Jim Ball is the owner of the Arizona Pitching Academy. He is a National Pitching Association (NPA) certified instructor who works with pitchers throughout the valley. The focus of the programs developed at the Arizona Pitching Academy emphasizes proper throwing mechanics in the context of mental awareness, healthy dietary choices, and physical fitness. Jim excelled as a high school pitcher in Pennsylvania and, upon graduation, he turned down offers to play professionally choosing instead to play at the University of Minnesota. However, arm injuries cut his collegiate career short and as Jim notes, “I guess it is my own personal experience with arm trouble that makes me emphasize injury prevention. One needs to incorporate a diligent arm proofing process before, during, and after the baseball season. Too often, prevention only becomes an important regimen right after an injury!”
Jim finds that the underdeveloped arm musculature of most student-athletes puts them at more risk than they or their coaches realize. Accordingly, the primary objective of the pitching instruction Jim provides is the development of a personalized program of exercises, drills, and physical training. These efforts are integrated with on-field training and bullpen work designed to perfect a player’s throwing mechanics and pitching mental awareness. Jim also works with each player to develop abilities to throw multiple off-speed pitches (including several variations of breaking balls) with minimal risk of injury. The underlying philosophy of these programs is quite simple: “The best interest of the player is the only interest to be considered.”
Jim is currently the pitching coach at Comb High School in San Tan Valley, AZ and previously coached with the Bethlehem Red Sox a professional independent team in the Blue Mountain League. He also previously was a coach at Lehigh University, St. Bernard’s High School in St Paul, MN, and the Judson School in Arizona. In addition, to his school ball coaching responsibilities and his private lessons schedule, Jim also is an advisor and coach for several valley-area youth club baseball teams.