Baseball, softball players of all levels improving their game at 180 Performance Center in Leander

Dustin Geiger (right), a hitter who has played with the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins in the minor leagues, utilizes the center's data-gathering technology. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
Dustin Geiger (right), a hitter who has played with the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins in the minor leagues, utilizes the center's data-gathering technology. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

Dustin Geiger (right), a hitter who has played with the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins in the minor leagues, utilizes the center's data-gathering technology. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Keith and Tracy Jackson opened 180 Performance Center in the summer. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Dustin Geiger (right), a hitter who has played with the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins in the minor leagues, utilizes the center's data-gathering technology. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Kyle Gray with the New York Yankees practices using a virtual reality program. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Scott Lacey, a pitching coach at Southwestern University, throws with Sean Gallagher, a six-year Major League Baseball player and area scout for the Kansas City Royals. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Brandon Janecka operates True Grind Systems, which partners with 180 Performance Center to maximize the physical health of players. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Brandon Janecka operates True Grind Systems, which partners with 180 Performance Center to maximize the physical health of players. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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True Grind Systems is located in the same complex as 180 Performance Center. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Minnesota Twins catcher Kyle Schmidt talks to Heath Bell, an 11-year major league baseball player. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The classroom space is used to analyze performances and discuss topics such as leadership. (Sally Grace Holtgrieve/Community Impact Newspaper)
The recently opened 180 Performance Center teaches high level skills and provides resources for both aspiring baseball and softball players and current professionals. But it is more than batting cages, owner Keith Jackson said.

“Servant leadership is the vision behind the center,” he said.

The facility includes two training centers: one indoor, at 10,000 square feet, and one outdoor, at 6,500 square feet. Programs focus on physical and mental skills. At 180, 6-year-olds and Major-League Baseball players alike partake in long-term development plans and instruction; take group and individual pitching, hitting, catching and infield lessons; and are granted access to technology used in the MLB.

When a player hits a ball in the batting cage, video analysis software captures statistics about their performance to be analyzed later. It also shows a digital version of the player in real time so they can see their own form and how a swing in the cage would transfer to the field.

While 180 focuses on game skills and mental health, its next-door partner, True Grind Systems, works with players on strength and agility.


“We train under a movement-first philosophy,” owner Brandon Janecka said. “If a player is having a mechanical deficiency, it’s usually because of a strength, or core or range-of-motion deficit. That’s where we come in [and] take them off the mound and out of that environment of pressure to just get them moving properly in here.”

Janecka said the collaboration between True Grind and 180 is a way to attack an issue from two fronts, with the shared goal of improving the player.

“That way, we’re able to see fixes a lot quicker,” he said.

When players are not working on their skills or on physical training, they can watch video breakdowns of their work and review their own data in the classroom, a carefully designed space that is also used to teach lessons on character, leadership, decision making and more. Jackson said it is important to him that players are emotionally fit when they leave for college.

“Nobody was addressing the mental side,” Jackson said of the industry. “For example, how to handle failure and adversity: Don’t go drink. Don’t shout and throw equipment. Understand how to accept hardship, manage it and move forward.”

Many of the kids who trained with Jackson and went on to become major-league players have since come back to teach the skills they learned to the next generation of athletes in the Central Texas area.

“We believed we had the right individuals who could really help the kids,” said Jackson’s wife, Tracy, about the decision to open the center. “We offer an atmosphere and an experience here. Not one of these guys is ego-driven. A lot of people in sports and baseball are all about themselves, but none of these guys are like that.”

Jackson’s team, Action Baseball, has placed more than 500 players in college baseball programs, and over 60 have signed professional contracts over the past 15 years.

While he is passionate about his players, Jackson said he wants Performance 180 to be a space for the entire community, so it is not affiliated with Action Baseball. He said all area teams and individuals are welcome to all of 180’s camps, classes and other offerings.

180 Performance Center is located at 2100 Downing Lane, Leander. 512-215-6014. www.180performancecenter.com


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