We begin with former Tiger Matt Hobbs, who will be taking over the duties of Pitching Coach. Today, a look at his experience and philosophy as a pitching coach. Tomorrow, Matt Hobbs' career as a Tiger pitcher. Look for a feature on Kerrick Jackson on Monday morning.
■ University of San Francisco Bio (usfdons.com)
Matt Hobbs Hobbs begins his first season at the University of San Francisco in 2010. Hobbs comes to the Hilltop from UC San Diego, where he held an associate head coaching position for three years.
"We are extremely excited to have Matt Hobbs as a pitching Coach/ recruiting coordinator at the University of San Francisco," said Giarratano. "Matt brings great success, knowledge, and great work habits to our program. Matt will continue to help the program rise."
. . .
At UC San Diego, Hobbs was also pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, and he helped lead the Tritons to their first ever final four appearance in the 2009 Division II College World Series. UCSD was ranked third by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association in 2009, after being named Regional Champions for the first time in school history. The Tritons 41-15 record was the second best in program history, behind the 2008 team that had 43 wins.
On the mound, Hobbs' pitching staff allowed the fewest number of walks per nine innings of any Division II baseball program, and was 12th nationally in ERA (3.73). As a recruiter, since 2007 Hobbs brought in three All-Americans, four First-Team All-West Region, four Second-Team All-West Region, seven First-Team CCAA, one Second-Team CCAA, and one CCAA Freshman of the Year.
Prior to UCSD, Hobbs spent two seasons (2005-2006) at Santa Barbara City College as the pitching coach. In 2006, the Vaqueros had the fewest walks in the Western State Conference, while the 2005 squad led the WSC with a 2.27 team ERA and seven shutouts as SBCC earned a program high 24 wins. During the summers while at SBCC, Hobbs was the pitching coach for Foresters Baseball. The summer league team earned the National Baseball Congress World Series in 2006, after a runner up finish in 2005. He also spent one season as an assistant coach at Chapman University, working with the pitching and catching staffs and coaching first base.
■ It's all about the heater (Baseball America, reposted at UCSDTritons.com)
But Matt Hobbs sees it differently. He pitched in the Big 12, at Missouri, and now is assistant coach at emerging Division II power UC San Diego. The Tritons don't have any arms like Baylor's, but Hobbs still espouses the fastball-first philosophy.■ How do you correct striding across the body? (insidepitching.com)
"You have to command the fastball, even at this level, even when the fastball is in the mid-80s, like most of our guys," Hobbs said. "It's imperative to work off the fastball, to command it, to build arm strength—it's the foundation of everything a pitcher does."
Maybe it's easier for Hobbs to say that at the D-II level, where the pressure to win is not as heated as in the Southeastern Conference, where Pat McMahon can take Florida to Omaha in 2005 and lose his job in 2007. But if it works in the big leagues, it's hard to see how it won't work against amateurs. The metal bat is an equalizer in some ways, but it doesn't turn, say, Ryan Graepel into Albert Pujols.
Matt Hobbs, Pitching Coach, University of San Francisco:
The approach is the first place to begin making sure that a pitcher has a definite idea of where they want to throw the ball and how they want to get it there is ground zero. We always make sure that they are “attacking the middle of the plate” rather than trying to manipulate their bodies by stepping outside their drive leg. Once this approach is ingrained if the pitcher is still having a hard time getting on line to the plate we move into drill work.
The most basic drill I start with is having the pitcher throw a short 50 ft. pen on a 2 x 4 pointing directly through the center of the plate after he gets an idea for what it feels like to be totally centered we move to a “T-Drill” this is done by attaching a section of 2 x 4 slightly larger than a standard pitching rubber perpendicular to a 2 x 4 slightly longer than the pitchers full stride. This allows for the pitcher to move on the rubber so he can land slightly closed but not step completely across his body. In some extreme cases the 2 x 4 can be used as an obstacle for the pitcher, placing it perpendicular to the rubber aligned with his regular stride, this serves to not only show him where he is striding but it provides instant feedback when he strides too far outside his drive leg