DZ is very proud to announce the induction of our own Nick Giordano into the Hamden High School Athletic Hall of Fame! Many of you know Nick Giordano as the pitching coach for DiamondZone, but may be unaware of his own achievements on the mound. Nick was a starting Varsity pitcher his sophomore, junior and senior years. His High School career statistics leave no doubt that his induction is an honor well deserved:
1979 – 1982
In addition to these outstanding numbers, Giordano was selected for the All-District Team after both his sophomore and junior seasons. He was a pre-season All-State Selection prior to his senior year. After pitching 3 games his senior year, Giordano experienced a pitcher’s worst fear: a torn rotator cuff. Unable to pitch again, he had to let go of his dream to play major college baseball. Over time, Nick made peace with the loss. “I’ve long since reconciled it. If it had gone differently, I might not have my wife and kids. And I can’t imagine not being a coach.”
Nick has dedicated much of his adult life to teaching young pitchers. He coached in Hamden Fathers Baseball/Softball League for 15 years, and is about to enter his 8th season as the pitching coach for the Hamden High School Green Dragons. Here at DiamondZone, he wears two caps: one as Controller and one as the pitching instructor.
Giordano’s approach to pitching lessons is somewhat unique. He begins with a bullpen session on the turf, then moves to the conference room for what he calls “the intellectual component” of pitching. “Mental preparedness, mental acuity, is much more important as they get older than it is when we are teaching them the nuts and bolts of pitching. When they’re younger, it’s much more mechanical stuff. At some point, I can’t help with that anymore. And then it’s application and how you think through it.” Topics covered in these strategy sessions vary. Some examples are:
- What are the 7 things a pitcher should know as he heads to the mound?
- What percentage of pitches should be strikes?
- It’s top 7, your team is up by 1 run, and the heart of the order is coming up. What is your approach as the pitcher?
The mental aspect of the game has always appealed to Giordano, first as a player and then as a coach. “There was always something about the cat and mouse between the pitcher and the hitter that intrigued me. Being able to outsmart the guy with the weapon in his hand is what makes this game so great.” And being able to teach young pitchers just how to outsmart the batter is part of what makes this coach so great.
Perhaps one of the best testaments to Nick’s success as an instructor and mentor is the admiration and appreciation his students have for him. One young man asked to be allowed to share his experience with “Mr. G:”
“I came to DiamondZone and Mr. G after having one of my worst seasons hitting and pitching wise. I took lessons with Mr. G and not only did he help my mechanics with pitching, he taught me the more important part, knowing what to do mentally. I went into the first fall season there with very little confidence, and as the season progressed I was pitching better and smarter. The pitching gave me better overall confidence and my hitting finally came back. Each season I felt it was my best one yet. This previous season I felt I had total control on both sides of the field (hitting and pitching). Coming out of little league, I wanted to give up pitching. I loved it but just could not be successful. Without Mr. G I would not be the pitcher I am today. In fact if not for him I may not be a pitcher at all. Mr. G isn’t my coach, he’s my mentor. He taught me to pitch smarter and changed my life.”
From all star pitcher at Hamden High, to pitching coach for the Dragons and at DZ, Nick Giordano has always been passionate about the game of baseball. As he is honored for his accomplishments on the mound, Nick reflects upon the evolution of his baseball career. He could so easily feel bitterness and regret over the injured arm and the lost opportunities. But he doesn’t. Not even a little. “Coaching means very, very much to me, and has my entire life. Seeing the kids who take what I teach them, and apply it, the kids who learn to think it through – that is the best part of what I do. I love mentoring these kids, and I’ll take that to my grave.”