Why The Yard?

How The Yard came to be and the steps that led to its beginning.

Growing up I was always inside a baseball facility or at a baseball field. It didn’t matter if

it was 6am and I was getting to the gym to train or if it was 11pm and just finished playing a

triple header. I was always around baseball and that’s the way I wanted it. I loved the

comradery that my teammates and I had, always pushing each other to be better than the day before. The facilities I grew up in allowed me to have these experiences and interact with other athletes that I normally wouldn’t have gotten the chance to work with.

In high school, my teammates and I would get dropped off by our parents for individual

or team training that was supposed to last an hour, sometimes an hour and a half. By the end

of our scheduled session, we’d ignore the timer and just kept training. It was almost like we

thought that if we pretended not hear our time was up, then we could just keep going. At the time we thought it would work, but eventually our parents would come inside and pretty much drag us out. The atmosphere that I was in and had a hand in creating was addictive. My teammates and I improved as individuals through our own determination and self-goals. As a group we were growing together and that was special to be a part of.

After high school the facility environment changed. I arrived at College Park and the

Terps had their own baseball facility, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Winter break was

always my favorite time of the year at UMD. A small group of my teammates and I would head back from our respective homes in various states before anyone else would be on campus. We would be at the facility from 10am to 4pm everyday during break. We would work on every aspect of our game, while building relationships and bonds that would push us to be dissatisfied with average, or even good.

Once I got to the Minnesota Twins, I was immediately in awe of the training facilities

and all that it had to offer. From a training perspective they had everything you’d expect a

professional baseball organization to have, and some things I had never seen before like 4D

cameras, bio mechanic breakdown, and Rapsodo machines. The technology was getting better and better, and it was obvious that these tools would help players understand the “how” and “why” of their movements. The other aspect I was mesmerized with was all the different perspectives and thought patterns from the coaching staff. I had coaches that were from every corner of the world, from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Japan, Korea, Australia, and the Netherlands. They all had unique interpretations on the game, the how’s and why’s for hitting, pitching, fielding, and catching, as well as different mental approaches. I had this massive pool of information and technology at my disposal, I was like a kid in a candy store.

In high school I had the opportunity to be a high draft selection for the New York Mets. My family and I had a decision to make, attend college or begin my professional career. We ultimately decided that I wasn’t ready for the responsibilities and pressures that a professional baseball player would endure. I was upset that I didn’t get the chance to play for my hometown team and begin my professional career. My dad told me that I wasn’t ready mentally and that I had more to learn about the game and how to conduct myself from a mental standpoint. “Give yourself three years at Maryland, and we’ll be back talking about the draft, I promise”, is what my dad said to me after we officially turned down the Mets offer. From there, I went to Maryland and the rest is history.

The reason I started The Yard Baseball Academy is to create a space that combines all

the levels that I played throughout my career. A place to practice dedication and build

comradery, a place to improve performance and strengthen the mental side of the game, and to push the limits of what we think we’re capable of through technology and belief in ourselves. No matter the age or skill level, I want to help athletes become the best version of themselves. The idea that I had the talent to play professionally at 17 but didn’t have the mental make-up or maturity at the time was a tough pill to swallow. After I was drafted in 2015 and seeing what it took to play and succeed at every level the game had to offer, I decided to train and coach athletes. I want to be able to give the information, wisdom, and experience I’ve gathered over my career to aspiring ballplayers, so that when their opportunity comes, they are ready. I can’t help but think that if I had the information, understanding, and mental toughness I had at the end of my career when I was in high school, my path may have been different. With that being said, I wouldn’t change my past because it has given me this opportunity to help the next generation of ballplayers.

I am excited to accompany athletes throughout their baseball/softball careers, and I

hope to see you at The Yard!

Alex Robinson

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