Q: I haven't heard of U.S. Baseball Academy. How long have you been doing this?
A: We've operated more than a thousand baseball camps and instructional clinics in 35 states since 1988, initially under the name Midwest Baseball Academy. After more than a decade of running summer and spring break camps, we developed our 6-week Spring Training concept in 1999. We grew to 185 locations with 22,000 players last year. Growing national attention and demand has led us to expand to a number of new areas and to change our name to U.S. Baseball Academy. We are the largest baseball academy franchise in the world.
Q: Who does the coaching?
A: U.S. Baseball Academy hires and trains high school and/or college coaches from your local area. That's the biggest advantage of the program. While most local youth and travel team coaches have some knowledge of baseball, this is a chance for young players to be get four or six weeks of instruction by professionally trained and experienced coaches who do this for a living. We maintain quality control by providing each location with our weekly program and the necessary equipment to run it, and training the staff.
Q: Why don't you have major league players come?
A: Having a major league player come to sign autographs for an hour can cost several thousand dollars. While those guys are the best players in the world, most can't teach someone else to do it. Hiring a major league player for the day could require doubling our fees, and we don't want to waste your money. We hire people who can best teach your son or daughter how to play. If your youngster needed help with algebra, would you hire a nuclear physicist or a high school math teacher?
Q: How many kids will be there at a time? I heard you get as many as 200 players in a camp.
A: While our programs can attract around 200 players per location, that is spread over a five-hour period. We take a maximum of about 30 players per hour for the hitting camps and between 10 and 15 pitchers per hour, depending on the size of the facility. The important thing to remember is that we provide a player-coach ratio. If we add players, we add coaches. When including the assistant coach/helpers at each station, the ratio drops even lower. We have had waiting lists as long as 100 at a particular location. We will not overbook and compromise our instruction.
Q: The price of $119 and $99 (second skill) seem kind of low compared to lessons at our local indoor facility. Does that mean the instruction isn't as good?
A: Not at all. Our prices are lower than indoor baseball facilities because we don't have the overhead. Building an indoor baseball facility is expensive, and the year-round costs have to be recovered during peak usage seasons of winter and spring. Because we're contracting with the local site director to use a high school or college in your area for only 6 days, we don't have to support year-round rental and utility costs.
Q: The $119 or $99 covers six weeks of sessions, one session per week. How long is each session, and what do they do?
A: Each session lasts for one hour. Players are in small groups of 5 to 7 kids who are of a similar age or ability level. During the hour, they work through a concentrated circuit of drills that teach specific areas of hitting or pitching. Each station they go to has an instructor, and most also have an assistant coach to help get them more repetitions. We don't have them sit and listen to someone talk for 15 minutes. They're moving and active the whole time. Sessions are cumulative, so that over the six-week period we cover all aspects of hitting. The pitching program is similar, with significant time set aside each week for live throwing to a catcher under the supervision of coaches.
Q: We want both the hitting and pitching or catching. Can we do that?
A: Yes. Sessions are staggered by age group to allow players to hit and pitch in consecutive hours. They go right from one to the other. There is a multi-session discount. The cost for both hitting and pitching or catching is $218, because you are getting six hours of hitting instruction and six hours of pitching or catching instruction.
Q: How do we register, and how do we pay?
Q: What if we sign up and find out later he can't come? Can we get a refund?
A: Registration forms for each location are on the web site. Enter your information online and submit it to reserve your spot, print out the confirmation page, sign it, and mail it with a check to our national headquarters. Your spot will be held for two weeks while we wait for your check to arrive. You may also pay with a Credit Card online by logging in or following the link in your email. A small upcharge/tax applies for credit card payments. Check payments do not incur this charge.
A: Unless otherwise stated, the following refund policy is in effect.
Cancellations prior to a month before the program will receive a refund minus a $50 cancellation fee. Cancellations inside a month of the camp will not receive a refund. If a pre-camp injury prevents a player from attending, we will refund your money upon receipt of a doctor's explanation. Once a camp begins, camp credit is given in lieu of a refund.
Q: What if we miss a week because of vacation or a scheduling conflict?
A: Because we have the facility reserved for only those days, there are no makeup sessions. However, most people still find it a good value to get even four or five lessons. While the sessions are cumulative, players who miss a week are not "lost" when they return. During the course of the program, many players miss a week due to conflicts with another sport, a family vacation, or illness.
Q: My son is advanced and his friend is a beginner. How can the program be right for both of them?
A: While the stations are consistent for all the players in a particular age group, the way we run the drills varies according to the ability level of each player and each hitting group within the hour. We stress to our coaches the importance of coaching each player at his own level. A coach might work with a struggling player on making contact with the ball, then, if the next player is more advanced, work with him on hitting outside pitches to the opposite field. Older and more experienced players work on more advanced concepts as the weeks progress. The level of instruction changes throughout the day and throughout the program.
Q: My son is a 3rd grader, and I don't want him in the group with 1st graders. How does that work?
A: There is a small age range within each hour, but players are broken into small hitting groups with six to seven players per group. There may be 1st graders and 3rd graders in the facility at the same time, but we create small groups based on the players grade. The third graders are grouped with other third graders, and the first graders with first graders. Each station instructor adjusts his coaching and the drill to the group in front of him. We can also move players to a more experienced hitting group within the same hour.
Q: My son is in 7th grade and plays travel ball. He's good for his age and I would like for him to attend the high school session. Can I do that?
A: Because of the concentrated nature of the program, a majority of the players tend to be advanced, so an advanced 7th grader should be right at home in the 7th and 8th grade session. This is not a beginner clinic that requires parents to seek more challenging levels for their players.
Q: The confirmation page says players in the hitting camp need to bring a bat. Will you have bats for them to use, or can they borrow one from another player in the camp?
A: We want each player to bring a bat because there are times when everyone in a group will be performing a drill at the same time, so it's not ideal to borrow a bat from someone else in the camp. He might try borrowing a bat from a teammate not in the program, or from his coach.
Q: Pitchers are supposed to supply their own catchers? His friend is in the same session. Can they catch for each other?
A: In the pitching program, players are all performing the drills at the same time, and each needs a catcher. If one player in a session catches for another, each will only receive half as much instruction. A catcher can be a parent, sibling, or friend. Youth players serving as catchers should bring a catcher's mask to wear.
Q: You have hitting sessions for high school players but pitching sessions only through ninth grade. Why?
A: There are several reasons, but the most important is safety. With each player required to bring his own catcher, we found it got too dangerous for parents and siblings trying to catch high school pitchers in an indoor environment.
Q: How should players dress?
A: Most activities are indoors so wear tennis shoes; shorts, sweat pants or baseball pants, and a T-shirt. Where available, instruction may take place outdoors. You will be notified if your camp is outdoors and we always instruct players to be prepared to go outdoors if weather permits.
Q: I was unable to print my confirmation page. What should I do?
A: At any time, you can print out your registration confirmation email that you received the day you registered or you can log in to our home page with the player's last name and email address. If you have no printing capabilities please call 866-622-4487 and we will mail the submitted registration form.
Q: Where do you hold your camps?
A: We hold baseball camps and offer baseball lessons all over the country, with a particularly strong presence in the following areas:
Baseball Camp Los Angeles, California; Baseball Camp San Diego, California; Baseball Camp San Francisco-Oakland, California; Baseball Camp San Jose California; Baseball Camp Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Myers, Florida; Baseball Camp Sarasota, Florida; Baseball Camp Wilmington, Delaware; Baseball Camp Chicago, Illinois; Peoria, Illinois; Baseball Camp South Bend, Indiana; Baseball Camp Bloomington, Indiana; Baseball Camp Indianapolis, Indiana; Baseball Camp Dubuque, Iowa; Baseball Camp Louisville, Kentucky; Baseball Camp Owensboro, Kentucky; Fitchburg, Massachusetts; Baseball Camp Detroit, Michigan; Baseball Camp Ann Arbor, Michigan; Baseball Camp Battle Creek, Michigan; Baseball Camp Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Jersey City, New Jersey; Albany, New York; Baseball Camp Syracuse, New York; Baseball Camp Buffalo, New York; Baseball Camp Rochester, New York; Binghamton, New York; Bismarck, North Dakota; Baseball Camp Akron, Canton, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Baseball Camp Cincinnati, Ohio; Findlay, Ohio; Baseball Camp Columbus, Ohio; Baseball Camp Youngstown, Ohio; Baseball Camp Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Baseball Camp Allentown, Pennsylvania; Easton, Pennsylvania; Baseball Camp Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Appleton, Wisconsin; Baseball Camp Madison, Wisconsin; Baseball Camp Miami Florida; Baseball Camp Seattle Washington; Baseball Camp North Carolina;