Buck Fastpitch Owner/Pitching Instructor
Buck Fastpitch Owner/Pitching Instructor
My name is Tina Buck-Harth, a former college NCAA Division II college pitcher at the University of Illinois-Springfield, and pitching instructor for the last 8 years. I have adopted a pitching philosophy that builds on that of my lifelong coach/mentor and Midwest legend, Jim Greiner. In my lessons I preach the importance of velocity+good mechanics+ balance= consistency. I often find many coaches make accuracy the sole focus, while forgetting that velocity and good mechanics are the keys to achieving consistency and success on the mound.
Throughout my softball career I have witnessed dozens of pitchers who dominated at 10U and 12U because they could throw strikes, but after 12U, the girls who worked on developing arm speed and good mechanics quickly surpassed them. As a young pitcher, Coach Greiner instilled in me the competitive drive to pitch aggressively, rather than defensively. That drive is what challenged me to throw harder and attack hitters, rather than slowing down “hoping to throw strikes.” Although it can be frustrating for parents and coaches to see their child struggle on the mound especially at 10U and 12U, the thing to remember is that if your pitcher is working on developing arm speed and good mechanics, the muscle memory will kick in over time and she will see significant progress and success in the prime years of her career.
The drills and mechanics I continue to enforce with my students are meant to prepare them for the competition that awaits them at the high school and college level. I look for students who have the athletic ability and mental drive to pitch at the competitive level. My only requirements in lessons are: focus, positive attitude and 110% effort. I consistently reinforce that these are the only three things you can control in this game! I currently have over 100 pitching students across Central Illinois, and hope to continue reaching even more by offering new training opportunities at the Academy. I aim to give every aspiring softball and baseball player the opportunity to improve their skills and take their game to the next level. I hope to continue passing on my love for the game and developing not only good ballplayers, but even better people.
Contact Tina to schedule a pitching lesson by calling or texting her directly at (314) 225-6826.
BASE Foundation Founder & Instructor/ Softball & Baseball Guest Instructor
Coaching Experience (1997-2016)
1994 – 1997 – Coached school and parish sports teams in Springfield, IL and St. Louis, MO (Volleyball, Basketball, Baseball, Softball) and developed a great passion for teaching both fundamental skills and life lessons to young athletes.
1997 – 2008 – Head coach of numerous select softball teams (11 years). Coached in several powerhouse programs with elite high school players from across the St. Louis bi-state region. Older divisions (14-18) for the St. Louis Legion of Doom and St. Louis Energy. Won 23 tournament titles from 2005-2008, and had 11 of the 12 girls from the St. Louis Energy team in 2008, sign National Letters of Intent to play college softball (2 NCAA Division I, 6 Division II and 2 Division III and 1 NAIA). Placed 5thin the Nation in NSA Gold Division in 2006, and 7th in the Nation in ASA in 2007.
2006 – 2014 – Established a new baseball club in 2006 through the St. Louis Baseball and Softball Academy, the St. Louis Captains. Hosted and held multiple baseball clinics and camps for ages 12 to 18. Joined forces with TJ Matthews (former Cardinals pitcher) and Lance Schuermann (pitcher in Texas Rangers organization) in 2012 to lead the 16U National touring team for the St. Louis Naturals. Coached in Naturals organization for 3 years, having 10 of the 15 players sign national letters of intent to play college baseball.
Organization and Player Development –
2004 – 2014 – President and Founder of the BASE Foundation
Established a Missouri-based non-profit organization, Baseball And Softball Educational Foundation established with the sole intent to bring back the integrity of game, establish core life-lessons around the game, create a teaching platform for coaches and parents to build character and integrity in ballplayers.
A comprehensive 24 page, interactive curriculum was created and taught to more than 400 ballplayers from 13 Clubs and 11 High Schools. The classroom format coursework is interactive and built around four core pillars of player and team development. (Teamwork, Leadership, Respect and Emotional Control). Coaches and players alike said the training and educational series transformed how they approached the game on multiple levels (both on and off the field). The BASE Foundation principles bring tangible, relatable, and “real-life” examples of how players conduct themselves, interactive with teammates, and recognize the opportunities they have to give back to the game that has given them so much enjoyment.
*Dan is a guest clinic and BASE instructor and is not available for private lessons.
My name is Mallory Beck and I am a 2010 graduate of Sacred Heart Griffin High School. At SHG, I was a devoted three-sport athlete, participating in basketball, softball, and volleyball. I was fortunate enough to receive a dual scholarship to continue my athletic career in both basketball and softball at the University of Illinois Springfield, where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry.
During my time as a student athlete, I feel that I learned a lot not only about the game, but also about myself. During my recruiting process, one of my former coaches told me that student-athletes are high caliber people who will go far in life. She was right. My four years as a college athlete taught me that you must be devoted and truly care about not only succeeding on the court or field, but also succeeding in the classroom. Both of these commitments require responsibility, time management, organization, leadership, mental and physical toughness, and accountability.
My goal for these instructional sessions is to pack as much instruction and hands-on technique into our time together. I have the ability to pass on my collegiate knowledge and experience as a softball player. I am willing to work on any aspect of your daughter’s game, while fostering a positive relationship with them and creating a healthy environment for personal athletic growth.
Hitting and fielding, along with other aspects of the game, is not only a physical game but a mental game as well. The mental side of the game, specifically positive self-talk and visualization, will be included in these sessions. I believe that negative thoughts keep you from performing to the best of your ability. The difference between a good player and a great player is in the controllables- attitude, effort and mindset.
