Upper Deck Training Facility preparing to reopen

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – It’s been over a year since Upper Deck Training Facility in Beckley has been fully operational. After several months of preparation and improvements, it’s close to reopening again for safe training.

Finding a place to train athletes during the winter is tough. Finding a place to train athletes during a COVID-19 winter is tougher. Upper Deck Training Center has had a multitude of preparations for community members to get back in the swing of exercise and competition.

“We’re going to be starting sessions in small groups,” said Upper Deck Training Facility Owner Tim Epling. “We’re going to start back in training the kids in fielding and throwing, and pitching and hitting. We’re going to start a brand new indoor hitting league. I’m very excited about that because we have the technology to be able to take a cage and turn it into a real baseball field.”

Upper Deck has organized its indoor space to comply with COVID precautions. Its goal remains to provide a safe outlet for its athletes, especially in the early stages of its reopening.

“We have a big place,” Epling said. “I could actually do 8-12 players easy and spread them out in a safe environment. They can wear their masks. We have it all disinfected. We have all that kind of thing. We’ve got the protocols. We’ve got the temperature guns. We have all of that.”

For Epling and other coaches, the mentoring aspect of returning to coaching is equally as important as developing talent.

“Our mindset is this: in order to be able to increase a kid’s playing ability, you have to give them knowledge,” Epling said. “In that knowledge, you have to be able to let them be accountable for what they know.”