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There are tons of young baseball players out there who dream of playing professionally. Who wouldn’t want to be paid handsomely for playing a game?

But unfortunately, there are only a limited number of spots not only in the Major Leagues but also on minor league and even college rosters nationwide.

Some players out there may just be naturally gifted with baseball talent, but those who work hard at honing their craft and put their best foot forward may also have a shot to make it big.


 
That’s the mission of YouGoProBaseball.com, a website run by former professional pitcher John Madden that contains free resources and information on just about any topic related to baseball.

After a successful career as a pitcher at Auburn University, Madden was selected by the San Diego Padres in the eighth round of the 2005 MLB Draft. He pitched six years in the Padres’ and New York Mets’ minor league systems.

During his career as he dealt with some back and shoulder injuries, the idea for YouGoProBaseball.com came about.

“I got to thinking, ‘What am I going to do when baseball is over?’” said Madden, 31. “I always thought in my head that I wanted to do something and give back.”

Unlike some players out there, Madden never had a constant baseball influence in his life growing up. So he wanted to provide that route for kids who are genuinely interested in America’s pastime and willing to put in the work necessary to go pro but who maybe don’t have access to extensive training programs.

The website’s philosophy is as follows: If you want to be a professional you have to act like one. That means work out like one, play like one, think like one, BE ONE! If you put in the work and have the right attitude you’ll be able to play baseball for a long time.

Madden has compiled advice and proper training techniques on all sorts of hitting, fielding, pitching, baserunning and strength and conditioning drills. He also offers product reviews and testimony from big league players -- including Josh Donaldson, Steve Delabar, Jason Grilli and Davis Freese -- on the success of the site.

Madden’s main target age group that he trains is high school ballplayers looking to make the jump to the college game. However, he teaches lessons to younger kids and college players as well, and he even hosted Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton for a few lessons prior to his acquisition from Tampa earlier this month.

Though he was a pitcher in his career, Madden said he is just as comfortable teaching kids about hitting. As a pitcher, his job was to evaluate opposing hitters, so he began to understand the mindset of hitting, which has helped him with his lessons.

On the website, Madden includes videos showing the proper techniques for baseball drills. It’s one thing to write about how to do a drill, but actually demonstrating it really leaves an impact on a young player. He also answers questions he receives from his newsletter in the form of a video.

His home base is the Central Florida area, where baseball can be played year-round, but he welcomes questions from players from all over the country on all aspects of the game. He spends his free time constantly improving the site to increase his reach on the Internet.

Local players can schedule individual or team lessons through the website (http://www.yougoprobaseball.com), but for players outside of Florida, Madden can be contacted through e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Though all the resources he lists can certainly help a young ballplayer improve, Madden has one constant piece of advice for all his trainees.

“It’s definitely to have fun out there,” he said. “I see way too many guys that are trying too hard to impress somebody or are playing for the wrong reasons.

“But at the end of the day, it’s a game. You’re out there to have fun, to play hard, to learn and to do the best that you can. If you really want it, go out there and go get it.”