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Batting Facility Feature: Gorilla Athletic Training, Illinois

By On Deck Sports
September 27, 2019

Jason Dolenga dreamed for years of opening a baseball facility in the suburbs North of Chicago.  Although there were a number of sport specific facilities in the area, he wanted to build a place where he and his team could provide best in class athletic training for any sport and train baseball and softball players under one roof.

He found the answer in Gorilla Athletic Training, the company he founded in 7,000 square feet in Vernon Hills, IL.  As he looked to outfit the space, he sought out multiple recommendations from people who were running similar facilities and they all recommended On Deck Sports.

Gorilla Athletic Training building


While his focus is on developing speed, strength and power for athletes in all sports, Dolenga wanted to baseball to be a main focus. He worked closely with On Deck Sports facility expert, Ryan Kane, who suggested a shell net for protection and retractable dividers to optimize the facility’s space.  As a result of this design, Gorilla Athletic Training can go from 6 fully rented  individual batting cages to a complete infield space hosting a youth travel team in a matter of minutes. Or it can retain 2 batting cages while hosting 20 people on an open space in his Gorilla Power Development group class.  “I retract the dividers multiple times a day.  It’s quick and easy, definitely a one-person job.”

Design layout


Dolenga chose 42-gauge netting for the facility because he wanted a durable option that could handle the wear and tear of anything from group hitting classes of 8 year olds to a private lessons with college ballplayers hitting balls 90+ MPH.  For turf, he uses padded GT48 in order to stand up to the strength and conditioning offerings of the facility.  “We’ll have quite a bit of foot traffic with group classes, and the turf needs to stand up to the occasional heavy sled pull”.  He also fortified the highest traffic areas where batters stand by adding 6x12 batting mats.  For the finishing touches, he tapped On Deck Sports for a 2-piece portable pitcher’s mound and multiple Bullet Jr. L Screens.  “I’m happy that all of the equipment is so easy to move around, and I took advantage of the custom options to do the screens in what I call Gorilla yellow.”

Products from On Deck Sports


During the install process, Dolenga was thoroughly impressed.  “The install crew was top notch.  They were professional and efficient and checked in with me frequently to ensure that everything we had envisioned was delivered”. Since opening, Dolenga has found that planning for a versatile facility was a great move. “We’ve had multiple calls for birthday parties and few conversations involving Cricket and Pickleball.  It’s great to have options, but as far as Baseball goes, our customers so far have been very impressed with the facility.”

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