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Jill and Ron Wolforth: Moneyball, Pitching 100 MPH And Escaping The Canadian Government

This is a very special edition of the show. We are talking to Jill and Ron Wolforth from the Texas Baseball Ranch. They routinely help young pitchers go from wherever they're pitching up to 90 and even over 100 miles an hour. You are going to find this show fascinating because we're going to talk business model and we're going to talk about sports, we're going to talk about a lot of different things that you will benefit from.

First, I do want you to know that Jill and Ron are superstars in their own right. They both came out of playing collegiately. They were All-Americans and were amazing pitchers. They had their flirt with professional sports but quickly pivoted from that to develop the Texas Baseball Ranch, their business.

There are a lot of takeaways from this particular show. You're going to learn about the Canadian government and how it shut them down and how they rebounded from that. We're going to talk overcoming adversity as an entrepreneur and we're going to talk a little baseball, talk little sports. Whether or not you are into baseball or sports, you are going to benefit from what you read. We're also going to talk about the mental aspect. How is it that you can perform at the level that you were designed to perform? We're going to get into that in this episode.

This is Ron and Jill Wolforth from the Texas Baseball Ranch, a place where you can dream as big as your work ethic will allow. You're reading the Get WealthFit Show.

Dustin
109 of your clients have been drafted by MLB teams. 365 have smashed the coveted 90-miles-per-hour barrier and nineteen are throwing smoke over 100 miles per hour. Jill, you are Division I Academic All-American Nebraska softball player. Ron, you regularly consult MLB teams on pitching. You're known as America's pitching coach and you played and coached collegiately. I’m determined to get some of your guys' secret sauce. Welcome to the show.
Jill & Ron
Thanks.
Dustin
I’ll go with you, Jill, first. When you started the Ranch, what was the vision?It is what it is now, but what was the vision when you first started?
Jill & Ron
The history is important. Before we were the Ron Wolforth’s Texas Baseball Ranch, we started out and we were a facility known as the Can-Am Baseball Softball Academy because our first facility was opened in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The foundation was that both Ron and I, as far as players by most standards, would have been considered average players with above average work ethic, commitment, study, those things. For us, it was always about having that coach or the mentor that could help take us to the next level. I was fortunate enough to receive that and Ron was my softball coach. My skills advanced dramatically when I was in college. I ended up being an Academic All-American. I was an All-Region selection. I was in the final rounds for Olympic tryouts. It's about having a good mentor and coach. We're here for those players that are out there that are us 30 years ago. It’s a mission for us to be able to help every athlete play one level beyond where they currently would have they never met us.
Dustin
I want to get into that because you reminded me that you weren't always in Texas. What's the story around you having to leave Vancouver and down to Texas?
Jill & Ron
When Ron was coaching at the University of Nebraska, he had an opportunity to go to Vancouver, Canada and do a coach’s clinic. When he returned from that clinic, the host had contacted him and said, “Ron, what do you see yourself doing in five, ten years from now?” Ron's comment was, “I love teaching. I love training. I’m not a fan of the NCAA, the red tape, being on the road recruiting all the time. I see myself as a private instructor.” The gentleman said, “What if you had that opportunity to do that up here in Vancouver?” Ron said, “I’m interested.” Long story short, we ended up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada doing exactly what we love to do. Lo and behold, there was a complaint to the Canadian government that we were taking jobs away from Canadian citizens. In other words, coaches could be doing what we were doing.
It’s a great story because the community came behind us. They closed us down for three months. We were going, “What's the process?” They thought we would up and leave. Instead, they shut down the immigration office because they had many complaints of people saying, “This is ridiculous. We need these people. We want these people,”and so we opened our doors back up. Ron said at that point, “This could happen anytime. We're not going to go through that. Let's go back to Texas.” He had played his college baseball at Sam Houston. We said, “We're heading back to the States,” and started our Can-Am facility in Houston.
Dustin
Ron, I’d like to ask you this one. This mysterious complaint, is this from a competitor? Where did this mysterious complaint come from?
