By Jill E. Wolforth –
Nine members of the Italian Baseball Coaches Association are currently visiting us at The Texas Baseball Ranch. They have come to watch and learn about our training programs so they can take the concepts back to Italy and implement them with their baseball players.
Before they were put to work, we showed them some Southern hospitality. Coach Wolforth and Coach Massey took the gang to San Antonio where they got to experience the River Walk and the Alamo.
Coach Wolforth and the Italian’s in front of the Alamo.
Back at the Ranch, they’ve had the opportunity to experience many facets of our training, from the workouts with our off-season guys to classes for our youth and high school players. They are also going to take in the upcoming Elite Pitchers Boot Camp.
With almost half of the group speaking limited English, it makes for some very interesting moments. The gentleman in charge of setting up the trip, Ennio Paganelli, is fluent in English. While that is hugely beneficial, there is still extra time needed in order to translate. Coach Wolforth has spoken in the past about verbal terrorism, how words can get in the way of communication and the importance of visual and kinesthetic (feel) teaching. Never have those concepts been more evident than while working with this group. It’s been critical to have the coaches be able to see our guys performing the drills.
The Italian coaches observing the Ranch off-season workout
Coach Wolforth and I formed a relationship with the Italians a couple years ago when he was asked to speak at the Italian Coaches Clinic on the subject of pitching. It was a great experience.
I don’t think most people realize how difficult it is for the sport of baseball to compete with soccer and rugby in Europe. Many of the baseball programs in Europe get the bulk of their financial support from the government. When baseball was removed from the Olympic Games, the governments pulled their baseball funding and moved it to other sports, resulting in financial struggles for many involved in baseball.
Knowing some of these back stories, I am always amazed at what coaches, such as these visiting us this week, go through to continue to support and promote this great game of baseball. Ennio said “We are very excited to experience the Texas Baseball Ranch and learn from Ron and his fine staff. We are constantly trying to learn and improve as an organization and we feel the best place in the world to learn about developing the throwing athlete is here at The Baseball Ranch. Ron and his staff have taught us how to simplify complex concepts and apply them.”
It is humbling to know that they have but ten days to spend in the United States to learn about the training of young baseball players and they have chosen to do it with us.
We’ve been asked to travel to Europe each of the last 6 years to share our training. If you’d like to learn more about our involvement in international baseball or would like to help sponsor these events, please email me, Jill@TexasBaseballRanch.com.