Combat Training Academy project now underway

Published 5:43 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

It began with a simple Facebook question posed by area baseball coach Justin Kimbro in the middle of July.

“Who would support an indoor batting/training facility in Greenville?” he asked.

As it turns out, he received even more feedback than he bargained for.

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“It was actually more overwhelming than I thought it’d be.  What’s happened is a facility has become available at a place that I’ve been looking at for a while,” Kimbro said.

“And this whole time through the All-Stars and travel ball, I’m just a guy who loves being around the kids and the sport in general—softball, baseball and everything about it.  So for me, I’m not exactly sure how far I can take it, but I said I would at least try.”

The reality is that we have too many kids going to Millbrook and Wetumpka to go to these places whenever we can have one right here in the Camellia City.  All we need is somebody to just take charge and say ‘we’re going to do it.’

Kimbro, as well as fellow baseball coach Andy Beck, have answered the challenge with Combat Training Academy, currently located downtown behind the U-Haul facility where the old feed store used to be.

Once the cleanup process is complete, Kimbro and Beck will work on getting sanctioned and licensed as well as completing the installation of six batting cages—three for baseball and three for softball.

Furthermore, the Combat Training Academy aims to attract the attention of aspiring athletes whose interests lie outside the realm of baseball or softball.

“If you come in there and you’re not interested in baseball or softball, but you just want to be active, we’re planning on turfing this thing up to where we can engage kids in being physically fit, and get them off tablets and PlayStations,” Kimbro said. “We just have to band together and do it.”

In addition, the facility would provide a place for pitchers to constantly work on throwing during the offseason, provide a means of videotaping sessions and possibly serve as a draw for college scouts to come and see specific talent in Butler County.

“I have a hard time believing that Greenville hasn’t been able to put out just as much talent as your Troys or your Bay Minettes or your Montgomeries,” Kimbro said. We have just as much talent, but we just have to give them the tools to be successful.”

Kimbro and Beck’s ultimate goal is to return to the glory days of Greenville being represented with eight to 10 Dixie Youth or Dixie Minor baseball teams.

“I want the interest level to be at an all-time high because the kids are having fun,” Kimbro said. “And it starts at tee-ball.  If they’re having fun with it, they’ll keep on pursuing it.  What I’m trying to do is give the community something that will spark interest where the kids can have fun in a weather-controlled environment where coaches can bring their teams in, see what kids are doing and they don’t have to play in the mud after it’s just rained.”

Despite the ambitious plans Kimbro and Beck have for the location, construction could be completed very soon.

“If we can get the ordinances that we need and the things that will have to be in place in order for us to be successful, I’m looking at being up and running by no later than mid-September.  And it’s because people believe in this.  People are donating whatever they can in order for this thing to be successful.  I’ve had parents say ‘listen, we’ll do whatever is needed.’ And it’s refreshing as a coach to see that the parents want it just as bad as the kids, and it gives us confidence to move forward with this decision.  It’s a big decision for our families and our town, and I don’t want to let anybody down.  I don’t want to get hopes up and then not have the right things in place to be successful.  Combat Training Academy will not be denied.  Whatever the town and people want, we will make sure it happens.”

Those interested in contributing to the project are asked to visit the Combat Training Academy Facebook page for regular updates.