Bragg Stockton’s Skills and Drills School of Baseball is much more than simply a summer skills camp. It includes the five-day resident summer camp program one time per summer, but also day camps, coaching clinics and father-son clinics.
Stockton has also produced and published a number of videos and books that walk kids through the fundamentals of his kinetic teaching.
Though based in Houston, the School of Baseball is also a traveling camp, visiting such far-flung places in Texas as Amarillo, Midland, Corpus Christi, the Dallas-Fort Worth area and East Texas. As the saying goes, “Texas is like a whole other country,” and traveling from one edge of the state to the other is analogous to a trek from Maine to Virginia.
“We have a big RV and a truck that pulls it, and we go into different towns around Texas, stay there for three or four days and then move onto another town,” says Stockton. “We try to schedule it so that we’re not on the road for more than two weeks at a time. We enjoy going to these towns and making a major impact on the leagues with our coaching clinics and our father-son skill sessions.”
Stockton has been doing a lot of day camps in and around the Waxahachie area (near Dallas/Fort Worth) to be near his 90-year-old mother. Here, he gets to do what he loves to do and stay close to his mother.
This year’s residence camp will be at Houston Baptist University and Stockton leases the field and the gym in case of bad weather. The residence camp rotates among eight to ten different spots along Texas’ Gulf Coastal plain.
The varying camp and skills sessions are geared toward 7-14 year olds, and since Stockton’s retirement from college coaching six years ago he’s had the freedom to offer more opportunities for this age group, and even finds time for one-on-one sessions with more serious ballplayers.
“I don’t live so much in that collegiate/high school baseball world as much as I do the youth league world,” says Stockton. “Yet I have a lot of high school kids that wake up and wonder if they’re good enough to get a scholarship; they’re the ones who work with me on a one-on-one basis. So far we’re battin’ a thousand on getting them scholarships, so it’s working pretty good.”
Stockton’s mainstay in running all this is his wife, Judy, who handles a lot of the organization, and even runs the website (www.schoolofbaseball.com). For staffing help, Stockton mostly employs collegiate ballplayers, some of whom played for him at the University of Houston.
“We screen ‘em; they’ve gotta be good with kids. We look for instructors who are highly skilled and are good role models,” says Stockton. “As an athlete you come across adversity, pressure, tension and stress. To handle that you need confidence, consistency, commitment, patience and perseverance. All of these inner characteristics have to be strengthened right along with your motor skills, otherwise you’re not going to go very far. We address these factors in our camp by discussing each of them and giving each player our new book, The Way to Excellence. This book has over a hundred scriptures from the Bible written in baseball terminology and directed toward the practical application of developing baseball and life skills.”