Eric Minshall is a Navy veteran, former collegiate coach, and longtime ABCA member.His inquisitive coaching style led to the opening of the Cincinnati Throwing Club, which offers a bit of a twist when it comes to developing throwers/pitchers. After working last season in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, he recently accepted the pitching coach position with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League.
Inside Pitch: How did you get into coaching?
I started out playing at Archbishop Moeller High School, graduating in 1992. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, Ireturned to Moeller as an assistant coach under Ohio High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame Coach Mike Cameron. Mike really spentthe time with his assistants to develop them both personally and professionally. He was the first coach thatI had been around that routinely wentto clinics and made sure his staff attended the ABCA Convention. He was constantly searching for better ways to develop his players. It was awe-inspiring and in my case, career-inspiring.
I had a great foundation because of the time I spent in the Navy, and I was really motivated to help teach, coach, motivate and develop young athletes, both personally and athletically.
In the fall of 2013, I had the great fortune to be hired as an assistant at Miami University-Hamilton. Darrel Grissom had already been there for 15 years and built a strong program. Just like my years at Moeller under Mike Cameron, I was able to watch and learn at a rapid pace. I spent five-plus years at Miami-Hamilton, and I can’t thank Coach Grissom enough for giving me the opportunity. He gave me complete freedom to explore all of the new technology and teachings that were being thrust on the scene in the pitching world. We made trips to the Texas Baseball Ranch, started attending Pitch-A-Palooza, and continued to attend the ABCA Convention.
We were using our bullpen as a massive laboratory, integrating Driveline, Jaeger Sports and Rapsodo principles into the mix. We felt we were at the forefront of collegiate baseball in pitching development, and we had great success – no major injuries in over five years and huge gains in velocity, commend and execution.
IP: What were the main factors that contributed to you opening the Cincinnati Throwing Club?
That concept came from a personal shift in philosophy. I wanted to get away from traditional lessons,
sure, but as I was gaining more knowledge and experience, I was routinely being humbled as well. Many of the methods and philosophies that I had been teaching pitchers over the years were quickly being scientifically dismantled before my very eyes. I am a ‘show me’ kind of guy, and I was being shown regularly that I needed to change!
I wanted to open a facility that was part-kinetic laboratory, part bullpen – a place to explore ‘throwing’ from other points of view. I wanted to focus solely on throwing and that's exactly what we have done. Nobody is sitting on a bucket calling out pitches at our place. We work on throwing patterns, kinetic chain process, strength and flexibility training and much more. Although the majority of our clients are pitchers, we are getting more and more position players, and the work we do with catchers has really been given a lot of notice. I think people tend to forget that catchers throw as much or more than pitchers do. With our arm care and recovery systems we have had incredible success keeping players healthy.
IP: How did the opportunities to coach in pro ball come up?
I had contact with MLB clubs before and several teams had inquired about what we were doing at the Throwing Club. But one day I got a call from Clint Hurdle and we had an outstanding conversation. Throughout a lengthy process, I got to talk at length and share ideas with Pittsburgh’s Assistant GM Kyle Stark, Director of Player Development Larry Broadway and Pitching Coordinator Scott Mitchell, among others. The open dialogue and willingness to get better and pursue every avenue to help pitching development was a lifelong dream for me. What impressed me most of all was that they were not just interested in how I was teaching pitchers but also how I was developing young men at Miami Hamilton.
I truly enjoyed working with the Pirates; helping young pitchers develop on their journey through pro ball was an honor. I am excited for this new opportunity with Mike Pinto and the Southern Illinois Miners. I am very fortunate to be a part of such a storied franchise