FullReps Director of Arm Care - Will Kerr Shares His Journey: A Great Read For All Youth Athletes!
Life rarely takes you to a place that you expect it to. Sitting here at my desk at FullReps it’s hard to imagine that I would ever become the Director of Arm Care of FullReps Training Facility. As a kid, I thought I was destined for the major leagues and I believed that one day I would eventually get there. I grew up locally in Camp Hill and played ball for New Cumberland little league. I made almost every all-star team growing up and I thought my dream was on its way.
I will never forget my first opportunity playing with older dudes, and not being the best player on the field. My coach at the time, Ed Young, pulled my dad aside and said that I didn’t throw hard enough to compete with the older kids. This is truly where my Journey began and the first time I started researching "ways to throw harder" (Back in the early 2000's).
As a freshmen, I got to play a few games on the JV team and the big moment was when I was called up to pitch on Varsity as a freshman. At the time, Trinity was known for having one of the worst H.S baseball teams around but with the incoming freshman I knew we would have a special team in years to come. I only got in one game on Varsity my freshman year against our rival Camp Hill. I was so pumped for the game and was ready to shove. Here’s what really happened..... I got rocked and only last 2/3 of an inning. My velo sucked and after the game my arm didn’t feel right. Long story short, I ended up suffering a shoulder sprain that required me to be sidelined for the rest of the season.
I hit the point in my life where I knew I wasn’t the best player on the team anymore. I told my dad I wanted to get better and throw harder. At the time, I was throwing in the mid to upper 70’s but had pain trying to throw as hard as I could. In 2007, there weren’t many options for players looking to develop velocity. My dad had seen an advertisement on a baseball website called webball, that mentioned a place that could develop pitchers and have them throw harder and stay healthy. The place was making promises to gain Velo. This place ended up being the Texas Baseball Ranch. After doing more research this place seemed to good to be true but I had no other options as I knew what I wanted and nothing was going to stop me. I had to get out to the ranch!
During those three days, I learned more about baseball than I have my whole life. It was the first time I learned about Arm Care and how much preparation it takes to get ready for a game.
My sophomore year of high school, I made up my mind and decided to focus strictly on baseball. I trained my ass of that year and
I remember going into my Sophomore year with such confidence. I knew I was going to be on the Varsity team. Tryouts came and I remember the coaches breaking out the radars for bullpens. My first pitch came out at 85MPH! The pitching coach looked like he was about to have a heart attack, like "how did this kid gain 10 MPH in an off-season". In that moment, it felt like I was on top of the world and nothing could stop me. I made the Varsity team but again, things didn’t go the way I wanted. I sat the bench the first few games of the year and actually started in the outfield for a few games. About 7 games into the year I got my chance to play full-time at shortstop. I didn’t get my chance to shine on the mound but I ended up being a Mid-Penn Honorable Mention as a hitter.
The rest of my high school years weren’t filled with as much adversity. My junior year, we went further than any baseball team in Trinity history, falling one game short of states. My senior year, we complied the highest winning percentage in Trinity history going 17-3. I had success at the plate and on the mound but I found myself struggling to find any division-1 offers. It was hard to look myself in the mirror and admit that I wasn’t a division-1 athlete but I still had a chance to compete at the next level.
COLLEGE LIFE - Cal U of PA.
Life is full of change and going from high school to college was a huge change. I remember our first scrimmage playing guys 5 years older than me and getting absolutely tattooed. That fall, there was a lot of humbling moments as a baseball player. I will never forget going into Coaches office as a Freshman and him telling me that I would be redshirted. At that moment I knew I was back at ground zero. The entire year prior, I spent practicing and lifting non-stop but it didn't matter because I knew that I wasn’t good enough to compete and I needed to get better.
My sophomore year of college felt a lot like my sophomore year of high school. I had prepared all year to get ready for this moment. Fall scrimmages were set and this year I was ready. I competed my ass off in the fall, got outs and deservedly made the team. However, the spring rolled around and there were no accolades or much playing time.
Every athlete experiences that "enough is enough moment” and for me, not playing was that enough is enough moment. Thats summer, I trained my ass off again along side Division 1 athletes and guys who were so much better than me. It pushed me to work even harder. My baseball life changed that summer because I realized how far away I was from my childhood dream of playing college ball but there was still hope because I had a PLAN!
My junior year came around and I was so determined to blow my coaches away. I had regained my confidence and I was in the best throwing shape of my life. In the fall, I performed the best I ever have. I was being used all the time and getting outs consistently. I had a process and the arm felt great. But now, the one thing that my coaches didn’t like was my training. I would arrive every day with my Arm Care tools, and they would look at me and say “Will, what the hell are you doing? You need to be sticking with the training we give you.” I didn’t understand why they didn’t allow me to do my training. I was getting outs, throwing hard, and throwing strikes. All my confidence was taken away when I couldn’t warm-up the way I wanted to. It was a hard adjustment and one I didn’t take too well but I did what I had to do to fit in and be part of the team.
