Dad's View Point -
By Steve Columbo, Mudcat Parent and Sports Extrordinaire
For the better part of 9 years now I have been sending both of my kids Daniel and Johnny to Justin for pitching lessons. It was evident to me early on that even though I was a college and professional baseball player it was best to be a parent with recommendations, as opposed to trying to act as both Dad and Pitching coach.
My oldest son Daniel, now a Varsity Baseball player at Lane Tech started with Justin at the age of 6 years old. I can remember vividly going to see Justin over at Lane Tech and watching as Justin made Danny balance on a two by four, creating a balance point for him 3-5 minutes at a time. The time they spent on this is very evident today as Danny has what I feel are the best balance and mechanics of any kid at the Varsity level. His balance point, stride and arm angle are consistent every pitch resulting in him being one of the most accurate throwers at his age level. This past May I can not tell you how proud I was watching Danny pitching in the City Championships down at UIC. In attendance was Justin watching his former and current pupil consistently throwing strikes on the outside part of the plate time and time again. The result was a Lane Tech win and a winning pitcher named Danny Colombo.
I have followed the same process with my younger son Johnny. Johnny was a natural from the beginning, and with hard work through the years with Justin and Platt has developed into a Top Level pitcher and shortstop with a strong and accurate arm. Johnny's proudest moment was 2 summers ago when he and his teammates took a 5th place finish in Cooperstown and he won the Golden Arm Competition in front of 3000 spectators and 104 competitors. The Golden Arm is evidence of the proper mechanics being employed, resulting in strong and accurate throws.
In my opinion too many fathers get involved with coaching their own kids. While I always am involved in my kids development, I have left the heavy lifting of pitching lessons up to Justin and Plat and agility, hitting and shortstop play up to coach Bach.
Too many parents think that the key to a kids baseball development is pounding balls in a cage or throwing 5 days a week. In my opinion that could not be farther from the truth. The key to a kids development is teaching the proper skills and fundamentals at an early age. Once a kid has the proper fundamentals it is then up to the kid to work hard. In my opinion it is Fundamentals + Repetition + Hard work = Success.