Assaf Lowengart is doing his service in the IDF as a sportsman representing baseball. Recently, as part of his program, and supported by the IAB, he traveled to the US on a whistle-stop trip to train and seek new baseball opportunities. Now he is back in Israel finishing his army service and continuing to work on his baseball. In additoina to being in the army, Assaf coaches the Under 14 National Team as well as the Israel Baseball Academy. He told us about what he did at each stage of his trip.
Stockton: First stop was in Stockton, California. I practiced for 2 weeks at Delta College, and every day that I was there, I was able to practice with Dean Kremer, a member of Team Israel WBC, the Senior National Team and currently playing in the LA Dodgers organization. I learned a lot from the coaches at the college, both about hitting and fielding, as well as some team defense strategies that I will try to incorporate in my U14 National Team and my Academy team for this upcoming season. Practicing with Dean was a great experience, talking to him and learning first hand about the life of a pro baseball player. Delta’s Head coach talked to me in the end of my stay and has invited me to join the team next year.
Seattle: My second stop was at the Driveline Baseball Academy in Seattle. I practiced there for two weeks, hitting and pitching. The Avademy is small hub for baseball players where minor leaguers, independent ball players and some MLB pitchers practice with college and high school guys. They teach the younger players based on their own experience. It was an awesome experience! I learned a new swing technique which is the “new” swing in the baseball world. There is currently a lot of debate surrounding this new swing, but I’m happy I learned it. I also I learned some new workouts with weighted balls for arm care and strength, which I will teach pitchers in Israel. This leg of my trip ended with Tweets from Jason Ochart, the director of hitting at Driveline (see below), which restulted in three more college coaches reaching out to me about the option of coming to play at their college.
Cypress: The last stop was Cypress College in California, where I practiced for a week and a half. Cypress was in the middle of the season playing three games per week, so I didn’t get as much practice time as I would have liked, but I did get to experience an in season mentality, which was benefical to understand. During the games I did warmups and BP, and during the game I sat on the bench with the players. As with Delta Collage, Cypress’ head coach and his assistant coach talked to me in the end of my stay and told me my strengths and weaknesses. They invited me to join the team next year.
Back to reality now, I am working on starting my college career as soon as possible as I am already three years older then the players there. In addition, I am sharing what I learned in the US with the players here, and I hope this will show results in how they play.
I would like to thank the IAB for helping me making this trip happen. As you can see I achieved a lot and learned so much that I can share with the players and coaches in Israel.