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JR Potthast baseball info 2018

  phone:     **618 -960 - 4467

Chapter 1:  JR Potthast baseball history and 

                  resume.       

             2:  2018 baseball/ softball camps.


             3:  Professional lessons - year round


  Rest of pages  are general baseball topics with opinion.     

Click on the PDF link at the bottom of this page for a camp flyer

 J R POTTHAST  Education, baseball history, and credentials

Education:   degrees in Chemistry, Math, Physics,and Animal science.  Areas of concentration in Physiology of Lactation,  Genetics, human physiology, and reproduction.  Recent degree in essentrics physiology- ground braking neurological athletic stretching/ strengthening  program.

1  Member:  Professional Baseball Scouting  Association  

2  Member:  Clinton County Men's Baseball Hall of Fame;      Mon-Clair baseball league Hall of fame;  3. Metro-    East Men's baseball  Hall of fame;  
  Southwestern-Illinois Intercity baseball  hall of fame.
  Mid- West Professional baseball Hall of fame.     Mr. Potthast is the only person in baseball history to be named to more than one of these Halls of fame.  He is a member of all five.  
  He is also a member of the Baseball Hall of history at GCS stadium in Sauget, Il.  

3. Associate scout  to George Bradley for 28 years.
 Associate to Van Smith of San Diego Padres 17 years.


4  Assistant Coach: Southern Illinois University;  McKendree College; and Greenville College.

5   20 year Player/manager H-P Merchant Baseball.

6   Scouted for: Detroit Tigers; Philadelphia Phillies;  San Diego Padres; Boston Red Socks; and New York Yankees. 


7    Pitching instructor Philadelphia Phillies Minor league    baseball  Clearwater, Florida.

8.    22 year Commissioner Metro-East Night              Baseball League. 

9   Associate of Les Rinker School of Baseball Stanford FL

10   Member National Association of  Collegiate Coaches


11.   Instructor at several University summer baseball  camps through out the mid-west area.  

12.   Professional instructor with minor league spring training camps. 

13.  It is estimated that he has pitched well over 6,800 innings in his life time, with out ever having an arm injury.  Most years he averaged over 300 innings per total year.  

14.   Always a humble student of the game! 

**Special thanks to all past coaches, baseball associates, and past campers, who have given me advice to improve my focus and presentation!
REFRENCE:Van Smith, San Diego Padres Scout;  Ray Ripplemeyer, Phillies; Steve Rabb Phillies scout; Andrew McCucthen Prirates; Scott Terry, St. Louis Cards; Josh Thole N.Y Mets;  Chris Frey Colorado Rockies; John Morrey Zavior University; Tom Gutzler, Highland ;  Denis Pieper, Valmeyer; Wayne Wirz; Pete Schumacher, Trenton; Jim Greenwald, Az. scout ;  Bob Hughes  St. Louis U Baseball; Syl Mueth, Millstadt; Dan Callahan SIU;  Jerry Halstadt John A Logan J.C.; Rick Parr Indianna U. South-east; Mark Bullock DuQuion;  Stu Beath Wooster U. Ohio; Jake Ferichs Parkland J. C.; Elvis Domingo Bradley U.; Sean Fitzgererald Shawnee J.C.;  David Hill Vienna High;  Joel Hawkins Highland High; Todd Hutchinson, Greenville High; Logan Young Bloomington, In.; Mark Fickbohm; Darrel Butler Triad  High;  and Mike & Trevor Yates, Marine, Il;   Tyler Bullock siu


                                                               Camps

"Everybody HITS on Monday” 

This has been the battle cry on the opening Monday for the last 36 years of baseball/ softball camps. Caden Fears was the big hustle award winner of 2015. He performed over 1800 swings in just one week of camp!  His award is named in memory of Guy Michael.  Colby Frey won the highest performance award ( Dean Burk award) last year. The best female award is named in honor of Abby Quitmeyer.  BTW: everybody hits on Tuesday also...AND /wed; thurs; Friday!


JR POTTHAST 2018  Baseball/ Softball camps 36th year.

     Popsicle break: 10:30  over 23,850 served

 Ages:   10 to 17       Place: Highland High softball/ baseball areas 

Dates: 

           week 1 :  May 29 - June 1         8:30 -  noon

           week 2 :  June 4-8                    8:30 -  noon

           week 3 :  July 23-26  cool time:   ***7:30-10 am.


COST: $88 per week 1 & 2 REGISTER NOW : 

Call  960- 4467         $58 for July23 week 3. 

