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Frozen Ropes

As everyone in the baseball training industry knows by now, the Frozen Ropes franchise system occupies a significant niche in the national market. With over 40 franchises operating nationally and even one in Verona, Italy, more coaches and parents everywhere view Frozen Ropes as the go-to training facility for players of any age to learn the finer points of the greatest game on earth. New Jersey Baseball Magazine tracked down Bill Connolly, Bob Roland and staff in November ’09 for an update on the two year-old Frozen Ropes of Union.


A Philosophy, A Curriculum,
A Culture of Baseball

The first observation you make when you enter the converted warehouse at 60 Milltown Road is the friendly reception you receive from the Frozen Ropes staff. Operating as cash businesses in a recovering, consumer economy, baseball training academies such as Frozen Ropes have nonetheless appeared all across the country. Revenue streams and cash flow represent all-important factors in business survival in a sluggish economy, as any owner of a small business will tell you. This becomes especially true for baseball training academies during baseball’s off-season, but at Frozen Ropes of Union, the staff place as high an emphasis on player-friendly training as on the business balance sheet.


Frozen Ropes of Union

So say Bill Connolly, General Manager, Bob Roland, part owner, Bryan Malko, Director of Instruction, and Danielle Kinley, Director of Softball Instruction; and, nothing could be more evident from talking with each of them. The combined training-business philosophy they all espouse fits well into the Frozen Ropes corporate belief system, which is rooted in “over 20 years of experience in player development including the most current research in biomechanics, sports psychology, visual skills, and strength and conditioning.” (See www.frozenropes.com.)

When it comes to having a passion for the game, no one displays it more than Bryan Malko. A native of Piscataway, New Jersey, Bryan pitched in the Minnesota Twins farm system from 1995 through 2002 before arm problems ended his promising professional career. We all know Bryan. Growing up in Piscataway, he was the kid who rounded up all the other kids in the neighborhood to play “three flies and you’re up” at the local park. He’s the one who stayed at the park when everyone else went home, hitting balls to no one in the outfield and then retrieving them to practice his throws to no one covering at 2nd, 3rd, and home. He’s the kid who could not get enough of the game.

Now he devotes himself to teaching other kids, wanting “to instill in young players the right attitude” about how to play the game. More than anything, he stresses the importance of having fun. He recognizes the importance of “having a bulldog attitude” when it comes to learning how to compete; but, more than anything, he wants his young trainees to understand the “difference between cockiness and confidence.” Training hard to develop consistency ranks high on Bryan’s list of important baseball maxims. He knows that the best players are able to deliver excellent performances play after play, game in and game out. Consequently, drill and practice define the main features of his training regimen.


A Championship to Remember

Lastly, he has some valuable advice for coaches and parents. “As professionals, as adults, we must keep everything in perspective. There’s more to the game than max-out conditioning and winning at all costs.” On this particular note, Coach Bryan speaks forcefully and with the conviction you would expect from a former High School All-American, a full scholarship winner to Monmouth and Seton Hall Universities, a draftee from high school by the Minnesota Twins, the1998 AA Pitcher of the Year, and member of the Newark Bears’ 2002 Atlantic League Championship Team.


2002 Atlantic League Champion
Newark Bears

Similarly, Danielle Kinley teaches a healthy respect for proper training and execution in softball. A west coast transplant from Carlsbad, CA, Danielle attended Penn State University and now plays in the women’s National Professional Fast Pitch League. Actually, both Penn State and the University of Arizona recruited Danielle to play softball, but Penn State won out. She was impressed with the school pride she witnessed at Penn State, so that’s where she decided to matriculate. That proved to be the right decision, because it did not take long before she was scouted by the Philadelphia Force Professional Fast Pitch team. Now she is one of the few women in the entire country who play Professional Fast Pitch, and she’s understandably excited about that.


National Fast Pitch: A Force to be Reckoned With

The thought of building a new, professional league for women appeals greatly to her. “We want to look back and say we started it, that we were there at the beginning,” she proudly states. In the meantime she’ll be teaching kids the finer points of softball, which, it might surprise some people to learn, differ greatly from those of baseball.

