Planning for the Future of Narrow Path Sports

What I Learned From Pro Baseball

Welcome back to Narrow Path Sports and my introduction series.  Last week I covered a little bit about who I am and what my journey in baseball has been thus far.  Today I want to share what Narrow Path Sports is to me and what I want it to grow into.  

I have loved working with youth athletes for as long as I can remember.  Even after I was first drafted in 2008 by the Atlanta Braves, I was offering lessons in my local area of Elizabeth Pennsylvania. As my pro career developed, I stopped offering paid lessons and took my off-season training more seriously that it did not allow time to build that service back then.  I did however start doing volunteer work during the seasons in the cities I played in.  I would do events with Miracle League, a league for disabled kids to play baseball,  and work with the MLB RBI academies and other programs that worked with at-risk youth while playing the game of baseball.  These are some of my fondest memories of my MLB and MiLB career.  Baseball is in my opinion the greatest sport and I say that because it means the most to me not because it’s the greatest out of all of them. Each sport has its merits and I enjoy watching athletes compete and perform in all of them but bringing communities, families, and strangers together to enjoy playing and watching baseball is a truly beautiful experience.  

"I can fill up my hours with athletes that want to hone that aspect of the game."

JJ Hoover

These last few years I have regained the focus and desire to start training athletes again.  I am still actively playing and will soon be embarking on my 15th season of professional baseball, but I am excited to grow Narrow Path Sports so when that day comes, and I stop playing professionally I will have a full-time passion to step into.  Currently I offer individual training, semi-private training, and small group training.  I focus more on pitching because that is my true passion, and I can fill up my hours with athletes that want to hone that aspect of the game. Eventually, I will be leading small group throwing sessions that will really dive into building arm strength and throwing prowess but that will begin this next fall in October/November of 2022 alongside my individualized training.  

Our Vision for the Best in Class Training

I want Narrow Path Sports to be what I wish I had access to when I was going through grade school and more, way more. NPS is going to have a clubhouse atmosphere with a family aspect tied in.  The athletes will be there to get after it, work hard, and build each other up.  I get so jacked up when I see an athlete execute the change they have been working on and begin the process of committing it to muscle memory. Technology will have a place, but it will not be the only note being played in the training programs.  Some pretty amazing tools have been developed and can really help a pitcher develop certain aspects of their game. Be it release angle, spin axis, velocity, and break of each pitch but it cannot replace the repetition of throwing those pitches without looking to a computer for the answers. When we compete in-game there is not a computer there to tell you what you may or may not have done wrong, the will to compete and the hours of training are what get you through game situations. 

Narrow Path Grows Together With Athletes

One of the best parts about working with an athlete or young man is getting to come alongside them as they mature and grow up.  I pray I am blessed with lifelong relationships with these athletes and their families.  Watching as a beginner in the sport learns the fundamentals, sharpens their skills and becomes more proficient year after year as they develop, learning the more advanced facets of pitching and the game is what I am going to cherish.  Especially as some of those athletes will achieve goals of playing in college and hopefully even in the professional ranks.  Not everyone is built and destined to play sports at advanced levels but that does not mean that the foundation of working hard to get better, determination through difficulty, and success and failure will not translate into other realms of life.  These life skills will pay dividends in any job or endeavor. 

"I pray I am blessed with lifelong relationships with these athletes and their families."

JJ Hoover

I hope this article has given you some insight into what I am striving for and creating.  Will you step onto the Narrow Path with me? Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.  Just because we may not live close by does not mean I am not available to help.  For those of you in the greater Cincinnati area, Northern Kentucky, and Indiana if you are looking for a different take on pitching training come see me! Next week I am going to touch on the meaning of the Narrow Path and introduce some aspects of my training program. Stay tuned, please subscribe to my email, and as always #FollowtheNarrowPath

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About the Author

JJ Hoover
JJ Hoover was an American professional baseball pitcher from 2008 to 2021. He has played in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Milwaukee Brewers. Hoover throws four pitches: a four-seam fastball (91–94 mph), a curveball (76–79mph), a slider (81-85mph), and a changeup (85–88mph). JJ has taught pitching and baseball globally, and more recently in Cincinnati, Ohio for Narrow Path. Hoover now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife of seven years, Megan-Kate Hoover of Reel Rescues. JJ is a devout Christian.