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Venue hits the big time

State-of-the-art facility offers baseball players — and other athletes — instruction and specialized training for athletes who want to improve, or gain an edge

August 18, 2007|By Jeff Tully

The distinctive ping of aluminum bats rocketing baseballs and the hum of pitching machines delivering a steady stream of offerings fills the air.

The sound of young athletes laughing and spurring each other on mixes with the voices of instructors giving pointers on fundamentals to attentive players.

The atmosphere can be loud at times at the Burbank facility that houses On Deck Baseball Training and West Coast Baseball School, but Daris Toussaint and Glen Raasch wouldn’t have it any other way.

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“We wanted this to be a place where players can come and learn baseball, and get better at what they do,” Toussaint said. “But we also wanted it to be a place where they can have fun.”

It looks as if Toussaint and Raasch have been able to accomplish both goals.

The two are the driving force behind the impressive facility on San Fernando Road. The men have converted a massive warehouse into a state-of-the-art, one-stop baseball and softball training venue that provides a place for athletes to hone their skills, get conditioning and receive personalized instruction.

It’s not uncommon to see Major League and college baseball players practicing their swings in the batting cages amid a group young athletes taking part in one of the many camps offered at the facility.

The On Deck Baseball Training portion of the facility dominates the bottom floor of the expansive 13,000 square-foot building, complete with a 30-foot ceiling. Rows of batting cages and pitching machines line the floor, as real baseballs are used instead of the standard plastic or rubber balls found in many batting cages. The pitching machines can also be adjusted to throw curveball, sliders and sinkers.

In an adjoining room sits a variety of workout equipment with a distinctive look. The machines are part of a fast-twitch muscle system, the latest, most advanced training regimen that is used my many professional sports teams. The system helps athletes increase their speed, quickness, explosiveness and power through resistance on a series of isometric machines.

“It’s all computer operated, and the best way to describe the system is it helps the muscles accelerate,” Toussaint said. “The athletes get instant feedback on the computer during their workout.”

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