News-Democrat sportswriter Norm Sanders compiled a sampling of what metro-east parents think about their children's private baseball and softball instructors.
"He's never pitched and we wanted him to learn the right way from the beginning. He's a good athlete and if he's having fun and truly just loves what he's doing, he's going to want to do better. If you find somebody that can bring that out in your child, that's what makes it really amazing."
Debbie Mizell, of Granite City, whose 13-year old son Isaiah takes pitching lessons with Wes Brooks:
"He has been able to play competitive baseball in the area's select leagues and played in countless tournaments all over the Midwest. I truly believe that he would not have achieved this level of talent without the help of his wonderful instructors. Braedon takes private one-on-one lessons at The Batter's Box. Kevin Muendlein and Dave Buchek provide Braedon with excellent instruction, motivation and guidance with both his hitting and pitching."
Christy Spicer, of Shiloh, whose 13-year-old son Braedon takes lessons at The Batter's Box in Belleville
"Our 12-year-old son missed a full baseball season due to a knee injury. In order to get him ready for the baseball season, in January 2013, we contacted Back-2-Back Baseball Training. They were quick to respond to my email and get us in for an evaluation. We met with Jeremiah Knackstedt. He was very thorough in letting us know his batting lesson procedure. The lessons started and the season came upon us quicker than expected. At first, our son was struggling a bit with his timing. After a few more lessons and hitting in the batting cages, he started to come around with this hitting. He went from batting sixth in the batting order to fourth and/or first."
Lori Kalous, of Greenville, whose son takes hitting lessons at Back-2-Back Training in Highland
"Kevin was very conscious of how he spoke to Ryanne continually giving her encouragement. He helped her to find her balance and what to do with different types of pitches to obtain the results she was looking for after contact. He was very accommodating to her schedule (as you may well know, cheerleading is a year-round commitment) even meeting her on Sundays when necessary. The bottom line is softball hitting coach Kevin Muendlein was fantastic. His cost was a fair price and his concern for the progress of his student was impressive. In the words of the late Siskel and Ebert ... two thumbs up!"
Missy Wombacher, mother of Mascoutah High softball player Ryanne Sirtak, who used to play softball in grades 5 through 8, then gave it up to be a cheerleader, then wanted to play again as a junior
"We saw immediate results in his hitting ability and have continued to watch him improve over the years. For the last several months, in addition to the hitting lessons, our son has been taking some catching lessons as well as speed and agility training with Jeremiah. Our son has improved in all aspects of the game this year, largely thanks to Jeremiah's instruction. No other instructor has had the rapport Jeremiah has with our son nor have we seen results. Not only does Jeremiah work on the mechanics of baseball with our son, but he also touches upon the mental aspect of the game."
Carla Mann, of Festus, whose 13-year-old son has been taking hitting lessons with Jeremiah Bergheger from Columbia for four years