FAQ’s

2018 Spring Summer Season (12)

The answer is dependent on several things, age, athletic ability, maturity, players love of the game, parents agenda are a few of the factors that come in to play. First thing you might want to do is ask yourself :

  • How did last year go?
  • Did your son learn anything, did he enjoy himself, did he make any NEW friends, did his love of the game increase, decrease, or stay the same?
  • Was he excited about going to practice?
  • Did he look forward to putting his uniform on to get to the field to play the game?
  • Did he improve as much as hoped for by being challenged by his coaches, teammates, and competition?

Most of the time we hear more NO’s than YESSES to those questions.
IF all you seek is for your son to go to the same field 3 times a week and play the same 4 or 5 teams during the year then IN-HOUSE might be the way to go.
IF your player is one of the better players then you will enjoy watching the manager parade him out to the mound every third game and strike out a bunch of batters. You will probably enjoy watching him hit the ball  and beam with pride as he gets his 3rd or 4th inside the park home run as the defense throws the ball all over the place.

We had a player on our team one year that was struggling game after game to get a hit on our travel team. His mom came up and said “I don’t understand why he is not hitting for the Thunderbolts because yesterday in his IN-HOUSE game hit had 3 hits.” Wow, we thought that’s great, So we asked “where did he hit the ball?” The mom enthusiastically began explaining that the first time up he “HIT” the ball to the pitcher but the pitcher threw the ball over the first baseman’s head and he ran all the way to second! The second HIT was to the 3rd baseman and the ball went under his glove into left field! The third and final HIT was a pop-up to the right fielder who run in and the ball went over his head!. When we explained those were errors and not hits, she explained “but he HIT the ball so that’s 3 HITS……

IN-HOUSE/REC BALL vs. TRAVEL explained right there.

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Tough One. Yes playing with friends is a HUGE part of the IN-HOUSE/REC BALL experience. In many cases it’s the deal breaker.
Continuing the friendships into each summer is a strong attraction. It’s also fun for the parents to get to hang out with the same clique of people that you are comfortable with.
The other view is on a travel team your son will make new friends as a group of young men get together to build a team. Its fun to watch. Also you might meet someone new and interesting as well.
I believe this view is short sighted and we have lost many kids for this reason. The only thing I can say is that a HUGE number of the parents will come to me a and say “boy I wished we made the move sooner” or “I wish you would have talked me into travel BEFORE he turned 12, 13 years old.”

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First, congratulations on your son making his tournament team (or as many parents refer to it the ‘ALL STAR” team).  There is no doubt that this particular team is good, and you most likely believe it’s the best in a long time. The reality is very simple. Your 12 year old team is NOT going to the Little League World Series. They will NOT get to the Regional Level. There is tiny immeasurable chance the will make it to the State Level. There is a pretty good chance they will make it to Sectional Level because there is little to no competition at the District Level. However winning the District is typically as far as they will go (check the records, it’s something like 35 years). Now, ask yourself is that what you want. To spend the month of June / July preparing for ONE District Tournament only to be eliminated at the next level. One never knows, and of course past performance is no guarantee of future results. However we also all know the definition of insanity.

Now if it’s the experience of participation is all you are after then there is no argument that that is a good one. However if you choose to join a travel team, this experience will be repeated and enhanced as we participate in many high level World Series class tournaments.

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That is a fine idea provided you don’t actually believe that the IN-HOUSE/REC BALL travel team is actually a travel team.
The IN-HOUSE/REC PROGRAM(s) exist for a reason. They are hugely IMPORTANT to a thriving community providing EVERY boy that wants play baseball regardless of his ability the chance to do exactly that. These leagues are as important as the library, the parks, scouts, etc. Travel Teams were not created to compete with these leagues. They were created to provide the small percentage of talented players an alternative environment to receive advanced coaching and a higher level of competition. Over the years many of the daddy-coaches would have their son try out and join a travel team. They were surprised to find out that on this team their son didn’t always pitch or play shortstop and bat 1st. The managers of these teams actually treated this player the same as all the other players, NO SPECIAL TREATMENT.

Well that wasn’t going to work for these guys so what did they do?? They started their own travel teams. Problem solved.

NOW we get to the next bunch of daddy/coaches. THESE guys simply figured out well lets create a “travel/in-house/rec team” which will be made up of all our kids, and our coaches, and friends, and guys on the board kids. Then decided lets get new jerseys, new hats and use the IN-HOUSE/REC BALL fields, insurance, equipment, etc. for these few players. Best part they decided was that we can have the SAME IN-HOUSE/REC managers/coaches to coach a completely different game against teams and players that were EXCLUSIVELY playing travel baseball. Hey, change hats and you go from a daddy coach to a baseball coach.

