We will spend some time in 2021 taking a closer look at many of the key clubs and teams that bring excitement and competition to Triple Crown’s Colorado Baseball division. We start with the Thunder Academy, based in Broomfield, CO, and 12u head coach Shawn Williamson.
Q: What are you most excited about for this team?
A: For the opportunity to compete locally and at a national level with the best teams in the country. We will play in eight TCS tournaments in 2021. Our first four event itinerary is composed of games in Phoenix, Mesquite, NV, Omaha and Park City, UT — we will finish the season at Cooperstown Dreams Park in New York.
Q: What constitutes a successful season for you?
A: Our ability to overcome adversity, our desire to learn from our mistakes and the continued development of our players. This takes anticipation, aggressiveness and autonomy. We anticipate the right move as the play is developing, we move with aggressiveness, confidence without hesitation — we support the autonomy of the player making the right decision.
Q: Would you call 2020 a success for your team and your program with all the challenges and hurdles you faced?
A: Yes, we had all our committed players return. Our Academy 11u Red team had to be willing to pivot to a different destination on a weekly basis. Despite the challenges, we played around 50 games without a single player contracting COVID-19. We always got our work in and our parents were very supportive.
Q: What separates Thunder Academy from the other programs?
A: Our professional instructors Darron Cox, Tom Dedin and Ty Giordano, along with our year around recently updated indoor facility. Thunder Academy has 16 cages with four full-length pitching mounds, a strength/agility area and weight room and our partnership with RedLine Athletics. When we started in 2009, our mission was defined as promoting good character, developing young players’ skills in a positive manner and preparing for high school baseball and beyond. Our partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance since 2011 has helped support the mission. We have implemented the “Culture Keepers” program to enhance our family’s experience.
Q: What’s the team expectations this year?
A: Expectations are to keep players safe and healthy while training and playing competitive tournaments in 2021. The coaches are focused on developing players and increasing the baseball acumen of our players and parents.
Q: What’s the best thing about the state of youth sports right now?
A: The countless additional opportunities players have in developing skills at a much earlier age than a decade ago. Thunder contracts with professional and college trained coaches to teach the technical, emotional, and mature side of baseball. We can use data, video, and conversation to help drive the right behaviors.