North Florida Storm Has now gone international!
We are now home to players from Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and the Bahamas! We are very thankful for all those involved and look forward to expand even more in the coming years!
The North Florida Storm was started in 1999 for simple reasons. First, was to give our young men a better chance to play the sport they love beyond High School. Second, if you play the ultimate team sports game the right way, you can make friends that could last a lifetime. I have seen too many teams with tremendous talent lose to teams with average talent because of what I like to call "ME Guys". The importance of being a great teammate can't be dismissed anymore. I am a believer that 17 players pulling the same way has much more strength than 17 guys pulling in their own direction.
Many say, "Well this is travel ball, who cares? Just put the players out there and let them play. The best will shine and move on." In my eyes that's the problem! My job is to get ALL of my platers in the BEST position to succeed at the next level, and to be prepared. We accomplish this on many levels. A Storm player must maintain a 3.0 GPA to play on our teams. There will be NO profanity by both coaches or players at ANY time. "Sir" is required at the end of an answer. Hustle and respect of both the game and other players is extremely important.
We have a 100% success rate of players that go through our program to move on to college or professional baseball. I do not put on tryouts, because in my eyes, it's stealing money. I personally go get my players, receive calls/emails, or visit with players and offer an invite to join the North Florida Storm team. To call us a team is almost disrespectful because we are more of a family. I would rather consider us an old school organization. If you could imagine a travel ball baseball team from 1978, we would be just that. We stress the importance of academics, family, and our Lord EVERY day, No, we do not shove any of this down our players' throat, but these are things that are important to me. We stay positive about ALL situations and yes, I am the "bad guy" in our family. We have a tremendous coaching staff that do a great job of instructing and teaching. There must be a disciplinarian, and that just so happens to be me. There is NO talking back, no walking on or off the field, no talking to mommy or daddy during practice or games, no bad body language, no missing signals, no looking at umpires, and NO negativity. Please understand that it is not my job to be friends with the parent or the player. My job is to get your child into college and have them prepared so they succeed, and by the way, we are pretty good at it!
Our goal isn't to win a single tournament, it is to get the players in front of the right people so that their success is on the radar of college scouts. The Lord has blessed me with the ability to have an impact on the molding of these young men, and I have always considered it an honor to earn the trust of the parents and players to play this role. We are blind to color, financial situations, and people your parents know. We want ball players, it's just that simple.
TEAM SPOTLIGHT: NORTH FLORIDA STORM
Written by Mike James on Friday, September 19, 2014
Name: North Florida Storm
Manager: Shelly Hall
Just about every club and travel team will tell parents their goal is to help their players prepare and move on to the next level, college baseball. For the North Florida Storm, however, it's not so much a goal as a promise. In the 15 years since its inception, the Storm has a 100 percent record of sending players to collegiate or professional baseball. One hundred percent. As in, all of them. Ever. How? "We play a major role in development of our young men," said Storm manager Shelly Hall. "All players have to maintain a 3.0 to play with us and profanity is not allowed by players or coaches.We have a family style environment with strict discipline."
It may sound like baseball boot camp, but no one can argue with its success. Over the course of the 13-15 events per year the team plays in, every player on the roster will get enough of a look to draw interest from someone, somewhere -- and that is why the coaches do what they do. Here are the numbers: more than 60 former players have gone to a Division I school, over 100 have played elsewhere in college, and more than 50 have played professionally.
The alumni list is impressive -- Howard Kendrick, Billy Butler, the Drew brothers (J.D., Tim and Stephen) and Desi Relaford are names most baseball fans know, while more recent collegians include D.J. Stewart and Sean Reid-Foley (Florida State), Tyler Deel and Dane Dunning (Florida), Thomas Belcher (Indiana) and Hunter Hanks (Lipscomb).
And the pipeline doesn't stop there. The Storm already have three players committed to schools for next fall -- Rhett Willis, Zack Miller and Luke Cooksey -- while the list of players drawing interest from schools includes Jeremy Peel, Jeremy Lhotka, Noah Leake and J.D. Makauskus.
The law of averages say that the Storm's 100 percent record of players moving on to continue their baseball careers has to end at some point. But given the track record and the way the organization is run, that point may not come.
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