Jill & Ron
There's no doubt. People get envious of success. There were several key people envious of the success that we were having up there. They thought, “This is one way we can put an end to this.” The Canadian government thought we would dry up and go away. Our clientele was avid that we shocked their world. One part that Jill leaves out is at the end of this three-month investigation, the Immigration Canada and Revenue Canada guy said to us, “You're 100% clean. You didn't do anything wrong. Every I was dotted, every T was crossed, but we're going to be watching you.” I thought, “There we go.”That was code for,“We can shut you down at any time because we have thought.”We were guilty and then had to prove ourselves innocent. Everything that we had worked for that whole couple of years had gone away in that three-month hiatus. I said, “We're not going to do that again.” That's why we moved.
Dustin
You never hear the Canadian government being an enforcer. It always seems to be at least in the media. This is surprising to me and I’m sure to you as well.
Jill & Ron
The crazy thing was is it was an anonymous tip. There was never a name that was ever brought out. When it was turned in, they contacted them anonymously, which is crazy to me but it turns out to be a blessing. From there, everything then took off when we were back down here.
Dustin
I’m more so nowadays realizing that there are these things that happen in our lives that caused us to revamp or reinvent or come up with something better. I want to talk about the struggle. Being in Texas, you transplanted. What did you struggle with when you first launched the Ranch down in Texas as an entrepreneur?
Jill & Ron
Let's talk about this struggle first. Remember when Immigration Canada shut us down, that was for three months and we still remained with renting the facility, paying our electric bill, all that. When that was done, all of our savings had been dried up. There was no revenue during that timeframe. We get a U-Haul and we traveled down from Vancouver to Houston. At that point, we're putting everything on a credit card. Ron had made a trip down about a couple of months before we left to go to what they call coaches school down here, which is an opportunity for you to go through an interview for positions. They have athletic directors from hundreds of Texas schools. We joke about it now, but he was offered a position, in the meantime, before we were able to open doors down here as a middle school career investigations teacher and coach.
The reason we laugh is here's a former Division I college coach that is teaching sixth graders about career investigation. Those were the struggles that we dealt with. Going in and he asked the AD for an advance on a check so that we could put the down payment on the rent of our apartment. Those are the things that helped us grow. He was teaching. I substituted teaching all while we were trying to reopen a facility here in Houston, which we were able to sublet a building. We got a pretty good rent and we worked it. It was a grind.
Two things, first of all, how ironic that I’m teaching career investigation. That's when you know God has a sense of humor. When they gave me that job, I chuckled. I looked upward and I said, “Pretty funny.” The second thing is here was our week. I would work at the school, get there at 7:30, I’d work until 3:00 in the afternoon. We would drive back home, which was about 45 minutes and grab something quick to eat and then we'd open up the facility at 4:30 or 5:00 and we work until 9:00 that night. Go to bed and do the whole thing over. We'd work eight to ten hours on Saturday and Sunday. Jill will tell you our only day off was Friday afternoons and that was date night and that's when we went to a movie. That was our day off was a half-a-day on Friday. Probably for at least six months, we worked every day.
Dustin
That is the story of the grind there. When you're passionate, you can do those things. I’m curious as to the model. Let's talk about the model of the Ranch. How do you guys monetize? Where does the revenue come from? Take us through that.
Jill & Ron
Jill, I want you to talk him through this, but what's interesting is how much that’s evolved over the years. Dan Kennedy was a big part of that evolution. Before she tells the story, I’m going to tell you and your audience it's funny. She says to me, “Honey, I got us signed up for a marketing seminar.” I said, “You did?” She goes, “Yeah, it's in Phoenix.” I said, “How much is this?” She said, “It was $3,000.” At that time, $3,000 was gigantic. I remember my marketing classes from college and they were the least interesting thing that I’ve ever done. I told her, I looked her right in the eye and go, “Sweetheart, I would rather take $3,000 in ones and go in the backyard and burn it than go to that thing.” I was wrong and she was right. That was the start. Jill, you want to talk a little bit how the evolution of our business over the last many years from being a local business to an international one?
We were a traditional model if anyone's familiar with a tennis facility or a lot of baseball facilities is we were in the one-on-one lesson businesses. A player would come in, they would have their 45 minutes or an hour lesson, go home and then come back the next week. That was what we did. At one point, we were doing with some people that we had eventually hired. We were doing 800 lessons per month at our facility, which it's even harder now to imagine what that's like. I look back at that and go, “That's a lot of people.” In understanding business, we were trading time for dollars and you couldn't add more time slots to that. Kids had to get out of school. We're dealing from 4:00, 3:30 in some cases until 9:00 at night and people were in right after one another.
