Surviving the Grind

By Jonathan Massey-


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


Now, for those of you reading this and thinking that this is one of those Hollywood movies where I show up on campus and 6 weeks later, I’m throwing 90mph, I can promise you… it’s not. When I was 16, I was 75-77mph; at 18, I was 78-81; and at 22, I was 80-82. It wasn’t until I was 23 years old that I finally eclipsed the ever-evasive 90mph.


Next week will mark the conclusion of Session 1 of the Texas Baseball Ranch® Summer Program.  Most of these guys will leave this place and rejoin the real world where it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, so here are a few tips that helped me survive my 8-year journey to 90mph.


Tip #1 – Believe with your whole heart that you will 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 90mph 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 three different times, and yet, if I had given up, then I would have never reached my goal. When I say, “You have to believe you can do it,” I mean you have to have the belief so deeply rooted in you 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 from Plan A”.


Tip #2 – Surround yourself with people who make you a better person. I was 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, and Mike Boyden. These guys challenged me each day to get better, and never once treated me like an inferior when, often times, I was throwing 15mph slower than them. As the cliché goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”. These guys took me in and showed me what the real work looked like; they supported me and encouraged me along the way. Without this support system, I never would have been able to make it, so be very careful who you spend the majority of your time with.


Tip #3 – Learn to have a good bad day. 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”, and they often go something like this: We start our radar session, and our first throw is 5-7mph below our record.  Most guys would make one more throw and then dial it in, never really getting close to their records. These days happened often for me. If I rode that emotional roller coaster of being 5-7mph below my record all the time, I would have never made it. What I had to do was change the way I viewed these radar workouts. My mindset on those days became, “I am going to throw this next throw .5mph faster than my previous throw,” and so on and so forth. Often times, I would eventually work myself up to being within a few miles per hour of a record, and on special occasions, I would even break my record. If I am being honest, these days were far more of an impact on my journey to 90mph than the days that I showed up and broke a record on my first day. These were the days I truly learned how to take my body to the next level.


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.


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Important TBR Updates




  • Would you like to experience both?  We do have that option.  Attend one of our 3-Day Elite Pitchers Bootcamps and Add-On one week of our Summer Program.  Call for the details (936) 588-6762.

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