BASEBALL EXCELLENCE MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS|
- "The Baseball Excellence Newsletter is my favorite piece of mail. I look forward to it every month." Rick Cobb, Florida (Update: Rick's son Alex was drafted as a pitcher by the Devil Rays in the 4th round in 2006.)
- "I love the Baseball Excellence Monthly Newsletter. The information-packed in the issues is excellent. I can't wait for practice to start and I especially like the practice drills given. Thank you for your wonderful product." Alan Zondlo, Pa
- "The March newsletter was just what I was looking for. I never had an organized pre-game; one that the player's could learn by heart and expect every time. Not surprisingly, we have always looked a bit haphazard. We've played well over the past years, constant third place. Perhaps this pre-game drill will instill some discipline that might take us even further." Dirk, Germany
FOLOW-UP Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy receiving the newsletter and that my 9-12 year-olds won second place in the German Championship. Thanks for the discussion board and the various methods you have for giving tips. It has really helped me to improve as a coach. One of our players won MVP and the coaching staff MVC (most valuable coaching staff). Dirk Van Wie President Neu-Anspach Eagles Baseball Club, Germany
FREE EMAIL TIPS OF THE WEEK
FROM THE BASEBALL EXCELLENCE FORUMS...
I was the coach for the Southwest team at this year's Little League World Series. You must not have watched any of our games, as my son (Trey, threw the no-hitter against Great Lakes, and pitched the first 5 innings against Hawaii in the U.S. Final) and our other pitchers all threw changeups. I used the curveball too, but it was always less than 10 percent of their pitches, and we just started throwing them about 8 weeks ago, just to have another pitch to show the hitters.
Two of our pitchers threw 75+ MPH, but they were also able to locate their pitches. We have preached location over velocity since they first started kid pitch. We have always used the changeup over the curveball.
In an interesting note, the ESPN commentators kind of threw us under the bus for not letting Trey throw 3 more pitches in the final inning against Hawaii. He was gassed, mechanics were breaking down, and it was the second time in a week he had an 80+ pitch outing. They missed a chance to emphasize not exploiting kid's arm health for a chance at winning. I would not concern myself with radar gun readings at this age. I never brought one to a practice/game the entire year, as I feared that my two power guys would try to light it up instead of hitting their spots. Natureboy
Thanks THop.........let me also just say that it is in large part because of this website, this forum, the products sold here, etc. that we were able to do what we did. I have been a member since the web site's inception, just haven't posted much these past few years, I tend to do more listening than talking, but the principles we have used have in large part come from Bob, THop, and numerous other contributors. So thank YOU!
- If only I had of found this website two years ago. Thank you for the excellent tips and confirming my coaching belief that teaching, learning and developing at a young age is more important than winning.
I coach an eleven-twelve year old team, and a thirteen year old team. I have already seen good results by following your method of taking no pitches-be a hitter,
and I have implemented the fab five hitting and super seven pitching instructions. I would like to commend you for your approach of praise is goes a lot further that criticism. Again thank you for your help and
expertise. Darrell Gordon Effingham, IL
- "I played (3B) in the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinal organizations in the early 80's really enjoy the tips of the week. Your tips are great reminders and excellent in content...not to mention very, very, correct!! Thanks for your help and keep 'em coming." Frank Garcia, Texas
- "I really enjoy these tips, since I am a second year little league coach. I found out that there is more to baseball than anticipated." Maurice Going, Ohio
- I got your subsequent email with attachment, and have just reviewed and printed the Coaches Planner. It's awesome! I've been meaning to let you know that I'm at your web site a lot, and have gotten tremendous benefit from it over the past year or so. I know you guys catch a lot of flack about teaching fundamentals vs. situational drills, stressing player development over winning at all cost, etc. So I want to tell you that there are a lot of us youth coaches out there (the silent minority, but growing!) who try to be students of the game, and we endorse your teachings 100%. (You can always spot us, 'cause we're the ones doing all those "weird little drills" off to the side - often without benefit of a diamond - while all of the "experienced" coaches rush to get a practice field before anyone else, arrange their defense, and run every practice with, "OK guys, 1 out, runner on 1st, let's get 2!") Thanks for all that you do, Coach. It's appreciated more than you will ever know! Tom Richert, Louisiana
- "I would like to tell you this idea of using the e-mail as a way to help coaches is a wonderful tool. I've been coaching baseball for five years, and have bought several books. But finding your web sight has brought a technological advantage in coaching. Please keep sending your tips to me, and I'll keep reading them. Thank You," Brent Campbell, Ohio
- "I just had to take the time to thank you for the "tip of the week" you send by e-mail. I look forward to receiving it every week. I still continue to teach and coach baseball to all levels but have been concentrating on the college level group. I have used many of your "tips" and have seen them be helpful to my players. Again thanks for your work. Sincerely" Ben Ash, Delaware- Student of the game.
