Vic Picone is the owner of Pro Game Athletics in Bay Shore and The Long Island Junior Ducks Travel Baseball Organization. Pro Game Athletics is a 13,000-square-foot facility that specializes in …
Vic Picone is the owner of Pro Game Athletics in Bay Shore and The Long Island Junior Ducks Travel Baseball Organization. Pro Game Athletics is a 13,000-square-foot facility that specializes in numerous different sports and programs for individuals of all ages. Lessons are given daily to kids playing youth sports at many different levels. Baseball and softball are what Pro Game Athletics instructors specialize in, with many admirable credentials and some former Major League Baseball players. Some of the other sports that are played at the venue are soccer, field hockey, and cornhole. Birthday parties and camps during all seasons are very frequent at Pro Game Athletics and enjoyed by hundreds of kids each year. Their New Beginnings Enrichment Program is a daily program for children of all ages for socialization and is open throughout the entire day. There are adult programs at the facility, such as weight training and many fitness programs. There is also a fitness center with numerous instructors for adult fitness classes.
IB: Tell me about Pro Game Athletics—what amenities it consists of and how this facility can be an asset to someone learning about playing sports?
Picone: One of the most important things that I do here is we realize we are a multi-faceted indoor sports facility. We’re not just a baseball place or a place that has cages and does lessons. Years ago, when I took it over, that was to me the most important thing that I learned because when you conform to one sport, you definitely limit yourself. Most of the facilities don’t open till 4 p.m.; it’s after school, they do their lessons, they do their hitting, they do their baseball and try to rent their teams, and by 9-9:30 p.m., they’re done. They’re a baseball machine. We are no different. Our primary sports are baseball and softball. It’s the easiest, it’s the most well-known; we’re built for it and we have cages, but I will tell you the biggest asset that we did was change it into a multi-sport-faceted arena, so we do lacrosse. I it is a very different kind of place. Fundraisers, cornhole, events, birthday parties. We do about 150 to 175 birthday parties a year. We’ll do 10 to 15 a month. This June it should be close to 20. Now we’ll do three, four on a Saturday; this weekend we have three, on Sunday we have four. January, February we’re so booked with team rentals, and of course, in an indoor space your primary time of year is the winter.
IB: How long have you been running this facility, and was there something that made you want to found this facility or has it been something you have ambitioned for a long time?
Picone: I’ve been the owner since 2016 and never. It’s funny, I never grew up saying that I’m going to own a travel baseball organization or I’m going to own an indoor sports facility. I’m an entrepreneur. I as an owner, and a different kind of an owner, I do have morals and ethics. I believe as an entrepreneur in making money, but I don’t believe it at the price of people. What I love about it is it has become a place for families to do many different things. So, I’ll have families that come for their kids that play soccer; maybe they’ll try baseball, maybe they have a daughter and they’ll try softball or even a day camp, or winter break camp, spring break camp. They come for multiple different reasons and this has become their place, and I don’t think many people out there can say that about a facility, so that’s what I’m most proud of. I feel very unique because again, that family aspect and family place is really, really different than most places, so you can come for a birthday party and end up being here for a baseball clinic.
IB: What advice would you want to give to a young kid reading this who wants to play sports?
Picone: If you want to play a sport, make sure you have fun doing it. Don’t do it for mom. Don’t do it for dad. Make sure you really, truly enjoy the game. Playing sports is not easy; you have to learn from the beginning, you have to practice, you have to work hard. We’re the place that can help you. A lot of it is because I’ve done it, whether it be baseball teams or softball teams. You can start at an early age. You can use our facility. We have the batting machines, the instructors and pro instructors who can start with a 7-year-old, and we have 5- and 6-year-olds taking lessons at affordable pricing for a 5-year-old. I don’t know if any place does that out there. I have guys that want to give a 5- or 6-year-old a chance to get better. I’m willing to sacrifice the space so that kid gets better and gains confidence. So now if I take a 5-year-old, let’s fast-forward five years. He’s here now as a 10-year-old. He’s coming to my clinics. He’s a Junior Duck baseball player. He uses the cages. He does lessons. The value of the money he has spent here supersedes everything. So have fun, work hard, and you have to practice. Everything is about practice. [For] kids wanting to play a sport, the hard thing is they think they have to be great at it, and it really isn’t that way. Some kids are born natural-born athletes; the majority aren’t. So, you pick your sport or sports. You play it, try to learn it to the best of your ability. You’re not going to get good overnight, and you have to be committed to it to get it to the level that you want it to get it to. The more you practice, the better you’re going to get. The more you do lessons, the better you’re going to get. The more you do something, the better you’re going to get at it. That’s life. So, I think that’s the primary. I’ve always said, “You gotta have fun at what you do.”
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