One of the things that is essential to fostering player development is affiliation with a reliable training center that produces results. Just as students of martial arts belong to a “dojo” and students of ballet belong to a studio, serious baseball players need to have an ongoing relationship with a specific training coach. Regular attendance at scheduled training sessions (especially during the off-season) will help build all the aspects (Body, Mind, Spirit) of their game.
The training sanctuary that we enjoy is The Hit Barn; a 4-season private batting cage in the suburban Boston area. This hideaway features turf flooring, gas heat, stadium lighting, pitching mound and batting cage. Built in the 1980’s, it was casually used by members of the Boston Red Sox living in the area to keep themselves tuned up before the start of Spring Training. Signatures of past Red Sox players who have spent time there still adorn some of the walls. It’s cool to know that we are walking through the same door and swinging bats in the same place as some Big League heros from back in the day.
Originally The Hit Barn was built by a dedicated Baseball Dad to support the training of his 3 DirtDog sons, all of whom went on to have very successful high school and college baseball careers. Two of them continued even further to play professionally in the Minor Leagues, and one of them named Rob Murray is now Matt’s training coach.
Rob was a standout baseball player at Weston High School, where he achieved Dual County League All-Star status three times as both a shortstop and pitcher. At Ithaca College Rob was a three-year starter and team Captain his senior year. He earned all-conference and all-region honors and played in the 1993 and 1994 NCAA Division III World Series. After college Rob signed two professional contracts with Independent League teams; 1996 Richmond Roosters (Frontier League) and 1997 Bangor Blue Ox (Northeast League). He continues to actively play baseball in an Over-30 Baseball League in Lowell, and works individually as a pitching and hitting coach with players of different ages ranging from 11-16 years old.
I can say first-hand that the pitching and hitting instruction here is first-rate from initial analysis of mechanics through correction and practice to finished result. If you live in the Boston area and are looking for an alternative to the typical cookie-cutter baseball academy fare with inflated rates and useless group training sessions, The Hit Barn could be a hit with you, too.