At the end of the fall, I was throwing in a game and felt my forearm tighten up. It was pretty intense pain but I continued to throw. After the fall season I got some images and it turned out I had a grade 1 UCL sprain which put me on the DL for 4 months. I was so disappointed and blamed my coaches for not allowing me to keep my routine. In reality, I should have taken my arm health in my own hands. If there was something I wish I would have done differently , it would have been to continue my Arm Care and deal with the consequences from my coaches.
LIFE AFTER BASEBALL
I graduated from Cal U and my focus shifted to finding a school that I could obtain a Master’s degree from. I ended up at Eastern Kentucky where I interned in the athletic department. This provided me with some real insights into what it took to work in an athletic department.
With my Master’s in hand I was again ready to take on the world, but what was I going to do?
The saying in insurance is no one ever dreams of being an insurance agent when they were younger, and I can tell you that is 100% true. I stumbled into this job mostly because it paid a lot better than previous jobs. But I soon realized that it wasn't about the money. I was at Ritter for about a year and things were great but I knew something was missing. I had so much time on my hands and I missed playing baseball. Time went on and nothing really happened, until one day in December.
I will never forget looking at an Instagram post and saying to myself "this might just be my way to get back into baseball". I took the chance and reached out to see if the instructor position was still open. To my surprise it still was and I was directed to get in touch with the a guy named Swanny.
I remember picturing Scott as a middle-aged man being really professional running this place like a machine. To my surprise, when I first met Scott he was slightly older than me, and definitely not in business attire. I came to the interview in a polo shirt and khakis, totally overdressed for the position. Our interview was brief and he told me as long as I am willing to learn, I could come in as much as I want and start shadowing the staff. It was the opportunity I was waiting on and I jumped at the chance to soak in as much information as I could.
After a few months of spending my every night at the facility learning, Swanny had asked me If I wanted to get more involved and assist him in running a player development arm care program. It had been so long since I’ve done any type of Arm Care Programming, but I was chomping at the bit to get back into something I believed in and knew so much about. With the help and guidance of Swanny and a few others, I started to remember a lot of the training and processes. However, I had a lot of catching up to do as a lot had changed in the 4 years since I had last gone to the ranch.
That summer Arm Care program for me was a lot of learning. It is so much different being the instructor vs the trainee. There were a lot of times I had to lean on Scott for help, but eventually my confidence began to rise as I started learning more and more and building career capital. The summer had come and gone and Scott came to me with another opportunity. This time we were going to do something that no other program is the country was doing....We were going to start a 6-month arm care program that runs 5 days a week. My first thought was "wow this is awesome, we are doing something that no one else in the country is doing". My second thoughts were "Wow how am I going to do this while I have another job?, who the hell is going to commit to training 5x a week for 6 months? and how am I actually going to make money doing this?"
After our 6-month program was over, Scott approached me yet again with the idea of leaving my other job and being the full-time Director of Arm Care. It was a big decision, although this is something that I wanted to do, it was a huge risk. My other job paid me more and provided me with benefits that Scott was not able to offer at the time. I wondered what would I do all day if I worked at FullReps? How would I make up the income difference? What happens if things don’t turn out? There were so many thoughts of doubt that crept into my head, and it took me a long time to come to a decision.
In April, I decided that I would make a career change and spend my entire day focused on getting athletes better. Since being hired a year ago, I have learned so much. I have learned that running a successful businesses has nothing to do with it's product and everything to do with its people! Ive learned that you need to surround yourself with like minded individuals If you truly want to achieve your goals. I’ve learned that you need to treat people equal. I’ve learned that there are no shortcuts to success. Most importantly, I’ve learned that life can be messy at times and if you want to make a change and achieve your own version of success you must keep chasing your dreams life and be honest with yourself!
My journey has taken me to places I would have never expected and allowed me to meet people I never thought I'd meet. Running the player development side and managing the day to day of a company that is rapidly growing is harder than I could of ever imagined but I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
Today, we are considered the top player development training facility in the Northeast as we continue to strive towards greatness and crack into player development team consulting at both the collegiate and professional level. J
Just remember one thing.... You don’t need to be a super athlete to join our program, you just need have that burning desire and willingness to learn. As the Director of Arm Care Development, I take personal responsibility in the growth and development of every athlete that walks through our doors. Through my own personal failures and success, I vow to make this the best learning environment for all athletes. Know that my dream to be a major leaguer is over but I will do everything in my power to keep your son’s dream going as long as possible.
I wanted to share my story so athletes can learn a thing or two and avoid a few of the same mistakes I made. Just know that some things that might appear to be different will not always be accepted by people. The game of baseball is funny as it progresses in so many ways but sometimes coaches get so stuck in deep roots and are convinced by their own rightness .To be a major leaguer or college athlete takes a lot of work, and sometimes even when you put in the hard work, things won’t go your way. You need to be resilient and be comfortable in your own skin to succeed in this game.
Thank you all again for the continued loyalty and support and good luck to all of our FullReps athletes this spring!
And be sure to stay tuned for our latest breakthroughs in the player development department at the local collegiate level this summer!
Will Kerr // GM, Director of Arm Care
FullReps Training Center
2015 State Road, Camp Hill PA, 17011