JR Potthast 50 trout dr. Highland, 62249


 free camp Memorial Awards --all instructors’ votes are based on effort:  The Abbey Quitmeyer award sponsored by Michael's  Restaurant;  Jack Foehner  by The Millersburg General Store;  Bob Koch; Dennis Warning; and Lee Miller by Lucco Financial; Barnell Pacatte, by First Mid Ill. Bank; Dan Koishor, by Bank of Edwardsville;  Gene Paoletti, by JMF Concrete ; Roy Lee, by McDonalds ;  Clarence Potthast, by Essenpreis Plumbing.* The highest award is the DEAN BURK AWARD. It is based on over all ability and performance - That was DEAN.      These memorial awards are in honor of people that have been most special to area baseball.


The St. Paul Kirchenfest auction is a very economical way to buy a week of baseball camp.   The Kirchenfest package includes a trip to a Cardinal game with J.R. plus other items.  Gift certificates are available for all occasions.    

 Parents are to sign a hold harmless agreement and a proof of insurance form on the first day of camp!

Send check payable JR Potthast (no forms) to 50 trout dr. Highland, Il.  

  Water provided! Bring: Hat, glove, bat, fruit snack, put name on their hat, to help instructors vote for Hustle award winners.  Put name on all items!


 *
*Ask about extra camp day- if multiple week attendee and/or sibling bonus.
                       *Carpools set up for surrounding cities. 
*Final note:  There are many baseball camps offered in our area.  If you ask me, I will give you my opinion of their value
Chapter Three:  Camps



Chapter Two: 

Baseball topics and procedures
Please note that my intent is to act as an authoritarian on these baseball topics.  I do mean to express these             conclusions as fact NOT as in my "humble opinion".                                                                       

Topic :  It is now DEC of 17!!  Why in the heck are all these pitchers  in the stretch position when they don't have to be?  Find out why that concept is grossly wrong on all levels of baseball competition- unless in the VERY VERY rare case that a pitcher actually is better in the stretch!  Keep in mind some pitchers only think they are better in the stretch. When I see a pitcher's lever assembly in both the wind up and the stretch, I know in which motion they are better equipped.  Some pitchers only practice in the stretch.  Thus they never understand the advantages of the wind up position.  I will be excited when we get to the topic of pick off moves and the sleeping pill affect to runners with the wind up approach. 

Main topic:  SQUEEZE!  If I am in the stretch with a runner on third, I can NOT stop a suicide squeeze.  If I am in the wind -up, I  ABSOLUTELY CAN stop the ball from being bunted. Thus, I stop the squeeze.  Keeping the runner close to third is NOT important in stopping the squeeze.  The most important defense of the squeeze is for the pitcher to have knowledge of the squeeze in time to adjust his pitch to the hitter, Thus you stop the ball from being bunted.   Most of the baseball world TODAY, does not agree with this assessment.  Again, with a physical display,  I do convince intelligent people that you want to be in the wind up every chance you can!  I am not concerned if I am the only one that is correct about this Phenomenon.   Fact:  in the wind up a pitcher learns of the squeeze even before balance point.  Thus he can adjust his throw to the catcher to stop the bunt.  The runner is now caught in a run down.  Please read this paragraph over again.  If you are still not convinced that the wind up is the antidote for the Squeeze, call me.  

So here is my challenge to all Professional, College, and High school game coaches:  READ this topic, let me physically demonstrate my points of concern, and answer all your questions.  Then if you still want to put your pitchers in the stretch in these situations, you are not smart enough to be a game coach!

*Also, In over 6,000 innings pitched in my life, I can tell you that I picked off  many more runners in the wind up than in the stretch!  Another time to address pick- offs.  

What gives me the courage to be so blunt about baseball discussions?  Keep in mind that Roy Lee and I were boldly very critical of the "slide step" in the stretch position over 40 years ago.  The slide step started about 1972, in what instructors thought made pitchers quicker to home-- to stop baserunners from stealing so many bases.  I was intrigued by it in the beginning.  I was mostly concerned with the slide step balance point destruction in the pitching motion.  Sine I was only in my mid 20's at the time, and major league and college pitching coaches were teaching this, I was thinking, "what do I know".  
Lucky for me Roy Lee (SIUE: the best pitching instructor perhaps of all time) was in the stands when these college pitchers would come home and attempt to pitch for me.  I remember letting the best pitcher in the midwest go to 13 walks before I finally pulled him.  ( it was a non league game vs. SIUE 1976- PIC Park).  Roy, whom I had pitched for '68-'70, and I started long discussions about the slide step phenomenon.  After approximately three years we were very convinced of our conclusions about the slide step.  It nets you slower to home, and you loose the benefits of proper lever assembly.  I remember saying to Roy: " we are going against hall of fame major league pitchers and instructors".  He said " they might have all the athletic ability in the world, but that does not mean they are smart."  Roy and I had a strong baseball relationship for the rest of his life.  My point is that we were the ONLY voice against the horrible slide step for a very long long time.  After Roy passed I was all alone until about 15 years ago when the traction against the slide step started gaining momentum.  Now, only the very ignorant would teach a slide step in the stretch position.  

