But if you must know the boring details of my playing days here they are… An accomplished high school player at the all-time winningest high school in the state of Virginia, I got awards and accolades that were nice at the time. Recruited by a top 5 D1 program, and signed with a big five conference school. Drafted in the 12th round out of high school and signed by the Cleveland Indians in 2002. I had an underwhelming professional baseball career amassing stats that you can find on google if you want to see how very average I was. As you will soon find out it wasn't because of lack of effort or making mistakes off the field like you often hear stories of. My story and journey honestly began as my days as a player ended in April of 2006. In my mind, it was far too soon. Overall frustrated I was done with the game. I had failed to live out my dream and was ready to turn the page; I returned home to go to college and get my degree to start my life without baseball. A few months passed, and an opportunity came up to help the high school that I graduated from during their summer baseball season. Against my will I took it. Honestly, I have never considered myself a "coach," I tell players and parents often, I am still a player teaching other players. I figured that I had invested so much into my own game to become a major league player that maybe I had something to share that could help a player get over the hurdle I did not. It was during the very first game that summer, I was in. I was hooked. I loved teaching and more importantly what I missed most was interacting with players. Make no mistake, I am passionate about the game of baseball, but what drives me is players. As a player, I was always a hard-working student of the game, and that has carried over to my teaching career. I feel most like myself when I’m around the game and spend most of my time either in a cage, on a field or watching video studying the game.
Continuing In Coaching
I spent five unbelievable seasons at the high school in which I spent my playing years, the final two seasons as the head coach. We won often, one state title and one runner up, it was so much fun. With dwindling enrollments in the coalfields of Virginia, the school closed in 2011. It was a magical season that ended one game shy of closing a school that held nine state titles with a state title in its final season. It would have been something someone could have written a book about. It was during this time as an untenured PE teacher that I was made aware that I would not be retained at the new consolidated school. I decided that between the politics of public school and parents interfering with the friendships I was trying to develop with players, I was finished in the dugout at 28 years old. For better or for worse I was striking out on my own to pursue the only two things I cared about in teaching. Developing lifelong friendships with players and helping them reach their potential as players. All in hope that someday they might achieve what I did not while at the same time teaching them lessons of hard work, perseverance, and learning from failure. So again in 2011, I was starting over as a teacher, this time I was going to do it my way. So I opened up a two cage facility in a town of 3000 people in a 100-year-old block stone building known as the "apple house" in my hometown doing what I loved best, helping players. For the first year, we had no heat, no AC, and no bathroom. It was the farthest thing from "elitist" that many people consider facility training to be today, but I was having the time of my life.
Making A Shift
When it came to swing mechanics, I did what most former players do. I taught what I was taught in professional baseball thinking they must have had the answers I just wasn't good enough to execute them. Hopefully someday, if I continued to teach long enough that some player would find value in the things I had learned as a player and make his dream come true. Then in 2014, I had my eyes opened during a 3 hour roundtable discussion with Hunter Bledsoe. I began to wonder if the swing I worked so hard on wasn’t as “right” as I had always thought. Thinking to myself, "Wow, this guy knows a lot that I don't,” I began digging like never before. I studied swings with a different perspective adding a new product on the market called "Zepp." If you are unfamiliar with Zepp, it was the first swing sensor to hit the market providing data feedback on swings. Then in 2015 MLB implemented Trackman technology in every stadium to start tracking all batted ball data produced by the best hitters in the world. That is really when the lightbulb went off for me. Everything that I had been taught by the system was wrong. Swing down on the ball, create backspin, stay low in the cage had developed a swing that wasn't what the best hitters in the world were doing. At this point, I was on fire; a system designed to help me become the best player I could become had failed me. With curiosity driving the ship, the numbers, and my newfound kinetic chain movement development approach I was at the pinnacle of learning. I spent so many hours dissecting MLB hitting video, comparing it with client video, comparing it with the numbers I was getting from the sensor technology. I swear for the last three years I have slept an average of about 4 hours a night. I am fascinated with human movement and the production of it. Now having accumulated my own massive amount of technology to track batted ball outcomes such as Hittrax, and Diamond Kinetics all in the name of giving players better answers and helping them reach their potential, I am ready to share my message with you in hopes you find value and ultimately success on the field. A lot of what you hear me say about hitting today wasn't what I was saying at the beginning of my teaching career, or even five years ago, and probably what I am saying now I won't be saying in 5 more years. I have evolved in the face of new and better technology, information, and feedback all in the name of helping players reach their highest potential. I encourage you to do the same. Feel free to look around my site and read my ideas (HERE). I don't and never will claim to be the “end all be all” but hopefully in the things I write, or the things I say will provide clarity to you on your journey as a player or coach. If you have questions feel free to fill out a contact form anytime. I respond to every email, text, and social media DM. Best of luck to you.