Monday, April 5, 2010

Throw Lefty or Righty or Both

ESPN Sportscenter recently ran a story about Pat Venditte, an ambidextrous baseball pitcher who plays in the New York Yankee farm system. Pat's dad noticed that his son was ambidextrous at he age of 3 and immediately worked with his son to hone this God given talent. See video below.

Great basketball players are encouraged to use both hands to dribble and shoot. Great soccer players are encouraged to use both feet to dribble and shoot. Great lacrosse players use both arms to catch, throw and shoot.  My daughter uses with both hands and feet constantly.                                                                            

These players were not born with a special talent like Pat Venditte. So why don't more baseball players develop the skill to throw with both arms? There is Major League proof that it can be done.

Billy Wagner, the flame throwing southpaw (lefthander) pitcher for the Atlanta Braves was born a natural righty. Billy Wagner broke his right arm twice when he was a kid, but instead of giving up baseball, he practiced throwing fastballs against a barn wall with his left arm. He practiced and practiced. The practice paid off.

He made his high school team and was named the 1990 Baseball Player of the Year. He then went to Ferrum Collage in Virginia and set the single season NCAA records for strikeouts per nine innings with and amazing 19.1 in 1992. Wagner was then selected in the first round of the June 1993 Major League Baseball draft by the Houston Astros. He has had a long and productive 15 year and counting MLB career as one of the best closers in baseball.

So this natural righty, with a relatively slight frame for a pitcher, dominates Major League hitters with his left arm and a 100 mph fastball.

The Billy Wagner story about overcoming adversity and hardwork should be shared with kids who have dreams of playing in HS, College or even in the MLB.

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