“Give credit to the people that helped get you to where you are!”
I’ve been working with pitchers for the past 17 years at various levels of the game.
I’ve always challenged myself to learn something today that I didn’t know yesterday.
To be honest, it often creates a conundrum and leaves me scratching my head.
It can be humbling, insanely humbling, when you realize that…..
The more I learn, the less I know!
I initially started my career as an instructor in Louisville, KY fresh out of college, bound and determined to not get a real job! Like most players, I wanted to stay in the game in some form or fashion as long as possible.
My best friend growing up was Todd Thompson and he had just been recently named the Head Coach at Central Hardin High School back in my home state of KY.
Once Todd was offered the job, he invited me to join him as the pitching coach and I was thrilled to coach at the high school level and be alongside a childhood friend. (By the way, since Todd Thompson arrived at Central Hardin, they have become a perennial power in KY High School Baseball, 2011 KY State Champs!)
A testament to the leadership, guidance and coaching expertise exhibited by Todd Thompson. He will some day end up in the KHSAA Hall of Fame and I’m proud to say that I was able to coach alongside him in his inaugural campaign!
While coaching at CHHS, I had the opportunity to meet Luther Bramblett during the KY High School State Tournament. Luther is the Head Coach of St. Catharine College in Springfield, KY and it was a junior college at that time. As we sat talking pitching, Luther asked if I was interested in becoming his pitching coach.
YES, I AM Luther! Was the immediate response, at least that’s what I felt.
Luther is a “Baseball Guy” and he had single-handedly put together a national power at St.Catharine. Going into the job, I was a bit apprehensive and couldn’t help but think,
“Am I ready for this?”
“Do I know enough to take on the reigns at the college level?”
(If you’re looking for a school with a reputation for developing players, check out St. Catharine College. I highly recommend Luther Bramblett and his staff!)
The scenario lit a spark and suddenly I realized that there was so much I didn’t know and that I had so much to learn. Each night I sat in the dorm room spending countless hours (at $350 dollars a month) researching the works of Tom House and many other nationally recognized pitching coaches.
Suddenly, it had became an addiction of sorts, I couldn’t get enough information!
Over the next two years, seven players reached 90 MPH and the team that Coach Bramblett put together went 87-18! We were at the top of the national rankings in wins, ERA and many other categories. I hate to sound like I’m “that guy” but it was a testament to the players that Coach Bramblett had recruited.
Here are two of my favorite quotes concerning college baseball and recruiting:
“Good players make good coaches!” Jeff Forehand, Lipscomb University
“It’s not the players you miss in the recruiting process that will hurt you, it’s the ones you get!” Chris Finwood, Old Dominion University
While coaching at St. Catharine, I had the opportunity to meet Cliff Terracuso, better known as Cliffy T in the coaching world. Cliff had coached at St. Catharine the previous year and was at that time the recruiting coordinator for Lipscomb University. In my opinion, Cliffy is one of the better talent evaluators I’ve seen to this day. (By the way, ask any college coach in the South East and there’s a good chance they are very aware of the the legendary Cliffy T. He’s the kind of guy that once you meet him, you won’t forget him.) Cliff is currently an Area Scout in central Florida for the Texas Rangers, no doubt he will do great things in that position!
The following year, I was offered the volunteer pitching job at Lipscomb University by Wynn Fletcher. Wynn is currently the defending national champion Head Coach at Central Alabama Community College and a brilliant baseball mind.
While at Lipscomb, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from Derek Johnson down the road at Vandy. DJ was the most influential college baseball coach in America while at Vanderbilt. DJ is currently the minor league pitching coordinator for the Chicago Cubs. Absolutely brilliant pitching guy, ahead of his time inside his thought process and ability to relate to players. The best I’ve ever seen at developing arms.
I can still remember meeting DJ for the first time and him telling me to check out Paul Nyman’s work at Setpro.com.
Paul Nyman, who is that?
Obviously, I couldn’t wait to get home and see what & whom he was talking about.
That first night, I hopped on the forum and was blown away, actually intimidated, by the amount of mind-bending information available. Incredible! Setpro changed, shaped, molded and created my philosophy of pitching mechanics (actually throwing mechanics as Paul refers to them) . I spent hundreds of hours in front of the computer screen. It got to the point that my wife (Mandy) accused me of viewing something else, we won’t discuss that.
I quickly began implementing the philosophy of Paul Nyman with my staff at Lipscomb University and it changed my career, as well as my players.
Over the 4 year period at Lipscomb, we had 16 arms reach above 90 MPH and had an eventual 1st rounder in Rex Brothers, the current closer for the Colorado Rockies. None of that would have been possible had it not been for the work of Paul Nyman.
After Lipscomb, I spent two years at ULM before leaving to devote my time to my true passion, player development.
Over the past 10 years, which includes college baseball, private instruction and summer ball.
The reason I point this out and risk sounding like a dou***bag, is to convey to you that anything is possible once you:
Although, Paul can be credited with my philosophy on mechanics, there are countless others that should be named as well.
It’s amazing how much you can learn just by watching and opening your mind to new ideas and information. I’m a firm believer that each pitcher has a unique way of throwing the baseball and the idea or premise that there’s only one way to “do something” is asinine.
It’s what’s wrong with instruction today.
I’ll stop there before I get on a rant.
Before I go, I just wanted to share part of my story with you and take time to give credit to those whom influenced my career and helped me get to the point I’m at today.
Being that Discovery has Shark Week, BaseballThinkTank will host Paul Nyman Week!
Starting tomorrow, October 14th and running through Thursday (17th), Paul will be presenting to you information that you won’t find anywhere else. His work shaped my career and I’m sure you will learn a great deal as well.
Here’s what I want you to do…