The Tools of Greatness is an in-depth, easily accessible catching instructional book that details the most important position on the diamond. With fundamental, mechanical, and developmental insight, players and coaches alike have a definite guide to enhance catching ability. Coach Humphrey takes his experience as a player, coach, and scout, and provides secrets and disciplines to help catchers reach their potential. With instructional excerpts and guidance from major college and professional coaches, the book is appropriate for youngsters as well as high-level athletes and coaches looking to improve one or all areas. Leadership, receiving, blocking, throwing, and defensive plays around the plate are highlighted in detail with drills and progression. Also included: A coaching plan, note to bull pen catchers, and a chapter detailing what college and pro scouts look for. With Mario Garza--New York Yankees, Jeff Ware--New York Yankees, Randy Mazey--West Virginia University, and Jim Thompson--New York Mets.
I was born and raised in Michigan and grew up in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan. After graduating from Traverse City Central High School, I chose to attend NAIA-affiliate Spring Arbor University. Its baseball team, lead by legendary coach Hank Burbridge, was my primary deciding factor. After my playing days, but even before graduation, I started my coaching career at the Traverse City Civic Center, coaching a high school-aged summer team. That was just the beginning. After graduation I began my teaching career in Orlando, Florida. The following year I moved to Southampton County, Virginia, and I continued my coaching career, coaching Pony League, or grades sixth to eighth. Only a year later, I was the head varsity baseball coach at a small school in the Shenandoah Valley. I coached the team for two years, seeing tremendous growth in the program on and off the field. It was highlighted by the team’s first regional appearance in nine seasons to conclude only my second season. During my second season as head varsity coach, I received an inquiry letter from the area scout of the New York Mets. I called immediately to gain information on becoming a scout. After doing the appropriate paper work, my contract was mailed to me two months later. I continue my scouting duties today and am grateful for the opportunity provided by Area Supervisor, Jim Thompson, and the scouting department, including the regional Cross Checker and Scouting Director. I have coached various camps and clinics, including the University of Virginia developmental camps, DeMarini Top96, and others. I also served as an assistant at The Miller School of Albemarle, a small, private school near Charlottesville, Virginia. After one year at Miller, I was hired by Southern Virginia University as an assistant baseball coach. SVU is an NCAA Division III school located in Buena Vista, VA. I am proud to be part of a program with high values and a coaching staff of hard workers, high knowledge, and deep passion. Go Knights! I live with Angela Humphrey, wife of nearly six years, and teach fifth grade public education. The idea of this book was first developed in 2005. I put together a simple catching manual that I passed to others. It was without elaboration or photos. In July of 2012, I hit the keyboard for the first time to begin writing an in-depth instructional book on catching, which I believe to be a significant weakness, generally speaking, across the board from youth through college. A lot of people ask me how to improve their game and reach their potential. The answer is very, very simple: work at it! In today’s baseball world it’s almost always about travel teams and elite showcases. Don’t be fooled. No camp, showcase, or travel team can promise moving to the next level! It takes work and dedication. The ultimate responsibility is on the player; it is not on the parents, and it is most definitely not on any coach—take ownership and responsibility! As I mention clearly in my book, I was blessed with an abundance of awesome coaches, beginning with my dad. But the best team I played on was with my best friend, Sta’s. We played hundreds of games in his front yard, sometimes just the two of us. The point is quite simple—we played. A lot. The thousands of swings we took over the years was more beneficial than any hitting camp I ever attended. That is my advice for learning the game. No mortgage needs to be taken out to learn the game and improve.