Home / Yarbrough brings 40 years of softball experience to Pure Hitting
Yarbrough brings 40 years of softball experience to Pure Hitting
The building that formally housed Velocity Sports Performance in Peachtree City is now the base of operations for Pure Hitting Sports Academy, a place for baseball and softball players of all ages.
The baseball side of things is handled by Pete Berrios (over 20 years of coaching experience at elite, high school and professional levels) and Ryan Christenson (World Series champion with 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks) and the softball side of things is handled by Ernie Yarbrough, who has been involved with fast pitch softball for 40 years. He has been involved with softball in Fayette County since the late 1990s, establishing the Atlanta Vipers program, while also serving as a coach at Heritage High School during that time. He has played and coached at every level from youth to professional and also is an associate director with the GHSA.
My philosophy as a coach is that it is all about the kids,” Yarbrough said. “It is about learning to play the right way, not wins or trophies, but developing skills.” Yarbrough’s teams tend to pick up the wins and trophies anyway because he and his coaches help develop good players who are also good people with good habits on and off the field.
“Winning tends to take care of itself then,” said Yarbrough.
Growing up, Yarbrough played seemingly every sport but he loved football and baseball best. In college he played football in the fall and baseball in the spring, but his football coach told him not to play baseball in his sophomore year. He found softball and he fell in love with it instantly.
“You could play four or five games a day,” Yarbrough said, which was a big plus for someone who loved the game as much as he did. Softball then gave him opportunities to play around the world and also gave him an opportunity to coach at a professional level. He also played the game as recently as four years ago and still throws batting practice for his teams.
“I’ve been blessed with a long career in sports,” Yarbrough said. “My parents taught me to value hard work, my coaches taught me to play the right way and I have a competitive spirit.”
In addition to coaching players, the coaches with Pure Hitting Sports Academy are coached as well, while Christenson coaches up defense and Berrios coaches the hitting. The facility in Peachtree City affords players a chance to come inside during the offseason and work on individual hitting, pitching and speed and conditioning skills, something that many players with aspirations of playing in college and beyond find necessary to give them an edge. Yarbrough encourages his players with that passion to dedicate themselves to the sport, but also realizes that kids need time to be kids. There are no mandatory offseason workouts or training for Yarbrough’s players and this keeps many of them dedicated when they are faced with a long season that involves a lot of weekends in the spring and summer.
Yarbrough coaches the 16U team, which placed 13th in the nation out of 158 teams in the fall in 14U. There are eight softball teams at Pure Hitting and the hope is for two more so that there will be two in each age group. The 2012 season will kick off in March with games at Meade Field in Peachtree City.
Pure Hitting Sports Academy moved in to their new location (297 Dividend Dr., Peachtree City) on Oct. 1. Yarbrough joined with Christenson and Berrios because he liked their vision to build not only a first class facility to host numerous tournaments, games, clinics and more, but to also develop top notch teams that can compete with the best of the best. There are still plans to build a baseball and softball complex and Yarbrough believes that their new facility gives them a good place to start from.
“This is a tremendous facility and a great place to get quality instruction,” Yarbrough said.
Among the big things that may be coming in the new year for Pure Hitting are a national qualifier being held in Peachtree City and a catching clinic with former Fayette County High School star and current Team USA player Ashley Holcombe.
The level of softball in the area is strong - the state final in Class AAAA this year came down to Northgate and Whitewater - but Yarbrough would like to see it stronger. It’s going to take strong feeder programs at the recreational and travel ball levels and Yarbrough and his colleagues at Pure Hitting Sports Academy are hoping to be an integral part of the area’s softball dominance for many years to come.