The first time I stepped foot in DiamondZone was the day before the 14u softball tryouts in August, roughly 7 months ago. My grandfather and I had heard about the organization starting up a softball program from a friend, and honestly we weren’t sure what to think at first. Before coming to DiamondZone, I had set a goal for myself which was to make my middle school softball team. During practices, coaches at DZ kept our team going and working as hard as we could for the amount of time we were practicing. DZ staff kept practices engaging, informational, and fun while teaching us the skills we need to become better athletes. On days we did not have practices, you had the option to come to the facility and ask for a cage to practice batting or fielding on your own or with a parent or another teammate.
Within the first few practices, the coaches asked everyone what position they had wanted to play and what positions they had played before coming to DZ. I had played first base once before in a recreational league, and had wanted to play that position ever since. Going into it, I was really hoping to have the opportunity to learn that position more, but wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit at that time. When I mentioned it to the DiamondZone coaches, I was worried they might say no, but to my surprise they were eager to begin working with me on that position. In the first few weeks of practicing with the DiamondZone staff, I could already tell I had improved at the physical and mental aspects of the game. Along with my skills improving, I had a better understanding of the different plays and situations. I had also grown deeper connections with all of my teammates, who came from all different towns such as North Haven, Hamden, Madison, etc.
The DiamondZone staff is excellent at working with every player. They often give players “homework” or drills to work on at home to continue developing their skill. They strongly encourage doing the drills they assign, because the next time you go to practice, the coaches can tell through how you perform if you did what they asked of you. Most tasks assigned are little drills to increase muscle memory, and can be done in a players living room or even bedroom. Coaches at DZ teach the importance of working as a team and they encourage players to help their teammates get better while they better themselves. My coaches also care about my life outside of DiamondZone, and always ask about my grades, how my family is, how I did at another sporting event, etc. Over the past 7 months I’ve grown so close to the people at DiamondZone that I consider them family. They care about the wellbeing of their athletes and are invested in making every player feel welcome and a part of the team.
In the days leading up to my middle school tryouts, the owner of the facility, Brett Bradanini, was very generous and allowed me to come in and practice batting so I was better prepared for my tryout. Because of the skill taught to me at DiamondZone, I was able to achieve my goal and make my middle school softball team. Looking back now, I don’t think I would have come close to making that goal if I did not make the switch to DZ. With any good program, there are ups and downs, good and bad days. However, there is not a day that goes by where I regret my decision making the switch to the DiamondZone program. DiamondZone has helped me improve at all aspects of the game, and have helped me become a better person and athlete.