We couldn't add more coaches because we didn't have the space to teach more people. You could increase that but where we were at, we were maxing that out. We were like, “We cannot do this for the next many years of our lives. This is will wear us out and everybody else.” We started to look for some other models that will work for us. It evolved into eventually doing classes so that we were working with more people at one time. It also then gave us the opportunity then to leverage Ron as an instructor, meaning that you could pay this price and be in classes or in essence you could pay a higher premium and then get him for one-on-one lessons. Eventually, we were able to model that for various instructor levels.
We not only went in from the private lessons, but we also went into the information marketing business. Ron was beginning to be known as an expert in pitching. We were developing our products. We were getting those out nationally. As those got out nationally, then people started to hear about us and wanted the instructions. We started running what we called our three-day weekend Elite Pitchers Bootcamps, and then people started traveling from all over. Finally, when that grew to the point where we were ready to get out and have our own place, we purchased twenty acres in Montgomery, Texas where we built the Texas Baseball Ranch. Now, the three-day bootcamps are where our main focus is. We do ten of those a year. We have anywhere between 40 to 50 kids at one of those events for the weekend. That is where our evolution was in training.
Dustin
Montgomery is a little bit out of the way. That's not necessarily close to an airport.
Jill & Ron
From Houston Intercontinental, it's about 45 minutes. It's not too bad. It sounds like it's way out there and I will share a funny story. Your audience will appreciate this. Many years ago, CJ Wilson came out to work with Ron at this time out where Montgomery was. That's why you could say it's out in the country. You drive through a windy road. There's not much out there. This was back in the day when they did some crazy TV shows. CJ Wilson gets off his plane. It's dark. He wants to come out and see the facility. He drives out. He literally thinks he's being Punk’d. That was the days they had that show called Punk’d. By the time he got to us, he was sure that that's what was happening. He was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. It could feel like you're out there, but the city is catching up to us.
Dustin
How did you pick it?
Jill & Ron
When we decided we were going to move, one of our concerns was, “Are we going to lose clientele as a result of making this move?” It is about 30 minutes from where our old facility was. We took a look at our clientele. We pulled out a map of the greater Houston area and we started putting up pushpins to where people were coming to us from. We then tried to pick a central spot that would still not hurt us and that we thought we could continue to pull even more people from. We began searching that area and that was another one of those where I believe there was a hand looking over us when we finally found that. The property was for sale by owner property that we happened to drive by on our search looking at other pieces of property.
Dustin
Ron, what would you say has been the most surprising part of this business running the Ranch?
Jill & Ron
The thing that is both surprising and amazing was that in 1999, I was a former softball coach that had pitched a little bit professionally. We started some progressive forward-thinking training protocols that we got from watching elite-level golf and tennis and track and field and getting outside of the traditional coaching and training in baseball. I was thought as crazy and I did not pitch one inning of professional baseball. If you don't know anything about professional baseball, that is one of the stricter fraternities. I was outside of the fraternity. In 1999, we were viewed as more of a pariah, provocative, nutty, weird place. In 2018, we had over half of Major League Baseball organizations that have been to the Ranch. We met with the Yankees in Dallas. We met with the Mets. We've met with the Cleveland Indians. Terry Francona has been at the facility, so as General Manager Chris Antonetti.
What happened over that course of those twenty years is that we went from this crazy edgy place to the center point of what is happening with baseball training and velocity development and arm health and durability. We're mentioned a lot of times on Major League Baseball. Tom Verducci has been out. The most surprising thing is to go from a complete outsider to getting fifteen or so invites to spring training every year to different organizations. If you said that was going to happen, you would go, “You're overreaching,” but that's exactly what has happened.
Dustin
When you're an outsider and you're doing new things, people call you crazy. I got to imagine it was the conviction. It was the results that were driving. What advice do you have for somebody that's in a similar situation? What they're doing is a little forward thinking or so outside the box people are ragging on them. What would be your advice there?
Jill & Ron
My advice is if you are not pushing the envelope and if people are not going, “What are you doing? You're going to pretty soon not be relevant.” You don't do things to be contrarian. People are looking for innovation and they're not looking for perfect. They're not looking for guarantees. What they're looking for are people that are not going to stand by the standard status quo. The best advice I ever got was Dan Kennedy looked at me and he said, “You need to write a book.” That was 1997 I believe. I wrote my first book and it wasn't good. Magic happened and what I mean by that is when you have to define in a book what you think, who you are, what you're doing. Almost all of us, when we finish that book, we go, “I need to change some things because that's not quite right.”
