NORTH ADAMS -- Even though it is the dead of winter, the boys of summer can come out to play.
There is a new venue to practice batting, pitching, catching and even running. The Cages at the Mill is a new facility opened by professional strength trainer Rob Livingstone, director of strength and conditioning at Williams College and director of Livingstone Speed Academy.
The Cages employs an innovative net-and-cable system to structure individual practice spaces within the 4,500-square-foot space carved out of the Blackinton Mill on Massachusetts Avenue.
"There is not a lot for kids to do athletically year-round," Livingstone said. "The kids in this area deserve to have something like this, and we're trying to give it to them."
In December crews came in to the space in the historic Blackinton Mill, which was being used for storage at the time, and cleared the room out, installed new windows, lighting and heat, installed turf and painted the walls Fenway green. The Cages opened Dec. 7.
"My goal was to create something we don't have around here," Livingstone said.
Now, with the moveable netting, portable pitching mounds and other gear, the space is ready for athletes to practice baseball, softball, soccer, football and lacrosse. With his team of trainers, Livingstone offers micro-skill clinics, speed and agility training, and open play time, such as open stick time for lacrosse players.
The new training center employs two full time and six part-time employees. There is also a mini-sporting goods store, Mark Reynolds Team Sales @ The Cages.
So far, things are going well and about 100 young athletes per week are polishing their skills for the spring season coming up.
"We're on track with our forecast, and the feedback and support have been amazing," Livingstone said. "Our goal is simple: Give back to the community and help the kids out."
For more information, visit cagesatthemill.com. The Cages at the Mill is at 1470 Massachusetts Avenue in North Adams.
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