Go Hardball Training Academy got its start four years ago and now it has a physical location at 100 Oakwood Rd., Suite H. The founders and instructors at the academy (all players themselves) are familiar to Lake Zurich baseball and softball enthusiasts.
"We try to offer programs that are age appropriate and that focus on not only the fundamentals of baseball and softball, but everything that surrounds baseball and softball," explained Kate Mitchum, vice president, co-founder and ACE certified personal trainer. "Caring for your body, respect on and off the field for your coaches and for younger kids, learning to wait in line and not speak when the coach is talking."
The academy offers hitting, pitching lessons and instruction for baseball and softball players of all ages and skill levels. Private instruction, video analysis and team training also is available.
The facility has an exercise and training room, a flexible pitching and hitting area with movable mesh curtains, two pitching machines and a pitching mound a top three-quarter-inch-thick astro turf.
"I want to get in there early, turn the lights on and smell the turf," said Mitchum.
There's also the skybox upstairs that features a flat panel TV to view training videos or so players can review their own video recordings of their performance and make corrections. The skybox gives the instructors a birds-eye view of their students as well.
"Once parents see how we work with the students, they really trust us," said Mitchum.
The building has wifi so parents can feel at home and bring laptop and work in if they wish, said Mitchum. There's also a full online suite of scheduling tools, different sorts of member driven informational suite at www.gohardball.com. An individualized profile page helps members view what classes, credit cards, etc. they have.
"I think we do a good job of focusing on the building blocks," she said. "Our kids know it so well that they later take a leadership role and pass it on to other children."
Mitchum, along with Tony Feo, president, founder and director of operations; and Jimmy Karr, director of player development, share an obvious passion for the sports and a respect for the game. Mitchum is the face of the business, Karr the instructor and Feo the analytical engineer.
"Our motto is play for life," said Mitchum.
"We love what we do," added Karr.
Feo and Mitchum started out organizing a practice program for a women's baseball program in Chicago. From there, they started visiting homes and other locations to provide instruction as needed. Then, about three years ago, they purchased video analysis software.
But the key was meeting up with Karr two years ago. Karr played in the Midwest Suburban League (MSL) and met with Feo and they immediately hit it off. Karr had a number of clients at Kits in town at the time.
"Everyone who walks in here knows Jimmy, everyone," said Mitchum. "When Jimmy came on with us, that was the difference. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jimmy."
The academy stresses teaching the game the "appropriate way," Karr said.
"We don't want to turn kids off to sports," said Mitchum. "We want kids to love the game for life."
Mitchum, a Red Sox fan, is the only woman in the MSL. She pitches and plays the outfield. Feo, a White Sox fan, is on the MSL Redhawks Triple A team and pitches and plays center field. Karr a Cubs fan, and an outfielder.
For more information call 847-393-0123.