As soon as the ink is dry, we want to change it. What that made you do is place your thoughts in an area and commit to something. From there, you can grow and you can learn. That's exactly what we did. Here I am seven books later, but it's changed everything. There are many people that will never commit to anything like, “I believe this. I believe that.” When you put it in a book, all of a sudden you have to think through it and you have to be your own contrarian to go, “What would somebody say about that?” That was the greatest advice that I got.
Dustin
Jill, did you have anything to add on to that?
Jill & Ron
Here's an interesting thing for people to know to get a little bit more background from us. Ron's story can be humorous if you want to laugh at it. At the time to him, he probably didn't think so. As a college baseball player, he attended five schools in five years and that's hard to do. He started out at the University of Nebraska. We both grew up in Nebraska. He didn't play an inning there. He tells a story one time of the coach going around the room and, and kept talking about everybody's roles. “Your role is going to be our starting pitcher and your role is our cleanup guy.” He gets to Ron and he looks at him and he pauses. Ron's waiting. It seemed like forever and he looked at and he goes, “Your role is to help keep everybody else eligible.” Meaning that he was the smart guy on the team. He didn't play that year. He transferred to a junior college, finishes junior college, and he's got all his credits. He's got to transfer to a larger school. He goes up to the University of Idaho and he says he was so impactful there that they dropped the baseball program the next year. He goes back to at the time it was called Kearney State in Nebraska. He plays there for four years and he realized he's probably not going to be a professional player but wants to be a coach. He transfers into Sam Houston University in Texas.
The reason I tell the story to everyone is that he found out by being at all these different programs there wasn't one way to do something. He got to witness five different coaches and how they approached it. He says of which three were good, two were not good. It gave him a unique perspective on teaching and training and coaching. That had an impact on how he continued then to develop the programs that we use. Being an outstanding student, he was always studying and trying to go, “What is it that I didn't have from an instruction that I needed?What is it that some young men out there now are in search of that I can help them with?” That put an interesting mentality to him on how he was going to approach the things from both the business and the teaching specifically.
Dustin
Jill, I want to do a follow-up with you here and it's around info products. You had mentioned that being a part of the business, is that substantial revenue for you? Does it bring in leads? Explain why you packaged your information into products.
Jill & Ron
Their initial reason was it was another stream of income. It was a way for us to get our information out to the public and we used that then as our lead generation. Information product followed up with direct marketing to these people then, in turn, to get them into the facility. The interesting thing was it worked vice versa. We get people into the facility and then we would market to them the information products that they could take home. Ultimately, it ended up resulting in we also have a membership program for people that leave our camps to have ongoing training while they're away from the facility since so many people come in from outside. The information products were huge. When we first started doing those, there were not many out. It was a unique concept for a lot of people.
They were starting to get online. They were starting to find out how you can purchase products. One of the things I would share with people is that when we started this, we were meticulous in what did they get with their package. It wasn't just an information product. They were getting a certificate, “Congratulations on your purchase of this.” They were getting another thing that said, “This is good for a follow-up call or a follow-up consultation.” Our follow-up on those, because it was important for us to build the base and to build our list, we paid attention to those steps. I often remind our people that it seems it's we have more products and we have more events. Sometimes you lose track of those things. I always try to bring our people back and say, “Do not lose sight of making sure that we are paying attention to the details inside of that.”
Dustin
Whereis the furthest place someone has bought an information product?
Jill & Ron
We've got Italy, Netherlands, Russia, a lot of places internationally. We've had a representative come to a camp player from every state in the union as well as multiple internationals. We travel abroad and do some of our events. Ron and I will often say,“It is amazing what baseball has done for us.”
Dustin
Pitching is a big focus of the camp. Do you guys get into other things as well at the camp or is it pitching only?
Jill & Ron
We don't. We're pitching only and for the sake of conversation now, I probably know more about hitting than probably 97% of the population. What was strange is a lot of people they do not accept you to be an expert in multiple things. That's a reason we have stuck with pitching. Our real niche is the bridge between the grassroots baseball guy and the doctors, the orthopedic surgeons and the physical therapists. That's another thing that I would urge your audience to pay attention to. What niche, what unique individual characteristic can you bring to the table that few people were able to do?Jill, you want to talk about that a little bit?
