Steve Braz and Shane Bowen have a great passion for baseball and coaching.
While they tend to their full-time jobs, their free time is spent coaching travel baseball teams in the Central Florida area. They love their time developing players, but one major issue kept coming up that prevented them from holding quality practices with their teams – field availability.
With field limitations and unpredictable weather, Braz and Bowen decided to open their own indoor sports facility, the Elite Athletic Sports Club (EASC). “We wanted to give athletes of all ages a safe and controlled environment to train in year-round, and a place that teams and players can call home,” says Braz.
Braz and Bowen carefully researched who to partner with for the project and got quotes and proposals from multiple vendors. “Our goal was definitely to find good pricing, but most importantly, we wanted that mix of competitive pricing with quality products. After looking over all our proposals, On Deck Sports proved to be the perfect fit to get durable material at a reasonable price.”
Braz and Bowen connected with facility expert, Mike Kalell, and took the first steps towards completing their facility and the future home of Scappers Baseball travel team. Together, they designed a 3D layout which revealed an 11,000 sq.ft. turf and rubber flooring surface with retractable batting cages. Braz and Bowen loved the 3D layout and used it as marketing material to help promote the facility.
The EASC facility’s playing surface is outfitted with GT34 padded turf, and Braz explains the decision, “I’ve seen a lot of facilities that have carpet on top of concrete, which causes the ball to take odd and unsafe bounces. We wanted that cushioned 5mm padding for softer bounces and less strain for the athletes running.”
The facility’s strength and conditioning surface is outfitted with 8mm black rubber flooring which is durable against dropped weights and very easy to clean, with a mop.
Because they wanted to have athletes working on strength and agility while others work on hitting, Kalell suggested they install a custom shell net to separate the two sections and keep spectators outside the net safe. “We also have players from the youth level to professionals hitting in here so having that protective barrier is essential.”
Within the shell net, EASC has 4 walk-draw retractable dividers, which gives them numerous layout options. Braz and Bowen can have players hitting in 4 individual batting cages or they can easily slide the dividers back revealing a turf infield that is perfect for defensive work.
Braz and Bowen had a hard deadline to open their doors by September 1, but their logistical issues took longer than expected. With opening day quickly approaching, On Deck Sports stepped up and was able to get all the materials there and installed on time.
Braz and Bowen supplemented the project with a few On Deck Sports training aids, including ProMounds portable pitching mounds, and protective L-screens. Braz says the mounds are used daily, and the L-screens are “getting pounded and holding up well.”
On Deck Sports is proud to have helped more than 1,500 customers get their indoor facilities up and running since 2001. Thinking about building your own? Check out our most frequently asked questions to help get you started.
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