Other concepts:  hitting: "get your back elbow up"- was a mistake 100 years ago and will still be wrong 100 years from now.  

My favorite the last 20 years:  hitting: " lock your front knee and swing"  or " hit off a stiff front knee".  You can pay thousands of dollars at "facilities" to learn how NOT to hit.  It is Ok!  You can then pay me to fix it!  Yes, again, there are many major league hitters that always lock their front knee.  Keep in mind they are athletic monsters.  BUT, Pete Rose would have been out of baseball had he been a one dimensional hitter.  He wasn't good enough to play major league baseball--He was smart enough though.  Tell these guys to always lock their front knee: Tony Oliva; Henry Aaron; Carlos Beltron (my fav of all time).

My general comment about knee lockers is:  "Well you will hit off all the stupid pitchers"  You can get by (but not be your best) with locking your front knee usually until about age 16 or so.  Or only 6th grade if someone like me is the pitcher.


Topic I have been negligent to address:  Essentics physiology for athletes.

        I will probably address this exercise concept in the news media first.  But I want you all here to be alerted of the concept first.  I have for over 40 years been working at this concept without realising what to call it.  And, not knowing how to prove it to myself or others.  Becoming a disciple of Miranda Esmonde White of Quebec, Canada has given me the courage and confidence to dispute mainstream conditioning of athletes, or the animal kingdom for that matter.  In the past 30 years or so, I have described it as strengthening muscle in an elongated form and or strengthening by stretching and contracting and releasing in different stages.  My primary goal has always been to strengthen muscle attachments more than the muscle itself.  The longer the lever theory is accurate.  You have heard of arm speed speed at release.  Accomplished!   
       My intent has never been to embarrass conditioning coaches at any level of baseball.  There have been some positive approaches of conditioning of athletes, but at a very slow rate.  Keep in mind that I am convinced there are more pitching injuries now than 50 years ago.  I am out of time in this sitting.  I will have to continue later this summer of '18.

Topic:  I say pitchers need to pitch!  Many colleges want their pitchers to take the summer off -- stay at school, lift weights, take classes, throw bullpens, and kiss their sister instead of competing.  I now see several Seniors at D1 colleges that do not know how to pitch because they are sitting on just 200 lifetime innings pitched.  Lets see, how did a guy like me with little athletic ability pitch in college?  Because I had over 1200 innings in by my freshman year.  

Topic for Spring '19:  why hitting a tennis ball with a tennis racket is one of the most congruent actions to improve rhythm adjustments in the baseball swing!  

Topic of the season:  Freshman off to college to play baseball. Same topic can be similar for minor league players headed back for spring training.  The biggest mistake this age baseball player can make is to not prepare.  Many (including parents) think these young players should rest and wait to get into their college baseball program.  Why is this a big mistake?  The general public would assume that all college coaches would be great teachers of baseball - some are!  1. Despite what you hear, you don't actually know if your student is going to be helped or hurt.- I do!  2.  Several college baseball programs  don't really teach much anymore.  Some should NOT teach!  Most recruit good players.  3.You need to get a good foundation from a professional like me so that you can avoid the "bad stuff" that some notable colleges teach.  ie.  One of my students just had elbow surgery  because of what was forced upon him by a college  coach.  I will comment more on this latter when all the data is in. 
 Example # 2:  One of my pitching students went to a division one school with perfect control FB 92+ mph. He had almost perfect control in and out of the hitting zone.  My work with him was to add two fast balls moving away from RHB.  One for contact and one for swing/ miss of weaker hitters. That happened easily.  Thus he would never have to throw a (hard on the arm) slider, which is also more predictable than my pressure point fast balls.  This pitcher's motion looked like a Japanese imitation of Juan Marichal - which I had no problem with.  Despite my pleading with the  pitching coach to avoid the urge to change his motion , he changed the player's pitching motion anyway- actually he was pressured by someone above him to do so.  He was also taught to throw a slider ( hard on the arm) in instead of the two pressure point fast balls  he threw so very well. This action caused 2 months of terrible control and pitch command.  The head coach was publicly very critical of this perplexed pitcher, even though the head coach was the one who caused the problem in the first place.  The pitcher, with sound advice from his dad and myself, finally went back to his nearly perfect  pitching motion that he arrived with.  He even flew to a very notable pitching instructor for a second opinion.  This famous instructor agreed with my conclusions but added  other  theories  which I am still at odds with.   Of'course in those situations the player is blamed for bad performance, not the coach.  
Please Note: I would not be critical of this college coach if he was qualified to instruct pitchers. 

