Behind The Code...High School Baseball Player, Shawn Semple

Name: Shawn Semple

Position: Pitcher

High School: Paul VI High School (NJ) 

Class: 2014

What Aspects Of Your Game Are You Working To Improve?

This year has been a tough and busy year for me.  There are many areas I am working on starting with my rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery in May 2013.  Since July 2013, when my doctor said I could get back to the gym, I have daily intense workouts focusing on my core and legs.  I also have been rehabilitating my upper body.  And now, as I return to the mound, I will focus on keeping my arm healthy by proper rest and conditioning.

What Are Some Of Your Things You Are Focusing On This Season?

I plan on play well and even better than my season started last year – I want to pick up where I left off!  I also want to break all my personal records that I have set in the past.  And of course, I want to help my team at Paul VI High School to go to the “states” this year.  It has been tough losing a year due to my injury, but I feel it has added to my drive and determination.

What Makes You Unique?

I have played baseball since the age of four, when my mom and I were the team and over the year I have realized the dedication and appreciation I have for the game.  I play for my mother who has helped me to rise to this level even while battling  breast cancer.  As a single mom she still made all the games, road-trips and college visits unless she was in surgery. My mother’s strength ignites me to work hard not only in school but also at the gym and on the mound.  I realize that my life is a gift I should not take for granted.

What Can You Offer A Program Others Cannot?

I have an extensive knowledge of the game of baseball, and because of my rehabilitation, I have a strong knowledge of how to develop a conditioning program that focuses arm strength and safety.  This knowledge can be vital to my fellow teammates as well.  I know what it takes to gather a team together and have complete dedication to the game of baseball.

Do You See Yourself As A Leader?

Absolutely! I have served on student council and other clubs.  I know what it takes to pull together a team and motivate them with team building skills and spirit as well as showing the team how to work hard and dedicate themselves to be the best team we can be. I believe in positive teamwork with no bullying or negativity.

What Are Your Strengths As A Player?

Besides the experience that comes from playing since I was four, I am extremely dedicate to the improving my skills as a baseball player – specifically pitching – and am very discipline and diligent in making sure I am putting in the work to improve.  Obviously, I know what it is like to experience a setback and more importantly, have shown the ability to “bounce back” from it (arm injury) and get better.  I am self motivated and have strong perservance.  My goal is to play at the next level, (College), and I am not letting anything stand in my way.

Who Are Your Role Models?

My grandpa is my role model.  He is 92 and you will see him at my games.  My grandfather is so unique with such an incredible background – in the military in World War II and then being on the flight crew of Air Force One.  He is a humble man who always is willing to help and give advice and never holds back from speaking from his heart.

My Pitching Coach, Sean Bussey.  This man changed my life and taught me what it means to “want it.”  Coach Bussey’s way of motivation keeps you focused, and even when I am totally exhausted, I still want to continue my workout with him.  He gave me his time because I wanted to be there and learn.   Coach Bussey has put me in the best shape in my life and after Tommy John surgery he was one of my first visitors to keep me positive and driven to get back to the mound.  I cannot thank him for what he has done in my life.

Frank Nicalosi, my Travel Baseball Coach.  Frank commands a team and makes them a family. Amazing things can happen when Frank coaches a team with Ben of course!

Finally, Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson, who demonstrated drive and determination throughout his life.
What Is Something You Have Learned During Your High School Athletic Career?

Enjoy every moment and play like it is your last game.  Get involved and keep positive relationships with teammates and help others to understand the importance of playing as a team.  The importance of keeping you’re your arm and body in good condition.
What Advice Would You Pass On To Other Athletes That Want To Play At The Next Level?

Work hard, play fair, and keep your body in good condition cause it will make you a better player.  Avoid temptation and beware of social media, it is a silent enemy in your search for advancement in your sport.  Help others, it will come back to you!  Most of all, have fun!