You figure out how that’s going to work out.

Just because you drive to another field that doesn’t qualify you as a travel team.

 

 

 

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Good one. Makes sense when you say it or read the question here.

BUT sorry folks IT DOESN’T WORK.
It’s 2 different things. Sooner or later good players will move on to full time independent travel teams. Unfortunately most do it too late. So some parents want the “best of both worlds.” The Illiana Thunderbolts have tried this since our inception 14 years ago. A mistake. The travel game is played at different length bases, different length pitchers mound, bigger outfields, faster pitchers, aggressive base running, lead-offs, balks, signs, hit & runs,  more, more, more.

The IN-HOUSE game was created over 75 years ago with rules that leveled the playing field so that EVERYONE who wanted to play baseball could play no matter their ability. This WAS & IS a great thing. Most of the rules are basically the same.  But the “WAY” the game is taught and played is COMPLETELY different.

It is too much to ask a 10,11,12 year old to learn two different ways to play the same game.
Read this experience, it is a good example of the difference in the game:
Several years back our IN-HOUSE 12 year old team had 8 Illiana Thunderbolts on the team. That year they went 22-2 and 6-0 in post season playoffs. NOW the record is not important. What was important was the 8 Thunderbolt players were playing a different game. Going from 1st to 3rd, hitting the cut-off man. Throwing a change-up instead of a fast ball down the middle with an 0-2 count.  During that season this actually occurred. First, know that the Illiana Thunderbolts expect our batters to be aggressive. We teach the players that they may get one good pitch to hit and it may be the first pitch they see, so we encourage-no we insist they  go up there ‘READY’ to hit. So, here we are at an IN-HOUSE game and one of the Thunderbolts is up to bat. First pitch right down the middle, our batter took it strike one, next pitch same spot strike 2. Next pitch batter swings. Misses, strike 3. So I asked the batter (remember this is a Thunderbolt player –part time that year) “ why did you take the first two pitches, they were perfect, right down the middle?” The player looked me in the eyes and said the manager (IN-HOUSE manager) told him NOT to swing until he had two strikes. I then found out that he had told ALL the players to “crowd the plate” and  ”don’t swing until you get 2 strikes.”  So, being of an inquisitive mind I asked the manager if in fact he had told the team to “crowd the plate and don’t swing until you get two strikes on you” The manager said of course he did and began to explain to me that the pitcher on the other team was their best pitcher and we had to get the “pitch count” up so that we could get him out the game. Apparently COUNTING was MORE inportant that teaching baseball.

This is IN-HOUSE baseball thinking, how can we expect the kids to go from that ridiculous instruction to teaching them how to play the game correctly?

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Ask yourself these questions:

Does your son love baseball, does he love the “game”? Is he an athlete? Does he like to be challenged? Does he want to play for his H.S. team? Does he want to make the varsity squad as a sophomore? Is the H.S. he is likely to go to have a successful competitive program? Does he like making new friends? Are you getting tired of “bad” baseball? Does he have a daddy-coach?  Does your IN-House board members favor their own kids and disregard the others?
Well if you answered yes to some of those questions then it is probably time to move on..

Now if some of these are familiar to you. “No he doesn’t love baseball he likes playing sometimes”, “yes its hard to get him to practice sometimes as he doesn’t always seem to want to go.”  “No, my son does not like too many challenges or being called out if he makes a mistake, he just shuts down and gives up.”  ‘Not sure if he wants to play baseball in HS, he might play football or basketball or all three sports.” “ Sure he likes making new friends but would rather play baseball with the kids he goes to school with. “ “We don’t have bad baseball in our league, we won district last year!”  “No his dad does not coach, the pitchers dad is the coach, He has a  hitting stick & a batting net, and a pitching machine, and a tablet with a baseball program on it!”  “I am not on the board of our league but my son made the All Stars because he is really good.”
Well if this is more like your train of thought them IN-HOUSE/REC BALL will work just fine for you and your player.

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It’s more expensive than a IN-HOUSE-REC BALL team. So is a Lexus vs. Chevy Spark or Starbucks vs. McDonalds. You get the idea. Travel teams cost more for many reasons, multiple uniforms, tourney fees, field maintenance/rental, sanction fees, insurance, administration, coaching expertise, etc. However, the good news is that most reputable travel programs have fundraising plans in place to help off-set the higher fees. Ask about them you will be surprised how easy it is to raise close to 85% toward a travel team fee.

