Play Ball! Local Baseball/Softball Training Facilities Prep Players
In a few months, we will hear those two exciting words coming from the umpires as they yell, “Play Ball!” Many boys and girls are working hard to prepare themselves for their upcoming baseball and softball seasons. Some kids are working out with their teams, while others show the initiative to train solely by themselves as they try to perfect their swinging, pitching, running speed, and/or fielding skills. Two local indoor facilities offer year-round convenience and top-notch instruction to all those who train “outside the diamond.” Both facilities have a vast array of quality instructors from which to choose whether you are looking for group or private instruction.
Sandlot Baseball & Softball Academy
If you live in the Lawrence area, you may wish to visit the Sandlot Baseball & Softball Academy of Indianapolis. This 11,000 square foot facility is located at 9220 Harrison Park Court off of East 56th and North Post Road. One of the main goals of Sandlot Academy is to instill a life-long learning system for both mind and body within its unique baseball/softball setting.
“We’re the only facility in the state of Indiana with the virtual reality ProBatter and K-Zone technology,” says Marty Sterrett, vice-president and co-owner of Sandlot Indy, with his wife, Pam Sterrett. The ProBatter, a state of the art video pitching machine, allows a batter to input various bits of information into a computer screen such as, age, height, right/left-handed pitcher preference, and desired speed ranging from 40-100mph. This system will then make adjustments based on these entries before releasing balls from a simulated pitcher. Another marvel is the K-Zone machine, which utilizes a simulated catcher for pitchers, allowing them to work on certain mechanics. For example, if a pitcher wants to work on a curve ball down and in, the simulated catcher will automatically adjust its position. What’s more, the system will chart ball velocity in mph and ball-placement accuracy by printing out a graph tailored to each individual.
The Sandlot training approach is practiced in all twenty-four of its locations spreading from California to New York. This instruction (based on five attributes that scouts typically look for when evaluating players), includes running, fielding, throwing, hitting for average, and power hitting. However, Sandlot offers a sixth element that represents the core of the Sandlot Baseball & Softball Academies training and how they differentiate themselves from the competition. This sixth element that Sandlot works to develop in athletes is the overall makeup of a player’s character (attitude, dedication, level of respect and self confidence).
“As a father and a coach, the convenience of Sandlot Indy along with the quality of both softball pitching and hitting instruction, keeps us coming back repeatedly,” says Scott Goodwin, pitching coach for 12U Red Cats in Fishers, and father to Kaitlin Goodwin who pitches for this Red Cats team.
The kids aren’t the only ones who gratify from this academy. For instance, Bill Ayres, instructor at Sandlot (www.3up3downpitching.com), reflects a true appreciation for his job, his kids, and his connection with Sandlot. He says in a passionate manner, “Marty and Pam (owners of Sandlot) are excellent baseball and softball people to work with. They both put in many hours at the facility and ALWAYS take very good care of me. I sometimes forget to call them when I have a lesson scheduled and yet, every time, they find me available space. I am able to train some of the Best Pitchers in the Midwest, thanks in no small part to Sandlot Indy and the entire staff.”
If you can’t get enough baseball talk, then you will be excited to hear that the Sandlot Radio Network is coming to Indy soon. This one-hour program will feature interviews from MLB legends, current MLB players, managers, scouts, and other executives talking baseball and about their experience as young players. Each local market will have fifteen minutes of the one-hour show in order to feature scores, highlights and updates from various leagues and school associations around each market area.
Sandlot also provides Power Hitting classes on Saturdays. These classes are designed to enhance one’s ability to drive a softball/baseball. With each class registration, you will receive a SPB trainer (weighted) bat, Sandlot batting gloves and a free t-shirt. Secondly, Sandlot offers an indoor modified Softball League called “5 on 5” for 10U, 12U and 14U.
