Brian Doyle: an extended baseball family

Interview by Keith Madison

Brian Doyle has had an impactful and influential baseball career. He is best known for leading the Yankees with a .438 batting average in the 1978 World Series. His older brother Denny played in the Major Leagues with the Phillies, Angels and Red Sox. His twin brother Blake is currently the major league hitting coach with the Colorado Rockies. The three of them together were innovators in starting the Doyle Baseball School in 1978. The school has trained over 500,000 players and 300,000 coaches to date. The Doyle brothers were also pioneers in showcases (Doyle Bonanza) and coaches certification. Having competed against Brian in little league, high school and in the minor leagues, I thought it would be fun to talk baseball with him once again.

In an era prior to camps, showcases and travel ball, how did a young Brian Doyle develop his passion and skill for baseball?

Our father, Robert, was a very good amateur basketball and baseball player. He spent a lot of time in the backyard throwing, playing pepper and catching ground balls to us. When Blake, my identical twin, and I were in the 7th grade, Denny, my older brother, was in the Major Leagues with the Phillies. In a small, rural Kentucky town there was only one thing that occupied our time and that was sports. We played all sports, but baseball was the game that seemed to come naturally.

doyleYou come from a well known “baseball family.” How did your father and brothers impact your passion for the game and help you develop your skills?

Having a big brother eleven years older was a huge factor. Denny would come home from pro-ball to teach Dad and us. Dad would quickly make coaching adjustments. He was a good coach who knew “the only way to get better is to get smarter.” I was impacted at a very young age with that principle. So my skill level got better each year. The passion for the game comes from the desire to become better. Continue reading

Vertimax/band training

vertimax

by Lee Gordon

Baseball training has evolved over the past few decades. The days of pitchers using sand cans (an empty tennis ball case filled with sand) to strengthen their arms have been replaced by intricate band training and isolated muscle movements. Baseball is a high velocity power sport requiring high degrees of acceleration and velocity relative to accelerating objects very quickly such as a ball, bat or the body when stealing second base.

It has been discovered that if athletes can train with resistive loads at higher velocities they will significantly improve their ability to develop power at higher velocities and thus run and throw faster as well as swing a bat with higher velocities. Elastic bands have an advantage over steel weights in that they can apply significant resistive loads to the athlete but do not possess hardly any mass since the rubber only weighs a few ounces.

“Steel weights have a lot of mass which means the athlete cannot accelerate 40 pounds of steel very quickly and achieve high training velocities,” said Mike Wehrell, CEO and founder of VertiMax, “Whereas an athlete can accelerate a few ounces of rubber applying 40 pounds of resistance very quickly due to the lack of mass and thus achieve very high training velocities and stimulate power production and strength at higher velocities to garner significant sports specific performance gains in baseball.” Continue reading

Interview with Mike Martin

Mike MartinFlorida State’s Mike Martin is now in his 34th season as the Seminoles’ head coach with a career that has covered five presidents and over 1,700 wins.  Martin’s 33 consecutive regional tournament appearances and 15 trips to the College World Series appearances may never be duplicated.  “11,” as he is known by most in baseball, was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.  He will go down as one of the most successful coaches in college baseball history-but would love to leave Omaha with a National Championship, a trophy that has eluded Martin in his career.

Inside Pitch: Do you still get the same excitement today that you did when you first broke in to coaching?

Martin: I get a huge enjoyment out of watching guys have success and with this team that we have, it’s certainly a challenge because we know we have so many young guys that are experiencing something for the first time in their life; the attention and that affects players.  As a coach you have to be sure that the young men know how to handle the attention and success but more than that, the failure.  I get a charge out of watching them get better.

Inside Pitch: Many of your players have gone on to have success in the big leagues (Buster Posey, Deion Sanders, J.D. and Stephen Drew).  Do you get the same level of satisfaction watching their success as you do guys who don’t play pro ball but are successful in life?

Martin:  I can’t tell you what enjoyment that is.  You have guys you really doubt and it happened just awhile back.  You doubted whether they would amount to anything.  They got out of school and made themselves a successful businessman.  That gives you as much as enjoyment because maybe you said something that triggered him to align himself with the right people and become a great citizen and American.

When you have a guy like Buster Posey, you know that no matter what he goes into he’s going to be a success.  He’s smart, articulate and in control of his emotions-so you really feel that no matter what you say or do with a Buster Posey, he’s going to be a success in life.  So maybe you point him in the right direction which we did.  We didn’t do anything but put him in the right place.  We didn’t have anything to do with him winning the MVP or the NL batting title, we tried to make a suggestion and have him make the decision.  That’s the way we look at it.

Inside Pitch: You’ve been to Omaha 15 times but have yet to win a College World Series title.  Is that the missing piece to your career?READ THE REST