Under the new management of Tom Lawless, the 2011 Hooks—the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros—look to proclaim bat-swinging dominance in the Texas League. Baseball supporters can claim seats at Whataburger Field, which is built to reflect the feel of a classic ballpark and can hold about 7,000 Hooks fans and three times as many foam fingers. Two wristbands adorn arms and grant access to extracurricular excursions in the Driscoll Children's Hospital Kids Zone, featuring a rock-climbing wall and a chimp-free jungle gym. Along with being able to see the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium from inside the park, fans can enjoy breath-robbing views of the Harbor Bridge and mascots removing their comically oversize heads to observe the National Anthem. After the game, fans can trade their baseball caps for 10-gallon hats as they take in a concert by Tejano rockers Texas Tornados or Green River Ordinance, a quintet of aspiring environmental attorneys moonlighting as talented musicians.
Pro Performance Training Center's all-indoor facilities let athletes train regardless of the weather. The gym's large, open expanse of astroturf offers plenty of room to do baseball, softball, or volleyball drills, and there's also a room full of treadmills, weightlifting machines, and free weights for individual exercise. In addition to working one-on-one with students, the personal trainers on staff also lead small group fitness classes with intense names such as Hurricane Fitness or M.E.L.T., which stands for More Exercise, Less Time and not for the kind of sandwiches you get after class.
Jason Alamo former collegiate coach at five different baseball programs, has developed the Alamo Baseball System state of the art training in their state of the art all indoor facility. His expert coaches train players of all ages in the correct techniques of hitting, fielding, throwing, and catching. Youth camps and private lessons give athletes a competitive edge, whereas glow in the dark baseball and softball parties emphasize fun.
Encompassing an 11,000-square-foot indoor batting arena, an air-conditioned clubhouse filled with training videos, and an outdoor plot of screen-enclosed batting cages, Power Swing's facilities help train baseball and softball players of all ages and skill levels. Instructors train students in four private pitching tunnels and let them practice on a turf infield or field hits from regulation-size pitching mounds. Outside, players swing at four T-ball cages, or return machine-pitched volleys from 10 baseball pitchers and nine softball pitchers that launch balls and unwanted vases at up to 80 miles per hour. A team of coaches, many of them former athletes, can also help students hone pitching and hitting skills in private, semiprivate, and small-group lessons, and lead instructional clinics and athletic afterschool programs.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.