You may be thinking that these players were prepared by me to avoid these problems.  Yes, but in both instances, the players (naive freshman) did not talk to me about it until it was too late.  What is a freshman to do?  The players that I am a legal "adviser" to, do not have that problem.  I take care of all the scouting calls and also have control of what is taught to him at all levels.  I am different from most "advisers" in that I am qualified to act as a technician as well as a  financial/ career adviser.
  
SUMMARY:  Do not allow you son or yourself to fall into the freshman "naive" trap.   The pitcher mentioned above, eventually had to have Tommy John surgery, as well as many of his team mates. Btw: most of these pitchers did not even throw many innings at all before injury.  
  What caused it?  Three things: 1. total abrupt change of pitching motion.  2. Instant and over use of "the slider".  3.  weight lifting -- strengthening arm muscles in in bulky contracted form instead of elongated elastic form. --  basically strengthening the muscles more than the attachments.   

Conclusion on pitching arm problems:  I only strengthen and stretch attachments and stretch/ strengthen muscles in elongated form.  I call it Essentric physiology compared to Concentric physiology.      That is why I have not had a student with a bad arm EVER.  I have another hypothesis:  No one should be allowed to coach or instruct or condition baseball pitchers unless they were legitimate sound minded pitchers themselves.  

There are some success stories.  I have often talked with young college pitching coaches (especially if they are one of my students).  I have given them advice on how to improve a pitcher I may have seen from time to time. Sometimes my advice is "don't change anything until you truly know that what you are teaching works.  Or I might says "manage your pitchers - get them in great shape - strengthen their muscle attachments more than their muscles - but generally don't change them for the sake of change.  That has worked very well.  Conclusion:  There are some very good hitting and pitching coaches  at colleges, just not enough.  Most are just too young.  They should not be teaching something they know little about.  Why does this happen?  Because young assistant coaches are inexpensive and sometimes volunteered/ intern help.  
      
 
 
  Note:  This is how my baseball instruction year progresses:
                    (although the semi-privates sessions are year round.)
*Starts in mid July preparing college and middle school students for their school team tryouts!
*From late September to Mid January I am mostly instructing pro players, and college players especially during thanksgiving and Christmas break.  Indoor locations at: Indianapolis; Chicago; St.Louis; Carbondale; South Bend; Champaign; Collinsville; Granite City; Litchfield; Marine; and Highland.  Each year I have been helping more and more girls and woman in softball.  Player development in softball is considerably behind baseball.  Thus, it is easy for me to make an immediate positive impact in softball skill development
*January to March is spent mostly with high school students, and University trips.  March begins the small Sunday clinics, and increasing individual instruction for area students.  The year ends with the three wonderful weeks of camp: last two weeks of May and first  week of June!    My fringe benefit is, I get to stay in pretty good throwing shape year round!  How many guys my age get to throw a baseball several days a week.  Life is good!




 *Private BASEBALL & SOFTBALL INSTRUCTION (all ages) J.R. Potthast Professional Baseball /Softball instruction for 40+years!  Male or female.  semi-private: 2,3,or 4 students is better than one.  With 2-4 students, the throwing and hitting competitions can be realized.  Plus, it gives a student a chance to rest and observe other students being taught.  With 4 students, I obviously instruct a longer time session than if there are only 2 in the group.  Bottom line the semi- private sessions are more efficient and economical.

 I specialize in hitting, pitching, and position throwing (ball rotation).  Hitting is taught primarily by swing development.  I rarely do live hitting, (unless above regular game velocity) as it is often counter productive to swing development.   In the semi-private setting, I get very particular about how different position players should throw a ball.  Rotation of the ball becomes very critical.  30 years ago only 25% of Major League outfielders threw well.  Today, up to 50%+ throw well.  There were a lot of great arms back then, but few threw with the correct rotation.  Hitting can be improved almost immediately. It usually takes 30-60 days (thousands of swings) of continuous drills for changes to feel comfortable and hopefully permanent.  Females tend to retain instruction and development for a longer time than males.  When both groups “loose” their swing neither realize it.   A batting average, especially at a young age is a poor indicator of how well one is swinging the bat.  I have seen some very good athletes batting .300 that were grossly underachieving with their swings.  Example: John the (built like a deer) athlete is batting against high school pitchers with a poor swing, but still bats .400 because of aluminum and his great abilities.  I think, “So what, he still has a bad hitting approach”.  If he does not get the right help before College he will hit a little bit off the dumb pitchers.  The smart pitchers with only average ability will shut John down.  He will go through 4 years of College and fade away never knowing that he could have been so very much better!