For one, the pitch selection that pitchers have includes a ‘rise ball.’ At first you might think you’re hearing from an old-time pitcher like Satchel Paige, whose repertoire consisted of everything from the gravity ball to the outshoot. Actually, the rise ball does not differ much from what baseball knows as a rising fastball, except for the point of release, the grip that the pitcher uses, and the arc that the ball traces on its way to the plate.

Danielle demonstrated the grips that pitchers typically use. Suffice it to say that the size differential of the ball generally dictates the differences between Fast Pitch and baseball, but the same variety of pitches exists. Hitters in Fast Pitch as well as baseball may expect to see a drop, a screwball, a curve, a changeup, along with the occasional knuckler, depending on the skill level of the pitcher.


Instruction from Coach Kinley in proper hitting technique

Coach Danielle learned the value of healthy competition from her parents who themselves “were extremely good athletes” and were always encouraging her to have fun playing the game she loves. She wants to impart that same love of the game to her young student-athletes. From all accounts, that’s exactly what she’s doing at Frozen Ropes, and she could not be happier.

Bill Connolly, General Manager and Director of Baseball Operations, could not be happier either to have both Coach Bryan and Coach Danielle as part of his training team. A former student of the Frozen Ropes curriculum himself, Bill owes his own baseball success to the training he started receiving back in 1990 from Tony Abbatine, the International Founder of Frozen Ropes


Coach Abbatine and Protégé

Now Bill supervises all training at Frozen Ropes, ensuring that all students receive instruction in the time-tested, proven model that enabled him to achieve MVP status at Burke High School in New York and a college playing career at the University of Scranton. One of the first players to receive training from Coach Abbatine, The tracing of Bill’s sports management career mirrors the development of the Frozen Ropes training and franchise system.

From the earliest lessons that Tony Abbatine conducted in a small storefront in New Rochelle, NY, the notoriety and success of his system spread, and his program grew into ever-larger facilities. Frozen Ropes training focuses on what Coach Connolly describes as “CAKE.” The acronym stands for Communication-Attitude-Knowledge-Experience.

Proper training and success in baseball begins and ends with communication, as it concerns coaching the fundamentals of the game and teamwork on the field. Having the right attitude as an athlete spells the difference between success and failure, both in sports and in life. Knowledge of the game, its rules and how best to play it goes without saying; with experience ultimately serving as the best teacher.


Danielle Kinley with General Manager Bill Connolly

As Coach Connolly will tell you, and as Bryan Malko and Danielle Kinley will attest, becoming a Frozen Ropes trainer, takes more than simply having played professionally. As in the case of most training facilities, the Union franchise has four minor leaguers on its staff. All had to pass a 110 question certification exam in the Frozen Ropes’ unique training system. No fewer than five MLB teams , including the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Mets , have adopted the system that is Tony Abbatine’s brainchild – just ask Mariano Rivera about his strength and plyometric routines and Manny Ramirez about the visual mechanics he uses.

Frozen Ropes’ Training Videos Feature MLB’s Best

Instinctively knowing how to play the game can take you to the major leagues, but knowing how to communicate with younger players is what makes you an effective trainer. Frozen Ropes recognizes that succeeding as a professional athlete requires special talent. Passing along that knowledge to aspiring young athletes, though, requires talent of a different kind, the kind that distinguishes the Frozen Ropes system from any other.

Bill Connolly’s goal for Frozen Ropes is that it eventually becomes the “top training center for baseball and softball in New Jersey,” regardless of age. New Jersey Baseball congratulates Tony Abbatine on perfecting his unique training system, and has confidence that he, along with Bob Roland, Bryan Malko, Danielle Kinley and company will realize that goal sooner rather than later and wishes them every success along the way.

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New Jersey Baseball & New Jersey Baseball Online are your original source for stories about the human interest side of baseball. Coverage ranges from travel team baseball and showcase tournaments to girls’ softball and women’s fast pitch to recruits and prospects; performance enhancing drugs and substances, such as steroids and human growth hormone (HGH); health & nutrition; sportsmanship; the best batting cages & baseball training academies, such as Frozen Ropes, The Hit Doctor, Zoned, Extra Innings, Batters Box, & Dave Gallagher Baseball Academy, women in baseball, youth baseball baseball history,, sports officiating and umpiring, field maintenance, men’s amateur baseball, and many others. NJB is also your first and best source for baseball rules and interpretations through its unique Ask The Ump feature.

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