Joel Effertz looks like an ordinary baseball player who happens to play in the Miami Marlins Organization, while also providing lessons at STiKS Academy during the offseason. Everyone he comes into contact to with at STiKS notices his genuine enthusiasm and passion for teaching the game- even as he has spent the last two seasons recovering from shoulder problems which were followed by Tommy John surgery the following year. While the last two years haven’t been easy on him, Effertz is thankful to have a supporting cast that has helped him through the struggle including: His family, Ed Alf with Spiderz Batting Gloves, Brooks Braga and Josh Rowles of BRX Performance, and Sean Smith/STiKS Academy.
Not many baseball players can say that they’ve been drafted three times, from high school, a division 2 junior college, and a division 3 school- while also playing at a pair of division 1 schools in the process. Effertz grew up and attended Ladysmith (WI) high school where he was drafted by the Dodgers, but went to the University of Arizona to play baseball instead. A year later he transferred to Division 2 Madison Area Technical College (MATC) and would go on to be a key member of the 2011 D2 College World Series team that wound up finishing in 3rd place. Effertz was drafted again by the White Sox but chose to transfer to the University of Virginia to continue his intercollegiate baseball career. After struggling to adjust, Effertz transferred closer to home in 2013 to attend the University of Wisconsin La Crosse- where he was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 28th round.
After transferring to UW-La Crosse, Effertz befriended Brooks Braga, who interned at Cressey Performance near Boston MA in 2014 and would graduate from UW La Crosse in 2014 with a Bachelors degree in Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in Nutrition. Braga began working with Joel Effertz in 2012 and officially co-found BRX Performance in 2015.
Braga remembers the day he first trained with Joel at UW-L, noting that Effertz could back squat 400lbs five times on two legs, yet couldn’t do 60 lbs on a single leg squat. Additionally, Effertz experienced extreme and unnatural drops in his fastball velocity during his collegiate playing days, often dropping 8-12mph in the span of a few innings. Braga and Effertz both acknowledged that this was likely due to the fact that Effertz was in-experienced with sport-specific training and was more-or –less training like a football player. When working with Effertz, Braga created a baseball-specific training program in hopes of developing the areas of the body most need in a traditional wind-up with an emphasis on arm care (which Effertz notes is very comparable to the ones offered by Major League Organizations).
While training at BRX Performance (located in Oconomowoc WI in the same building as STiKS Baseball Academy and Spiderz Batting Gloves), Effertz began coaching lessons at STiKS Baseball Academy, which allowed him to develop a new perspective on the game. Two areas in which Effertz could not understate the importance of in the game of baseball are A.) The value of effective communication in baseball at all levels- especially in coaching and B.) Developing consistent muscle memory.
After realizing past mistakes, Effertz made a commitment to himself to become more mentally and physically invested in chasing his boyhood dream of pitching in the Big Leagues. Effertz notes that one of his biggest regrets is that he didn’t care about his body, nutrition, or proper training earlier in his career, and urges any prep baseball player that aspires to play in college or beyond to begin “caring” their freshman year of high school, saying “Ask the tough questions as soon as possible. Take control of your future and find a way to make a difference on and off the baseball field.”