Osaka Gakuin University High School Baseball Team defeats Osaka Toin and Rushousha…Manager Tsujimori: “An unexpected promise made at the first meeting”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Osaka Gakuin University High School Baseball Team defeats Osaka Toin and Rushousha…Manager Tsujimori: “An unexpected promise made at the first meeting”.

Eiichi Tsujimori is a former strong salesman who achieved the highest sales in Japan for 13 consecutive years at a major life insurance company!

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The team only meets at the beginning of practice, leaving it to the seven coaches to manage the team as a whole. The selection criteria for the coaches are “those who have a proven track record in coaching at Osaka City University.

From 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on weekdays, he is the president of the life insurance agency he runs. After work, he goes to a field in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, changes into a uniform, and trains the ballplayers for the Koshien Tournament.

Eiichi Tsujimori, 48, the coach of Osaka Gakuin University High School, is a unique leader of two completely different groups.

He says, “The way of thinking and approaching the development of employees and players is basically the same in both business and baseball. In the first meeting with the players, I told them, ‘I want you to decide not to set a goal, but to become the best in Japan. I don’t like the word “goal” because it has the nuance of “it doesn’t matter if we don’t achieve it. The players were confused, though.

After graduating from university, Tsujimori worked for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation before joining Alico Japan (now MetLife Insurance). After achieving the highest sales in Japan for 13 consecutive years as a salesman, he started his own life insurance agency, Lifemetrix, in 2006.

In addition to his title as an astute businessman, he also served as the manager of his alma mater, Osaka City University (now Osaka Public University), for 12 years from 2010, leading the team to its first league championship in 24 years in 2005. He led the team to its first league championship in 24 years in 2005.

I want him to aim for the pros as long as he plays,” he said. For the two and a half years I was in high school, I wanted people to work hard at what they loved to do. If you can’t do that, I don’t think you can break through the barriers when you become a member of society and have to do something you don’t want to do for your family. It is precisely because you work on it with the determination to ‘get to the top’ that you can become clear and aware of what is lacking in your current practice.”

Osaka Gakuin University High School is the alma mater of Yutaka Enatsu, 76, a veteran baseball player who won 206 games and saved 193 saves for Hanshin and other teams, but the team has made only one appearance in the Koshien Tournament, in the spring of 1996. In the first round of the fall tournament, six months before Tsujimori took over as manager, the team lost 1-11 to the powerful Rimusho-sha.

The Kanto Expedition, a Turning Point

Tsujimori purchased a super high-speed pitching machine with a maximum speed of 180 km/h at the same time he took over as manager, so that the team’s seriousness could be conveyed. He also created an environment in which the players could practice hitting 160 km/h speed balls at a distance of 13 meters, 5 meters before the mound, as the baseball team of Osaka City University, which led the team to the championship, had practiced. At first, the team members were reluctant to try this difficult hitting practice, which even the pros could not hit with ease.

They said, “If you get used to the speed, you will definitely be able to hit the ball, but they said, ‘This is not good practice,’ and they did not take it seriously. But I didn’t force them to do so.

A turning point came in March of last year, when the team went on an expedition to the Kanto region shortly after he took over. The team played practice games against Joso Gakuin and other regular Koshien schools, but they were continually overwhelmed by the fastballs of top-class high school pitchers. Upon returning to school, the players turned on the high-speed machine and began to wrestle with the 160 km/h fastball.

They realized on their own what kind of practice they needed to do to overcome their weaknesses. I didn’t just make them do it; I started by teaching them to hit it in a bunt stance and gradually taught them to widen the swing of the bat, and now the regulars can hit it back with the core with no difficulty. No matter what kind of great pitcher comes into the game, he no longer loses power to the speed ball.

In order to strengthen his lower body, which produces the power for hitting, he works on squats during the winter without letting the ball touch him. While other schools only allow their players to do “half squats,” in which they bend their knees halfway for fear of injury to their legs and back, Osaka Gakuin University High School is thorough in its full squatting. They strengthened the muscles used in baseball, including both legs, hips, waist, and back.

Tsujimori’s self-study of “personality psychology,” a statistically based psychology that helped him stay at the top of his field as a salesman, was also helpful in drawing out the potential of his players.

By dividing employees and players into different types and changing the way we talk to them and give them instructions, we can change the way each individual works hard, and the results of their work and practice can change dramatically.

In this spring’s prefectural tournament, the team defeated Rimusho-sha, a regular Koshien contender, 9-8, and also defeated Osaka Toin in the quarterfinals, 2-1, thanks to good pitching by left-handed ace Ryuto Maekawa. The team made headlines by reaching the top of the highly competitive tournament with zero sacrifice hits.

With less than a month to go before the Osaka Summer Tournament, which opens on July 6, it is time for the 20 third-year students to discuss their post-graduation plans, and coach Tsujimori was surprised at one thing he learned in interviews: “All of them said, ‘I want to continue my career in baseball.

All of them want to go to a university where they can continue to play baseball as an adult. Even if they don’t make it to the pros, they want to work hard until they can make a living playing baseball. None of them are burnt out.”

Captain Kohki Imasaka (3rd year), who has developed into a professional starter, says, “This summer, coach Tsujimori has been working with the team to develop them into a professional player.

All I can think about is making Tsujimori the best coach in Japan this summer.

Will the methods of a top salesman, who says that “baseball and business are the same,” lead Osaka Gakuin University High School to the top of the Koshien Tournament?

As president, he aims for sales of 5 billion yen with 50 employees. If the number of employees increases too much, we won’t be able to provide adequate training.
Eiichi Tsujimori, coach of the Osaka Gakuin University High School baseball team: “At the first meeting, I said, ‘I want you to decide to become the best in Japan.
Eiichi Tsujimori, coach of the Osaka Gakuin University High School baseball team: “In our first meeting, I said, ‘I want you to decide to become the best in Japan.
Interview with Eiichi Tsujimori, manager of the Osaka Gakuin University High School Baseball Team
The “personality psychology” chart used in the company Tsujimoto manages. This is a discipline that systematizes human personality as image psychology that anyone can understand by applying it to animal characters. The blacked-out areas are written by employees. He says that he changes the way he treats his employees slightly according to the personalities they have.

From the June 28, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text by Kentaro Hattori (Baseball Writer) PHOTO Kei Kato

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