Fastballs and Life Lessons

The Pitching/Catching Clinic held at Southwestern College November 8th & 9th was a very productive two day workout. The clinic was a full spectrum workout covering baseball specific conditioning, focusing on a strong and stable lower half and developing core muscles, proper throwing mechanics focusing on natural body movements and rhythm, and pitcher/catcher communication. Pitchers were also drilled on fielding their position which seems at levels below varsity high school baseball, to have become a forgotten skill. A pitcher fielding a groundball, a bunt, or covering first base all seem to be unimportant and boring tasks. However, these details play a huge part in a pitcher’s ability to control a game. The pitchers and catchers were put in very good hands with Jack Spradlin working with the hurlers, and Kelly Buber, former Division I catcher, and current Southwestern College assistant coach, put the catchers through their paces.

The featured instructor for the clinic was Jack Spradlin. Jack is currently a pitcher in the Washington Nationals organization, and has drawn comparisons to Jamie Moyer, and John Tudor. Jack teaching young pitchers about creating movement on a fastball, or discovering an effective change-up grip was a small lesson compared to the life lessons that he had to offer the players. We have all had the same advice passed down to us from either our parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, or others that took the time to guide our development: “Work hard and good things will happen.” I believe this to be true. I also believe that just because it’s true, it doesn’t make it fair. Enter the game of baseball. Throw a one-hitter with no walks, and lose a game 1-0? It happens. HIt the ball well…right at somebody? It happens. The reality is that we are never sure when our hard work will pay off, but it will. It seems like hard work AND perserverance are the key. Enter Jack Spradlin. What a great story! He is the hard work and perserverance personified. He was written off as not being good enough, being too small, too weak, too skinny, too whatever… to play baseball at his high school. He got cut, then reinstated with a demotion as the only sophomore player on the freshman baseball team. (That has no effect on a teenage ego…) When all was said and done, Jack’s desire to play overshadowed all the obstacles placed in front of him. He went on to play baseball at the University of Southern California, and currently as a professional with the Nationals. I thought it very important that the kids at the clinic not only hear how hard work and perserverance pays off, but to actually SEE and MEET a down to earth example of it. No silver-spoon fed athlete, just a guy that loves baseball, just like the kids at the clinic. Thanks to all who participated! I hope the lesson stays with you, and I will see you down the road at future events.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Thanksgiving Camp, Scripps Ranch High School, November 28, 2008

Homeruns for Hunger Charity Food Drive, Santee United Juniors Field, November 30, 2008

Speed, Agility, and Multiplanar Movement & Conditioning for Softball Players, Dec. 15-20, site TBA

Upcoming Events

I have two events planned as the Holiday Season quickly approaches.  Golden State STaRS is holding a clinic on Friday, November 28th at Scripps Ranch High School.  I remember growing up, that the Friday after Thanksgiving was always a great day to just stay outside and play all day.  This camp provides a venue where kids can sharpen their skills and have fun doing it, while mom is free to battle the crowds on the opening day of the Christmas Shopping season!  

The second event I have planned I am especially excited about.  I wanted to run a charity event but was not quite sure how to go about it.  I decided to combine what I do know with what I wanted to accomplish.  The 2008 Homeruns for Hunger charity event is a food drive that will benefit the Santee Food Bank, and the Santee Santas.  Both organizations help to feed those families in need during the year, and especially during the holidays.  I want to do my part to help these two wonderful organizations to reach out and help those families in need of assistance.  It is awesome that the participants and and our community come together for this fun event, and to help one another out!  Be sure to come back to check out the pictures from the event.     Get After It!

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
       – John Andrew Holmes Jr., American writer and minister