Incidentally, the Sandlot offers Birthday Parties, which are a hit for both kids and parents. The Birthday Party players have a chance to hit against the ProBatter. They also can choose to play a game of dodge ball, kick ball, wiffle ball, or blast ball. To learn more about Sandlot, visit www.sandlotindy.com or call 317-377-1406.
The Strike Zone
If you live near Hamilton Southeastern Schools, you should visit The Strike Zone located at 12550 Promise Creek Lane off of 126th and Promise Road near Billericay Ball Park. The Strike Zone was founded in order to provide a first class facility where individuals and teams can train, have access to quality instruction, and generally improve their baseball/softball skills to the best of their ability.
“We have a staff of excellent baseball and softball instructors providing individual and group instruction,” says Rory Underwood, owner of Strike Zone. “We believe we have a lot to offer players that choose to take advantage of these exceptional instructors and their experience.”
In addition to qualified instruction, the Strike Zone offers 5,000 square feet of field turf, four collapsible batting cages, and mobile pitching mounds.The Strike Zone is proud to offer Annual Family Memberships. These Family Memberships are limited and offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. For families having more than one baseball/softball player, this membership can be economically efficient and convenient. Some of the membership benefits include: all immediate family members are included in your family membership; designated “Members Only” cages are reserved throughout the week; facility schedule is posted online for quick updates and availability, and you can have 24-hour access by secure coded entrance (live surveillance.)
“Although we are not members, we find the Strike Zone incredibly convenient in both location and scheduling lessons,” says Mark Westlake, father of 13 year old, Max Westlake, who plays for the HSE Royals 13U Travel Team. He continues, “We currently participate in individual hitting and pitching lessons and in group conditioning classes each week. I don’t think most people realize how much professional level instruction is available right here in our town with ex-players such as Jason Taulman, Rob Barber and Jim Reboulet.”
Many teams utilize the Strike Zone space to train in the off season. “I really like the availability the Strike Zone has to offer my team for practices, without the distraction of other teams or lessons being held,” says Lisa Lohrey, team manager of the 16U US Athletic Travel Team. “We are able to hold a practice, with access to all the cages, pitching mounds and/or a small throwing area, if we choose. This allows my players to concentrate better.”
The Strike Zone also offers Group Hitting Lessons and Winter Training Boot Camp (arm strength and health) provided by REB Baseball. These classes are at the Strike Zone and coached by Jim Reboulet, former professional player with the St Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Reb Baseball will be having a 4 week hitting class on Mondays, beginning Feb. 8 thru March 1.
4th-6th grade: 6:00pm- 6:45pm & 7th-12th grade: 6:45 pm-7:30 pm. To register for these classes, contact, Jim Reboulet at 317-753-7638.
Rob Barber (www.coachbarbs.com), General Manager of US Athletic Baseball (www.usathletic.com) and Instructor at Strike Zone, sums up the overall experience of this academy: “I think the Strike Zone has a great team of coaches and is the perfect place for the baseball and softball families of Fishers to develop or refine their skills. To me, the Strike Zone is almost like the Cheers of baseball! It’s definitely a comfortable, convenient and very friendly place to either get instruction with some great guys or to just work with your kid in a cage.”
However, other programs are offered by The Strike Zone, such as, The Cardinal Fitness Boot Camp. To register call Tracey Meister, boot camp leader, at (317) 590-0963 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, for young children, The Strike Zone offers Lil’Kickers, a nationally renowned program specially designed for boys and girls, ages 18 months to 7 years. This agenda introduces children to the concept of soccer, while not only developing movement and interaction skills, but also, using soccer as a tool to teach children about life.
By the way, Strike Zone is hosting “Nike Team Day” on Saturday, February 20th from 10:30am to 12:30pm. You can visit Strike Zone and save up to 20% on high quality Nike equipment and apparel. If you know of someone who needs a new bat, a pair of batting gloves, a batting bag, or any type of performance apparel, then send them to The Strike Zone on Nike Team Day to take advantage of this substantial savings.
To learn more about Strike Zone and its programs, visit this website: