By: Jack Czeszewski
I will always remember the very first time I was introduced to The Texas Baseball Ranch training program. I was attending Coach Wolforth’s Boot Camp at the original Fastball USA when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My dad signed me up and I was a little nervous because the words “boot camp” seemed a bit intimidating to me. Coach Wolforth ran the camp with the help of Coach Brent Strom, and the three day camp was one of the most enjoyable few days of my life at that time. Coach Wolforth’s passion for pitching and the energy he brought to the camp helped influence my passion for the game of baseball and make it a serious pursuit in my life.
Through the years of training at Fastball USA, my skills as a position player began to excel faster than my skills as a pitcher, and those results carried over to my time playing college baseball at Illinois State. I focused on other training techniques for hitting and was out of the loop from Ranch training for about 5 years. I began my college career as an outfielder at Illinois State. As my college career progressed, I saw my role on the team diminish through lack of production on my part. I was eventually given an opportunity to earn more playing time as a pitcher and gained unexpected success.
I was reunited with Coach Wolforth my junior season of college in 2015, when we traveled to Dallas Baptist University where Coach Wolforth’s son, Garrett, was committed to play the following season and was currently visiting for the weekend. I pitched in a game that weekend and after the game, Coach Wolforth came up to me and asked what my major was and offered me an internship position for the summer. Because of my commitment to play in the Northwoods League that summer, I later took Coach Wolforth up on his internship offer at The Ranch for the summer of 2016; which turned into one of the best experiences of my life.
Traveling to Texas to begin my internship at The Ranch, I didn’t know what to expect at all. I wasn’t used to the training techniques, and the last Coach Wolforth event I went to was when I was 13 years old at a public park in Bensenville, IL. I had never been to The Ranch before, and was pretty nervous to be expected to coach.
So much had changed with what the Ranch has to offer now. My first couple of weeks, all I could do was sit back and soak it all in and try to learn everything as fast as I could. After the adjustment period of learning all of the training programs for both the Summer Program and the Elite Pitcher’s Boot Camps, I was able to earn credibility and my place as a member of the TBR coaching staff.
Coach Wolforth and the rest of the staff were constantly challenging me with difficult tasks as a coach. At first I would just help out with drills and do some demonstrations, but by the end of the summer, I was leading morning workouts and afternoon warm-ups for the Summer Program, and leading an arm care station for the Boot Camps. It is interesting to see, in hindsight, how much I progressed as a coach at the Ranch in just 12 weeks.
From a player’s perspective, The Ranch is the best opportunity to improve your throwing ability. If you are truly bought in, motivated, love working hard and pushing your body to the limit, The Ranch is the best place in the world to train.
The Ranch sets up their clients for sustained health and improved skills, but the client must buy into his development and know that just simply showing up will not give you the results you seek. Even if training is not done at The Ranch, being accountable to do the training on your own is the key to success in the program. If I could go back to when I was 12 and 13, I wish I could come to The Ranch every summer, all summer. I firmly believe that I would be a professional pitcher if I had that opportunity.
My 12 weeks at The Texas Baseball Ranch was a fantastic experience and I learned more than I could have ever expected. I was treated with respect and was pushed and expected to grow as a person and a coach. I can’t thank Ron and Jill enough for the opportunity to be a member of the best baseball training facility in the world, along with Ollie giving me a place to live, and Flint teaching me all he knows about pitching. The coaches are great at training athletes, but they are even better people. I made so many good relationships with the Ranch staff and the clients of The Ranch throughout the summer. No other facility would have been a better place to complete my Degree from Illinois State.
**Check out our website to see all of the upcoming events we have scheduled!