the list continues. At times you see the players get frustrated because they have failed.  But it is more important to continue with encouragement because of the amount of success they have had in the past.


It has been somewhat frustrating here as the rain has moved its way into the Valley and caused some adjustments to be made to our game schedule. A game schedule that included an off day every Monday turned into 16 straight scheduled games, with no off days in between, all because the weather did not want to cooperate. I remember talking with the late VCU Head Baseball Coach Paul Keyes before heading to the 2012 CAA Tournament in Harrisonburg. And his last piece of advice that I remember him telling us was that “Be mindful in the valley, because once the rain gets in between the mountains it stays there.” This bit of information pertained to starting a game in adverse or unlikely weather conditions. But as the rain has moved itself in here in New Market, remembering that comment from Coach Keyes will be extremely helpful as the summer continues.


As the weather has begun to cooperate with the baseball gods, it was important for my team to learn to control what they can control. It is out of our hands when it comes to controlling the weather. But what my players can control is how they show up to the ball park every day. I ask them every day when we meet as a team before we take the field to stretch and throw to make sure that their energy level is high and that the effort they give me is even greater. In my eyes, these two things along with athleticism and talent on the diamond will definitely help us have the success we desire by the end of the summer.






(photo courtesy of R-MC Media Relations)