“John, John, John. Be realistic, boy.”
That’s what some family members said when I told them about my dream of being a pro-baseball player.
“You’ll never make it. Why don’t you try something you can actually achieve?”
That’s when I knew, right then and there:
I WOULD GO PRO.
And I did.
Hi, I’m John Madden, former professional pitcher. Welcome to my website.
When I moved to Florida from New Jersey and played my first T-ball game, I knew it was something that I wanted to do for a long time. I loved the game. Could never get enough. “Hey, Dad, let’s play.” He heard that at least a million times.
And I was pretty good. Little League All-Star. High school pitcher. A legend in my own mind, I knew I was on my way.
Until one day, early in my senior year, I went up against Joe Torres. Big left-hander. Fireballer even in high school. Future first-round draft pick.
All the scouts came that day to see him. Thirty radar guns pointed his way, all reading 94…94…94.
This was my big chance. Now the world will see just how much I have in the tank. First pitch, I reared all the way back, bringing my best heat. Thirty radar guns caught that pitch. Next pitch, the scouts all turned them off.
Bad news. Turns out, I was only coming in at 81.
I wasn’t so hot after all.
I began to doubt. Maybe those family members were right. Maybe I would never go pro. Maybe I would never be any good. Maybe I’d end my career as a mediocre high school pitcher.
NO, NO, NO. Never. I WOULD GO PRO.
I did everything I could to make myself scout-worthy. I hit the weights. I threw long-toss. I tweaked my mechanics. I would not give up.
At the end of the year, it was Torres and me again. He was still 94, but now I was sitting at the magic number…90. Not bad. Not great, but pretty good. Good enough to get on the High School All-Star team. Good enough for a scholarship to Junior College.
Those two years at JUCO were two of the best years of my life. I pitched better and better, and I helped lead us to the College World Series.
After JUCO, Division I schools came calling my name, and this small-town kid from a working-class family called himself an Auburn Tiger. I was on my way for sure.
Not so fast. You think I would have learned my lesson by now. Going pro is not so easy. At Auburn, I was in for a shock. I wasn’t such a superstar anymore. In my junior year, I really struggled. Maybe I was in over my head? I Almost quit.
But I remembered my promise.
I WOULD GO PRO.
Luckily, I had some great coaches at Auburn who really knew the fundamentals of baseball. They taught me that there is an art and science to baseball and that only those who dedicate themselves to mastering that art and science can succeed at the highest levels…No matter how talented or hard-working you are.
And I also came to understand the mental part of baseball. Deep inside, despite my promise to go pro, there was a doubter in me. I realized I had been playing a little timid, a little tentative. I was playing small.
Then one day, after air mailing a ball into the stadium during a game because I was so scared to over throw it away, a light exploded in my head like a flashbulb.
“I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m aggressive. I’m in charge. I can dominate. I can win every time. I can beat every batter.”
With this new attitude, in my senior year, I blew the lid off. I was suddenly one of the top pitchers in college baseball, near the top in innings pitched, ERA, and strikeouts. I was named First Team All-SEC and All-American.
That’s how important the mental game is to baseball success.
Winning awards is great. But the biggest thrill of my life came on draft day. I rushed home to Florida from Auburn as fast as I could that day, and five minutes after walking in my front door, the news blasted from the family radio.
John Madden, eighth-round pick, San Diego Padres.
We celebrated big-time at the diner, where my mother worked as a waitress. I was a local hero.
Unbelievable! I was really on the way to my life-long dream. Big Leagues, here I come. Or, so I thought.
Man, if the coaches at Auburn were good, the minor league coaches for the Padres were OFF THE CHARTS. All the stuff they knew. I absorbed their lessons and parlayed my knowledge into a “best pitcher” award in 2006. My velocity peaked at 96 MPH. (Real gas back then) I had the top-rated sinker and slider in the Padres organization.
Seemed like my dreams were on track
But then came the time of troubles.
A sore back wrecked my 2007 season, and I never really felt like I found my groove in 2008 either. But someone in the Mets organization liked me. They snatched me from the Padres in the AAA Rule 5 draft, and there I was in Spring Training, star-struck, pitching to the big leaguers, (even if the games didn’t count).
But back in AA later that year, I struggled. My velocity was down into the seventies, and I was getting bombed. It was because of my shoulder. It was killing me. But big man that I am, I determined I would just muscle my way through it.
And that, my friends, ended my career. My shoulder required surgery, and I’ve never pitched again.
You can’t imagine the desolation of having your life-long dream of being a major league pitcher so close at hand and then have that dream so suddenly snatched away. Cruel chance stole everything I had ever lived and worked for. What would I do now?
But was it really just cruel chance? Do arms and backs have to go out when you’re still so young? Despite all the great coaching I got through the years, could there have been some way to improve my pitching mechanics that would have saved my career?
That’s when I really began to study the art and science of baseball. I couldn’t salvage my dream, but I hoped and prayed that maybe I could help dedicated young athletes achieve theirs. If only they learned to couple their natural talent with the art and science of baseball.
Teaching this is my new passion.
You see, being a “natural” isn’t enough anymore. Young baseball players need the most comprehensive, up-to-date training too, and the sooner they develop the right habits, the better.
That’s what you get from my YouGoProBaseball program; the best practices of modern baseball art and science. To ensure peak performance and career longevity, even for kids who seem to be struggling. Especially for them. Like I always say: “Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.”
But don’t think we’re going to kill your son’s joy in baseball with endless, mind-numbing drills and exercises. We don’t micro-manage, because we know your son must find his own right way. Our program is both fun and effective. It has to be both, or it will be neither.
You see, if the program isn’t fun, the kids won’t do it. And if it doesn’t reward them with the sweet taste of success, it won’t be fun.
Because there’s nothing more fun than pulverizing a baseball.
Because there’s nothing more fun than getting “mugged” by your teammates after your walk-off gapper.
Because there’s nothing more fun than watching the stunned, sullen face of the opposing batter watch your blazing fastball put the ouch in the ole catcher’s mitt.
Or killing a rally with a perfect 6-4-3 double play, or grabbing a stolen base as your foot touches the bag just under the shortstop’s tag.
Your son may be a natural, but that’s just not enough anymore. Today, he has to play the game right, in all it’s phases, and the YouGoProBaseball Program teaches him how. And that’s the most fun way to play.
Because it’s how to win.
If success at the highest levels of baseball is YOUR dream, YouGoProBaseball is the place to be. To learn the secrets of success, check out my cutting-edge training programs HERE.
You wanna win. We can show you how.
You Go Pro Baseball.
Name: John Madden
Hometown: Poinciana FL
High School: Poinciana HS
Junior College: Seminole Community College
4 Year College: Auburn University
Draft Status: 8th Round Pick – San Diego Padres
Years Pro Experience: 6
Awards and Achievements: Co-MVP (2001 PHS). Outstanding Pitcher Award (2001 HS), 1st Team All Conference (99,00,01). World Series Appearance (2003 SCC), 1st Team All Conference (2003 SCC) 1st Team All SEC (2005 AU), Nominee – Roger Clemens Pitcher of the Year (2005 AU), Nominee – Stopper of the Year (2005 AU), 3rd Team All American (2005 AU), Pitcher of the Year (2006 Minors FWW), Triple A Rule 5 Draft (2008 New York Mets).
Philosophy: If you want to be a professional you have to act like one. That means work out like one, play like one, think like one, BE ONE! If you put in the work and have the right attitude you’ll be able to play baseball for a long time. Never Give Up!