Former Yankee; Two Time World Series Champion Teams up With Toms River Sports Academy
At Toms River Sports Academy, owners Jim and JoAnn Domino believe the passion of their coaching staff and the talents of Willie Banks, former MLB pitcher and the highest professional sports draft pick native to New Jersey, are what sets their facility apart from their competition. In 2010, the Dominos bought the academy as a family endeavor involving Jim, JoAnn, and their son, James. Jim, who had handled information technology for the academy’s previous owners, credits his love for the game and knowledge of instructing and coaching as the reasons behind his decision, along with his wife’s involvement in youth sports, his son’s own baseball success, and his respect for Willie’s unmatched instruction abilities.
“As soon as we had the opportunity to get involved with the baseball academy, I immediately went to Willie to see if he was interested in becoming a partner,” shares Jim. “I had seen first-hand the results of Willie’s coaching after he worked on hitting with my son, who was one of only 41 players selected nationwide to work out with Jimmy Johnson, who heads the hitting program for all of the Colorado Rookies minor league teams. He was the best instructor I had ever seen. Willie said yes to the partnership, and two years and two championship teams later, we are here and continuing to grow.”
Willie breaks hitting down into simple steps kids can digest and remember, giving them a reliable arsenal of tools to use in real game settings where nerves become a factor. Players immediately see the results of working with Willie, and as their confidence and hitting improve, parents’ referrals to Willie and the Toms River Sports Academy continue to follow. Willie’s approach goes beyond natural ability and the rudiments of hitting; at the foundation sit a positive attitude, heart, and love for the game, all of which prove as important as the perfect swing. Jim says, “Aside from being an incredible coach, Willie is an incredible person. Parents and kids love him. When possible, Willie will go to his students’ games to gain a better understanding of their needs. He can take players and turn them around, have them hitting the ball before they leave their first session.” Despite his own baseball accomplishments–an over-90 mph fastball, an impressive curveball, two World Series rings, and pitching for seven MLB teams, including the Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox—Willie remains down-to-earth and genuine, which is the perfect mix for having a positive impact on young players. After working with Willie, every player feels like a star.
Toms River Sports Academy extends a family-friendly atmosphere, as evident by the recommendations and testimonials posted on their Facebook page. The environment is laid back and relaxed, where every player and his or her family feels welcome and a part of the team from the first lesson forward. The owners are present and accessible, willing to listen to families’ specific needs and personal stories, as well as to squeeze in a last minute lesson should the need arise.
Toms River Sports Academy offers baseball and softball in private, group, and team lesson settings. Softball clinics are held every Monday, and Fridays are baseball clinics. The facility also has its own championship baseball teams and is currently working to build a softball program. Cage rentals are available for individuals or teams, which is especially popular during the winter training months in preparation for the upcoming spring season. In addition to baseball training, Toms River Sports Academy has day camp programs during summers and days off of school. They also host birthday parties.
Toms River Sports Academy is located at 1825 Hooper Avenue in Toms River, behind Rand’s Plaza. For more information, visit them on Facebook or online at www.trsportsacademy.com, or call 732-279-3141. They are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily during the summer, and winter hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
written by Christa Riddle, All About Writing, www.allaboutwritingconsulting.com