If you have any questions or require additional information please visit our website at www.illianathunderbolts.com

 

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The Illiana Thunderbolts was formally created in 2004. It was created to provide the opportunity for parents to find a place to have their players play in a competitive environment with a strong emphasis on fundamental instruction.

The coaches that began this program were looking for more that what their local in house/rec ball little league programs could provide. They saw a big discrepancy between their in house/rec ball teams and the more competitive focused travel programs.  Originally the program was called “G.R.E.A.T.” This was due to the fact that we received free T-Shirts from the local community police department. Then we were called the Vipers for a year. Finally after more and more parents got on board it was decided to formalize the organization and thus the the Illiana Thunderbolts were formed.

The first part of the name ILLIANA refers to players to the geographic area on both sides of the Illinois & Indiana border. The THUNDERBOLTS as the story goes came about as it was raining and storming on the day that we needed to tell a tournament director what our name was.

Since most of our players in the beginning days were playing on their local in-house/rec ball teams we started as a part-time travel team. Playing rec ball games during the week and on Saturdays and travel ball baseball on Sundays. Today we are trying to move away from part time travel players as we have learned that that model simply does NOT work.  Its not easy convincing parents of this widely accepted fact but after many years of compromise we have decided that changes need to be made.

It has always been the position of our program to allow for “part-time” players. Many of our parents did not have any travel ball experience and only new the in-house teams. This plus the fact that many of our original coaches and founders of our programs  served on local Little League and other In-House/Rec Ball program boards and really had no point of reference outside their limited experiences. The local in-house/rec ball programs offer a great opportunity for all players regardless of ability the opportunity to play on an organized baseball team. These teams play in shortened seasons (17-22 games) and most receive a trophy or medal of some sort. After the shortened season the leagues  select tournament team(s) which they call “ALL STARS”  typically made up of the sons of the board members, managers and their friends. Some players who do not have these “connections” make the teams, unfortunately they are few and far between. After many years of witnessing this and speaking with dozens of other similar programs in many geographic areas, the decision to be exclusively full team was an easy ones.

Our mission statement is posted elsewhere on the site. However it is simple to understand that the Thunderbolts were created to provide an atmosphere for both players and parents to focus on fundamental instructional baseball for serious minded people. Most people refer to this as Travel-Baseball. A player must try-out and be selected. Not everyone that wants to play can play. Players come from anywhere , not just their local town.  If a problem arises it is dealt with immediately and resolved.

When the focus is baseball that is easy to accomplish.

Now comes the question, Should my player play In-House or Travel Baseball?

While this question is often asked the answer is not as simple as one might think. The Thunderbolts position however is clear.

IF your player is an athlete, IF your player has athletic ability, IF your player loves baseball , IF you(parents) love baseball, then Travel Baseball is the right choice.

On the other hand, IF your player is an average athlete, IF your player is still developing, IF you and your player desire to focus on many sports (soccer, basketball, swimming, etc) then In-House Baseball is your pick.

The differences between In-House & Travel Baseball is vast. Unfortunately it is difficult if not impossible to truly understand it unless you experience it.

Most people are not prepared to make that jump, accept that challenge. Staying with In-House is the easy – familiar choice, the comfortable choice.
Sad but true.
In-House/Rec Ball has tried to combat this obvious discrepancy and so they have created their own travel teams. Don’t be fooled by this.  These are not travel teams. These are In-House/Rec Ball teams with the same players (different jerseys and hats) & same coaches trying to play two completely different style of games. It doesn’t work.  Just because your travel team  “travels” to another field to play a few games doesn’t make it a travel team.

Travel Teams are very happy and confident in their position. They typically do not want to play games against part time travel team or in-house travel teams. No point to it.

In-House/Rec Ball teams are not happy and continue to want to be like a travel team. They schedule games, enter a few travel tournaments only to be frustrated at every juncture. Its a different game. Ask any in-house/travel coach. They will justify their position but the bottom line they do not play the same level of baseball as travel teams.

So, its up to you. Remember every year you wait to do what needs to be done for your son is a year you will NEVER GET BACK…

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The number of teams will depend on the committed players we get. We intend to have a 10u, 11u, 12u, 13u, 14u, 15u AND multiple H.S. teams (16 through 18 yrs old) in 2018.

  • 10u

  • 11u

  • 12u

  • 13u

  • 14u

  • 15u

  • H.S. 16u/17u/18u

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In 2016 the earliest age will be 10 years old.

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YES. At the moment. however we will close the rosters as soon as we we have enough players.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

 

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Yes you can send your questions via email to info@illianathunderbolts.com or text or call 708-473-5051.

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FALL BALL (13)

In 2016 the earliest age will be 10 years old.

