Caress appointment marks a shift in Herts’ strategy

Herts Baseball Club has announced the appointment of Jake Caress and Lee Manning as joint managers of the Herts Cardinals, the club’s Under-14 league team.

While the recent announcements of acquisitions of high-profile players by the Herts Falcons can excite supporters of the club in the short run, this appointment could potentially bring even greater value for the club in the long run.

Ware-based Jake Caress is 17-years-old. Some may view this as too young to be a team manager, but on the other hand some of this country’s best baseball coaches started their coaching careers at a similar age. The coaching staff of the Great Britain national teams is a good example. Brendan Cunliffe, James Pearson, Liam Carroll and Will Lintern started their development as coaches early and they now play leading roles in British Baseball and internationally. Herts’ own Lee Manning and Mike Wakelam both started coaching at the age of 16.

Herts approached Jake Caress several months ago and this could see the beginning of a deliberate strategy by the club to identify young club members who have interest and potential to become coaches and promote their long-term development as part of the club’s coaching staff. The emergence and recognition of young talented coaches is not limited to British baseball. The trend is noticeable in other sports, most notably Jose Mourinho’s rise from a 20-year-old coach of a school team to one of the world’s most successful football managers. If this approach adds five new Will Linterns to the Herts coaching staff, this would give the club a very significant advantage not just within British Baseball but in the wider competition for market share in the very crowded UK sports industry.

We understand that Kyle Lloyd-Jones who, like Jake Caress, has just graduated from the club’s U17 team, could be joining the coaching staff soon after the end of his exams in the current academic year.

Herts Falcons’ manager, Lee Manning, will be working alongside Caress as co-Manager of the U14 team, providing support along the way. When Caress settles into the role after the initial few months, Manning is expected to gradually leave Jake Caress in sole charge of the Herts Cardinals. The role is also a Board position which means that the club now has a Board member who can further enhance the diversity of the Executive Board.

As a player of the Herts youth and adult league teams and the Great Britain U19 National Team, Jake Caress has played under some of this country’s top coaches. He can now begin to transfer the information and experience he has picked up to the next generation of Herts youth players.