How AFA got started

Advanced Fastpitch Academy was founded in 2016 and is the sister company of Advanced Baseball Academy which was founded by Luke and Carla Town in 2011.

ABA had been operating for quite a few years when Dave Boles, a high school friend and former teammate of Coach Town, approached Coach Town about starting a softball program.

Coach Boles was heavily involved with Fastpitch and had coached for nearly 20 years.  

After witnessing the training program and approach that ABA was taking with baseball, Coach Boles thought it would be a great fit for softball and wanted to provide the opportunity for the Fastpitch girls to receive the same training. 

As with the baseball side, they did not want to be just another club that focused on a transactional approach to teams and training. They wanted to be a program that provided a transformational and positive learning environment that focused on the physical, mental, and emotional development that kids need, to not only navigate elite sports but to use those acquired skills in life as well.

From the humble beginnings of one team in the “old building”, to the state of the art indoor facility with multiple fields for their teams to train, AFA has grown to be one of the most well respected programs in the Midwest and is recognized from coast to coast. 

Coach Boles unexpectedly passed away in the March 5, 2019.  He was a huge part of the development to the program and his memory lives on in every girl that plays under the AFA brand.

Our Philosophy

Our Why: To Transform Lives!

Our philosophy at Advanced Fastpitch Academy is based on a transformational style of coaching. We focus on the process and development of our players. The program’s focus is not based on winning alone but on player and team development.

By focusing on fundamental skill set, our program is geared towards player and team development in the game of softball and life skills needed to succeed. Many players have goals of playing high school, college, and perhaps on to a  professional career in softball. Coaches and Scouts will only care about the skills that you are able to perform on the day they are watching. Those skills are physical, mental, and emotional.

So with that said, let’s get into some of the heart and soul behind our philosophy.

Why choose AFA?

We are a Transformational NOT Transactional Program

Coaches are considered the second most influential adult in the lives of children to pre-adult. They have the ability to mold an athletes mind, not only on the court or field, but also in other areas of their lives. Let’s first define the difference between the two, very different, coaching styles. 

The Transactional Coach has a mindset of win at all cost, focus is on results, are stat driven, what can you do for me?, if you can’t help me win – I don’t need you, and they think of the present moment or season. There’s an old saying, “Players will take on the personality of the coach.” Well, if the coach doesn’t handle adversity, failure, and losing well, then the players don’t handle it well either. 

When you hear the phrase “old school coach”, the first thing that comes to mind is the coach screaming at the top of his or her lungs at the team for errors, the 30 minute post-game tirade, regardless of how they played. A transactional coach pushes so hard that they cause the player to lose the love for the game, they play in fear of consequences if mistakes are made. Coaches like this are the type that are constantly recruiting the best players to take someone else’s spot on the team. Transactional coaches cause a tremendous amount of anxiety, performance anxiety, perfectionism, and depression, and are the main cause (sometimes) for an athlete to stop playing the game. 

Transformational Coaches have the mindset of player development first, they are process driven, they don’t lose their mind at a mistake, they recognize those moments as growth. They think long term: growth of the mind and body. They don’t care about the stats and they grade success completely different. They handle adversity differently and don’t see losing or mistakes as failures. 

These types of coaches care about the player off the field, they encourage the athletes to love the sport by having fun. This coach doesn’t control every aspect of the game, they let the kids play. They manage the game, not ‘coach’ during the game. They are never looking to replace their players with better players but focus on making the players they have better. Transformational coaches try to lower players’ anxiety and help them to play fearless rather than fearful. 

Coach Town started this transition as a transformational coach back in 2006. Advanced Baseball Academy and Advanced Fastpitch Academy was molded with a transformational coaching style after reading the book Inside Out Coaching by Joe Ehrmann. Our mission is to positively influence athletes physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

The Four Pillars

Our focus is on player development for long term growth.  We not only focus on the physical skill set of our athletes, we also put a strong emphasis on the mental and emotional health of our players.  Helping our players reach their full potential, achieve their dreams, and having long term success in this sport is not a one size fits all approach. Each player has different athletic abilities and are at different levels.  At AFA we use the four pillars below to achieve those goals. 

Tangibles:  These are the things that are measured that have to do with skill set: throwing, velocity, exit velo, speed, etc.
  • Private lessons: Personalized and individual programs offered.
  • IMPACT ARM: Throwing velocity program focusing on arm health.
  • IMPACT PITCHER: The art of pitching is more than just throwing strikes.
  • IMPACT STRENGTH: Creating softball strength and athleticism

Intangibles: These are things that are not measured such as baseball I.Q. which enables players to play the game at a higher level.

  • Winter training along with Class Room sessions: focusing on field training using the “AFA Way” to increase each athlete’s softball I.Q. This is essential to their development and mental understanding of the game.

Character:  Character matters. We strive for all of our athletes to become IMPACT athletes.  When college coaches and professional scouts call Coach Town to inquire about an athlete, they are not asking about skill set, they can see that. They are asking about the athlete’s character. Topics such as work ethic, leadership, integrity, team chemistry, personality, and much more.

  • IMPACT: Teaching our athletes the IMPACT acronym to perform without fear.
  • BOLD: Brave On Life’s Decisions is our winter training class that follows each weeks skill training.
  • The IMPACT SPORTS MIND: One-on-one sessions with Sports Psychologist, Dr. Ali Scruggs, for athletes who struggle with fear, performance anxiety, low self-esteem and more.

Academics:  One of the primary lessons that baseball athletes must understand is how vital academics play in the athlete’s chances to advance to the college ranks. The majority of a player’s scholarship is based on academics. Coaches do not want athletes who will be ineligible to make the squad. 


New Facility
14 Tunnels
3 Pitching Tunnels
14' x 115' Tunnels
Full-Sized Infield
4 Outdoor Fields
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