November 2014 Newsletter

Lessons Learned….and to be Learned

This past month we held our 7th annual So Cal Elite Pitchers Boot Camp with Ron Wolforth and the team from the Texas Baseball Ranch. The event was a wonderful weekend which included a coaching clinic on Thursday night and the player’s clinic on Friday through Sunday. For me, and the OCD-like manner that I go through in putting on this event, it becomes a project that starts around the beginning of August and concludes at the end of October. It takes a lot of energy, time and commitment in putting on this event which I just adore doing. However, while in the midst of all my worry making sure clients are satisfied, I usually learn a great lesson from our instructors. Whether it is a business note or new ways to run the camp, it becomes more of lessons learned than anything else.

This year our venue for the player’s clinic changed. I was absolutely devastated that we would have to change our format and stations around from our previous year. Being the creature of habit that I am I was just dreading the whole change. However, I found that our new locations, Santa Clarita Christian School and West Ranch High School, were the absolute best venues that we could have ever had. The administrators were so easy and accommodating for our team. We were truly meant to change to these locations. In business, I have learned, that though change is hard it is a must in order to grow. All the coaches agreed that we grew this year in providing a great product for the 36 campers that participated.

We also entered into the 21st century with our video analysis station. All the video was shot and then wirelessly transmitted through the nether world to a big screen monitor where we watched pitcher after pitcher go through their delivery at 240 frames per second. The quality was so much better than past years that it became a hit with those players and parents who got to view it in the comfort of an air conditioned classroom without the distractions that we have faced the previous 6 years.

As the heading states: Lessons Learned.

But the best lesson was still to be spoken.

What I Wanted to Say to My Children and Just Didn’t Do

One of the best parts of the weekend for me…selfishly…is the time at lunch and dinner that I get to spend with the coaches. Our discussions this year included Coach Flint Wallace. This was the first camp for Flint and though I have tried for years to get him to come out to CA for this camp his coaching schedule just did not allow him. However, we got him this year and he did not disappoint.

Evaluation after evaluations stated how much the players enjoyed his work with the lower half of the delivery. Flint is a true professional and tremendous teacher. It is very rare where you find a former professional ballplayer who never acts like he used to be a ballplayer. He just teaches and gets pitchers better. But what he said at dinner on Saturday forever changed how I would approach my children and players that I will get to watch in the future.

Saturday dinner is usually pretty special as one of our clients has hosted us every year at an amazing restaurant in the valley area. The evening is special as the guys (and in past years has included our spouses) get a chance to talk about all things that are not about the weekend. While touching on a variety of subjects, the topic of talking to our own children after a game came up. We all agreed that the conversations that occur with our kids at the conclusion of a game typically touch on the things that happened in the game. Sometimes good but many times the not so good. I will stand in the front of the line and say I was that guy.

Flint told us with his own son, whose is 10 years old now, that he has a rule to not talk about the just completed game for 1 day. Good, great or terrible……that’s his rule. But the one thing he does tell his son is this:

“I loved watching you play today”………. It might have been the best 6 words that I could have ever imagined saying to my boys when they were growing up. “I loved watching you play today.” Absolutely beautiful.

Imagine the joy on your child’s face when we aren’t being critical but enhancing their self worth. Do you think your child will want to go out and play with joy in their heart and run through a wall for you? I do.

I know that my greatest joy was doing well in an athletic event and seeing the happiness on my dad’s face as my goal as a child was to please him. It made all the hard work worth it.

Many times, as my boys have become adults, I have apologized to them for not allowing them to enjoy their games as much as I should have. Things in life get in the way and sometimes you just don’t think clear when it comes to raising your children’s spirit up like they should be. I believe they have forgiven me and now we even joke about it. But if there is one lesson I could reach out to you and allow to become part of your heart and soul is this……when your child has a bad game tell them:

I loved watching you play today……

If they strikeout everyone and get 4 hits in the game tell them:

I loved watching you play today……

If they just go through the motions and didn’t seem to care one way or another tell them:

I loved watching you play today.

And As We Turn the Next Page Into the Baseball World…..

The words of wisdom from all the coaches during this past boot camp were invaluable. The weekend is a tremendous value in terms of knowledge and support in helping a pitcher become the best player they can be. If you have interest in our 2015 Elite Pitcher’s Boot Camp then contact us through our website about what the ThrowZone / Texas Baseball Ranch can do for you. You can also find more information with stories, quotes and monthly birthday wishes with us on our social media sites with Facebook (Jim Wagner’s ThrowZone Academy), Twitter (@throwzone) and LinkedIn (Jim Wagner’s ThrowZone Academy)!!

And we hope to share with you over the next month an exciting new venture for ThrowZone Academy as we begin our quest into the world of softball and baseball expansion. It is going to be an exciting time for us and we look forward to you being a part of it for 2015!!

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving season!