Ellis County is a hot bed for talented baseball and softball athletes. Many of those athletes have raw talent but they join camps during the summer including year-round clinics in order to develop that talent even further. Blake Doolan runs one of the best clinics and summer camps in the area.
Doolan, his wife Stephanie, and their three kids arrived to the area six years ago. In 2007, he began working with the Waxahachie YMCA and he enjoyed teaching kids there. The kids enjoyed Doolan’s teaching methods so much that they wanted more.
Soon after that, Doolan opened a company called UR Baseball, a baseball and softball clinic at his Maypearl home where his students could go and learn the fundamentals of hitting and pitching.
“I enjoy teaching kids and I’ve been teaching lessons since I was 19 years old and I’m 41 now,” Doolan said as he talked about why he became involved in teaching clinics.
His facility includes lighted batting cages in the event somebody requests a night session. They have a two-scale high school mound made out of clay that kids use for pitching. They will soon be covering their batting cages in the event inclement weather arrives.
He teaches lessons at his house seven days a week during all hours. He usually trains kids from seven years old and up.
One of the things he requires from parents is that the parents stay there during their kids’ lessons. He does that so parents can go home and continue working with their kids on what they’ve learned. He insists that he’s not there just to collect money and send them on their way.
He also makes it a point to attend his students’ games to see how they’re progressing and offers up advice if need be.
Doolan is passionate about teaching kids the proper way of pitching. He says that many players today implement curve balls or sliders that end up damaging their arms. He prefers teaching the fastball and changeup techniques, which he feels are safer and more effective.
“The thing I can say about today’s youth is that they’re taught to be successful too quick,” Doolan said. “They are taught techniques that end up damaging their bodies. You can be successful fairly quickly but you have to play it safe.”
One of the main things he teaches however has nothing to do with baseball. He teaches a heavy dose of self-respect and respect for others.
A couple of things he talks about are the dangers of chewing tobacco and drinking, which are common in baseball. A drunken driver killed his brother-in-law in an accident two years ago. Stephanie was also injured on a different occasion when a drunken driver slammed into her automobile. Doolan displays a wrecked motorcycle in his yard and talks to his students about the effects of a person’s bad choices after they got behind the wheel after they had been drinking. It’s kind of a shocker to his students to see that but it gets their attention.
Doolan also places a point of emphasis on how the athletes should act off the field by respecting others including their parents. After a few lessons from Doolan, parents begin to notice that the attitudes in their kids change in a positive way.
Doolan says that the success of his program is what the student is willing to put into it.
“It all depends on how clean you stay and how hard you’re willing to work,” he said.
Doolan looks to stay busy in the next few months. Summer camps are just around the corner and he will have his plate full this fall. He’s planning on creating an 18U select team this fall to play in the Waxahachie league. He’s also planning on writing a book and making a training video DVD.