Wide World of Indoor Sports is a multi-sports facility organization that has locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Their Rhode Island facilities are located in North Smithfield and North Kingstown. These facilities are well known for providing quality training space for sports like indoor soccer, flag football, field hockey, softball, and yes baseball. Recently, I was speaking with a parent of an Ocean State Outlaws player, who mentioned that they train at the Wide World of Indoor Sports facility in North Smithfield. After exchanging emails with Coach Jorge Bannister regarding attendance and protocols, I discovered that several teams from the Outlaws organization would be practicing in the “Dome” on Saturday morning. So, I took the drive north to watch an indoor baseball practice.
When I pulled into the parking lot at 621 Pound Hill Rd, North Smithfield, I was perplexed to not find a “dome” in sight. I walked to the front of the WWIS facility and rang the doorbell. “I’m here to watch the Outlaws practice,” I said to the attendant. “Oh yes, they are in the dome, behind the building, just follow there around and you will see it,” the attendant pointed to the right of him. Despite being the first day of Spring, it was a chilly, brisk morning and I hustled around the main building to spot the “Dome” located in the back of the parking lot. I ran into Jeff Kent along the way, whose family is close with my sister’s family, and whose son plays on the 15U Navy Outlaws team.
Through the revolving door and into the dome, I found the Ocean State Outlaws very busy on both ends of the indoor facility. There was a sign in table for players, hand sanitizer, and safety protocol information right there when I walked in. I found a chair behind an L-screen protector and sat down to observe the facility and practice. Both the 15U Navy squad and the 17U Showcase team and their coaches were all wearing face coverings. I had mine on when I entered the dome. The two teams were practicing on opposite ends of the dome and there was plenty of room for their baseball activities. When I arrived, the 17U squad was working on conditioning drills. The 15U squad was set up in a defensive alignment and working on bunting and baserunning drills. The temperature inside the dome was comfortable. No wind, no rain, no slushy field, no slippery surfaces, no elements to get in your way of practicing baseball. And the lighting was fantastic, no glares. From what I could observe, ideal conditions for practicing baseball in late March in Rhode Island!
From where I was sitting, I observed a very organized practice on both sides of the dome. On the far end of the dome, the 15U players were positioned with fielders, a pitcher, catcher, baserunners, and batter working on situational baseball. I loved hearing from the coaching staff, pre-pitch, “what are we doing here” and “where are we going with the baseball” and “what are we doing if the runner takes third.” Prepping the players’ minds before the pitch is thrown, getting the players to think about the many possible situations that can occur defensively with a runner on first, less than 2 outs, a batter squaring to bunt. And then providing feedback as the play developed. After a few reps, the players rotated positions on the field and at the plate. There were three active coaches working with the 15U players and the players responded very well in this defensive drill.
On the field area closest to me, the 17U Showcase team was working on conditioning drills, running sprints, and stretching. Their coach was leading them in discussions regarding baserunning and defensive situations. Players huddled around and paid close attention to their coach go over signs. Without question, the dome had plenty of room to host the two baseball squads and their coaching staffs.
I had a great visit to the Dome at Wide World of Indoor Sports – North Smithfield. The dome was very comfortable temperature wise. The lighting was ideal, no glare at all. There was plenty of space for the two teams of roughly 10 to 12 players and their coaches to practice baseball. Both Ocean State Outlaws teams had very well organized practices with a ton of situational baseball mixed with conditioning. The facility had plenty of safety signage and everyone inside the dome, myself included, was wearing a face covering or mask. It was great getting to observe the Outlaws practice and get to see the dome first hand. I look forward to seeing the Outlaws on the baseball fields this Spring and Summer. Special thanks to Coach Jorge Bannister for allowing me to attend.
For more information on the Ocean State Outlaws, go to www.oceanstateoutlaws.com.
For more information on the Wide World of Indoor Sports, go to www.wideworldofindoorsports.com.