MARION (WSIL) -- Over the last few months we may not have had organized games but facilities like Future Swings in Marion have allowed Todd Poe and his staff to continue to focus on the development of young athletes.
"I don't think anybody expected it to happen, everything shut down in the country but we're rolling again," Future Swings owner Todd Poe said.
"Been a struggle for the kids. They've missed a lot of time and that's important what we do so hopefully we'll be able to make up some of that time, gain some ground on it and try to get a bunch of reps and hopefully everybody will be playing soon."
"The first days we opened up in here, every one of them came in here, their face lit up, so much happier getting to play some ball, just getting back to the swing of things and as a coach and as a teacher it's good to see their faces," Crab Orchard Baseball Coach and Future Swings Coach Cory Bailey said. "They love it, it's just a bright light going on."
"This facility has been invaluable to the kids in Southern Illinois," Harrisburg Baseball Coach Jay Thompson said.
"They are not allowed to be on the fields, can't use the facilities and so what Todd has provided here is an opportunity for the kids to work out. Not only do they get to work out, they get to work out and learn from really good instructors. There are probably a hundred kids a day that run through here so you're talking about hundreds and hundreds of kids that have an opportunity to train. And I know everybody can do it but for those fortunate few this is a great benefit."
"In the sports world, trickled over to the real world now, the new normal most of the time we're talking about it after an injury, a rain out or something that is adverse to us 'hey a new normal lets go,' now we're back to what we do, to now where this is becoming the new normal in sense of kids have learned at the younger ages because of the virus, because of the shut down that the work you put in, in your own time is just as important as what you do at practice," John A. Logan Assistant Baseball Coach Patrick Morey said.
"Places like Future Swings give you that ability to get better off your own time because you have a guy with the knowledge to help you grow to the next level. We just got the Rapsodo 2.0 for the high school and college kids to get the true analytic side, just like the big league guys are getting whether it's on the pitching side, the spin rate, velocity, how the ball is moving and be able to get yourself ready without end game reaction."
What does missing tow and a half months of the developmental stage really mean?
"Imagine going to a gym lifting, building strength up and taking two and a half months off," Poe said. "Muscle memory, everything you gained, it's really hard to get in a good position, but it's really easy to get in a bad position so that's how I viewed it."
"Some guys lose focus," Bailey said. "A lot of guys come in here and they are doing it, are not into it. It's our job to see that. It's our job to turn it around a little bit. Something we might joke around with them, catch their attention again, bring them into where they are focused on you and once you do that, it's a very enjoyable lesson. Ninety-nine percent of the lessons we do, the kids, they want it."