- "Coach, I enjoy hearing from you and appreciate that you share your knowledge with others. Baseball is a great game, and for people like you it will continue to be the heart of America." Curt Phelps, Texas
- "As a recent tip of the week subscriber, and a longtime little league coach, I find your Tip of the week to be a fantastic program filled with excellent information. I've already started to map out my practice sessions with the team, and rest assured several practices are structured around the tips I've received from you." William LaRue, Washington
- To Everyone Who Loves the Game of Baseball and to Anyone Who Wants to Become a Better Student of the Game:
I wanted to take a few moments and share with you an experience that changed our lives. That statement is in no way an exaggeration. My son, Chad, and our family had the incredible opportunity to live a dream come true. Coach Byrd touched on it in his article on ‘An Unforgettable Experience’. I hope you will take the time to read this account even though it may be lengthy. I believe it can do the same for you.
Chad will be a senior in high school next year and he loves the game like no one else. I have had the pleasure of being his coach since he could walk. I felt he had the skills necessary to play at a higher level some day and yet as all parents are prone to do, I knew my opinion may be a little less than objective. I’ve been acquainted with Baseball Excellence for several years now and know first hand the value of each and every lesson taught. I have always tried to be a student of the game and not merely a fan. I never stop trying to learn more and am always delighted to find there is more to be learned. I wanted Chad to have the benefit of as much instruction as possible before his senior year to give him the best chance of moving up the baseball ladder.
I called Bob in early Spring and asked for a recommendation on baseball schools this summer. I told him what I wanted to do for Chad and asked for his advice. He told me that baseball schools can be good, but what you will not get is individual instruction. He was right. Most schools have a 40 or 50 to 1 ratio of players to coaches.
Bob told me that if Chad were his son he would look for someone with professional experience to give Chad what he needed. I asked whom he would recommend and he said Jack Grant. He told me Jack was very selective in choosing the players he worked with and typically would work with only 2 or 3 kids a year.
He told me how successful Jack had been with his students and offered to talk to him on my behalf. I agreed. Bob got back in touch with us and informed us that Coach Grant needed a video of Chad to determine if he would work with him or not. I made the video and I must tell you that those were anxious days waiting to hear from Bob. When he told us that Chad could come and work with Coach Grant we were thrilled. But I can tell you that nothing in my wildest dreams could have approached what we experienced in Vero Beach with Coach Grant and Coach Byrd.
The time, effort and expense that we incurred in making the trip pales in comparison with what we learned and the results we have seen since coming back to Oklahoma to play summer ball. The program that Coach Grant and Coach Byrd put together for Chad literally changed his understanding of the game, his appreciation for it, and the confidence he has in playing it.
I will be very candid with you. It may not be for everyone. We went to Florida with the understanding that we were going there to work, not to play. We were serious about wanting to get better and Chad was determined to apply himself at every turn. We spent two full weeks of two a days that pushed Chad to the limit each and every day. Nothing was left to chance. His program included skills training in fielding, hitting, base running, improving speed, the mental game, understanding pitchers, game situations, and strategy as well as strength training, interval training to improve flexibility, quickness and balance. He learned how to prepare for each game and then how to stretch and loosen up before each activity to minimize injury.
With each passing day I asked the same question, “how do you feel about what we are doing here?” His response was, “ I have never loved the game of baseball more!” What more could a parent and coach hope for. I encouraged Coach Byrd and Coach Grant to consider doing for others what they did for Chad.
If you have a son who loves the game and is serious about wanting to improve his skills and mental approach to the game, I urge you to contact Bob and see if there is merit in pursuing it the way we did. Our whole family benefited from our stay in Florida. We learned about baseball, character and the importance of a strong work ethic. We made life long friends and shared an experience that only living it can convey.
If you would like to know more about our experience I would be happy to talk to you personally or you can email me and I will be happy to answer any questions I can. My phone number is (405) 359-9850 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The motto of Baseball Excellence is “We Teach Baseball”. I can tell you from first hand experience that that statement could not be more true. They teach it like no one else. They teach it the right way.
