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When I first stepped foot into GoWags 2 years ago and met Kyle Wagner he was in the middle of a giving a lesson. Within minutes of introducing myself, Wags pulled me into the cage and asked me to take some video of the kid he was working with. If you’ve been around GoWags long enough, I’m sure the “mad scientist” has asked you to do the same once or twice! I was immediately engaged and intrigued with how this dude taught the game of baseball. The passion, energy, & enthusiasm he exuded was contagious and his ability to deliver a message to young ball players was something I had never seen before. He was honest but encouraging & that is what I valued most. At the conclusion of the lesson, we talked baseball for a little while before I asked him if there was an opportunity for employment at GoWags. His response was very clear & precise – “Are you willing teach? Are you willing to learn? You know a little about baseball?” From that moment on, I knew exactly what type of culture surrounded this place. I was all in and ready to contribute my knowledge & experience to all of the athletes & families of GoWags!
A few days after meeting Coach Wags, I found out that he had a twin brother and that just sealed the deal! I met Bret Wagner about a week after my arrival to GoWags. A complete fountain of knowledge – I watched this dude walk into GoWags and head straight to the weight room every day at 3:00pm for the first few months I was there. He would come through the door and greet me with “Whatsup Swanny!?!?” and then make a beeline right to the bathroom to change out of his work clothes and into his gym clothes. He wasted no time! I would sit behind the desk and wait for my lessons to start while grabbing a quick bite of food after teaching kindergarten all day and every once in a while I would shout over the wall “You good in there Bret!?” Out of breathe and completely deflated, his response sounded something along the lines of this “Oh Yea! I think this is going to work for the boys”. Point is…..This dude had a purpose. Everything he did had a purpose and was always done with the athletes of GoWags best interest in mind.
John Gordon once said, “Culture drives expectations and beliefs; expectations and beliefs drive behavior; behavior drives habits; and habits create the future. It all starts with Culture”. I was 2 years out of college and had just moved to the Central PA area. I bought a house in Mechanicsburg with my beautiful wife Maddy and was excited to start a new chapter of my life. About 10 minutes after my arrival to PA, I got on the computer and started searching for local indoor baseball facilities – I was eager and hungry to get involved with the local baseball community. Never would I imagine walking into a place like GoWags and now 2 years later being in a position where I am sending out a letter informing the GoWags Families that I will be taking on full ownership. The Wagner Brothers gave me an opportunity and that is simply what GoWags has always been about – A Place of Opportunity.
Before my arrival to GoWags, I attended Binghamton University and played for the Binghamton Bearcats in the America East Conference. When my pitching career was cut short due to multiple shoulder injuries, I quickly immersed myself in the local youth baseball community in the Central NY area and developed several baseball programs and coaching opportunities for local little leagues & travel ball organizations. I became the Director of Player Development for the High Heat Baseball Academy and got involved with coaching at every level. “A good coach is someone who tells you what you don’t what to hear” and for those of you who know me, know that I am not afraid to speak the truth! You’ll often hear me preach to the boys – “Do you want to feel good or do you want get better? Because I can make you feel good at any point”. Coaching is the universal language of change & learning and that is why I am thrilled to continue to be a part of your children’s development.
Over the last 2 years I have met some amazing families, made some lifelong friends and trained a ton of athletes that I now call my little brothers. I’d like to think that I have influenced and helped GoWags & the Wagner brothers provide more opportunities for the athletes in our area. More importantly I’d like to think that my ability to connect & impact the lives of many young athletes is what is valued most amongst the baseball community in PA. My goal since day 1 has always been to bring more greatness to the already awesome GoWags Training Facility – A vision that would allow us to continue to develop athletes of all ages and provide even more resources to prepare them for the next level of baseball & more importantly….LIFE!
I’m beyond excited to announce that I will be taking on full ownership of GoWags Training Center this summer & changing the name to FullReps Training Center in memory of the late Kyle Ford. The GoWags name will live on through our travel teams and one of our top goals as an organization is to eventually run our teams through the nonprofit 501c3 (GoWags Teams Inc.) The GoWags Teams non-profit organization was established to begin fundraising efforts as an organization to help subsidize the cost for our players and provide more training opportunities & resources that contribute to the continuing education of coaches and development of players in our organization. One of our main goals is to make better baseball players in Central PA. We trust that this initiative will help subsidize the financial cost of participation for players while advancing our cause immeasurably as an organization. FullReps Training Center will be the home training center for GoWags Teams and you can rest assured that FullReps will be Central PA’s premier indoor training center – A place of opportunity for athletes who are willing to Dream Big. Work Hard & Stay Humble.
It was an absolute privilege to be part of the GoWags Family and I am extremely confident that FullReps Training Center will continue to grow, develop and provide the highest quality of training in the Northeast. “Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone” Its GO TIME! and I am extremely grateful to continue this process with your children & provide a full experience to all of you.
Thank you again for your continued loyalty and support. I look forward to keeping the torch lit!
WELCOME TO FULLREPS BASEBALL!!!
I’ve had several loyal GoWags members tell me, “I don’t tell anyone about this place. It’s our secret weapon.”
