I can remember sitting in the living room and running the idea by Mandy.
“What if instead of me traveling to visit coaches like I usually do, what if I invited all of them here and opened it to other coaches?” “Sounds great, but what would you call it? she asks.
What about “Pitch-a-Palooza”? (Old School was the popular movie at the time.).
And Palooza was born. Looking back, it’s crazy how it’s taken off. The first event in 2013 was held in a small hotel in Nashville where 48 coaches attended. From that point forward, it nearly doubled every single year, reaching over 700 in 2019. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to Covid in 2020, but it’s back baby.
Here was the purpose of Palooza from the very beginning:
In case you didn’t already know…
Nobody is allowed to introduce themselves as “Coach”, unless of course that’s your birth name. If that’s the case, proof needs to be provided at the front door in the form of a birth certificate.
So, today I decided to walk down memory lane and share some of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned since Palooza began.
Had it not been for Tony Robichaux, I’m not sure I’d ever made it as a coach. So much of what I preach and teach about FEEL originated from this man’s ideas.
Scott Brown is another favorite of mine. So much of Palooza is about building relationships and building your network. Unlike other events, the speakers and the attendees sit together, bouncing ideas until the wee hours of the night.
Palooza features more than just baseball coaches or instructors. Without question, Dr. Sills is one of the most popular speakers each and every year. The good Dr is the Director of Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt Med Center and happens to be the Chief Medical Officer of the NFL.
Where would I be without Derek Johnson. From my start in college baseball, this guy has been there for me. I often joke he’s the Jackie Robinson of college baseball. He was the first college coach to make a jump to pro baseball, and it hasn’t been the same since.
Butch Thompson is another human being that’s been a game changer for my career. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve met a finer man than Butch. From the beginning, he opened his doors to me and has been a valuable resource and major impact on who I am today as a coach.
Fun Fact: Something most people don’t know is that I never write my presentation until the day before the event. The reason is simple. I don’t want it to be influenced by what I think people want to hear. Rather, I choose what’s on my mind at that moment and spend most the time speaking, shooting from the hip.
In closing, I’m super excited to announce that Pitch-a-Palooza is back this year and will be better than ever. If you haven’t already saved your seat, I’d suggest you do so as soon as possible. This years event, like everyone in the past, will fill up fast.
Trust what you FEEL!