You've got baseball guys out there that hear the medical profession trying to give recommendations or ideas. They look at them as these guys in the white coats that don't have any idea what goes on in the day-to-day of a baseball field. You have the doctors, the medical professions, the orthopedics, the physical therapists. They look at the baseball guys. They think of them as tobacco-chewing, vulgar language guys that have no clue on how the human body should work and how they should be paying attention to treating these athletes. That's where we are able to come in. Going back to Ron's background and his strength in education, he has been able to over the years been able to bridge that. He can have the conversation with the doctor about an elevated distal humerus, thoracic spine, what have you. Yet, he can talk to the baseball coach and make it practical.
That's what we've been able to do is we've been able to take this subject and put it in a way people can practically apply it and have success without trying to talk and throw out all these big words to sound smart. People appreciate a basic understanding. We joke with our parents and the kids come in and we go, “You're never going to look at a baseball game the same because you're going to watch a pitcher and you're going to go, ‘He’s counter-rotating,’ or something like that.”It's funny that people come back and say indeed that is true. That is something that we pride ourselves on. Everybody has become to know us as the velocity people that we can help velocity. That's one component of what we do. We use the phrase, “Start with the pain.” We want to make sure health and durability is the number one place we start that people have a clean movement pattern. That way then we can eventually push the envelope. That is the bridge that we've made.
Dustin
Is 90 seen as the pinnacle?Every kid wants to throw 90 then ultimately work themselves up to 100. Is that a good baseline?
Jill & Ron
90 has been a special demarcation for probably 30 or 40 years. That has changed a lot because of the Texas Baseball Ranch. Now, that number is probably more like 92 or 93, but still that round number of 90 is powerful. Right around 370 of our clients has been able to top 90 miles an hour, but we have 127 that have topped 94 and we have nineteen that have topped 100. If we talk again in the future, you're going to see those numbers may even double on all of it in the next few years as we get better and better at it. Velocity is the one thing that can differentiate you quickly and we're known as that. What we are is holistic in our training.
We talk about it from a pitching standpoint. We work with throwers. The majority of them happened to be pitchers, but we will see catchers and outfielders and people that want to either improve their arm from a health standpoint or improve their arm from a velocity standpoint. Even an outfielder, if he can have a better arm, it opens up doors to a Division I opportunity where before he might not have had something like that. It's the throwing athlete that we work with.
Dustin
Jill, do you find that kids are coming to you that have pain and realize they need to change their motion? Are the majority just people that want to get better at throwing?How many people are coming to you for pain?
Jill & Ron
There are several different reasons. Velocity still is the number one thing most people look for. When we do our video analysis, one of the questions we ask the players is to rate their pain on a scale of zero to ten and where it is, whether it's an elbow, shoulder. The kids will rank it. We will have parents say to us,“I had no idea that he had any pain.” Even though they don't come for that, they end up realizing that it is really important.
There are reasons that young men don't ever talk about pain. One, they don't want to tell a coach or someone else that's making a decision because then they might not get to play and they definitely want to play. Second, they don't want to look like they're a wimp. They don't go,“My arm hurts,”because that's not what they're trying to say. A third reason is, in some cases, they don't want to have to admit that something might be wrong with their arm. Most people don't talk about the pain much and it is the forefront of what we do. It's interesting to get the parents comments on that.
Dustin
That's an eye-opener. Thank you for sharing. I got goosebumps on that because I could imagine myself being that kid that's trying to make it or at least get into D-I and keeping my mouth shut. I want to ask this question about the mentality of it. We learn about sports. There are tactical and right motions. How much of hitting 90, 92, 95, 100 is mental?
Jill & Ron
It is important to us. You can have physical skills. You can have the training, but if you don't have a good mindset, it starts with a belief. If you don't believe you're going to hit 90, you're not ever going to hit 90. It does start with the belief and every day in our summer program, we have an extended stay summer program where young men will come and stay with us from two to ten weeks. Every day starts with a mindset presentation with what one of our coaches has put together that we pull from something, a motivation that you see on the internet. It is important that you start that day right and you start it with the mindset of how you're going to go about your production for that day. It is paramount in the things that we do.