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The games are typically played on Saturdays & Sundays with a few Friday nites sprinkled in. We usually play double headers so there are plenty of games during the short season.

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Most of the games for the younger ages are played at the Ho Chunk Baseball Complex 19800 S. Stoney Island Lynwood, IL. The older players also play at Ho Chunk along at some area College fields such as South Suburban College/South Holland, Purdue Calumet/Hammond, etc.

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We hold quite a few practices early in the season and then it tapers off as the school year begins. They are held at Thunderbolt field 1900 Halsted Glenwood, IL behind Living Springs Church.  In addition to school the days are shorter and life gets a little busier in the fall than summer. So we adjust practices accordingly. Practices are not mandatory and we hold them once or twice a week from 5:30pm to 7:00. If you can make it, Great!

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The Illiana Thunderbolts have been participating in fall ball for over 10 years. It is a amazing how many fantastic ballplayers we get on our teams. The simple answer is YES, your son can play to level that challenges him the most. The best way to decide this is to come out to a evaluation workout and see how your superstar fits in with the rest of the ballplayers. 🙂

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Unless your son is planning on working 14 hours on Saturday and 14 hours on Sunday then NO there is no problem. Since we play both days, we have many players who have part time jobs and can still enjoy playing baseball with their old and new friends.

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Illiana Thunderbolts is a short season of regular games and tournaments for serious minded baseball players. A strong emphasis on fundamentals and the ability to learn new positions/skills in a competitive environment makes this brief season a lot of fun and must attend annual event for many.

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The 2015 Fall Ball season starts labor day weekend and ends in mid to late October or whenever the weather turns cold.

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Its easy to sign up for Illiana Thunderbolts Fall Ball. Just click this link or go to www.illianathunderbolts.com and you can sign up on-line. It takes about 2 minutes. You can also text or call 708473-5051 to sign up.

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The Illiana Thunderbolts will field multiple teams in 2015. Using the “age matrix” from 2017, we will have players that are: 9 , 10, 11, 12, & 13 years old, which covers players whose birthdates fall between 5/1/2003 thru 8/31/2008.

We will also have 14u, 15u, 16u. 17u & 18u (H.S.) players that will be in High School in 2016/2017 or graduated in 2017.

 

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Yes He can!. As a matter of fact he will find the fall ball experience with the Thunderbolts to be as much fun if not more. The number of games and the actual  amount of playing time your son will get with the Thunderbolts will exceed what he will experience in the Jr H.S. league

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Sure. No problem, the Illiana Thunderbolts will be play games on both Saturdays and Sundays, so whenever your player is available he can play!

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Yes you can send your questions via email to info@illianathunderbolts.com or text or call 708-473-5051.

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General Questions (11)

Tough One. Yes playing with friends is a HUGE part of the IN-HOUSE/REC BALL experience. In many cases it’s the deal breaker.
Continuing the friendships into each summer is a strong attraction. It’s also fun for the parents to get to hang out with the same clique of people that you are comfortable with.
The other view is on a travel team your son will make new friends as a group of young men get together to build a team. Its fun to watch. Also you might meet someone new and interesting as well.
I believe this view is short sighted and we have lost many kids for this reason. The only thing I can say is that a HUGE number of the parents will come to me a and say “boy I wished we made the move sooner” or “I wish you would have talked me into travel BEFORE he turned 12, 13 years old.”

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First, congratulations on your son making his tournament team (or as many parents refer to it the ‘ALL STAR” team).  There is no doubt that this particular team is good, and you most likely believe it’s the best in a long time. The reality is very simple. Your 12 year old team is NOT going to the Little League World Series. They will NOT get to the Regional Level. There is tiny immeasurable chance the will make it to the State Level. There is a pretty good chance they will make it to Sectional Level because there is little to no competition at the District Level. However winning the District is typically as far as they will go (check the records, it’s something like 35 years). Now, ask yourself is that what you want. To spend the month of June / July preparing for ONE District Tournament only to be eliminated at the next level. One never knows, and of course past performance is no guarantee of future results. However we also all know the definition of insanity.

Now if it’s the experience of participation is all you are after then there is no argument that that is a good one. However if you choose to join a travel team, this experience will be repeated and enhanced as we participate in many high level World Series class tournaments.

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That is a fine idea provided you don’t actually believe that the IN-HOUSE/REC BALL travel team is actually a travel team.
The IN-HOUSE/REC PROGRAM(s) exist for a reason. They are hugely IMPORTANT to a thriving community providing EVERY boy that wants play baseball regardless of his ability the chance to do exactly that. These leagues are as important as the library, the parks, scouts, etc. Travel Teams were not created to compete with these leagues. They were created to provide the small percentage of talented players an alternative environment to receive advanced coaching and a higher level of competition. Over the years many of the daddy-coaches would have their son try out and join a travel team. They were surprised to find out that on this team their son didn’t always pitch or play shortstop and bat 1st. The managers of these teams actually treated this player the same as all the other players, NO SPECIAL TREATMENT.

Well that wasn’t going to work for these guys so what did they do?? They started their own travel teams. Problem solved.

NOW we get to the next bunch of daddy/coaches. THESE guys simply figured out well lets create a “travel/in-house/rec team” which will be made up of all our kids, and our coaches, and friends, and guys on the board kids. Then decided lets get new jerseys, new hats and use the IN-HOUSE/REC BALL fields, insurance, equipment, etc. for these few players. Best part they decided was that we can have the SAME IN-HOUSE/REC managers/coaches to coach a completely different game against teams and players that were EXCLUSIVELY playing travel baseball. Hey, change hats and you go from a daddy coach to a baseball coach.

You figure out how that’s going to work out.

Just because you drive to another field that doesn’t qualify you as a travel team.

 

 

 

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Good one. Makes sense when you say it or read the question here.

BUT sorry folks IT DOESN’T WORK.
It’s 2 different things. Sooner or later good players will move on to full time independent travel teams. Unfortunately most do it too late. So some parents want the “best of both worlds.” The Illiana Thunderbolts have tried this since our inception 14 years ago. A mistake. The travel game is played at different length bases, different length pitchers mound, bigger outfields, faster pitchers, aggressive base running, lead-offs, balks, signs, hit & runs,  more, more, more.

The IN-HOUSE game was created over 75 years ago with rules that leveled the playing field so that EVERYONE who wanted to play baseball could play no matter their ability. This WAS & IS a great thing. Most of the rules are basically the same.  But the “WAY” the game is taught and played is COMPLETELY different.

It is too much to ask a 10,11,12 year old to learn two different ways to play the same game.
Read this experience, it is a good example of the difference in the game:
Several years back our IN-HOUSE 12 year old team had 8 Illiana Thunderbolts on the team. That year they went 22-2 and 6-0 in post season playoffs. NOW the record is not important. What was important was the 8 Thunderbolt players were playing a different game. Going from 1st to 3rd, hitting the cut-off man. Throwing a change-up instead of a fast ball down the middle with an 0-2 count.  During that season this actually occurred. First, know that the Illiana Thunderbolts expect our batters to be aggressive. We teach the players that they may get one good pitch to hit and it may be the first pitch they see, so we encourage-no we insist they  go up there ‘READY’ to hit. So, here we are at an IN-HOUSE game and one of the Thunderbolts is up to bat. First pitch right down the middle, our batter took it strike one, next pitch same spot strike 2. Next pitch batter swings. Misses, strike 3. So I asked the batter (remember this is a Thunderbolt player –part time that year) “ why did you take the first two pitches, they were perfect, right down the middle?” The player looked me in the eyes and said the manager (IN-HOUSE manager) told him NOT to swing until he had two strikes. I then found out that he had told ALL the players to “crowd the plate” and  ”don’t swing until you get 2 strikes.”  So, being of an inquisitive mind I asked the manager if in fact he had told the team to “crowd the plate and don’t swing until you get two strikes on you” The manager said of course he did and began to explain to me that the pitcher on the other team was their best pitcher and we had to get the “pitch count” up so that we could get him out the game. Apparently COUNTING was MORE inportant that teaching baseball.

This is IN-HOUSE baseball thinking, how can we expect the kids to go from that ridiculous instruction to teaching them how to play the game correctly?

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Ask yourself these questions:

Does your son love baseball, does he love the “game”? Is he an athlete? Does he like to be challenged? Does he want to play for his H.S. team? Does he want to make the varsity squad as a sophomore? Is the H.S. he is likely to go to have a successful competitive program? Does he like making new friends? Are you getting tired of “bad” baseball? Does he have a daddy-coach?  Does your IN-House board members favor their own kids and disregard the others?
Well if you answered yes to some of those questions then it is probably time to move on..

Now if some of these are familiar to you. “No he doesn’t love baseball he likes playing sometimes”, “yes its hard to get him to practice sometimes as he doesn’t always seem to want to go.”  “No, my son does not like too many challenges or being called out if he makes a mistake, he just shuts down and gives up.”  ‘Not sure if he wants to play baseball in HS, he might play football or basketball or all three sports.” “ Sure he likes making new friends but would rather play baseball with the kids he goes to school with. “ “We don’t have bad baseball in our league, we won district last year!”  “No his dad does not coach, the pitchers dad is the coach, He has a  hitting stick & a batting net, and a pitching machine, and a tablet with a baseball program on it!”  “I am not on the board of our league but my son made the All Stars because he is really good.”
Well if this is more like your train of thought them IN-HOUSE/REC BALL will work just fine for you and your player.

