Tigers get help from from professional baseball player

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tyler Wilson uses his experiences as a former player to help teach the Tigers.

Tyler Wilson uses his experiences as a former player to help teach the Tigers.

Tyler Wilson has a lot of experience in baseball and now he’s using those experiences and his talent to help a younger generation.


Wilson, a 2004 graduate of Andalusia High School, pitched a little more than six years at the minor league level with Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox.


Wilson was selected in the 2004 amateur baseball draft by the Atlanta Braves. Now, he’s helping coach the Straughn Tigers.


“I always knew that even if I made it the big leagues that it wouldn’t last forever,” Wilson said. “And I knew there was a chance that I could be a coach one day. I made a conscious effort to learn everything about the game I could.”


Wilson said that during his time with the Braves he learned a lot from different players and coaches.


“I would listen to Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman have conversations about hitting,” Wilson said. “Even though I wouldn’t be facing either of them, it was valuable information on how future Hall-of-Famers approach each at-bat. I would listen to all the coaches even when it didn’t have anything to do with me as a pitcher.”


LBW head coach Steve Helms is one coach that Wilson credits for helping him become the player he was, as well as the type of coach that he is now.


“Being around Helms since I was in the ninth grade really helped me out,” Wilson said. “I would say my higher level of baseball started with Helms. The details and the in-depth look at the game that he showed me helped to lay the foundation of my career. The Lord blessed me with ability and the opportunity to be around and learn from Helms.”


Playing against the game is Wilson’s coaching philosophy, and he says it works the same at every level of the game.


“You approach each situation differently,” Wilson said. “You have to play against the game, and not the opponent. It doesn’t matter if you are playing against the Atlanta Braves or just a Little League team you still play the game from situation to situation. At the plate or on the mound you have to understand each situation, and what is best for your team. If you play right and respect the game good things will happen.”


When Wilson pitched he said he never went in to any situation with a predetermined strategy.


“As a pitcher, I was always looking to get a first pitch strike,” Wilson said. “And then after that I would let the batter dictate what pitch I would throw next depending on how he swung or reacted to the previous pitch.”


Getting a chance to help coach high school baseball has been a blessing, Wilson said.


“The knowledge that the Lord has allowed me to gain is something that I just wanted to be able to pass on,” Wilson said. “I know how long it took me to get over mechanical problems when I started pitching at high levels, and I want to use my knowledge to help these kids try to avoid those types of issues. If I can start a good foundation with them here then they might not have those problems as the next level.”


Baseball isn’t the only thing that Wilson is teaching the players at Straughn.


“I understand what these kids face each day,” Wilson said. “I’ve been there before. I know the temptations that were put in front me, and I try to use that let them know about the kinds of things they might be confronted with. I love every one of those kids, and I would do anything for them.”


There is more to coaching than just wins and loses, Wilson said.


“The other night one of our pitchers had tears in his eyes after pitching his tail off for us that game,” Wilson said. “Seeing that emotion on his face, and knowing that he gave it his all and left it all on the field, that is what coaching is all about, that moment.


Wilson, along with Straughn head coach Jim Bedsole, have helped led the Tigers to a berth in the AHSAA class 4A state playoffs.


“We are excited about the chance to play in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “We have Headland next week, and we will be playing for a chance to host in the first round of the playoffs.”