Let me give a local success story on hitting.  Joe Dickman (past present 2010 a senior at McKendree U batting .580  (6 Hr's) -14 games in) was thought to be a very good hitter in High school.  He was batting over .350 most of his High school seasons- '06 grad.  ('06 was the last of the Highland High genuflection erra , '97 to '06).  At that time my evaluation as a scout was this: average major league catching/ receiving skills; below average arm for pro ball- (arm injury - football); bad hitting approach (bat pusher- back knee genuflection)  – hitting well, but grossly underachieving at the high school level – with no projection.  The “no projection” means it is hard to project how well Joe would hit major league pitching with a good hitting approach and swing.  But certainly his present swing would completely fail at the next levels.  Joe had invested thousands of swings in that bad approach, thus it would take a year or so to get that out of his system.  One year after high school, I saw Joe (.210 ave) at the Oderizzi no hitter at Collinsville American Legion (summer).  Joe had by now became a one-dimensional hitter as well (swing designed for hitting the ball left side only - 40 foot fair to 60 foot foul left side only = disaster) – now Joe is at an all time low both mentally and physically as a hitter.  It was the right time for me to try to make a difference. It would have been hard for me to help him in high school because his BA was over .400 with aluminum and high school pitchers that did  not know how to exploit his weaknesses.  Plus, everyone else thought he was a great hitter with a great swing.  He was a very talented athlete with a bad swing.  I thought he was talented enough to be hitting .600.  

He worked very hard with the hitting concepts we employed that summer.  Success was instant, which gave him the confidence to continue working with that philosophy.  He continued to work very hard that summer (which is rare- college player working hard on baseball in the summer) By the end of the summer he had ( from .210)  went on to set the all time hitting average in Highland American Legion Baseball’s 51 year history!  Congrats to Joe.  He did all the work required! ........ How many do not take the opportunity that Joe did?   On the converse side of this topic, there are very many people paying large sums of money to large baseball instruction facilities to learn how NOT to hit.  Call me anytime: 618-960-4467.

-- April 2010, I receive a call from a MLB scout about some players of common interest.  He had just seen McKendree U play.  (MLB scouts report and are paid by major league baseball- reports are sent to major league teams that pay MLB for the service.  They used to be called bureau scouts.  Other classifications are: amateur team scouts – that scout only amateur players;  and pro team scouts that scout only pro players.  There are also organizational scouts and advance scouts.)  So I ask the Dominican born MLB scout, “ how does Joe Dickman look as a hitter”?  He answers “He is barred out man”!  That is a  term for barring the lead arm at crisis point in the swing.  So I am thinking, “darn, he is vulnerable on the outside corner, and will be down from .580 to .380 by May.  Keep in mind, I consider it improper as an independent instructor to interfere with a teams’ player unless asked by the college coach and player.  Some college coaches are not intimidated by my help, and do ask, especially when I have a history with said player.  I did not call, as I became too busy in other locations.  May 12, 2010- He ended the season .365 with 8 home runs- still very much a success story!  In March I was projecting .430 with 16 to 20 H.R.’s – very plausible draft numbers!  I was still very hopeful that he would be drafted, or signs after the draft.  He has worked so very hard and deserves the opportunity.  But, no it did not happen.  

 Bottom line on hitting approaches---If I am mentally jumping up and down – wanting to be the pitcher, you have a problem with your swing!  Example of Cardinals that grossly underachieved as hitters: John Rodrigues; George Hendricks; Chris Duncan).



 In the throwing area
Tony Pena the Cardinal catcher of the 80’s had probably one of the best (strongest) catching arms in the history of baseball.  I would rate him in the lower 10% when it comes to throwing with proper rotation.  He released the ball with his fingers under the ball.  Hence, he threw a severe slider to 2nd instead of a ball with perfect backspin (under spin).  Presently, there is a 280-lb. catcher at SIU that throws with that exact under spin.  I was expecting 20 HRs from him this spring, but his swing has become long and sweeping, (he has lost his backhand dominance as well) much like Chris Duncan of the St. Louis Cards.

Maybe one of the worst of all Cardinal outfielder at throwing was Vince Coleman, who had a very below average arm, but more importantly, released high with fingers under the ball at release.  So he didn't throw well, plus he had a weak arm as well.  He did not take advantage of throwing on astro turf either!  He is still one of my all time favorites, as I really like the game of the 70’s: rabbits in the outfield and stolen bases.  Now we have smaller fields, more home runs, thus athletes in the outfield are not as important as the big parks of the 70’s.  That sure was a tough brake for Chris Frey ( triple A Colorado) from Highland who had major league center field abilities, but had so far not shown the HR power wanted these years.

