On Friday November 23, Elite Baseball Training will add one of the most sought after instructors in the Midwest, Travis Kerber, to its full time staff. Kerber, who was a collegiate catcher, started pitching his senior year, thanks in part to a fastball that sat in the 90’s. Catching on with the independent Gary Railcats, Kerber flourished as he learned the craft of pitching, and helped lead the team to the 2005 and 2007 Northern League championship while also earning league all-star mention in 2006. Kerber has spent the last ten years as a private instructor and four of those as an academy director.
Elite Director Justin Stone said, “I’m excited for Travis and Elite. I watched first hand, Travis study and try to perfect his own mechanics when he was a player and he’s taken that same passion into his teaching. I’ve told people for years, he’s the best instructor in Chicago because he can teach both hitting and pitching at the highest level. His unique background as a position player and a pitcher, gives him insight to the game that few have.”
Kerber will be the head instructor for Elite Baseball Training as well as the pitching coach for the high school travel teams. He will also coordinate the youth travel team pitching program.
Stone added, “We knew 6 months ago we’d be hiring our first full time person around this time, and we had some really good candidates. We had guys that were Division 1 coaches and Minor League coaches, who would have also been great with us. But it dawned on us, that all the qualities we were looking for were already present in Travis. Travis will be able to continue the Elite philosophy of progressive training and research. He is not one that instructs a philosophy because someone said ‘it should be done that way.’ Travis is one of those guys that always asks ‘Why?’ His research using high speed video and now our 3d analysis has put him far ahead of what the industry is teaching. And that’s what we want here with Elite. I would, without hesitation, put Travis up with any pitching coach in the country, and that includes anyone in pro ball.”
Stone said he approached Kerber at the end of the summer after he had sent one of his current Elite players, Joe Uvelli, to work with Kerber. Stone said, “Uvelli’s velocity had dropped, and coach Rich Ruffolo asked who he should send Joe to in order to get him fixed.”
“Rich said to me, ‘I don’t want just anybody, I want the best.'”
“I told him, then you need to go to Northwest Indiana and see Travis Kerber.”
Uvelli’s velocity which usually sat in the mid-80’s was hovering around 80mph in late June. Kerber found the mechanical flaws in Uvelli’s delivery and quickly righted them.
Coach Ruffolo said, “…and he jumped immediately. He was 85 the next weekend, and kept going up from there.”
Uvelli saw his velocity climb to 87mph by the end of the summer and up to 89mph at the beginning of September, just two months after working with Kerber.
“That’s when I started picking Travis’ brain about what he was doing with guys and how he could help us. He started coming out with us on his own time and working with our pitchers in fall development. This is the time (the fall) where guys start losing velocity from throwing all spring and summer. Especially players this young, because they aren’t physically as strong yet. Our guys, almost to a man, added 4 or 5 mph on their ball in the fall. And they weren’t just throwing harder, it had life and there was command. I knew we had to make this permanent for players and for our organization” Stone added.
“We’re in a unique position with a lot of pitchers that are going to go on to Division 1 and pro baseball, under the Elite umbrella. I’m excited that Travis is going to be able to work with these guys on a daily basis, and I’m thrilled for our kids, that they are going to be working with someone like him.”
“College coaches started asking me this fall what we’re doing with our guys to have a pitching staff of 2015’s that have 9 guys throwing over 85 and 3 of them touched 90 in the fall. I told them about the program Travis had developed. It’s going to be good for him professionally that he is going to be able to stand on his own and grow.”
Kerber has been asked to present his throwing and conditioning program at this year’s Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association State Clinic in January.
Kerber will be instructing at Bash Sports Academy, Perfect Swing in Darien and in Northwest Indiana. To book lessons with Travis Kerber click here.