Troy Silva is an instructor at Rijo Athletics and author of the book 9 Innings of Hitting. He played his prep ball at Atascadero (CA) High School and Cuesta College before moving on to Lewis-Clark State College, where he would help lead the Warriors to 1996 national title and a 99-21-1 record over his two years in Lewiston, ID. Silva was named the MVP of the 1996 NAIA World Series. Following his collegiate career, Silva signed with the Cleveland Indians and played minor league baseball for six seasons. Inside Pitch recently chatted with Silva to talk coaching, being an author, social media, making baseball fun again and more:
IP: How did you get started with Rijo Athletics?
TS: As soon as I finished my professional career, I met up with Jose [Rijo-Berger] (former teammate at Lewis-Clark State), who was starting his academy at the time, and I’ve been up here (Woodinville, WA) ever since. I jumped right in and figured it out with trial and error, starting with the stuff that I had been taught. Over the years you learn what works and what doesn’t. I never really had goals or aspirations to coach—when I finished playing it was ‘go get a normal job’ or keep trying to do something in the baseball world.
IP: What is the foundation of your coaching philosophy?
TS: It starts with caring about kids and development. It’s about being a mentor and a role model. I think that’s where a lot of coaches get confused; we are role models first and foremost, no matter what anybody thinks, whether you like it or not. We’re influencing kids’ lives and they need that positive impact.
TS: Writing the book didn’t take very long—probably month or so. The content is based on the everyday job we do. Lesson after lesson dealing with eight-year olds and pro guys, with boys and girls, you learn what works and what doesn’t. Putting it together and editing was the hard part. People are hungry for the truth and they want to know what works.
IP: Explain your social media presence.
TS: The social media stuff just came about one day. I try to give people what they need, not necessarily what they want to hear. It’s a combination of preaching the truth and dispelling some myths. It’s done 100% on my iPhone, it’s relatively easy. It takes a minute or so to upload it and it’s done.
IP: Where do you do most of your videos? It looks like you’re in the middle of a forest!
[Rijo Athletics] is actually the property I live on, so as I walk down to my job (yes, I walk to my job—takes about 30 seconds), it’s pretty amazing. There’s no form or function to that. There’s nine acres here and on it is our baseball property, which includes six cages, a pitching lane, a full infield with FieldTurf. Behind the field is the house Jose (the owner) lives in and I’m always behind him.
IP: What about balancing work with home life?
TS: It’s really hard. It’s a constant baseball mindset because I’m on the property. Over the period of a month I only leave a few times—when I go to church and maybe go hang out. Where I live is secluded so it’s pretty cool…I can get away a little bit without being involved. It’s a lifestyle.
IP: What are your observations about the current state of amateur baseball? Any advice you would offer?