Pitching is a long-range development at any age.  Any changes in a pitching motions MUST be gradual and strictly controlled by myself, parent, student, and student’s game coach.  I cannot begin to tell you how many pitchers on all levels that have went to so called experts who completely change their motion and end up with arm problems of varying degrees.  I see this happen in all levels of baseball.  By the way curve balls do not hurt arms.  Over doing any pitching motion, especially a new arm slot, will.  The biggest concern to me is when someone completely changes a pitcher’s motion and then has them do it a lot and often! (my new Yogi-ism) In effect they are saying” lets use muscles in your arm and back that you have never used before and see how long it takes to injure your arm.” I remember taking one of my Summer Pitchers (elbow) to the Cardinal trainer Bob Bowman in 1975.  He told me that a very high percentage of pitchers with major league ability do not make it because of arm injury.  It was very interesting how he examined and worked with my pitcher.  My pitcher recovered and later signed with the Twins for a minor league stint.  I went back several times to observe Mr. Bowman work on other Cardinal pitchers.  Pitcher John Folgum was the most interesting injury case.  He was the highest prospect for the Cards.  John worked very hard over a long period of time, but never recovered to major league ability again.  Today, with advances in surgery, the injury would have been very curable. The “Mad Hungarian” was there about the same time.  At one point Mr. Bowman gave me a “trainer” (weighted) baseball for pitchers to throw.  He said it will one day be accepted as the best pitching tool you could use for a variety of benefits.  I have used several ever since,sometimes even between innings if I wasn’t getting the desired ball movement on certain pitches.  Now some 35 years later, I am even more convinced that he was right, but it seems it will still take another time period before validation.  Along the same theme- I started using the “soft toss” hitting drill in 1971 while in a baseball class at SIUC.  There were 40 some students in the class, thus I was able to get 20 some hitters swinging a bat at the same time instead of only the normal one in traditional batting practice.  I liked the efficiency, but soon realized all the other advantages.  Although my class experiment was very successful, and this local area accepted the hypothesis, I took abuse for at least 20 more years before the technique became nationally accepted by the baseball world.  Now 2010, I have added a new dimension to soft toss that allows one person to toss to both a right (alternating) and left handed hitter at the same time.  This concept doubles the practice efficiency. 

 Just as long as it takes a good process to be accepted, it also takes maybe even longer for bad ideas to be dismissed.  When I was young I kept hearing people say “ keep your back elbow up” for hitting.  It took me about 30 years to be convinced that the concept has little merit.  But, I bet 30 more years from now you will still hear it.  Having the hands near an area of strength and quickness at “crisis moment” in the swing, is a more important content of lever assembly.  For a full explanation of almost all my concepts, you would need to spend quite a bite of time at my sessions to fully understand my conclusions.  There is no way to try to fully explain anything I teach about baseball in short time span.  I believe Izak and Jacob Post, probably have come the closest to that endeavor over a 15 year period.  You see, most people want you to summarize your life long studies in 15 minutes.  I have made the mistake of trying to do that years ago.  Example:  aprox 2000, Mitch Carriger's dad (great athlete from Triad) ask me " What do you teach about hitting".  I thought " Oh my", but I was wanting to impress him because I knew of Mitch's genetics and future abilities  thus I hoped to work with him.  So I was foolish and attempted to summarize hitting in 5 minutes  which always makes for a hollow impression.  With every question my answer needs to start by " well it depends"-- on 1,2,3,4,5 etc.  In conclusion, if you want to know what I teach about pitching, hitting, catcher throwing to second, outfielders' thrown ball rotation to bases, etc., you would need to hang out with me for many years, to get a complete understanding.

The dreaded Slide Step!  
 
 **** Here is the most significant pitching controversy that will be played out over the next 20 years.  Circa 1972-76 the slide step was initiated in several colleges as a tool to quicken the pitcher (in the stretch) to home to stop base runners from stealing.  I first noticed this phenomenon  at SIU as I was graduating, thus I did not give it full attention.  That pitching coach (Newman), now very high in the Yankee organization, presented the idea for pitchers in the stretch to slide forward instead of raising the knee to balance point for quicker delivery against the rampant rise of stolen bases in that time period.  Sounds good doesn’t it.  College baseball has always been the forum of baseball discovery.   Had I stayed on as an assistant, I probably would have molded into the idea as well.  At that age I wouldn’t have had enough confidence to disagree with that concept, even though my Physiology, Physics, Calculus, and scientific background would have eventually lead me to doubt the effectiveness of that lever assembly. I have had many baseball experiments over the years, luckily my bad ideas have been discarded usually with the help of more knowledgeable baseball contacts at the time.  I was also lucky that I was busy game coaching with very little time to instruct.  Thus I did not have to go through that "too young to be teaching phase".  Perhaps no one should be allowed to be called a professional baseball instructor until age 35 or so. 
 By the way, I do know now that I have learned way more about baseball instruction after the age of 50 than before.

