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Couple design programs to improve players' speed, agility and strength
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Couple design programs to improve players' speed, agility and strength

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Isaac Parra, of Beecher, picked up a baseball bat at 3 years old and had his sights on the major leagues. Like many baseball players, his dream didn’t necessarily work out the way he had dreamt.

“My father (Ricardo Parra) played professional baseball and was a great coach and mentor for me for both baseball and life,” Parra said. “He never made it to the big leagues, but he provided me with advanced training from an early age that helped me incredibly in high school and college.”

Parra, 24, has taken his passion and knowledge and partnered with his fiancee, Heather O’Kelly, 23, to create Gold Glove Academy and UnderRated 24 Fitness. These two programs are designed to offer athletes speed, agility and strength workouts that will help them improve their game, Parra said.

“Most players, coaches and parents are just thinking about throwing the ball and hitting the ball as hard as they can,” Parra said. “That is just part of the game. Catching and hitting proficiency and the mental game are crucial. Good athletes come and go, but great athletes know there’s work that focuses on movement, and even nutrition.”

Parra and O'Kelly met in college, where they both played at the University of Benedictine in Arizona. Born and raised in California, Parra made his way to Northwest Indiana when Heather, originally from Chicago, received the opportunity to play softball at Purdue University Northwest. He said her skills and knowledge as a certified nutritionist have taken their business to the next level.

“Some kids and coaches see our training, which includes learning to shuffle through cones, skipping over plastic hurdles, and are either intrigued or think it’s not for them,” Parra said. “But within weeks, you can see a big difference in how an athlete improves their approach. We are teaching these kids things we learned in college and at higher levels. I only wished I studied these techniques when I was their age.”

Parra and O’Kelly dream of having their own facility one day but as for now they’ll continue to work with teams at their facilities and continue to use Wicker Park for their summer sand training classes, and during the winter they’ll be housed at Dave Griffin’s Baseball School in Griffith.

“Isaac’s approach to sports training breaks down the importance of quick footwork and agility for any sport you may be training for," said Steve Zimmerman, Schererville Shock 10U Boys manager. “He’s definitely brought an energy to our practices, which makes it fun for the kids, while teaching the core fundamentals. In just a couple of months, we’ve seen a vast improvement in our team.”

For more information about workout programs or nutrition, contact Parra at 623-261-9866 or email iparrra@biiip.com.

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