WALLINGFORD — Athletes don’t need to wait until spring to start training for baseball at Ultimate Sports & Party Center on Church Street in Yalesville.
“We’re trying to get athletes to the next level, but also give them something to do during the winter time” said Paul Cambra, owner and coach.
The sports facility, open for the last decade, houses training equipment for several sports, with an emphasis on baseball and softball. Athletes can hit balls from a virtual pitching machine in the batting cage area.
The machine, which displays a life-like pitcher on a screen, can throw fastballs, curveballs, sliders and sinkers at speeds up to 95 mph.
The system projects a pitcher on the screen winding up and throwing the ball to the hitter.
“We train everyone,” Cambra said. “Anyone who wants to come down here, get a little bit better, we put our effort into getting their goals and try to reach them.”
Cambra, previously a coach for the CT Naturals from 2006 to 2010, hosts hitting, base running and conditioning clinics and lessons for athletes starting at 5-years old.
“It’s good to get the kids out of the house, away from the TV screens, out here and stay active,” said Russ Caprio, a baseball instructor at Ultimate Sports & Party Center.
Caprio started off as a participant at the center when he was a kid. After a baseball career in college, the North Haven resident decided to join the Ultimate Sports & Party Center team as an instructor.
“We’re really personable to the kids,” he said. “There’s something for everyone down here.”
Parties are also held at the center with Yankees, Red Sox and Mets-themed party rooms to choose from.
Guests can play Wiffle ball, kickball or dodgeball in the dark with with glow in the dark balls and pinnies.
“It’s just a lot of fun, it’s almost a glorified gym class,” he said.
A gym area is available for age-specific workouts related to speed, agility and strength training.
“We do specific exercises per position,” said Geno Giano, athletic trainer at the center. “We have a drill over here with a bat, so it helps you drive to the ball with a resistance band.”
Cambra said the center’s busy season is from October to April, with teams coming in to train and practice before games start.
“I take all my knowledge and give it to all the kids,” he said. “Just keep them busy, keep them positive, keep them focused and then move forward from there.”
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