How is FCA Baseball different from travel baseball clubs?
FCA So. Cal. Catch Baseball is a player development academy, with the explicit goal of successfully getting your athlete to the next level of play albeit high school, college or beyond. We have been very successful assisting players using baseball as a catalyst to earn scholarships and attend college. Most travel ball clubs will tell you they are development focused, but their primary goal is winning tournaments, which means they short cut the process constantly being on the lookout for finding the best players they can. This creates high turnover and instability for their players, which creates unnecessary pressure and is not a very conducive learning environment. Every aspect of our program is focused on developing our athletes as players and as young men. Once a player enters the FCA Baseball program they rarely leave unless they have moved on to college or play at a higher level. For additional information about our program and our approach see The Phenom Way and Membership.
Does Phenom have major sponsorships? How do they benefit players?
Phenom is the only baseball academy sponsored by the world leading athletics company Nike. Our partnership with Nike manifests in many benefits for our players. Players receive access to unique Nike products, special sales and discounts, and our elite Nike Signature teams receive all of their equipment at no charge from Nike. In addition we have partnerships with Easton and Zinger bats, as well as other major manufacturers to continuously bring the best products at the best prices to our members.
Have any famous players attended Phenom?
Many of the players that have participated in the Phenom program have gone on to play baseball at a higher level. And most attribute a portion of their success to the skills and lessons they learned while at Phenom. For a list of these players please visit our Alumni page.
Has Phenom won any national titles?
Phenom teams have won virtually every major competitive national title including USSSA, Perfect Game, Under Armour and USA Championships. We continue to train our players and teams at the highest level to compete and win at local, regional and national events. For a detailed list of competition championships won please see our Titles page.
What is the Nike Signature team? How do I get my son on the team?
Nike Signature is an elite national team, offered at the upper age levels of our program that showcases the best players in our system. These players travel the country to play against the top teams in the nation, and are often ranked and successful at the top of these groups. Nike sponsors the signature teams providing the players with the latest products and highest quality uniforms and equipment. The team is by invitation only and tryouts are held once a year. For additional information see our Nike Signature page.
Are you affiliated with Phenom Basketball Camps?
Yes, Phenom Baseball was founded by the same owner as the popular Phenom Basketball Camps. For additional information about Phenom Basketball please visit www.phenomamerica.com.
Can anyone join the Phenom program?
As an academy Phenom membership is offered to any player ages 8-18. All they need are good grades, a desire to learn and willingness to put in the work and grow.
What are the major components of the program?
Our program consists of the following components:
Professionally coached field training sessions, typically 1-2 times per week
Professionally coached batting sessions – typically 1 time per week and in advance of major tournaments
Unlimited strength and conditioning training run by local providers that are certified in the training of baseball players
Tournament play – typically 2-3 times per month
Independent training and progress monitoring using our state-of-the-art technology apps and web platform
Many coaches in our system also offer individual team practices and private lessons (for an additional fee)
What do players do and learn at practices?
Our practice plans are made up of a variety of proven drills and exercises designed to get players proper instruction and demonstration of key skills, the maximum number of reps learning those skills and to keep players moving. We also spend time on the mental side of the game and the core principles and lessons inherent in the game, including playing The Phenom Way.
How do you assess players and track their progress?
Capturing information and providing feedback are cornerstones to growth. Many programs say they are development focused, but in fact if you press them they probably can’t tell you what that means. We believe in providing our players the information needed not to compete directly with other players, but to in effect compete with themselves. And we provide a path that leads them towards accelerating their development and success. Our coaches hold quarterly sessions with players to capture and track key performance metrics. In addition, we have partnered with Re-Play Athletics to provide a series of mobile apps and a personalized web page for each player giving them recommendations and independent training information based on their performance. Players can monitor and share their progress and focus on their unique key development needs. For additional information please see our State-of-the-Art Technology page.
My son plays high school baseball – can he attend your program?
We offer programs that work in concert and meet the requirements for players that are in the process of playing for a high school team. For additional information please see our Membership page or contact your local Phenom representative.
How often do you play in tournaments? How far do you travel?
Most age groups and levels will play in tournaments an average of 2 times per month. We use tournaments to get team competitive experience, live reps and to define player needs so when we are in a training environment after the tournament we know how to focus and guide each player. While we like to win, we do not play tournaments using a ‘win at all costs’ mentality. Instead we feel that by working with each player to develop their skills and build their confidence, and with the team about team dynamics and camaraderie, the winning usually takes care of itself. Sadly this is counter to many other teams where winning is orchestrated by the coaches often at the expense of a player(s).
Are there different levels of play for each age group?
Yes, depending on the age and market area we try to offer at least a couple of levels of play provided there are an adequate number of players to do so. Your player will be placed on a team depending on their experience, ability and aptitude. At the coach’s discretion players may be moved to higher level teams, or even at times be invited to play up an age level to provide even greater experience and to facilitate their development.
My son is a pitcher – how often will he start?
Working with pitchers is both an art and a science. We believe in providing pitcher’s the development tools they need to grow but doing so in a safe and controlled manner. Many travel teams will push their pitchers to the limit with little regard for maintain their health and safety while making the most of their development. We monitor all pitching activity and will typically try and throw most pitchers in competitive play once per tournament, however as competitive play goes, we cannot always control how many opportunities arise in a specific tournament. But we know that this time on the mound in important, so we also augment this with live pitching at practices, bullpens during practices, as well as long toss programs post games. But most importantly we stay in touch and in tune with our pitchers to ensure they develop without putting their future at risk.