I’ll add a post script to our experience. Chad has played three weeks of baseball since we came back from Florida. He has gone 19 for 39. Those hits have included three home runs, and seven doubles. It was worth all the time, effort and expense we invested in our trip. We had an unforgettable experience and we realized a dream.
Our gratitude and appreciation to Bob Byrd and Jack Grant are expressed each and every day within our family. If I can be of help in any way please contact me. Best Regards, Buddy Ward.
The latest issue of Skill of the Week cryptically suggested that the end of your great weekly newsletter is near. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the SOW and how incredibly useful it has been to me as a coach and fan of the game. There is so much to baseball that I do not know and may never know. Your SOW, along with the monthly newsletter, have opened my eyes to a practical and straight forward way to teach baseball skills and love of the game to hundreds of boys.
Thanks So Very Much,
- From the Mom: This post is long overdue. Our son Adam has dedicated himself to working very hard both on and off the baseball field. He is the JV Shortstop, as a 15 old sophomore, at his new High School. He has had the distinct privilege of working individually and in a team situation with Mr. Jack Grant over the past 3 years. He has also had the pleasure of Mr. Bob Byrd’s input and instruction over this time. He has worked out with Bob’s son, Stephen, an awesome College pitcher. You may remember reading about Parker Shields recently. He is the 16-yr. old Junior that traveled down to Vero Beach, Florida over his Christmas break coordinated by Bob Byrd to work on his skills with Jack Grant. His goal was to make the Varsity team at his extremely competitive High School in South Carolina. He had the work ethic to make it and he did. We watched part of these training sessions and it was inspiring. No matter how great you think you can play, Jack will find a way to make you even better. We have discovered watching other “reputation” players over the years, that athletic talent and “luck” will only take you only so far. If you are truly dedicated to the game and put it first before other activities and work harder than the “other” guy you can surpass the “shooting stars” that will burn out usually at High School level. Adam’s sights are set on a great high school experience, then college baseball and beyond.
To be continued….
From the Dad: Four years ago our two sons (11 and 6 at the time) decided they loved the game of baseball. We (my wife and I) decided we would support them and committed to help them along any way we could. Three years ago we were introduced to Coach Jack Grant and Coach Bob Byrd, which turned out to be a tremendous blessing for our sons and us as parents. Coach Grant agreed to evaluate Adam (age 12 then) and our first workout was scheduled. Coach Grant determined that Adam had potential and stated that he could develop into a good ball player if he was taught the proper way to play the game and worked hard at it. Adam agreed to commit to working hard with Coach Grant twice a week and the adventure began. While we had confidence in our son we had no idea how well he could learn to play the game. Coach Grant has molded Adam into one of the finest shortstops this county has ever had. While we believe this to be an accurate assessment of his skills, it’s also the opinion of many others that confirm our belief including his high school coaches. He is now the starting shortstop for John Carroll High School (JV/sophomore at young age 15), which has a stellar reputation for it’s nationally recognized baseball program. From his astonishing fielding skills to his major league swing, Coach Grant is to be thanked. We can now see that Coach Grant’s instruction on and off the field has made this all possible for Adam. His knowledge of the game is unsurpassed. His ability to relay his knowledge to young ball players is a true rarity. Others around the country have come to know this as well. Adam has been very fortunate to be able to workout with other players from all around the country that come to Vero Beach for instruction from Coach Grant and Coach Byrd.
At the same time Adam starting working with Coach Grant, our youngest son Sterling (6 at the time) had aspirations of becoming a pitcher. Coach Grant then introduced us to Coach Byrd at one of Adams lessons. It seems that Coach Byrd’s son Stephen was an outstanding pitcher and we were very fortunate to be able to witness Coach Byrd and Coach Grant instructing Stephen on the finer skills of pitching. When Coach Byrd learned that Sterling was interested in pitching he studied his skills, which were what you would expect from a 6 year old. He then taught Sterling many different training techniques that would help him develop his pitching skills. Since then Sterling has worked hard with the techniques Coach Byrd taught him and is now an outstanding pitcher (age 10) with phenomenal control and a 62 mph impressive fastball! Thank you Coach Byrd! (By the way, congratulations to Coach Byrd whose son Stephen is now a starting pitcher for Brevard College, Florida! Your dedication to his success and his hard work has paid off tremendously.) In addition, Sterling’s hitting skills are absolutely awesome which he learned from, guess who – Coach Grant! He’s scaring the hell out of infielders, pinging the fence with line drives and occasionally putting it out of the park! This puts a smile on Sterling’s face (and ours) that you can’t buy for a million dollars!