Dustin
I can appreciate that every day you're coming in, you're getting stuff. What about that young man that is at 89and he's getting it, but he can't break that barrier?You know it's mental. What are you doing with him?
Jill & Ron
Most of our mindset is not only just about belief, but it's about persistence and perseverance and what we show them again and again. Our elite performers whether they be in math and science, athletics, business, everybody in your audience. If they're the top of the rung, they didn't take the helicopter and got dropped up there. They worked through it. There's a lot of failure in there and a lot of persistence. What growth is, we say this over and over again, that you cannot grow unless you fail. You have to push yourself to a place where you haven't been before. That is what growth is. We have a saying, “You need to be comfortable being uncomfortable,”because that is thematic for everything we do. Our staff and our people are supportive. That's not a problem. People will get there and it's amazing to watch. We don't know if it's going to be in a day, a week, or a month. If they keep grinding in the right way and they pay attention and they make and they adapt and they adjust and they overcome, that's the whole point of the mindset.
Dustin
If you want to make it to the top, you want to play MLB, you want to pitch there. Do you have to start early? In tennis, you’ve got to start earlier otherwise you miss your thing. Is this something that you can get later as a young man?
Jill & Ron
It is definitely harder to do it later, but you can do it. As far as being a hitter is concerned, you better start earlier as a hitter. It's the nature of the skill. A hitter is an open skill, meaning that they have a ball coming at them and they have to react. Pitching is a closed skill, meaning there is no outside influence. It's just you and then you throw the baseball. Pitching is a closed skill. You may be able to start a little bit later.
Our Durathro Coordinator, for example, her name is Oliver Kadey. He came to us at 22 years old throwing at 82 miles an hour. Everybody in the world would go, “You're 22. You're not going to throw it hard by then.”We hit 90 so he got up to 97 and had a tryout with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros. Oliver had been playing baseball for quite a bit of his life. That's one of the reasons Michael Jordan struggled. The neuromuscular firing required to hit and an open skill is much more complicated. That's why tennis is an open skill.
Dustin
Is there a magical speed? Is there a number, let's say with consistent placement? You can throw as hard as you want, but if you can't put it in the box, you're not going to be as interesting to people. Is there speed with the consistency that gets you in the MLB conversation?
Jill & Ron
There is, although that's incomplete. For example, if you threw a baseball at 95 miles an hour and you had a good command of it, the chances are you would have a good chance of being in Major Leagues. As the velocity goes up, reaction pressure from the hitter, which is incredibly precious, starts to go down. That's the one advantage to it. Placing the bar and having command, that's one caveat, but a lot of caveats maybe your audience does not know is there are people working at Home Depot that throw it hard enough to be in the Major League. That may even have the command to pitch in the Major League, but their recovery takes them so long to be able to throw 95 again.
It would take them a week or ten days to be able to do it. Inside the framework of professional baseball, it's impossible. The reason we know the names like Verlander, Kershaw and Mariano Rivera is because they can throw on Tuesday night at 95 and then next Saturday, they can throw at 95 again. That recovery, your ability to bounce back with your body and your arm is incredibly important. A lot of people that go to the games do not recognize the value of your ability to recover over and bounce back over a six-month marathon grind.
People don't realize that's one of the big differences between college and professional is that in college they're on what they call a seven-day cycle. They pitch every seven days versus five day-cycle in professional baseball. Those two days are huge extra rest in college. Your ability to bounce back on five days can be a separator.
Dustin
There is what the clubhouse can provide, the medical staff. This is why you guys are valuable. With a correct pitching motion, I would imagine your recovery is a lot quicker.
Jill & Ron
There are many things that are valuable to recovery. One is the movement pattern. If you have a lot of extra stress on soft tissue, it’s going to take you longer to recover. The other one is if you didn't do a good warm-up or a good cool down that would affect it. Your diet, your sleep, and your overall general health, all these things play into what we call recovery. That's one of the big things that we do at the Ranch is to help young people recover. That's the reason Justin Verlander is a client of ours is because he was struggling to recover. It wasn't his stuff. He was having trouble being the same guy every night out.
Dustin
What advice do you have for the kids? What are the conversations like? You know their dream is to go there, but they're probably not going to make it. How do you have those conversations? What's your advice there?