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It’s more expensive than a IN-HOUSE-REC BALL team. So is a Lexus vs. Chevy Spark or Starbucks vs. McDonalds. You get the idea. Travel teams cost more for many reasons, multiple uniforms, tourney fees, field maintenance/rental, sanction fees, insurance, administration, coaching expertise, etc. However, the good news is that most reputable travel programs have fundraising plans in place to help off-set the higher fees. Ask about them you will be surprised how easy it is to raise close to 85% toward a travel team fee.

If you have any questions or require additional information please visit our website at www.illianathunderbolts.com

 

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The Illiana Thunderbolts was formally created in 2004. It was created to provide the opportunity for parents to find a place to have their players play in a competitive environment with a strong emphasis on fundamental instruction.

The coaches that began this program were looking for more that what their local in house/rec ball little league programs could provide. They saw a big discrepancy between their in house/rec ball teams and the more competitive focused travel programs.  Originally the program was called “G.R.E.A.T.” This was due to the fact that we received free T-Shirts from the local community police department. Then we were called the Vipers for a year. Finally after more and more parents got on board it was decided to formalize the organization and thus the the Illiana Thunderbolts were formed.

The first part of the name ILLIANA refers to players to the geographic area on both sides of the Illinois & Indiana border. The THUNDERBOLTS as the story goes came about as it was raining and storming on the day that we needed to tell a tournament director what our name was.

Since most of our players in the beginning days were playing on their local in-house/rec ball teams we started as a part-time travel team. Playing rec ball games during the week and on Saturdays and travel ball baseball on Sundays. Today we are trying to move away from part time travel players as we have learned that that model simply does NOT work.  Its not easy convincing parents of this widely accepted fact but after many years of compromise we have decided that changes need to be made.

It has always been the position of our program to allow for “part-time” players. Many of our parents did not have any travel ball experience and only new the in-house teams. This plus the fact that many of our original coaches and founders of our programs  served on local Little League and other In-House/Rec Ball program boards and really had no point of reference outside their limited experiences. The local in-house/rec ball programs offer a great opportunity for all players regardless of ability the opportunity to play on an organized baseball team. These teams play in shortened seasons (17-22 games) and most receive a trophy or medal of some sort. After the shortened season the leagues  select tournament team(s) which they call “ALL STARS”  typically made up of the sons of the board members, managers and their friends. Some players who do not have these “connections” make the teams, unfortunately they are few and far between. After many years of witnessing this and speaking with dozens of other similar programs in many geographic areas, the decision to be exclusively full team was an easy ones.

Our mission statement is posted elsewhere on the site. However it is simple to understand that the Thunderbolts were created to provide an atmosphere for both players and parents to focus on fundamental instructional baseball for serious minded people. Most people refer to this as Travel-Baseball. A player must try-out and be selected. Not everyone that wants to play can play. Players come from anywhere , not just their local town.  If a problem arises it is dealt with immediately and resolved.

When the focus is baseball that is easy to accomplish.

Now comes the question, Should my player play In-House or Travel Baseball?

While this question is often asked the answer is not as simple as one might think. The Thunderbolts position however is clear.

IF your player is an athlete, IF your player has athletic ability, IF your player loves baseball , IF you(parents) love baseball, then Travel Baseball is the right choice.

On the other hand, IF your player is an average athlete, IF your player is still developing, IF you and your player desire to focus on many sports (soccer, basketball, swimming, etc) then In-House Baseball is your pick.

The differences between In-House & Travel Baseball is vast. Unfortunately it is difficult if not impossible to truly understand it unless you experience it.

Most people are not prepared to make that jump, accept that challenge. Staying with In-House is the easy – familiar choice, the comfortable choice.
Sad but true.
In-House/Rec Ball has tried to combat this obvious discrepancy and so they have created their own travel teams. Don’t be fooled by this.  These are not travel teams. These are In-House/Rec Ball teams with the same players (different jerseys and hats) & same coaches trying to play two completely different style of games. It doesn’t work.  Just because your travel team  “travels” to another field to play a few games doesn’t make it a travel team.

Travel Teams are very happy and confident in their position. They typically do not want to play games against part time travel team or in-house travel teams. No point to it.

