Back in the Spring of 1992, I transitioned from a fielder to a pitcher during tryouts at my alma mater, Springfield College. Having always been a first baseman or an outfielder throughout most of my youth and scholastic career, the concept of pitching was quite foreign to me. When I did take the mound, in the summer months for Babe Ruth or American Legion teams, I simply emulated Dwight Gooden’s windup, and hurled the baseball to the plate as hard as I could. Not a ton of technique, just lift my knee up towards my chest, then stretch out my left leg/foot, plant, bring my arm forward, then land with my back leg, trying not to fall over and embarrass myself. In those indoor Winter, 1992 workout sessions, my pitching coach worked with me on technique, arm angle, release point, balancing my body, and getting the most out of my 6 foot 2 frame. Back then, we didn’t have software, video analysis, heck we only had computers in the “Computer Lab” at Springfield. A coach watched you throw, with a notebook, made notes, made visual corrections, and you had instant feedback from his mouth to your ears.
Fast forward to the modern day pitching coach and you will find a slightly different coaching scenario. Yes, the modern day pitching coach still has a notebook or two, makes visual corrections as you throw a bullpen session, and will give you that instant feedback and motivation you need to become a successful pitcher. Along with these “old school” skills, the modern day pitching coach has the compliments of video, video analysis software, pitching specific diagnostic machines, and baseball apps to help fine tune just about every aspect of a player’s movement. By combining on the spot analysis with video replay breakdown as well as software driven tools to identify gaps in a pitcher’s movement, a pitching coach can provide a high quality program to make the pitcher better and better. One such baseball talent here in Rhode Island that really embodies this blend of “old school” and using modern day pitching analytic tools is John DeRouin.
John and I have been in contact over the past few years – through his playing days at CCRI, then onto his coaching position at Coventry’s Hops Athletic Performance. John has messaged me with updates on players, charity events, and about some the industry’s latest innovations to help baseball players get better. His Twitter page is awesome – @hopspitching – and John regularly posts really cool videos and photos of athletes working hard and learning how to get better. It has been a really interesting ride learning about how video is used in conjunction with machines like Rapsodo to provide a complete and comprehensive analysis of a pitcher’s throw to home plate. John describes things in such great detail, it is like take a class in pitching instruction every time I read his posts.
I just read a post from John about a new position he is taking, in addition to his coaching spot at Hops Athletic Performance. Here is more from John via his tweet:
“In addition to my role @HopsAP I am excited to announce that I have accepted the role as the Pitching Coordinator for @NorthEast_BBall. Grateful to @NEBscottp for the opportunity and am looking forward to being a part of one of the top travel organizations in the country.”
North East Baseball, according to their website “was founded with a vision to provide baseball players in New England with the education of baseball and life skills necessary to achieve their baseball dreams. We believe that all dreams are achievable with a tireless work ethic, and the proper exposure. We as an organization seek only players who have the desire to and play baseball at the next level, either college or professional.” North East Baseball has two facilities – Littleton, MA and Hudson, MA. You can find out more about North East Baseball by going to their website – NEBaseball.
Congrats to John and best wishes going forward at Hops Athletic Performance and in your new position as Pitching Coordinator for North East Baseball.