Jill & Ron
I have this conversation with young people all the time. We're told to be practical. They show you the data and you go, “That’s such a small percent.” I will say this to everybody in our audience. Our son was drafted right out of high school by the Cleveland Indians. He's a senior in college in Florida. When he was a senior in high school, his guidance counselor had him do a paper on his career. He wrote, “I wanted to be a professional baseball player,” and she took him apart in class saying, “This is not realistic.” Dustin, if he would have written, “I want to be an astronaut,” everybody would have thought that would have been awesome. Since he put a Major League Baseball player, people went, “I don't think so.”
There are very few people that have ever been astronauts. I don't know what it is but it’s less than 100 people have ever been an astronaut. A lot of this stigma about professional baseball is about it. It doesn't matter where you end up. My goal was to be a Major League Baseball player, but you need to follow your dream and you need to constantly understand what excellence is. You're searching for how to become the best that you could possibly be and don't worry about anything else. Follow your passion. Be as good as you possibly can be. Maybe that doesn't get you all the way to the Major Leagues, but the things that you will learn along the way are incredibly valuable. Jill, do you have anything to add?
You're a terrific example of that. You would have said when you were twenty years old that you would die to be a Major League Baseball player. That did not happen, but we often say that you could get on the phone now and get ahold of any GM from an organization that you are having that impact on Major League Baseball. Not only being with the coaches that come in to see things that are done but to other players that are going through. I completely agree that it's all about excellence in whatever you do. Push that path as far as you can, and then you don't know where it's going to take you.
Dustin
I want to flip it and I want to think about that parent that wants it a little bit more for the kids than they do. What is your advice to those parents out there? Not everyone gets drafted. Not everyone goes to the MLB. What's your advice there?
Jill & Ron
This is a side note, but it makes a lot of importance to me. I have a couple of Major League clients and they will be nameless, but their lives are not good. They're not foundational. They have a lot of drama in their life. They have a lot of angst. They have a lot of problems. We think that because you're successful at a Major League that your life is good. Your focus should be on exactly what I would tell every parent. Your focus is to be a person of excellence in every area that matters in your life. If you do that, your life is going to be better.
Take care of the person to the right of you. Take care of the person to your left of you. Be a leader. Be a person of merit. Be a person of value that has meaning in their life. Here we are, we're chasing a scholarship or chasing money or chasing a draft position. If indeed we get that, and that's all we've done, that's a shallow, empty feeling. There’s got to be a lot more than that. I don't mean that you shouldn't shoot for the moon. I’m saying that you need to be a little deeper in your approach than just chasing that.
It's interesting because you'll find a lot of places now where they try to keep the parents out because they see the parents as so much of a problem. We did the opposite. Parents are not only welcomed but encouraged to be present in everything that we do at our events because they are the person that's going to have to deal with the athlete. We'll have a couple every now and then that is overboard. The appreciation that we get from most parents because they are building this relationship with their child and they have common ground to talk about has been powerful.
Dustin
I like that you take the counter approach and include them. You're spot on about that. What's the future look like for you guys and the Ranch?
Jill & Ron
We’re continuing to expand on the working not only here in the States but abroad. We are also looking at starting a nonprofit where we can help bring in a scholarship program for some of the athletes that they don't have that opportunity financially. We're at a point, a stage where we can do that. We are looking at getting into development, not a collegiate-type league, but a league where the guys can come in, train, highlight their performances, where we bring in the scouts and professional organizations. There are quite a few things on the burners.
Dustin
I had a lot of fun. Thank you big time for being on the show. Thank you for doing what you do. You're a testament to marrying your passion with something that you can profit from and being an entrepreneur. If folks are fascinated, they want to, pick up an information product or two or send their boy to camp or to the Ranch. How can they keep tabs with what you guys are up to?
Jill & Ron
I’ll do one better for you, Dustin. We were talking about the parents, it hit me. We have a book. One of Ron's books is called A Parent's Survival Guide for the Parent of the Elite Pitcher. We use that term elite is where you eventually see yourself. If someone wants to get their hands on a copy of that, I’d be more than happy. We'll send them a free one. Have them email us atInfo@TexasBaseballRanch.com or call the office and request the Survival Guidebook. It's (936) 588-6762. If they want to learn a little bit more about the ranch, go online to TexasBaseballRanch.com.
Dustin
Thank you truly for being on the show and sharing the model and sharing some inside baseball with us. I appreciate having you.
Jill & Ron
It’s our pleasure. Thank you.
It's good fun.

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