 Back to topic- Several pitchers with very good pitching mechanics (ie. Barry Noeltner Triad, Mike Hecker Collinsville and more) went to some of these colleges that were teaching a slide step.  When they came back for the summer to pitch for  the H-P Merchants, (the team I coached), they all had trouble with control.  I did not realize what was really going on at the time.  About 1976+ I was talking with Roy Lee, former head coach at SIUE about this phenomenon.  Roy had seen Hecker pitch against SIUE and Noeltner pitch against St. Louis U.  Yes, for a year or three the local mid-west colleges had a summer baseball programs that played against these men's league teams.  It was a great experience for the colleges age men to play against older seasoned veterans of baseball.  Example:  I saw the Waterloo Buds (Mens) team bang out 8-10 home runs in a few innings against some of the best college age pitchers. 
******* Another year and Roy concluded "that darn slide step" was taking away the most important part of the pitching motion- the balance point that actually begins the pitching motion.  Ok, I confess, he did not say darn. The slide was even filtering into the windup motion.  Pitchers were leading with there front hip which causes vertical stacking problems. 
 So that is why Barry came home and walked 13 his first game with us.  That is why Mike Hecker, the best pitcher from the mid west in 5 years came back home so messed up we had to eventually turn him into an outfielder. I did not know enough to help him.  I hadn’t seen enough innings.  I hadn’t yet learned from great baseball minds.  What the players that I coached those 17 years of H-P baseball should realize is that it was a learning experience for me at that point.  I was a game coach and did not have enough time or knowledge to be a physical teacher of the game.  I have now logged enough time and experience to be a credible instructor.----- It is now 2018 --We are making strides against the slide step, especially here locally, as I have been very diligent in my opposition.  I have had the best luck with high level D1 schools.   I really should get back on the winter "hot stove league" circuit - speaking to all of the lower level college and High School coaches.   
Ok folks, here is my biggest dilemma.  I mostly work with high talent level pitchers.  So I have one of these pitchers for several years and I have convinced them that a slide step in the stretch is the worst thing they can possibly practice.  They understand how to be quicker to home without a slide step, with balance point intact.  Situation:  Game coach is demanding that all pitchers practice the slide step.  You know the saying " do what your coach says".  You just have to draw the line somewhere.  Do you want to ruin a career over it.... Example, back in the early '70's one of my very best friends at that time is Dave Haberer, Pocahontas , Il.   Great athlete, great genetics, major league bat, all American collegiate 1st baseman.  He could play any position on the field. He had never pitched much but was used once in summer play mid-season and did very well.  So the game coach decided to use him again the next day, and then again a few days later.  Dave was not a seasoned pitcher.  His arm was never the same again.  He did very well at Eastern Il, but what would have happened if he had the strong arm he had before that great abuse that summer?  Scouting priorities in the '70's went like this: 1. arm.  2. speed, athlete.  3. Bat.  You did not draft 1st baseman.  
Dave played H-P Merchant baseball for many years.  He never regained  that range of motion in his  throwing again. 
 
The WISE coaches
 The retired coaches have a great wealth of knowledge.  They have been through it all and now have had time to reflect.  Their knowledge should not go to the grave.  I was very fortunate to be able to talk with Roy Lee on a weekly basis.  He was an enormous help to me.  (Ray Ripplemeyer 80+, the best major
league pitching instructor I know lives in Valmeyer, Il. and I am disappointed in myself for not calling him for weeks.)  

Back to slide step
Now 2010, after my continued research, I am totally convinced the slide step is not only a balance killer of any pitcher that employs it, I am also convinced it nets you slower to home.  I can not convince or describe properly the concepts in this forum, but simply put – getting the lower part of the body quicker to home does not get the ball there quicker.  When I physically show intelligent  pitching
coaches how I can get my 70 mph fastball to home quicker with balance point intact than their pitcher with an 80+ mph fastball with a slide they usually understand. 

 Today 12-12-12 SIU has officially stopped teaching the slide step in the stretch position. SIUC had been teaching some form of a slide step for over 40 years. Thank you P.J.Finigan, who is the pitching coach at siuc.  With time he will become a very good instructor.  Myself and a very few other professional instructors like Don Mraz (Tampa Bay) and of course my hero Roy Lee have been leading the charge against the slide step for such a long time now, that most of the "facilities" that still teach it call it other names now to avoid our criticism.  

4-1-16  Excited about new prospect:
Jeff Hightower - freshman at St. Joseph college (catholic school NW Indiana) -- 6'5" catcher- major league arm.  I had him for about 3 months last summer.  Hit for a good average high school - who cares, any great athlete with a bad swing can hit with aluminum in high school.  - he couldn't touch outer half of the plate location then.  He, RHB is now driving the ball to RC.   In time he will have power to both sides, with no loss of bat control.  I have him in the Mon-Clair league (MIllstadt) this summer playing with men.  Thus, I will have him for instruction this summer.  Maybe in 3 months he can get to physical reaction on inner half with buggy wiping bombs that slice into the park instead of hooking foul left side.  I am glad he is not in some collegiate league this summer.  He will learn more playing against veterans.  If he advances like I think he can, he could be ready for the 2018 draft.  If he gets the chance to pitch, he could go as a pitcher instead of as a catcher!  I have another pitcher who could go in the 2019 draft.  The thought of how much work there is to do is endless.-----report 1-02-17.  Jeff had a great day with lever assembly for hitting. --  He finally experienced that kinesthetic feel of that reactionary swing on a inner half pitch  moving in.  

