Meet Nino, a seasoned coach and a cornerstone of the Houston Wildcatters organization since January 2022. As one of the original four coaches, Nino has been instrumental in shaping the team's success and fostering a culture of excellence. He masterfully juggles multiple teams, leading his 9U team to a stellar #4 national ranking and his 10U team to an impressive #10 in 2023 with Perfect Game.
Nino's dedication and passion for player development have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the Houston Wildcatters' thriving baseball program.
Q: What inspired you to become involved in coaching youth baseball?
NL: Baseball has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve created some of my best memories and relationships through youth baseball and I wanted to provide a similar experience for the players I coach along with providing them the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for the next stage in life and on the field.
Q: How do you define success for your team, both on and off the field?
NL: Success for us is defined by the way we prepare, how hard we compete, and how we respond to failure. Results are out of our control but it’s what we do to be both mentally and physically prepared, how tough we compete during competition, and our relentless drive to punch back when things aren’t going our way.
Q: What coaching philosophy or approach do you believe is most effective for developing young players?
NL: I believe the most effective way to develop my players is by being able to blend some of the old with some of the new styles of coaching. I’ve created a blue collard culture that has helped mold my players to understand the importance of discipline, accountability, preparation and toughness. I create a high strenuous practice atmosphere where players learn to show up the same everyday to develop, learn and compete to earn any amount of playing time they want at a certain position or spot in order. I try to provide the best version of real baseball to every player I coach with the intentions of preparing them for high school baseball.
BIO: Coach Leyja is a graduate of Houston Christian High School, where he played for a state champion team and earned three first-team all-state honors. Leyja was drafted in 2008 out of high school by the Oakland Athletics, where he spent five seasons in the organization’s minor league system. Leyja earned two all-star honors and was named MVP of the Midwest league all-star game in 2011. He has since been coaching both youth and high school baseball teams in the Houston area for the past several years.