Today’s interview is with Kevin Wilson. Kevin is a private hitting instructor at CKP and works with a long list of professional players. Enjoy and Happy Memorial Day to all!
Kev, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I know you’re a busy guy (Hitting Coach, Full Time Dad, Front Toss Guru), so let’s get right to it!
1) To start, let’s let everyone know a little bit about you. What schools/teams did you play for during your amateur and professional career, and where are you coaching now?
I played my high school baseball at Holy Ghost Prep in Bensalem, Pa. I’m a proud alum of the University of Cincinnati. I was fortunate to be a part of the first recruiting class of current head coach Brian Cleary back in 1997. After college, I signed with the Chicago White Sox and began my minor league career. I spent 6 years in the minor leagues, including stints in independent ball as well. I retired after 2006 season. I have been a hitting coach in independent ball since then, as well as a private hitting coach for individual hitters from MLB all the way down to HS players.
2) What difference do you see between the recruiting process today compared to your high school days?
It’s much more aggressive and many more added pressures on today’s kids than when I went through the process. With technology being what it is nowadays, coaches have such greater access to players whether it’s on their cell phones, twitter, facebook, etc. They know where these kids are at every day of the week. There is nothing that these kids can hide.
Note from CK: College Coaches are not recruiting this guy when they see his facebook. Don’t be him.
These showcase circuits that these players go through is also very different. Coaches came to our games to watch us play. Now because of their budgets and time frames they can go watch players, they are almost forced to watch showcases only most of the time. It’s only a very small sample size to try and recruit. I think it’s a very tough job evaluating these players compared to when you used to see kids play 5-10 games a year.
3) Let’s talk a little bit about hitters today. You work with hitters at every level, mostly professional. What separates a professional hitter versus an amateur hitter?
Their approach. They actually have one…… Most amateur players (I include myself as one when I played HS and college) have little to no approach at the plate. They may have a great swing and look good in BP, but when it comes to game time, they don’t have a plan and it shows against better pitching. When I got to pro ball, I began to understand what it took to be a professional hitter, and very little of it was mechanics. I try and stress to these young players that having an idea up there is the best thing that you have going for you to compliment your tools.
4) There are a lot of ways to teach hitting. What advice do you have for youth coaches who are trying to make their hitters better?
Get to know your player first. Know them as a person before knowing them as a player. A lot of coaches forget they are dealing with human beings and that they can’t treat them all the same. If you take the time to get to know them and they get to know you, they will respect you sooner so that you can begin to provide them with some information. If I a player doesn’t trust you and/or respect you, you will have a very hard time suggesting things or developing that player.
5) Favorite swing of all time, GO!
Not mine…… from the right side Manny Ramirez.
From the left side Griffey Jr.
Big thanks to Kevin for the interview. I hope you guys found this informative and enjoyed it! Have a great rest of the week!