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US Elite Founder and National Director, Mark Helsel, says his organization’s new Video Training Series (VTS) is the most exciting and impactful training tool ever introduced to the program. “For 13 years we have been a relatively small program, ranging between 15-20 teams each year. This year we have 50+ teams all over the country, with plans to substantially grow well beyond that. The key to successful expansion is our ability to train and educate our coaches, players, and parents. In addition to that, it is critical that we continue to build a strong culture and clear brand identity. Thanks to our new DiamondZoft software platform, we now have an amazing new system that streamlines the process of training and educating everyone in our program. To put it simply, without this system we could not expand our program successfully.”
US Elite Baseball has become a well-known, and nationally respected program, and has branded what the organization calls, "Uncommon Standards". Helsel says that is the foundation of the program. “I am proud of our reputation, especially with college coaches and professional scouts. When they watch a US Elite team play, there is a clear expectation of what they will see. As an organization, we have worked diligently to build a solid brand, so we sure do not want to disappoint them.”
The VTS is the organization's solution to the challenges associated with maintaining and growing a strong culture and brand identity. Helsel continues, “It is similar to the franchise model where there is a clearcut system in place that leads to consistency throughout the program, regardless of what part of the country you are in. Subway is pretty much the same no matter the location. We have a similar strategies in place for our growth.” Each US Elite team, regardless of the location, operates in the same manner. Helsel says the motivation for creating the system was simply to continue doing what has worked so well for the organization. “We have had tremendous success helping our players get scholarships. I am 100% certain that our ‘Uncommon Standards’ model has greatly contributed to that good fortune. I like to to say our players have been ‘groomed’ for the next level, both on and off the field.”
But, the VTS is not just for players. ”We have training for everyone, including parents. We want everyone on the same page. As the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’. I am extremely excited about the VTS because it ensures that every player, parent, and coach in our program is given the correct and accurate information to help them have a wonderful and successful experience throughout their time with us. When everyone is ‘singing the same tune’, it’s a beautiful thing.”
So what exactly is the VTS? It is a series of short videos created exclusively for US Elite Baseball. Each series targets a specific audience in the organization. “For example, we created a series of training videos specifically for our coaches. Each coach is required to ‘graduate’ from the VTS before they coach a team,” Helsel said, “and after each video there is a series of questions that must be answered correctly. If answered incorrectly, the system will not allow them to proceed until they get the correct answer. The system is so intelligent that it even knows when someone is just guessing at answers to get to the end. It is not intended to be difficult or tricky, it is simply there to help train our people on important aspects of our program.”
Helsel says the VTS in and of itself is not “unique” to his organization. He states,“This is the kind of system that many corporate organizations use to train their employees or members. I have actually taken online courses on CPR and other trainings, using a similar format to our VTS. It is extremely effective because the videos are short, and the questions relate to the video. Furthermore, you cannot move forward until you get the right answer. That pretty much guarantees that the trainee is getting trained properly.”
Helsel says without the software development company, DiamondZoft, this incredibly important feature would not be possible at US Elite. “I did a lot of research on this type of training format, and most software companies charge between $700-$1500 per month just to host the platform. I knew we couldn’t afford anything like that, so I proposed the idea to DiamondZoft for them to write the software specifically for us and they did an unbelievable job.”