An Eight Year Journey to 90

By Jonathan Massey – 


I originally wrote this blog two years ago, but it applies as much today as it did back then. And as the summer is winding down and our players who trained with us this summer head back into the real world, I felt like this was as good a time as any to supply you with a few tips that helped me along my path.


When I showed up on the campus of the Texas Baseball Ranch® I was a 15-year-old rising sophomore in high school throwing 68 mph.  Needless to say, I was way behind the curve. In fact, the only reason I got to pitch at all my freshman year is because A) I was left handed with a good curveball, and B) my high school program wasn’t one of the perennial powerhouses in the district.  If I had gone to another high school in my district there’s a very good chance that I wouldn’t have made the high school team.


Now for those of you reading this thinking that this is one of those Hollywood movies where I show up on campus and then six weeks later I’m throwing 90 mph, I can promise you it’s not.  When I was 16 years old, I was 75-77 mph.  At 18 years old I was 78-81, and at 22 years old I was 80-82.  It wasn’t until I was 23 years old that I finally eclipsed the ever-elusive 90 mph clip.


So here are a few tips that helped me survive my 8-year journey to 90 mph.


Tip #1 – Believe with your whole heart that you are going to accomplish your goal. I know that sounds like an automatic, but it’s crazy how many people don’t truly believe they can actually accomplish what they set out to. After my first day at the Texas Baseball Ranch® I decided that I was going to throw 90 mph no matter how long it took me to get there. I was so committed to this goal that at my baseball banquet my senior year I received the “Throw 90 or Die Trying” Award.  In college, I was cut not once, not twice, but on three different occasions. I was told I wasn’t good enough. And yet if I had given up then I would not have ever reached my goal. So, when I say, “you have to believe you can do it”, I mean you have to have the belief so deeply rooted in your core that even after the worst-case scenario you still believe that you can do it. Will Smith said it best, “There’s no reason to have a Plan B because it can only distract you from Plan A.”


Tip #2 – Surround yourself with people who make you a better person. I am truly blessed to find a place like the Texas Baseball Ranch®, a place where Coach Wolforth and his entire staff truly believed that I could do it. The Texas Baseball Ranch® also allowed me to meet guys like Eric Binder, Cody Springer, Mike Boyden, Brent Powers, and Trevor Bauer. These guys challenged me each day to get better and never once treated me like an inferior when often times I was throwing 15 mph slower than them. The guys supported me and encouraged me along the way. Without this support system, I would never have been able to make it.


Tip #3 – Discipline is freedom. It is easy to take care of things we are passionate about, like throwing or training. But it’s often the small things in life that either help or hurt us the most. Like not being able to train that day because you procrastinated a project till the last minute can/will hurt your development. Or not taking care of your nutrition, sleep, and hydration so that you are lethargic during your next training will eventually derail your development. But by the same token if you take care of the little things, it will set you free. Discipline is freedom. Coach Jill tells me all the time, “Do what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do.”


Tip #4Time is not your enemy. Time is in fact your best friend because in a world full of advantages and disadvantages, the only thing equal to all of it is time. We all only get 24 hours in a day. If you can learn to maximize each day to the fullest, you will eventually catch those who are in front of you, and/or separate yourself from those who are chasing you. For it’s never just one great training session that gets you to the next level, it is putting one great training session after one great training session after one great training session that does. That is when magic happens.


Tip #5 – Learn to love the grind. It is inevitable that if you stay along this path you are going to have days where you’re not at your best physically, mentally or both. Often times we don’t realize we are having these days unless we are radaring. I call these the grind days. They often go something like this: we start our radar session and our first throw is 5-7 mph below our record.  Most guys would make one more throw and then call it day. These days happened often for me. If I rode that emotional roller coaster of being 5-7 mph below my record all the time I would have never made it. What I had to do was change the way I viewed my radar workouts. My mindset on those days became “I was going to throw this next throw .5 mph faster than my previous throw”, then so on and so forth. Often times I would eventually work myself to being within a few miles per hour of a record.


If you want to achieve your goals, you have to learn to love these days because this is where you really make gains.  Anybody can get better on a good day.  What separates the great from the good is finding a way to get better on a bad day.  Learn to have a good bad day.


I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they were to me during my playing career.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


If you are looking for a little extra help on your personal journey,  we encourage you to take a serious look at joining us here at The Ranch this summer.  There are still several opportunities available with our Elite Pitchers Boot Camps and Extended Stay Summer Program.  You can learn more at

Previous post:

Next post: