SWB Yankees Infielder’s Web Site Offers Free Baseball Instruction
SWB Yankees infielder Doug Bernier, the founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com
Throughout his baseball career Doug Bernier has always had great coaches. Although he has been fortunate, he realizes some kids may not enjoy the same luxury. So, in order to help ensure everyone gets the opportunity to learn how to play the game the right way he and his wife developed a free instructional website known as www.ProBaseballInsider.com.
“I have been lucky to be around great coaches and great players who know the basics very well and not everyone has that opportunity,” Bernier said. “We kind of wanted to make it so that everyone can have that opportunity and see how different guys do certain things and why they do them.”
Bernier’s instructional philosophy is to break things down to their simplest form, which basically means to analyze a large group of players and see what they have in common.
“It usually goes back to being as simple as possible,” Bernier said.” For example with hitting, you talk to 10 different people and everyone has their own philosophies.”
The one thing he stresses the most is the point of contact in the batters box. There are many different swings, but the one thing Bernier noticed is their point of contact is strikingly similar.
“When you break it down to say something as small as the contact point of where you hit the baseball, all the good hitters roughly do the same thing at contact. But how they get to it is different,” Bernier said. “Some people have open stances; some people have their hands high, or whatever but it’s where they are at contact point that matters. There are little aspects like that in hitting and fielding and even pitching where some people may look a little different than others, but they are still doing things correctly.”
Bernier received proof to his theory when he was contacted by a high school players mother. The boy’s mother asked Bernier if there were any Major League players who don’t rotate their back foot and after some research and chats with teammates, Bernier came up with more than a few guys who do just that.
“She asked if there were any big league players who hit like that. I talked to a bunch of different guys and this is when Jayson Nix was in town, so I was asking him about it and I noticed sometimes Andruw Jones would do that,” Bernier said. “He had a couple other guys who he knows doesn’t rotate as well. One of them was actually Shelly Duncan who doesn’t always rotate, and even Joey Votto. So, I got some pictures to her and she wrote back and said the high school coach didn’t even know that and it was nice because now the player and the coach have a little more of an open discussion and now he lets him hit like that.”
Although Bernier started the website, there are many players who contribute. Among these players are Juan Pierre, Matt Treanor, Adam Warren, Kevin Russo, and D.J. Mitchell just to name a few.
“Matt Treanor has helped us out and he is the backup catcher in LA. Some guys who I have played with in the past have helped me out like Erik Kratz. Brian Fridays, Kevin Russo has helped out a lot, P.J. (Pilittere) has helped out a lot and even some of our pitchers like D.J. and Warren have helped out,” Bernier said. “We are still trying to build it and keep going. Hopefully if we can get enough professionals to help out that it will make the site more credible and people can see how they go about their work and how they craft their skill”
In addition to the numerous articles, blog posts and pictures Bernier and his wife have posted, they still have big plans for the future. These plans include video, as well as the possibility of a virtual baseball lesson.
“We want to start putting on video. Articles are great, but how many people actually want to sit there and just read all the time,” Bernier said. “Sometimes people learn better and some are more visual. I know myself, I would much rather see some video than read for a while. That’s something we are going to try and do during the offseason and make it a lot easier for someone to come to the site and access it much better.”
Although the main goal is to ultimately help baseball players everywhere, Bernier feels as if all the research and time he puts into this website really makes him a better baseball player as well.
“It’s good for me, because when I talk with kids and do some teaching I learn more about my game, sometimes it’s easy to overcomplicate things,” Bernier said. “Especially on a daily basis if things aren’t going well, you are trying so hard to get out of a slump or when you’re playing well trying to figure out exactly why you are doing so well. But sometimes when you go back and teach somebody some basics it really helps me learn as a baseball player.”
Bernier admits the attitude of his current coaching staff has really sparked him to give back to the game that has given him so much.
“I think that is what’s so cool about the game. I honestly feel like they really want to help us get to that next level and just to see that commitment and the way that they treat us it makes you want to help,” Bernier said of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre staff. “We really are fortunate, obviously we want to go to that next level in the big leagues, but when you look at it we really are fortunate to be where we are at and with the knowledge we have we should go out and help other people.”