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Indoor Training Helps Players Become Stars.  - blog post image

Indoor Training Helps Players Become Stars.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1980’s, softball meant a bunch of guys with coolers (and bellies) full of beer running around on a Sunday morning hoping they didn’t pull a muscle.  My, how that has changed!  Fastpitch softball is now one of the fastest growing sports in the country and a staple in every Extra Innings Indoor training facility.  The game is changing and we intend to continue to change with it.  This is serious softball and Indoor training facilities can be a key part of helping an average softball player become great or even to helping an amateur simply learn the fundamentals; something that is not always offered in every city or town for the young age groups.  That’s where indoor training facilities can be a real “home run”.

Indoor training offers a more efficient work out because players can utilize the many different stations and multi-use tunnels available. Training goes far beyond just batting tees and ground balls these days. In every Extra Innings facility, you’ll find a training room with the latest training tools, in addition to the batting cages. It’s important for coaches to know how to make the most of each athlete’s time in the facility. By breaking kids into groups, they can rotate throughout the facility, cutting back on down time and allowing them to get instruction and practice in every facet of the game.  The days of one player hitting and 15 others standing around and shagging on the field is long gone in an indoor facility.

Another benefit of indoor training is accessibility. It’s always 70 degrees and sunny in an indoor facility. Indoor training centers are a great solution to field shortages and poor weather conditions. Extra Innings sees a great deal of travel softball teams in our facilities for their winter training, which starts well before the season, and they’ll never have to cancel or reschedule a practice.

It’s no longer a world where a player comes in, hits a few balls and leaves. Extra Innings offers professional instruction on pitching, hitting, fielding and strength and conditioning, and there are many different ways to use an indoor facility to train. Camps and clinics are a great way to start because kids can learn the basics of the game in a fun group setting. Hitting and pitching are the most popular clinics, but they are offered in all aspects of the game. Group and private lessons are important for honing skills and are all also available for all areas of softball. Many girls play on travel teams and come to indoor facilities with their team. We not only provide them with a place to work out, but they can also get their equipment, uniforms and accessories all under one roof.  Best of all, these products are being recommended by professional instructors who know the game and what’s best for each individual player.

We have found that it’s great to start with kids as they begin their journey with softball. We can teach them the fundamentals when they first get into the game and then grow with them as they develop their skills. Training for young softball and baseball players is very similar, especially with fielding, throwing and hitting. One difference for softball is “slap hitting”, a specific type of hitting that many softball instructors teach. Of course, pitching is very important in softball as well. Facilities need to be able to offer windmill pitching instruction and we make sure all of our facilities have professional instructors that can teach this style, which is truly an art form. These instructors can be hard to find, and so many girls come to Extra Innings specifically looking to train with them.

Because it’s becoming such a large part of our business, we have made sure that we have everything softball players need to train. Special softball mounds are set up in all Extra Innings facilities. All of our pitching machines can throw both softballs and baseballs with a simple adjustment, and our pro shops have all the tools and accessories that softball players need from the top names in the game like Combat, DeMarini, Nike, Louisville Slugger, Easton and Mizuno, just to name a few.  Each of these vendors has made a concentrated effort to cater to the softball market and Extra Innings is bringing this product directly to the girls where they train. We want to make sure if girls are doing lessons and working with our professional instructors, they also have access to the tools they’re using in the facility so they can practice at home.  As our vendors are growing their softball product lines, they are catering to their market by signing nationally recognized professional softball players who are role models for these young girls.  In the last year alone, we have had Jenny Finch host a clinic in our Bloomington/Normal, IL facility and Lisa Fernandez in our Midland/Odessa, TX and New England area facilities.  The turnout was phenomenal in every case and we are planning many more of these events in the future.

For years, it has seemed like indoor training centers focused solely on baseball, but at Extra Innings, baseball and softball are treated equally. Softball is by far the fastest growing part of our business, and I believe it will continue to grow for years to come. It’s been a long road for these girls to find and feel welcome in an indoor training center, and we want to be sure that they know they can call Extra Innings their home base.

Want more softball instruction? Check out our www.extrainnings.us website for a list of locations. No location near you? Read about our franchising information found on this site to find the best Extra Innings franchise option for you!

Extra Innings is an indoor softball and baseball training center, providing state-of-the-art practice facilities, professional instruction and a nationally recognized Pro Shop to fulfill the needs of players of all ages and ability levels in a fun, family atmosphere. Extra Innings began franchising in 2004 and has 25 locations in all regions of the country.

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