2009 Program News
9/24/09: Spotlight- Alfredo Ortiz
Puerto Rico: Shotgun Shooting
Alfredo Ortiz was one of the kids who dreamed of going to the big show. When he grew up, he was going to play major league baseball. He started his career at the ripe age of eight.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, he lived in the same town as Roberto and Sandy Alomar, and was close with the Alomar family. He saw the same future for himself in the big leagues.
Ortiz went to Ohio to play college ball as a catcher at Division II Tiffin University. A successful collegiate player, he was scouted by major league organizations and had several professional tryouts.
However, it was not meant to be. Injuries kept him from signing a contract. The first was an elbow injury sustained when he was hit by a batter on his follow-through. He recovered, only to hurt his wrist shortly after.
“After the wrist injury, I said, ‘this is not for me.’ I had two chances, so I figured I might as well do something else and follow a different career,” Ortiz said.
During that time, he fell back on another childhood passion: shooting. Throughout his younger years, Ortiz was actively involved in both baseball and recreational shooting. When he put his major league dreams aside, shooting and coaching took its place.
“I got into shooting because I like to hunt,” Ortiz said. “Four or five years after graduation, I decided to quit playing baseball entirely. I got into coaching baseball because I saw the game differently and saw that I could contribute in a different way.”
Just as he had participated in both, he started coaching in both shooting and baseball.
“I was always passionate about baseball and shooting. I got into coaching them both about the same time,” Ortiz said.
Currently, he coaches baseball in the American Legion in Puerto Rico and is the assistant coach for the Puerto Rican national shotgun team. Ortiz is at ICECP as a shooting coach. His project is to develop a shooting coaches’ education program in Puerto Rico. But that is not the only improvement he is looking to make to the structure of shotgun shooting in his homeland.
“What I really want to do is create a youth shooting school,” Ortiz said. The school will serve as a grassroots initiative to attract more young athletes to the sport and make sure they are properly trained at an earlier age.
His ICECP project will aid in that second undertaking. Through it, he will be able to raise the level of coaching proficiency and improve the sport structure in Puerto Rico. Once he does that, there will be more qualified coaches and a stronger system in place to create his shooting school.
His overall goal for the shooting school is to get it incorporated into Puerto Rico’s major specialized sport school, in which shooting is not currently included. He said inclusion in that facility will greatly aid the growth of his program and sport.
Ortiz made the transition from player to coach in two separate sports. He turned a potential professional baseball career into a coaching career in which he can directly influence young athletes in a positive way.
Alfredo Ortiz didn’t make it to the big show. But even though you won’t see him on trading cards, the impact he is having on shooting in Puerto Rico is major.