Both my sons are brimming with confidence and enjoying their youth as all-star baseball players due to the influence of Coach Jack Grant and Coach Bob Byrd. This confidence spills over into all other aspects of their life like school as evidenced by their high grades. As I said earlier, they are both a blessing to my sons, my wife and I. From one parent to another, if you’re serious about helping your sons become ‘studs” on the baseball field you must visit Coach Grant and Coach Byrd. It will have an impact on their lives (and yours) that will last a lifetime. From my wife and I to Coach Grant and Coach Byrd, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The enjoyment we get from watching our sons strive for excellence with your guidance and expertise is wonderful. I would be very happy to speak or communicate with anyone that would like to hear more of our experiences with Coach Grant and Coach Byrd. My email is email@example.com . We hope to see you on the baseball field.
- 2005 was a pivotal year in many respects. The dramatic events that captured the world's attention put the game of baseball in proper perspective for me. There are many people who covet the basic comforts of life for themselves, and their loved ones, based on conditions and circumstances they didn't ask for.
With all that being said, it is my youngest son's Junior year of high school. He is facing the challenge of making the varsity squad come later this January. We both know that this is it. There is no more leeway, no place to hide. At the end of tryouts he could be a student vs. student athlete. The level of talent in his program is very high, and very deep. A warm spot at the end of the bench would be a huge accomplishment.
I knew that we needed help, and so I e-mailed Bob Byrd back in September, explained our situation, and asked for a referral to a coach, or camp in Florida that my son could attend over the Christmas break. His grandmother lives in Clearwater, Fla., and I figured that he could stay there while attending whatever Bob recommended. Bob promptly replied, gave me a referral in Sarasota, Fla., and then offered to help out on the East Coast if I was so inclined. Well, of course I was hoping all along that he would offer us the chance to come to Vero Beach, so I called him right away.
Bob set things up with Coach Jack Grant, and before I knew it, we were driving down to Vero Beach the day after Christmas. We arrived that afternoon, and literally within minutes of meeting Coach Grant he had Parker doing dry swings, and answering questions. We then went immediately to a local baseball field were Coach Grant evaluated his throwing motion, arm strength, agility, speed, and running style. Throughout and forever, Coach Grant asked question after question, striving to understand why, how, and what Parker had been taught, knew, and understood about every aspect of playing baseball. It was like watching a mechanic work on a piece of equipment as he adjusted, and tuned Parker's mechanics. While he was working with Parker, and the sun was going down on a beautiful Florida afternoon, I knew that we had found something special.
For the next week we met Coach Grant, Stephen Byrd(Bob's son)and a multi talented ball player from a local high school named Adam, at a field that was mowed, dragged, and lined each morning as if in preperation for an actual game. Coach Grant and the boys, with me as an interested observer, pitching machine attendant, and ball retriever, worked from 9:30AM to Noon, and from 2:00PM until 5:00PM each day. I mean Worked! Pitching, fielding, base running, bunting, hitting, etc. To put it into perspective, Coach Grant hit over 200 fungos to Parker in a 1 hr. session to see how he tracked fly balls in the outfield. We didin't have any problem going to sleep by 9:00PM each night.
During the week Parker made quick friends with Stephen and Adam. Coach Grant and I couldn't help but smile when they ragged on each other while hitting, fielding, or running their 60 times. They would crack jokes at lunch, and we had a good time at dinner one evening.
I could go on about so many diffent positive aspects of the week in Vero Beach. The passion and knowledge that Coach Grant has for the game is only surpassed by his love of teaching young men who want to play it. The thing that summed it all up for me was when farewells were said, handshakes and hugs shared, and we pointed the truck north on I95 back to South Carolina, my 16 year old son, with his newly aquired farmer's tan, turned and looked me right in the eye and said..."Dad, That was well worth it!" He knew that he was closer to making that cut, and then he was fast asleep before we were half way to Cocoa Beach.
Mark Shields Charleston.SC
- Coach Byrd:
I just wanted to drop you a thank you note for all that you've done over the years to increase my baseball knowledge which I in turn have used to develop my son as a player. I came across your website in either 1998 or 1999. Since then, I've read the weekly TOTW's, the practice planner, the forums, purchased a video or two, etc., etc., etc.
While your website was not my only source of baseball information I found the way that you worded your instruction gave me the courage and confidence to know that I was doing things the right way when many around me were stuck in the Little League / small diamond mentality.