My son only plays [position]. Can you guarantee he will play there?
Our coaches are trained to assess a player’s skills and make recommendations for specific positions that match your players abilities, and to set them up for success at the next level. Often this means they will play at a position they have been trained to play in, but at times we find that by moving a player to a position better suited to their skills, we can provide a better path for playing at the next level in college and beyond. At younger levels we encourage players to work at playing at least a couple of different positions until their bodies fully develop and their abilities begin to focus on specific skills needed for each unique position.
Why do you include strength and conditioning training? Do we have to pay extra for this? Is attendance mandatory?
We are partnered with EM Speed and Power, one of the leading baseball speed, strength and conditioning companies in the nation. We specifically mention “baseball” when describing EM because many companies that offer strength and conditioning do not provide unique instruction catering to the needs of a baseball player. This is an important distinction as the program provided to a player in another sport such as football is very different than that needed by a baseball player. All Phenom players receive unlimited use of the EM facilities including daily workout classes, equipment and direction from professional trainers. These services are included in your player’s monthly Phenom fees. Attendance to the strength and conditioning sessions is not required but in our experience regular attendance makes a huge positive difference in a player’s development. EM also provides additional training services for a fee such as batting cage and pitching tunnel rental, physical therapy, personal training, etc.
How successful are you at helping players get committed to colleges and earn scholarships?
Once a player attains our highest level of play and is exiting high school our staff has already laid the framework to provide access to college recruiters and scholarships. We are proud of the fact that we have been able to secure a college education for virtually every player on our most recent graduating team. So if your player has the grades, aptitude and talent there is a high probability we can greatly assist them in reaching their college attendance and baseball goals.
Do you recommend players go to showcases? Starting at what age?
While showcases for older players are important for visibility and experience, we like our players to find a balance when deciding which to attend. If you want to run around the country attending every event and have the finances and time to do so then that is of course your prerogative. But we prefer a more targeted method that combines attending select events and using our staff to assist in opening doors and developing relationships. We do not recommend showcases for players at the younger ages (i.e. 8-12) because they are premature in the process, unless your goal is to just have fun and see what they are about.
What are the fees?
Compared to other academies our fees are very competitive and reasonable, especially for the scope of services our players receive. For additional information about fees please see our Membership page.
What do the uniforms cost? Is there any other equipment we are required to buy?
On average a uniform costs about $125. Players on our elite Nike Signature teams receive uniforms (and other equipment) at no charge. We believe an important part of playing like a team means looking like a team, so we also offer a wide variety of equipment including helmets, bats, batting gloves, etc. that players may purchase from our online store, from your local coordinator, or from one of our many Nike online flash sales that offer equipment and branded items not available anywhere else.
How long do I have to commit to the program? Is there a contract involved?
We ask that our players commit to an annual agreement, however if you do not like our program or it is not for you we of course do not force anyone to stay. Players must have a level of commitment, good grades and a proper work ethic to enjoy and succeed in our program. If you would like to see if our program is for you attend a free tryout session in a location near you.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept all major forms of credit and debit cards for payment. We are also working to implement payment by savings or checking account too. All payments are signed up for and processed online electronically using an auto-debit program. For your safety and security we do not accept cash or in-person payments for membership fees.
Can I make monthly payments?
Yes, monthly payments are available and perfectly acceptable.
Do you offer a discount for prepaying for a longer period of time?
Yes, we do offer a discount for those that pre-pay the annual cost in advance, however if you choose this option and decide to leave the program we do not offer refunds.
Do you offer multi-player discounts for siblings?
We work hard to offer the highest caliber program with the most competitive costs, and because we operate as a non-profit, and to be fair to all players that join our program, we are unfortunately not able to provide multi-player discounts.
What experience, level of play attained, etc. do your coaches have?
We require that all of our coaches have played competitive baseball at a higher level, and most importantly have the aptitude to teach and be a positive example to our players. Many coaches have played professionally at both the minor and major league level. We also carefully screen and do background checks on all of our coaches.
What is the average coach to player ratio at practices?
While certain conditions may cause it to vary, we strive for an 8-10 player per coach ratio or better whenever possible. We also rotate our coaches during practices to ensure each player gets to know all of our staff and learn specific skills from each of their respective areas of expertise.
Do Phenom coaches offer private lessons?
While some coaches may offer lessons in specialized areas such as hitting, pitching, catching, etc. they are not required and are offered outside the Phenom program. If desired, private lessons are to be coordinated directly between you and the coach on your own time, and not during Phenom activities.
I have coaching/score keeping/manager/etc. experience – do you let parents help on field or in the dugout?
We understand and appreciate that many, if not most, parents love the sport of baseball and have experience both playing and coaching however we do not allow parents on the field or in the dugout in any capacity. The best way to support your player is to attend their games and practices, and be supportive by telling them you love them and enjoy watching them play. By leaving the coaching to our trained staff and letting them provide the training feedback, you will not only enjoy the experience more, your relationship with your player will remain positive. There are at times we do need assistance in capturing performance data and score keeping off the field – please let your local coordinator know if you are interested.
For any other questions please contact us.