I often wonder if GoWags doesn’t enjoy the fruits that word-of-mouth advertising often brings because of this very unique phenomenon. Our customers, competitive baseball players, are trying to gain an advantage over their competition so they aren’t as eager to share their experience with others. Especially, if they are seeing results. With that said, I’ve always hung my hat on the fact that they’ll at least tell their teammates and/or parents of teammates. They’re in it together, right? In the famous words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!”.
Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious. And it takes an “a-ha” moment before you realize what others have seen so clearly. When you play competitive baseball, your teammates are your biggest competition. Compete for playing time. Compete for middle infield. Compete for mound time. Compete for middle of the lineup RBI time. Make no mistake about it. GoWags members push themselves to gain an advantage over their teammates.
So…I wonder. Maybe there is a fountain of youth somewhere. Maybe a few lucky individuals stumbled upon a “secret weapon” that they’re not willing to share. We’ll probably never know the answer to that one. They’ll no doubt choose to remain anonymous.
Do I wish we enjoyed more word-of-mouth advertising? I guess. Do I worry about it? No. I much prefer the advertising we’ll be getting in about 4-6 years.
Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers reading this blog. Hope you have a great day.
As a Father’s Day present to myself, I’m going to write unfiltered. Tell you what I really think about developing baseball players. I’ll probably go back to being politically correct tomorrow. But not today.
GoWags should offer different “types” of baseball lessons or baseball classes. In no particular order:
JUMPSTART THE HEART LESSON – This lesson is for the flat-out lazy kid with talent. No need to get technical with this guy. He is pretty solid technically but has been pampered / coddled at home and doesn’t appreciate effort. I’m a firm believer that thought follows action and not the other way around. If you want to create a work ethic with this kid you need to make him do it. This lesson will have a boot camp type feel to it.
EYE OPENER LESSON – This lesson is for the talented player who only plays rec ball. He has a false sense of security and thinks he’s on top of the mountain because he isn’t exposed to the best. Resiliency is a big factor in developing baseball players. If a player never experiences setbacks, there is no opportunity to cultivate resiliency (See Bret Wagner circa 1985…I needed this lesson). Maybe I’ll recruit a couple of “ringers” to come in and show him where he’s really at.
NO EXCUSES LESSON – This is my personal favorite because payment is collected up front with the explicit caveat that the lesson will be terminated after the first excuse. So, I may be done with my lesson after the first minute. If you never take ownership of your weaknesses, you can forget about improvement. I don’t want to hear about the coach. I don’t want to hear about where you hit in the lineup. I don’t want to hear about bad hops. I don’t want to hear anything but “Yes Sir!”. Shut Up and take ownership of your weaknesses. This goes for mom and dad too. Stop making excuses for your kid.
THE 360 LESSON – This lesson actually involves me going offsite to watch the kid play. And more specifically, to watch how mom and dad interact with their son during and after the game. Baseball parents need to understand that this sport is extremely humbling. Your son will fail time and time again. You need to be an encourager of EFFORT. Not RESULTS. You cannot control RESULTS. You can control EFFORT. Many of the players I work with need to be “re-programmed” to stop thinking about results. Thinking about results kills performance.
THE PERFECTIONIST – This is for the player who is constantly trying to be perfect. Baseball is not the sport for perfectionists. You will drive yourself crazy. This is the hardest lesson because you can’t change personalities. You can change perspective. This player needs to literally redefine what perfection looks like on a baseball field. Guess what. It comes back to effort. Teach this player that perfection is found in the effort given. Not in the results achieved.
I’m sure I’ll think of more types of lessons. But for now, this is my base list.
Professional golfer, and founder of the Masters, Bobby Jones once called a 2 stroke penalty on himself that cost him the U.S. Open. Although all of the gallery (fans) and marshals who were in attendance agreed that they hadn’t seen any penalty, Jones insisted on his own ruling and assessed himself a 2 stroke penalty.
Today there is a sportsmanship award that is given by the USGA each year that is appropriately named the Bob Jones Award.
What if Bobby Jones played baseball? Would he still be as honorable? Or would he suspend his own honor in lieu of……AN UMPIRE?
We’ll never know. But something tells me honor in golf would become a thing of the past if the sport had officials. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying it is what it is.
Can anyone give me an idea as to how GoWags might be able to use Pinterest?
I see a lot of activity on Facebook, but most activity is from women. Is this something that may benefit GoWags?
It never fails. Every time I’m struggling to articulate how I’m feeling, C.S. Lewis seems to capture it perfectly. We had our 9 yr. old travel team practice last night and I wasn’t particularly happy with the “effort” given. I rarely get upset with results. But effort.. now that’s a different story. Isn’t it funny how results usually follow effort?
Back to Lewis. Here’s a gem from his book Mere Christianity.
“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. The real job of every great moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see; like bringing a horse back and back to a fence it has refused to jump or bringing a child back and back to the bit in its lesson that it wants to shirk..”
I don’t think Lewis would mind me substituting the word baseball for moral in the quote above.
Sometimes our players don’t need new stuff. They simply need to be reminded of the importance of doing the same stuff correctly. Focus and do it right. Focus and do it right. Focus and do it right. Maybe that’s my new mantra.
Or….maybe I need to remind everyone what Full Reps really means!