Over 20 Years In The Making: An Unconventional Route To Working In Baseball Full-Time
This is the final pay-period. After this next paycheck, my workweek will be consumed by baseball, and that's it.
Probably 25 yrs ago, I remember being in my backyard with my neighbor. He was a few years younger than me and he took a liking to baseball just as I had. His older brother wasn't playing baseball, but my brothers were, so I had a leg up on him and wanted to help him!
I remember giving him my very first pitching lesson. Even at a young age, I knew this was something that fulfilled me differently than anything I'd ever done. Playing sports, hanging with friends, or doing anything else that made me happy, was just different compared to teaching someone about baseball, about pitching!
Unfortunately, my young mind knew, and would be reminded, that "baseball" isn't a career outside of playing at the highest level or coaching at the highest level.
Growing up in a small town, no knowing anyone that played or coached in the big leagues, I never even dreamed of being in the MLB. Nobody ever made that an attainable idea for me, so it never crossed my mind.
In high school, its customary to pick a major you want to pursue in college. Both of my brothers chose something and went off to college, so I did the same...well, sort of.
Thinking critically, the only way I knew you could be in the game of baseball after playing was to coach. The highest level of coaching I was exposed to, that seemed feasible, was high school coaching.
Insert more critical thinking.
"Now what am I good at that's not baseball?"
These are the questions I and many other high school students ask as we're "picking a major."
"I'm good with youth."
The most logical way to get a job as a high school coach, would be to teach at a high school. The bad news? I didn't feel like I excelled in any one subject. That's a lie. I was average in all, but gym and art. The college art students I spoke with scared any desire out of me though. All I heard about was all-nighters with homework. No thanks, I didn't like art that much.
That left me with teaching elementary school. The thought process was pretty sound - don't major in one area, do what you're good at (working with youth), and work in the school system to hopefully get a gig coaching!
Fast-forward to when I was done playing college ball and within a year of graduating, I had started teaching, stopped teaching, and got a job at a high school while working a part-time job. And so began my years of working 2, 3, and 4 different jobs to keep the baseball journey alive.
Bless my wife for the decade of working 3 different baseball jobs in addition to a full-time job and having to work around a ridiculous schedule.
Over the years I got the chance to see if I wanted to coach at the college and minor league level, but I continually turned down those opportunities because I wanted more time with my family.
You can be certain of a few things with baseball coaching jobs. You work more hours than anyone will ever be able to calculate. You'll be away from your family for more time than you'd like. Lastly, to be paid well, you'll need to have a job that less than 5% of coaches have (the number is probably smaller).
None of this matched with my core needs in life.
Something else that didn't fit anybody's core needs was the pandemic that the country. It was down to me and a veteran coach in the hiring process for a Pitching Coordinator role in minor league baseball and although I didn't get the position, it was a blessing for 2 reason.
Blessing number 1 - had I gotten the position, my job would have been in jeopardy within 2 months due to the pandemic.
Blessing number 2 - it gave me a heavy dose of perspective with a side of kick in the pants!
The 3 month interview process, that had me flying to California for the Winter Meetings, and contacting over 20 coaches in my network that had Minor League or Major League affiliations and connections, left me realizing that I needed to give myself more credit.
Looking back, that was when the transformation happened!
That kid that loved working with his younger neighbor had far exceeded his own expectations.
I'd been to many of the best conferences in the country. I networked with and became friends with dozens of coaches, trainers and former players in major league and minor league baseball. I was in the first class of multiple national certifications for pitching specifically.
When the pandemic hit, my mindset took off.
A year into the pandemic, I hired a business coach and started my own company training baseball pitchers online and in-person . I'd already been doing it for over a decade at that point, but decided to step it up a notch!
One year after that, I sat down and wrote a blog article to put out into the world, letting everyone know that I am finally able to say that I work in baseball full-time.
Leaving my current job (at the time or writing this) wasn't easy, but my boss had known for years that this was coming and she has always supported me.
Oh yea, and my wife and I had 2 kids in those few years too, just to make it more interesting!
I'm thankful that I didn't listen to the advice that you should just jump in headfirst with no backup plan.
I'm thankful that I didn't follow the path of many coaches I respect that regret the time they lost with their family.
I'm thankful that I took it slow and gained perspective.
I'm thankful that my wife supported me through all of it, especially when I was terrible at communicating my schedule...all the time!
Regardless of the path, it was going to be hard, but I'm thankful that I took the path that was right in my heart.
My mission is to help pitchers train the healthiest way that I know possible, to inspire youth and young men, to be a role model for my kids, and to support my wife and I's family.
Gosh, that's corny.
I'm a dad now though, so corny jokes are now acceptable right?
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