By: Tim Markison
I love sports, especially baseball. As a kid, all I did was play sports: Baseball in the spring and summer, football in the fall, and basketball in the winter. My childhood dream was to be a professional baseball player. My dream didn’t come true, but it led me to college and into an engineering and patent law career.
While my dream died, my love of playing baseball did not. From the early-90’s to the mid-2,000’s, I played in a variety of adult baseball leagues. In 2005, my wife and I moved to Maui (that’s another story) and we lived there for five years. During which time, I enjoyed the activities of island life and didn’t play baseball.
In 2010, we moved from Maui to Mesa, AZ. The move reinvigorated my passion for playing baseball and, for my 49th birthday, my wife enrolled me in Pro Ball Camp (www.Pro-Ball.com), which is a 4-day clinic taught by major league coaches. This is not a fantasy camp; it’s 4 days of instructions, drills, and coaching tips on how to play baseball better. I wish I would have attended when I was 16 and not at 49. But, oh well. As the saying goes, if “if” and “buts” were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.
During pitching drills, one of the coaches had a drill to improve the stance and drive. The drill put a rosin bag under the outside of the foot of the drive leg and another under the heel to shift the knee inward. In this position, if you drew a line from the ankle to the groin, the knee would be on the inside of this line. The coach created this drill by talking to and studying hall of fame players and hall of fame caliber players about their lower halves. What the coach discovered is that all of these players had incredibly balanced, powerful, and efficient lower half with their knee inside the ankle to groin line.
Even at the major league level, this was not a natural position for most players. Hence, the drill. As with any drill, converting its desired effect into muscle memory takes a long time.
During the camp, word spread that I was a patent attorney and I became known as the “idea guy”. Since I was the “idea guy”, the coach asked, half-jokingly, whether the rosin bag idea could be incorporated into a shoe. I thought for a few minutes, mentally figuring out how that might be done and said, “yes, I think so”. A few months later, Athalonz was born.