You made me understand that the development of players, while it may be excruciatingly slow at times, is what eventually makes a team. This was the first year that I basically had free reign as a coach to run practices, institute a philosophy, and run game strategy. As you might imagine, I got many questions from the uninformed regarding fielding position - not "holding" runners on 2nd and 3rd, playing my infield back to increase range, etc. Thus far, it has culminated in a 38-14 record with an NABF 14u World Series runner-up finish! In the process, my son was named the tournament batting champion!
I truly believe that your teachings over the past 10 years has helped me prepare my son for High School ball next spring - and I can't thank you enough. THANK YOU, COACH!!!!!
We sure are proud of our performance this season! I look forward to increasing my baseball knowledge even further and possibly even gaining certification to coach at the High School level. Keep up the good work!
- "Bob Byrd's coaching has made a huge difference in my 10-year-old son's pitching ability. Peter has been coached by Bob for about a year. His increased accuracy and velocity is a direct result of Bob's expert advice. Peter enjoys his coaching sessions and actually looks forward to making the two-hour round trip each week to get there. We appreciate all the time Bob spends researching pitching techniques. I feel Peter has a distinct advantage over other pitchers in our league because of Bob Byrd. He is a starting pitcher this season and I have learned a great deal as well. I can now spot the strengths and weak areas in all the pitchers in our league. I highly recommend Bob Byrd as a pitching coach. We are very grateful to have the opportunity to work with him." Lorie Shekalio, Florida
- “I just wanted to take a few minutes to thank Bob Byrd for his website, his baseball knowledge, his willingness to teach the game to young players, and his general love for the game of baseball. I met Bob a few years ago when I was looking for someone who could teach my son (Nicky) how to catch. What I found was a man that was not only willing to teach him, but also willing to spend time with me and my wife (Lori). The knowledge that we as a family have gained has been incredible. As a result of his dedication my son is a better player, I am a better baseball father, and my wife knows enough about catching to be a coach herself. Thank you Bob.” Dennis McWilliams, Pt St Lucie Florida.
- “Coaches, you have had an enormous impact on our 2 sons. Thanks to you Andy has a full Division I baseball schollarship.” Dwight Wilson, Vero Beach, Florida (Andy made All American his freshman year at Stetson University and Neil was selected (5th round) by the Colorado Rockies in the 2002 draft.)
- "Just thought you would like to know that my son and Myself really enjoyed the pitching mechanic video and base running video. We both learned a lot from each and are working on his mechanics even now so as to make the upcoming season a more productive one. I tell him you can never be over prepared. He liked seeing the younger kids his age in the video it made it easier for him to comprehend seeing another 12 yr. old do the motions. Upon my weekly check of your site I read in the discussion group about a pitch count chart you mentioned. I would love to look at it seeing as I just got a pitch counter for Christmas from my wife, She always hears me talk about not letting our son hurt his arm from over use. Keep up the great work. Thanks again." Kevin Hezel, Pa
- UpDate On Bill Hezel
Bill is a Senior at East Stroudsburg university in PA and is still pitching. Congrats, Bill!
I know its been some time since We have talked, most likely 5 or 6 years. Way back in 1998 I purchased a pitching video of yours with because my son wanted to learn how to be a pitcher. The video had you and a young Little league age pitcher going thru all the mechanics. It was a tremendous help to me and my son, because he could relate to seeing someone his own age work on pitching. It also helped me to learn how to teach those same mechanics.
We worked long and hard on his pitching skills. I sent you a pitcher I had taken of him as an 11yr old Little League pitcher from the first base side of the field. To my surprise you published in your monthly newsletter as a example of the high cocked position. We were so proud of that picture and your positive feedback.
Well flash forward many years and after a good high school career and a division 1 scholarship to Lehigh university which didn’t go as planned he transferred East Stroudsburg university in PA and in 2009 with a 4-1 record (so Far)a school photographer took this picture. It reminded us of that newsletter picture right away. I have moved on to coaching at a local private high school and a summer legion team. I have been lucky enough to have sent many players onto play college ball. All from those simple beginnings and love of the game of baseball. Bill Hezel is a senior in his final season of college baseball and lives for day he pitches, in this game he threw 6 innings giving up one hit and 6 k’s, he is on an 11inning scoreless streak right now. Sorry to go on so long just wanted to let you know what your influence has led too. Kevin Hezel
- "Mr. Byrd, I wanted to send this T-Shirt (Rays) to say thank you for all your help in developing my pitching skills... Without your help I would never be where I am today...
Sincerely, Alex Cobb"
(Alex was drafted by Tampa in the 4th round in 2005.