On August 29th, 2015 Liam Norris, an assuming 6’1”, 175 pound 14 year old, walked into the K-Zone Academy for an evaluation in order to begin our remote training program. His father, James Norris, had driven him in from Virginia some 3.5 hours away. We ran him through a battery of tests and showed him several drills and exercises he would be doing remotely. Liam is a good size (6’1”, 175lb) for his age and is a lefty thrower, lefty hitter to boot.
Below are his baseline numbers and hitting charts from his first couple of visits with us. (HitTrax system) Key statistics are highlighted.
All in all, not bad performance for someone entering the 8th grade. Liam’s goals at the time were to be like Clayton Kershaw (what lefty doesn’t), throw 84-85mph of the bump, hit the ball 90mph/350ft, be more aggressive at the plate and improve his command.
Those are some goals. So, we put together a plan and got to work.
Liam did most of the work at home with the help of his Dad. He trained 5-6 days a week and visited once a month sometimes more. It was challenging for Liam to stick to the training schedule and keep up on his school work, etc.
The visits to the K-Zone energized him each time. Competing against the high school and college athletes here drove him to improve and he developed some strong friendships in the process.
After 5 months of hard work Liam had reached some of his hitting goals.
91.5mph exit speed and 364ft. He was definitely more aggressive and was striking out far less. If you look closely at his early spray chart above, you will notice that he was hitting a lot of baseballs to the opposite field but there was nothing behind them. James liked to refer to his hitting style/profile as “Jeter” in reference to Derek Jeter’s inside/out approach to take the ball the other way. But at this time Liam was pulling the ball with authority. He was making significant progress on the throwing side too; increasing his pull-down to 89.7mph and feeling much stronger/healthier to boot.
By the time Liam’s season was ready to begin in the spring, he was ready to show off his newly developed skills. Unfortunately, his at bats were limited and pitched only 4 innings the entire season. Needless to say he was frustrated.
Being Liam, this fueled him to return to his training with a vengeance.
Liam and his family moved to the Raleigh area at the end of the school year and began to train full-time at the K-Zone. HE THRIVED!
Liam stopped doing specific velocity training in season (orange line) but continued to train in season. As a result, when he joined us in June he broke the 90mph barrier for the first time! His current record is 93.5mph; a 10+mph gain in a year.
Below is his velocity development to date from the beginning of his training.
This fall, Liam took his new skill set to the field entering a PG Showcase event and his life hasn’t been the same since.
He did so well at that event, he was invited to participate in a game with the top Forty 14 year olds in the country. His fastball now tops out at 87mph. He is ranked #5 in the country for the 2020 graduating class. The top collegiate programs are recruiting him aggressively. All this despite not being “good enough” to garner more than 4 innings of work for his HS JV team.
Liam is a great example of how important developing your skills and abilities through training is.
He didn’t play a bunch of games this year or attend several showcase tournaments or take weekly one on one lessons. He trained hard nearly every day for over a year and has turned himself into a top notch ball player.
So, when you see Liam out on the baseball diamond know that you are looking at someone who has worked very hard to be this good; he didn’t just wake up great.
Liam blasting a 387ft HR at 98.8mph