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North Van dad opens ball training facility

THIS summer, the North Shore's passion for baseball was out in full force during the 2011 Little League National Championships. But North Vancouver dad Stephan Grisbrook, whose three sons play the sport, noticed that something was missing.

THIS summer, the North Shore's passion for baseball was out in full force during the 2011 Little League National Championships.

But North Vancouver dad Stephan Grisbrook, whose three sons play the sport, noticed that something was missing.

"I realized that there's nothing on the North Shore for training facilities," he says.

"We were driving to Richmond or out to UBC for winter training."

That's why Grisbrook, a pilot who moved to North Vancouver in 2008, recently opened Inside Performance athlete development centre in the district.

The facility, which has been two years in the making, boasts 4,500 square feet of field turf with three batting cages, as well areas for cardio and weight training and a healthcare division that features on-site physiotherapy, chiropractics and massage. Brand new changing rooms and showers are also available.

"It's taken me a long time to find the right facility," says Grisbrook, explaining that while it looks good now, that wasn't always the case.

"It was just a disaster. It was machines and welders, and cheap metal and racks filled with equipment all over the place. I walked in and went 'This is it, we'll take it.'"

While the centre is geared towards baseball and girls fastpitch softball, Grisbrook says it can also be used for soccer and hockey skills training.

Programs are to include fitness testing, baseball skills testing and strength training. Injury screening is also a big factor, according to Grisbrook.

"We'll find out if there are any injuries or pending injuries and develop an athletic program for them to keep them out of injury," he says, explaining that's where the health practitioners will play a big role.

His hope is that older kids will be able to focus in on baseball, while the younger children will simply learn how to become "long term athletes."

"We want these young athletes not to be single sport," he says.

"Most of the best ball players, no matter what team they're on, they're usually the best athletes. They're well rounded, they're athletic, they're strong."

So far, Inside Performance has garnered interest from North Vancouver Central Little League, Forest Hills Little League and the North Shore Twins, whom Grisbrook's own twins play for.

He's also planning on starting a 10-game fall Little League session, for which North Vancouver Central, Cypress, West Vancouver, Forest Hills, Lynn Valley, Mount Seymour, Hastings and Kerrisdale have signed up.

Grisbrook said he is working towards starting a baseball academy with a West Vancouver high school as well. To that end, he's set aside an educational room on the second floor of the facility where sport psychology and nutritional classes can take place.

Inside Performance is located at 2-1500 Railway St., North Vancouver. For more information go to www.insideperformance.ca or call 604-980-4114.

mkrishnan@nsnews.com