Payne takes pitch and catch to ‘Full Count’

November 20, 2018 | 3:06 am

Updated November 20, 2018 | 11:13 am

Photo by AP Imagery

Jason Payne is a busy man. With a love for baseball and a passion for teaching the game, Payne’s prayers have been answered. And then some.

Payne started giving baseball lessons while he was still playing for coach Todd Lillpop at Kentucky Wesleyan College, not realizing it could ever turn into a career. But after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Payne says he really started praying about what to do after college.

“It tested me mentally, for sure. And God used that moment to begin teaching me about my true identity. So I asked God for help,” Payne remembers. “I started thinking about how all my coaches have influenced me, and continue to influence me. And I also started thinking about the impact I could make on young baseball and softball minds of today. I truly felt called to teach the game. But I wondered if I could ever make this my full-time job.”

So, he decided to give it a shot. After graduating KWC, Payne was a baseball instructor at Next Level for two years. Then, he and his wife took it to prayer and decided to strike out on their own. If Payne was good enough, and if the clientele grew enough, then it must be what he was meant to do.

In just two years, with no advertisement, no social media, no buzz whatsoever, and only word-of-mouth referrals, Payne had a completely full schedule. His idea to start “Full Count” training facility for specialized baseball instruction is clearly catching on.

Now, he says the Paynes are ready to expand the business and look toward the long term.

To help accommodate the growing waiting list, Payne plans to set up a website that allows online scheduling to reserve lesson times. Especially group sessions.

“Right now, we mostly do private lessons for one-on-one instruction. But we also have group sessions with three or four together which is really nice because kids feed off each other and it develops a team-building mindset.”

So far there’s a mix of about 60%  baseball clients and 40% softball clients.

To help with lessons, Payne brings in some of his friends with AA, AAA, and Major League experience such as Justin Marks, Stewart Ijames, Cole Sturgeon, and Wade Gaynor.

“What we’re trying to do is give every kid the opportunity for specialized instruction,” Payne explains. “I really think that coaches, parents, and instructors all working together create the best team for a young person to develop, both on and off the field. But for me, it goes beyond skills. I love coaching and I love teaching but building character and the mentoring aspect is what’s really important. It’s a privilege to play this game; it’s a blessing to be an instructor.”

As interest continues to grow, be on the lookout for Full Count across social media platforms and online as more individual and group lesson times become available.

November 20, 2018 | 3:06 am

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