Catch up with Josh Johnson

Josh Johnsonwho has been fastpitching for nearly 30 years, is working to make Virginia Tech the “Pitching U” with technology that uses exercise science and data to help players improve.

Below is an interview with Johnson.

Hokie Sports: What got you interested in biomechanics?
Johnson: Early on, I played and didn’t really consider coaching a career. In the middle of the world tournament, a guy came up to me and we started talking and became really good friends. He invited me to start teaching classes at his facility, but he also offered to teach me the system they used, and a lot of it was based on biomechanics. This is what sparked my curiosity to study. I was in this PhD program in sport psychology, so I was looking at that science perspective all the time. Then COVID-19 hit and a lot of coaching learning opportunities disappeared, so I started taking classes and lo and behold. I am now a PhD in Exercise Science.

Hokie Sports: What does it mean to be able to apply your passion for biomechanics with another passion, the sport of softball?
Johnson: It’s actually perfect because I’m learning to be a better coach every day. I say it’s more like a doctorate in softball and I get to dictate its direction. It helped me a lot and made me curious to find better ways to do things.

Hokie Sports: Why is it important to have this technology and what changes have you seen so far?
Johnson: Something is missing and it seems to me that through science we will find out what is missing. The main thing is to start getting rid of all the old myths about how it is and how you do it. It really demystifies those things and starts to make those concepts count. Watch the video below.

Hokie Sports: What has the game of softball meant to you?
Johnson: My dad was a gamer and I don’t know if I would be in it without him. I know he always wanted to be better. He played until he was 53 years old. I think it was cool to share that legacy. Also, just sitting here and thinking about it, I feel like it was meant for me. I’ve played a lot of different things, but I’ve finally found my home because this is my place. In helping softball, I’ve always looked at it because I want to not only improve my players, but also the game.

Hokie Sports: Why Virginia Tech, what stands out most about this program?
Johnson: You have the perfect storm of really athletic kids and coaches with a growth mindset. We can all work together to find better ways to purposefully do things differently because it’s a better way. I think the players from the past that we have here now and the players that we can recruit can be very special. I think we have a chance to do some big things and get into the top 10 or top five. It’s exciting to try to get us to that place so we can get over the hump and get to the World Series.

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