 Note: several colleges are now having their pitchers stay on campus for the summer in a weight lifting and  conditioning program, "kissing their sister" instead of pitching competitively in the summer.  Unless they are in rehab, I consider this athlete abuse.  They need to be pitching competitively more, not less.  Oh don't get me started!  More later.    

**Private lessons are $208. for a 5 pack!  Lasting at least 1 hour per visit.  This is usually for pro and college players.  **Semi-private lessons (2 or more) are priced per situation, and last longer for each additional student!  This is more efficient both in time, money, and progress.   In this setting a student has the ability to work toward whatever goal he/she might have- High school ball, College ball or Pro ball.  It is my job to get each student to set realistic goals.  My approach to instruction is much different for someone who has a goal of playing a major league sport than someone who just wants to play youth league.
Video and “homework” are special tools.

I will travel to teams and groups in the Midwest area!  Time: TBA.
CALL: 618- 960-4467      © jrpotthast@gmail.com

 

Chapter Three:  Camps

"Everybody HITS on Monday” 

This has been the battle cry on the opening Monday for the last 36 years of baseball/ softball camps. Caden Fears was the big hustle award winner of 2015. He performed over 1800 swings in just one week of camp!  His award is named in memory of Guy Michael.  Colby Frey won the highest performance award ( Dean Burk award) last year. The best female award is named in honor of Abby Quitmeyer.  BTW: everybody hits on Tuesday also...AND /wed; thurs; Friday!


JR POTTHAST 2018  Baseball/ Softball camps 36th year.

     Popsicle break: 10:30  over 23,850 served

 Ages:   10 to 17       Place: Highland High softball/ baseball areas 

Dates: 

           week 1 :  May 29 - June 1         8:30 -  noon

           week 2 :  June 4-8                    8:30 -  noon

           week 3 :  July 23-26  cool time:   ***7:30-10 am.


COST: $88 per week 1 & 2 REGISTER NOW : 

Call  960- 4467         $58 for July23 week 3. 

JR Potthast 50 trout dr. Highland, 62249


 free camp Memorial Awards --all instructors’ votes are based on effort:  The Abbey Quitmeyer award sponsored by Michael's  Restaurant;  Jack Foehner  by The Millersburg General Store;  Bob Koch; Dennis Warning; and Lee Miller by Lucco Financial; Barnell Pacatte, by First Mid Ill. Bank; Dan Koishor, by Bank of Edwardsville;  Gene Paoletti, by JMF Concrete ; Roy Lee, by McDonalds ;  Clarence Potthast, by Essenpreis Plumbing.* The highest award is the DEAN BURK AWARD. It is based on over all ability and performance - That was DEAN.      These memorial awards are in honor of people that have been most special to area baseball.


The St. Paul Kirchenfest auction is a very economical way to buy a week of baseball camp.   The Kirchenfest package includes a trip to a Cardinal game with J.R. plus other items.  Gift certificates are available for all occasions.    

 Parents are to sign a hold harmless agreement and a proof of insurance form on the first day of camp!

Send check payable JR Potthast (no forms) to 50 trout dr. Highland, Il.  

  Water provided! Bring: Hat, glove, bat, fruit snack, put name on their hat, to help instructors vote for Hustle award winners.  Put name on all items!


 *
*Ask about extra camp day- if multiple week attendee and/or sibling bonus.
                       *Carpools set up for surrounding cities. 
*Final note:  There are many baseball camps offered in our area.  If you ask me, I will give you my opinion of their value
Chapter Three:  Camps

!


July 23 Softball/ Baseball Camp  2018



Prepare for fall try outs: Middle school; other fall teams!  Most college players are prepared privately!  


Heavy on hitting, Pitching, and position throwing. Importance of correct thrown ball rotation.


July 23 – 26 Cool Time: 7:30 to 10 am.


Where: Highland High baseball hitting cage area.


Cost: 4 days $58.00 sent to JR Potthast 50 trout dr. 62249


Call: 960-4467




The St. Paul Kirchenfest auction is a very economical way to buy a week of baseball camp.   The Kirchenfest package includes a trip to a Cardinal game with J.R. plus other items.  Gift certificates are available for all occasions.    


END of CAMP INFO! --


  

Ċ
Jr Potthast,
Nov 18, 2012, 10:05 PM
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