I also am a firm believer that practice doesn’t end when our time together is up. I will analyze areas in which I believe your daughter can improve, and I will challenge each girl to work to develop their game outside of our sessions. I am extremely excited to transition from player to coach, and I will invest the same effort I gave as a player into each and every session.
I believe the Buck Fastpitch Academy is an absolutely tremendous addition to the Springfield community and I am excited to be a part of this! Let’s get things rolling!
Contact Mallory to schedule a hitting lesson by calling or texting her directly at (217) 341-9722.
Hitting & Defense Instructor/Left-Handed Slapping Specialist
My name is Sarah Gray and I was a 2009 graduate from Eisenhower High School in Decatur, IL. I was a three sport athlete (volleyball, basketball, and softball) in high school with a primary focus on softball. I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to play softball for Parkland College in Champaign, IL. My softball career continued with a scholarship to the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). Unfortunately, during my senior year I sustained an injury that would end my collegiate career.
To be successful in softball I believe it essential that girls develop a variety of tools to make them more dangerous while at the plate. I switched to batting on the left side around 9 years old. By developing the different tools of bunting, slapping, and or swinging away keeps the defense honest and allows you decide how you want to play them. As noted below you can see some of the things I was able to accomplish as a leadoff hitter at both colleges.
The career ending injury has given me the passion to ensure that these young girls including my teammates at the time never take a game for granted and give 100% every time. We never know when it could be our last game. I look forward to helping develop the tools to help them play to their full potential.
Contact Sarah to schedule a hitting lesson by calling or texting her directly at (217) 413-1748.
My name is Samantha Riss and I am a former Division II college catcher at the University of Illinois Springfield. My love for softball started at the very young age of four years old when I started playing t-ball. My passion for the game grew more with age and became my focus when I started high school. I was a three sport athlete for the first two years of high school and finished my high school career as a two sport athlete. Throughout my high school career I remained focus on my academics as well as my athletics. I graduated as member of the All-Academic team and National Honors Society as well as Most Valuable Player on the softball team. I began my college career at Illinois Valley Community College to continue playing softball, as well as begin my path towards my academic goals. I transferred to UIS my junior year and completed my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and finished my softball career.
My goal as a hitting/catching coach is to help athletes understand the fundamentals of hitting and catching through different drills and discussions. I also believe it is important for the players to have fun while playing the game.
I have had experience coaching t-ball, 10U and 12U competitive softball teams in the area. I am honored to be a part of the Buck Fastpitch Academy and look forward to see what the future holds.
Contact Sam to schedule a hitting or catching lesson by calling or texting her directly at (815) 674-1624.
Cheyanne Bowman graduated high school from Payson Seymour where she earned four letters in softball and two in golf. She was a three-time first team All-West Central Conference and two first team Pike County selection. She had the most RBI’s in school history and is second in the IHSA records books for strikeouts in a single season with 500 strikeouts. Cheyanne was selected as Herald Whig’s Player of the Year in 2012 and named twice to Herald Whig’s first all area team. She was also named to the All State softball team in 2012. While at the University of Illinois at Springfield Cheyanne earned second team All-West Division honors as a pitcher in her freshmen and sophomore year. As a sophomore she recorded a team best ERA at 2.22. During her freshmen and sophomore years she recorded 219 strikeouts. During her junior year at UIS she had a major surgery which made her retire from playing softball. She now wants to inspire younger girls to succeed in softball and motivate them to always work hard.
Contact Cheyanne to schedule a pitching lessons by calling or texting her directly at (217) 440-9672.
My name is Bri Graham. I am a 2015 graduate of Glenwood High School. At Glenwood I was a four-year varsity pitcher for head coach Vondel Edgar. I was a two year All-Central State Eight Conference Member as well as an All State Selection in 2014 & 2015. I was a member of three-time Conference Champion team at Glenwood High School and starting pitcher for the 2014 3A State Champions. in 2015, I won the Illinois State Journal Register Pitching MVP. I finished my softball career at Lincoln Land Community College. I look forward to passing on my pitching skills and love of the game to young pitchers who come through the Buck Fastpitch Academy.
Contact Bri to schedule a pitching lesson by calling or texting her directly at (217)-741-2429.
Baseball Hitting/Catching Instructor
My name is Kurtis Smith. My passion for baseball started at Cary-Grove High School in Cary, Illinois. I was All Area and All Conference selection as a catcher. While also in high school I played summer ball with a top Chicago travel team, the Norwood Blues.
Following high school, I was recruited to play for NCAA DI Hofstra University in New York. Unfortunately, I suffered a major back injury my sophomore year- ending my collegiate career. While I was not able to finish out my baseball career the way I envisioned, I learned so much about the mental and physical side of this game. As a coach I continue to push my athletes to achieve their highest potential, both mentally and physically. I believe every player is different and cookie cutter coaching doesn’t work. The one thing I think works for all hitters is focusing on hitting to the opposite field– which will bring you your best results.
As a baseball camp coordinator and coach at Pro Player Consultant, a training facility in McHenry, IL., I have trained with some of the best athletes across the Midwest. I hope to bring my passion for baseball and my skills set to the Buck Fastpitch Academy and help train some of the best athletes in the region.
Contact Kurtis to schedule a hitting or catching lesson by calling or texting him directly at (847) 542-1865.
Speed & Strength Training Coach/ Clinic Instructor
My name is Mike Harth and I am a long-time cross-fit competitor. I have a passion for fitness and athletic training. I work closely with my wife Tina to develop speed/strength training exercises and programs that help enhance athletes’ power, agility and strength in all areas of a player’s game.
In addition to helping design speed, strength and agility programming, Mike is also a guest clinic/camp instructor and assists with building and facility maintenance.