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I played baseball at Clemson University in the early 90’s and happened to arrive at a great time. We were consistently a top 5 team in the country and I was a member of 2 College World Series teams, was a 3 time ACC Champion, and a two-time ACC Pitcher of the Week. I was fortunate to play two years for a legendary coach who was just completing a 36 year career and followed that with three years under a soon to be legendary coach who would go on to coach for 32 years. I spent 5 years during the summers coaching at baseball camps throughout the South alongside guys who went on to coach at Vanderbilt, Auburn, Maryland, TCU, Notre Dame, and St. Johns (NY) to name a few. I was lucky to be exposed to a wide range of great coaching styles and techniques over a short period of time.
When I arrived at Clemson in the fall of 1990, I was coming off of what I claimed to have been a very successful high school career. I had made the varsity team as a freshman and played 4 years at the top level in our state, even throwing a perfect game my senior year! I spent my summers playing for a team that consisted of the best players from our four local high schools, playing against other All-Star level teams throughout the state. I attended many camps and clinics, and like most successful high school ball players, I thought I knew everything about baseball. That was until the day I showed up at Clemson. I quickly learned I didn’t know anything about baseball. Again, I happened to show up at a fortunate time. I spent the next five years under the tutelage of two former major leaguers who were my pitching coaches. They taught me not only how to pitch, but how to prepare for baseball. I learned which drills would lead to improvement and how those drills could help a player grow. I learned how to recognize what was right and what was wrong with both my own techniques and the techniques of others across all aspects of the game.
Today, as a father and coach working with my own kids and others for over ten years, I realize that these same drills and techniques can be applied to kids at all ages and levels of play. It is possible to take the philosophy that we used at one of the nation’s top programs and apply the same approach with kids and young men and women; teaching good, solid fundamentals they can use to improve their game for the rest of their lives. A strong foundation can be established with kids as young as 4 years old and continue to serve them in improving their skills at each level of their game development. My goal is simple – make kids better players for high school and beyond.
- Jamie Eggleston