One thing we have always tried to do is help raise the standard for baseball development in the surrounding area. There are a significant number of youth who play in the various little leagues and on various travel teams in the area with the goals of having fun, getting better at baseball and eventually having the opportunity to play at the collegiate level. Our goal with our Youth Baseball Development Academy for ages 9, 10 and 11 is to help those kids reach their goals at an age in which fundamental skill development and fun should be the priority.

We’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty high level baseball players including multiple minor league pitchers that throw mid-upper 90’s as well as some high level high school, college and minor league hitters and two things standout: they move well and posses a high degree of skill. In reality those traits aren’t really that different. Being able to move well (fluid movements, ability to rotate well, body control through full ranges of motion and more) all factor into having a hitting or throwing pattern that allows their skill to be expressed to a greater degree.

In the Long Term Athletic Development model developed by Istavan Balyi, ages 6-9 is the FUNdamental stage and Ages 9-12 is the Learning to Train Stage. Those two stages coincide with the ages for our Youth Academy (ages 9-11). In short, those stages indicate a heavy emphasis on learning/skill development while having fun; playing multiple sports or developing a broad athletic foundation; and begin to learn how to blend movement patterns with sports skill development.

Our Youth Academy will follow the same approach to baseball skill development: hitting, throwing, fielding and to athletic/movement development.

Below are some example of how we develop skill and movement quality in a fun environment with our young baseball athletes:

We’ll use a variety of competitive games, skill specific stations, an emphasis on fundamentals, medicine balls, various size/weight balls to throw/hit, and challenge movement patterns to bring about improvements in skill development in hitting, throwing and fielding as well as improvements in athletic ability as the players head into their spring and summer little league seasons.

We also plan to provide several mini-seminars to kids/parents on topics such as nutrition; long term athletic development; when to play travel ball; overuse/injury prevention strategies; how to build a throwing ramp up program for the competitive season and how to manage throwing in-season and more.

The Academy will be lead by myself (Next Level Owner, Mike Martin), my Director of Pitching, Spenser Davis, and by former Eastern Mennonite University baseball infielder, Corey Willis.

If you would like to know more about us you can find myself on Twitter/Instagram :@mikenextlevel

Spenser on Instagram :@spenserdavis13 and Twitter @spenserdavis6

Corey on Twitter: @coreywillis21

The Academy is for baseball players age 9,10 and 11. It will require a 5 month commitment from players and will run from January through May. For the months of January, February and March we will train 2x per week for 1.5 hours. For the months of April and May we will cut training back to 1x per week for 1.5 hours because we highly encourage all players to play in their local little league organization.

The Days/Times for Jan, Feb. and March will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-7:30PM at our Facility: 960 Acorn Drive, Harrisonburg, VA. We will adjust April and May training to accommodate little league practice/game schedules.

The cost for the full 5 month Academy includes all training sessions and mini-seminars and is $420

Stated goals of the Academy:

  1. Improve fundamental baseball skills: Hitting, Throwing, Fielding
  2. Improve overall athletic ability
  3. Provide relevant education to both players and parents regarding baseball development
  4. Provide and fun and engaging environment for the players

For more information or to register please contact Mike Martin via call/text at 540-421-0360 or email at: