Rich Hill is in his 26th year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and his 16th at the University of San Diego. He’s had 22 winning seasons and has helped the Toreros to West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Last year, he led USD to a 37-25 record and a West Coast Conference Tournament title. He also coached Kris Bryant, who won the Dick Howser Trophy and Golden Spikes Award and was the second overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.
In addition to guiding the programs at California Lutheran University and the University of San Francisco, Hill was the head coach for the Chatham A’s of the esteemed Cape Cod League (from 1990-93, winning the league title in 1992) and has been an advisor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree (Physical Education) in 1985 from Cal Lutheran. He played one season of professional baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Inside Pitch recently caught up with the high-energy leader of the USD program:
IP: You’ve become well-known for how you implement the mental game in your program. What are some of the things you’re doing?
RH: We pride ourselves on the mental game. We bring in guest speakers and I think we might be the only program in the country that uses meditation and breathing before games. We really concentrate on the breath. We do a lot of imagery and a lot of visualization.
You’re going to spend so much time developing the bodies, you can forget about the mind. When you get to the big league level and even the Division I level, that’s kind of the separator. Everything is about process, and I really think that’s the key to our start this year- our guys are locked just in on process, on toughness, and immersing ourselves in the present moment. Continue reading