In-House/Rec Ball teams are not happy and continue to want to be like a travel team. They schedule games, enter a few travel tournaments only to be frustrated at every juncture. Its a different game. Ask any in-house/travel coach. They will justify their position but the bottom line they do not play the same level of baseball as travel teams.

So, its up to you. Remember every year you wait to do what needs to be done for your son is a year you will NEVER GET BACK…

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The number of teams will depend on the committed players we get. We intend to have a 10u, 11u, 12u, 13u, 14u, 15u AND multiple H.S. teams (16 through 18 yrs old) in 2018.

  • 10u

  • 11u

  • 12u

  • 13u

  • 14u

  • 15u

  • H.S. 16u/17u/18u

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In 2016 the earliest age will be 10 years old.

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YES. At the moment. however we will close the rosters as soon as we we have enough players.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

 

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Yes you can send your questions via email to info@illianathunderbolts.com or text or call 708-473-5051.

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INDOOR WINTER BASEBALL CAMP (24)

It is SIMPLY the BEST & AFFORDABLE instructional baseball camp in the south suburbs, northwest Indiana area!

Our Indoor Winter camp is an excellent opportunity for your ball player to receive fundamental instruction in multiple areas during the cold snowy months of January, February, & March.
The areas covered include but are not limited to:

  • HITTING
  • PITCHING
  • CATCHING
  • BASE RUNNING
  • CONDITIONING
  • INFIELD
  • OUTFIELD
  • RULES
  • “LIVE” SITUATIONS
  • FUNDAMENTALS

    CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

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This is a great question which requires quite a long answer. However we will try and provide a brief overview.

As stated there are 6 divisions, THUNDER TYKES (5 & 7 yrs. old), PEE WEES (8 & 9 yrs. old), MINORS,  MAJORS (10 & 11 yrs. old), BIG LEAGUE (12 & 13years old), & HIGH SCHOOL (freshman thru seniors). In addition to the different ages WITHIN each division there will be a different level of experience, abilities, knowledge and so forth. While MANY of the drills are structured for the entire group to perform some “other” drills or stations will be set up to focus on beginning, intermediate, and advance skills. These stations will change from session to session and the players will be moved in and out of different groups to maximize the appropriate instruction we can provide.

Since we will be covering such things as; base running, sliding, lead-offs, ground balls, fly balls, batting stance, tee work, balance, weight placement, torso vs arm swing, bat grip, head placement, dominant eye awareness, double plays, pitching form, stretch vs. wind-up, arm strength, pick-off, balks, athletic balance, quickness, focus, relay, catching, blocking, tags, batting box presence, signs, rules, and more we will be constantly tweaking the groups within the division and areas of instruction each group will receive.

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The Illiana Thunderbolt Indoor Winter Camp is perfect for beginners as well as advanced experienced players. Your ball player will be assigned to a group of players with like similar ability/experience.

Our coaches will tailor the instruction and drills to provide the proper level of training for the players.

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NO. EVERYONE of age is eligible and welcome to attend one of our camps. You can be playing for your in-town team or any other travel program and you are welcome to participate in our winter camp.

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The ENTIRE camp begins Sunday January 3, 2016 and ends on Sunday April 3, 2016

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You can choose one of three plans we have set up.

The 1st plan is called MINI CAMP 1 . This is a 3 session camp that will be held on the following Sundays; January 3, 10, 17 2016.

That is 3 Sundays that your player can attend if you choose the MINI CAMP 1.

 

The second plan is MINI CAMP TWO. This is a 3 session camp that will be held on the following Sundays; February 14, 21, 28, 2016

That is 3 Sundays that your player can attend if you choose the MINI CAMP 2.

 

The third plan is SPRING TRAINING CAMP. This is a 4 session camp that will be held on the following Sundays;  March 6, 13, 20, & April 3, 2016.

That is 4 Sundays that your player can attend if you choose the SPRING TRAINING CAMP .

THE BEST VALUE IS TO CHOOSE ALL 3 CAMPS.
That is 10 Sundays that your player can attend if you choose ALL 3 CAMPS that will be held on the following Sundays;  January 3, 10, 17, February 14, 21, 28, March 6, 13, 20, & April 3, 2016. 

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We have 6 divisions in which you can enroll your player.

They are:
THUNDER TYKES – 5 & 6 yrs. old
PEE WEE DIVISION 7, & 8 yrs.old
MINORS – 9 & 10 yrs. old
MAJORS DIVISION – 11 & 12 yrs. old
BIG LEAGUE DIVISION – 13 & 14 yrs. old
HIGH SCHOOL – Freshman thru Senior

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THUNDER TYKES camp(s) begins at 3:00pm and ends at 4:30pm.

