By STEVE KRAH
Michael McCormick has made the transition from player to trainer to coach.
After pitching at Speedway (Ind.) High School, Parkland College, Eastern Illinois University and in professional baseball with the Chicago White Sox organization and independent Gary SouthShore RailCats, right-hander McCormick went back to Driveline Baseball headquarters in Kent, Wash., where he had been training in the off-season since 2016 and became an intern.
“I pretty much knew all along that I wanted to be a coach,” says McCormick, 26. “There was never a time when I didn’t see myself involved in baseball in some capacity.”
Speedway head coach Marcus McCormick is Michael’s father.
“A lot of the lessons I learned as a player came from him,” says Michael McCormick. “I do my best to teach my guys in the same way by demanding more out of them on the field and off the field.
It’s about being a good person and Christian, taking care of schoolwork.
“It’s taking care of the things you can control in everything you do,” says McCormick. “Don’t worry about the things you can’t control.”
McCormick says he went to Driveline as a player and after his playing career with the idea of reaching his full potential.
Some of the key things McCormick learned at Driveline was how to put together an in-season and off-season throwing program for pitchers, tailoring it for the athlete’s individual needs.
He became proficient in the use of Rapsodo and the Edgertronic camera for pitch design — tools that are also used by Greg Vogt at PRP Baseball in Noblesville, Ind., with whom McCormick also trained as a player.
At Driveline, McCormick learned how to teach athletes to properly execute drills with PlyoCare Balls.
What is the advantage of using them?
“Cleaning up arm deficiencies,” says McCormick. “The differential weight will put the athlete in better positions while also gaining proprioception. That’s a fancy way of saying feel.
“It’s understanding how your body moves in space.”
At Ave Maria, a few players had used PlyoCare Balls while many of the 18 pitchers had never used them.
McCormick has also learned how to communicate what the data to the player so he can apply it.
“Each athlete has their own level of understanding,” says McCormick. “It’s important as a trainer and coach to understand that.”
Being hired so close to the start of the 2020 season (the Gyrenes open up Wednesday, Jan. 29), McCormick’s focus has been on using Rapsodo and getting pitchers in live situations against hitters.
The Gyrenes program was started by a Hoosier. Penn High School and Bethel College graduate Shawn Summe was head coach for the first five seasons (2010-14).
Summe is now director of athletics at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.
Michael McCormick, a Speedway (Ind.) High School graduate, is the new pitching coach at Ave Maria (Fla.) University.