Home: Palatka, Florida
High School: Palatka High School 1997
Baseball America Top 100 Prospects 1997
Drafted: New York Yankees 1997
Played A and AA Florida State League: Led League in Saves 2002
Selected to play Florida State League All Star Game 2002
St. Louis Cardinals 2003
Current Residence: Headland, Alabama
Baseball has been my calling from a very early age. Now at age 31, I can draw from my experiences in the game as an amateur athlete as well as from the perspective of a professional player. The knowledge and experience
I gained from every stage of my life in baseball is what enables me to instruct in a way that is flexible and applicable to each individual pitcher's age, ability and experience.
It is my belief that baseball is a strategic, intense, physical and mental game. Not many can relate to the emotional roller coaster ride of the game of baseball - especially that of the pitcher. Much of it is about self-control, self-assessment and self-esteem. Being able to look inside - gut checking yourself, staying aggressive and in control while keeping your team in a position to win even when things aren't going your way... that's a pitcher!
The physical components are not to be overlooked, in fact, they are essential. Without the foundation of proper mechanics the pitching performance will be unstable and unpredictable (physical fatigue = mental fatigue). It is my goal that each play have a consistent, strong delivery (consistency over the rubber = consistency over the plate). When proper mechanics are taught and muscle memory takes over, a pitcher
can then self-assess and make game speed adjustments.
Another important skill in pitching is knowing the when and the how. Every young pitcher wants to know how to throw a dirty hammer (aka - curveball) or a devastating change-up, but knowing when and how is the key. Through my instruction, pitchers will learn basic and complex pitches at the appropriate age and stage of the training process. The goal is for the pitcher to have the right tools to use in the moment and to recognize when that moment is at hand. Again, this all goes back to the intellectual and mental aspects of the complex game of baseball.
It is my passion and my commitment to teach young pitchers to know and master the game by building self-control, self-assessment, and self-esteem, in addition to teaching the physical necessities for success, I am confident that my pitchers will grow and mature in ways that set them apart from the rest!
Mike Knowles was born and raised in Palatka, Florida. As a player/pitcher for his high school team, the Palatka Panthers, Mike set a still standing record of 18 strikeouts in a game. In 1996 Mike was invited to and participated in the Junior Olympic Trials in Joplin, Missouri. He made All-District and All-Conference in 1997, and after graduation that year Mike was named one of Baseball America's Top 100 prospects. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the MLB amateur draft and signed a full ride scholarship to the University of Georgia.
As an eager young fireballer, Mike began playing in the Yankee's organization as a Rookie in the Gulf Coast League in 1997. In his 7 season career journey with the Yankees, Mike played A and AA ball in the Gulf Coast, New York-Penn, South Atlantic, Florida State and Eastern Leagues. While Mike had success as a starter, he found his niche as a game closer with a fastball that touched 97mph and a hard slider. Leading the league with 18 saves at the break, Mike was selected to play in the 2002 Florida State League All-Star Game. After "a cup of coffee" in Major League Spring Training in 2003, Mike left his Yankee family and went to play in the Midwest League for the St. Louis Cardinals. After much deliberation and soul searching, Mike decided to leave pro ball to begin a new journey.
Mike married his wife Nikki in the fall of 2003 and moved to Cumming , Georgia where he found his true calling as a coach and mentor, training and developing the talent of young pitchers. After relocating to Kansas in 2005 and 2 babies (Natalie and Casey) later, Mike has continued coaching, training, and instructing athletes of all ages. What he enjoys most is watching the achievements and success of all the young athletes he works with. Mike's long term goal is to use his knowledge and experience in baseball to be a positive role model and an effective instructor; teaching, training, motivating and encouraging young athletes that love the game of baseball.
Carol: My son, Stone, has been taking pitching lessons from Mike Knowles for a little over a month. As a parent, I am extremely pleased with not only the quality of the lessons, but with the way Mike communicates with Stone. He seemed to have an immediate rapport with Stone even from the beginning of the first lesson. Mike is even-tempered and calm at all times. He is extremely positive and encouraging in the way he corrects Stone's mistakes and works with him to change bad habits.
As for the quality of the lessons, Stone learns new techniques during every lesson. Mike's knowledge of pitching is very obvious as he instructs the kids. Lessons are never just practice sessions. Mike is actively involved with instructing and giving feedback at all times throughout every lesson. Stone is eager to go to pitching lessons each week, and he leaves motivated and excited about what he has learned.
Missy: Mike Knowles has been the best fit for my son, Merek. Under Mike¹s pitching direction Merek has grown and developed by leaps and bounds. Mike has taught him both baseball and life skills on and off the field. Mike truly cares about the kids he coaches and their futures. Merek was one of only 120 players selected from kids all across the country to participate in the 2010 USSSA All-American Games, he will also be a starting pitcher on his High School Varsity team as a freshman. These accomplishments are largely due to the instruction he has received from Mike. He is always working hard researching ways to help his students to becomebetter pitchers. Mike is not only my son¹s pitching coach but has proven to be a great mentor for him as well. I can always trust Mike to tell the truth. Mike¹s professional baseball experience is an added benefit to any young pitcher. Mike¹s instruction can take a pitcher that has drive, dedication, heart and a strong work ethic a long way.
Frank: The pitching instruction my 2 boys received from Mike Knowles was truly outstanding. My boys greatly improved all phases of pitching under Mike, including: delivery techniques to gain more consistent command and enhance velocity; learned new grips to make the break on their offspeed pitches more crisp; and developing strategic thinking for various situations on the mound.
Mike is energetic and communicates very well with my 14 and 18 year olds. He often speaks in analogies that really drive home his points and are easy for kids to understand and remember. Mike has the unique ability to push the boys hard to improve, but does so in a way the boys feel is fun and enjoyable.
Prior to his departure, I believe Mike was the best pitching coach in Kansas City. Kansas City's loss is Alabama's gain.