PEE WEE camp(s)  begins at 3:00pm and ends at 5:00pm.

MINORS camp (s)  begins at 5:00pm and ends at 7:00pm.

MAJORS camp(s) begins at 5:00pm and ends at 7:00pm.

BIG LEAGUE camp(s) begins at 5:00pm and ends at 9:00pm.

HIGH SCHOOL camp(s) begins at 5:00pm and ends at 9:00pm.

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No you must use the AGE MATRIX that is used by all organized baseball teams. You can find this chart at: www.illianathunderbolts.com/agematrix. Or look at the following info. You can see this matrix by clicking on this link. AGE MATRIX LINK

 

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Our THUNDER TYKES & PEE-WEE Divivions are perfect for both boys and girls. 

The older camps are generally reserved for boys only but exceptions can be made based on the ability and experience of your daughter at the older age.

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Your player should be dressed ready for a strenuous work-out each and every session

PANTS – Casual baseball attire. Baseball pants, sweats, are best, we discourage shorts.

SHIRTS – T-shirt or jerseys are fine.

SHOES – GYM shoes, turf shoes, etc. NO SPIKES!!,

HAT- Please remember to wear a baseball hat.

MITT – Some players have multiple mitts, one for infield. outfield, 1st base, catcher, bring whatever your player uses.

BAT – Yes if your player has one, If you do not have one you DO NOT need to buy one, we will provide bats

HELMET – Yes if your player has one, If you do not have one you DO NOT need to buy one, we will provide helmets

CUP – Yes (for male players)

WATER – YES, or gatorade or other sport drinks

BASEBALLS – Nope we got that covered

BASEBALL BAG – Best way to keep everything organized.

 

WE HIGHLY ENCOURAGE ALL PLAYERS TO HAVE THEIR NAMES ON THEIR EQUIPMENT. You will surprised how many players have the exact same bats/mitts, etc.

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Sure, we have had MANY coaches bring their whole or part of the team to our camp. Its a great way to get more indoor work done before the season starts. Please contact us at 708-473-5051 to find out how we can make this arrangement work for your organization as well as for the entire success of the camp.

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Yes in the last several years that we have run the camp we have had coaches and players form Marian H.S., Andrean H.S.,  Mt. Carmel H.S. Thornton Fractional North H.S., Brother Rice H.S., Lewis University, Illinois Benedictine College, South Suburbans College, St, Francis Joliet College, as well as several form MLB players.

MOST notably former MLB player and current Philadelphia Phillies coach Mickey Morandini has been a huge supporter and fantastic coach at the camp.

 

The attendance of special coaches is directly contingent upon availabilities however we intend to continue this tradition this year as we find that the players as well as our own coaching staff truly enjoy this part of the camp.

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Absolutely! We love having parents help out. We will hook you up with one of our coaches and have you work at a station helping the players while they are there. If your player has an older brother or uncle, etc. invite them as well.

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It is very simple and only takes about two minutes to register on line by going tohttp://illianathunderbolts.com/wp/2016-winter-camp.

You can also download a hard copy registration form and fill it out and mail it in. That is available at:http://illianathunderbolts.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2016-WINTERCAMP-REG-FRM.pdf

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No that is not what this camp is about. This camp is simply for the opportunity for the ballplayers to have fun and learn some baseball during the cold wintery months. In the past we have had some parents ask us about our program and if their players could play on one of teams. We treat these inquiries on a case by case basis.

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Since we have 3 age divisions and 3 different camp sessions the prices vary. Here they are:

All the prices are listed on this page:  http://illianathunderbolts.com/wp/2016-winter-camp/

We do our best to try and keep the costs manageable. Please feel free to compare these costs to ANY other baseball camp that offers as much time, teaching, and experience as your player will receive at the Illiana Thunderbolt camp.

 

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Yes, there are bleachers set up at one end of the facility where you relax, read a book, and watch your player work out.

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There is a strict NO food policy (this includes sunflower seeds) on the field. The facility has a complete restaurant for food and drinks.

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You can make a payment on line with a debit or credit card. Click here to be taken to that page:https://squareup.com/market/illiana-thunderbolts

Or you can mail in a check withe printable registration form located at: http://illianathunderbolts.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2016-WINTERCAMP-REG-FRM.pdf

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You will need to send at least a $25.00 deposit to guarantee a spot in camp. The balance can be paid at a later date or arrangements can be made to make extend the payment over time.

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Yes, we do. please deduct $20 off the fee for each sibling that signs up.

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Yes you can send your questions via email to info@illianathunderbolts.com or text or call 708-473-5051.

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