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Valley Journals

Sports facility offers variety of camps and programs

May 21, 2018 02:02PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Instructors at Elite Level Sports Academy focus on proper mechanics for all skill levels. (Photo courtesy Denise Swope)

By Catherine Garrett | c.garrett@mycityjournals.com 

The phrase “If you build it, they will come,” from the movie “Field of Dreams” is familiar to many baseballs fans and Cottonwood Heights resident Denise Johnson Swope has found that concept to be true since she opened her doors last year to the Elite Level Sports Academy, located at 2100 W. Alexander St. Ste. A in West Valley City. The facility boasts 13,000 square feet of turf, eight batting cages, six mounds, workout facilities and meeting rooms.

“The response has been tremendous,” Swope said. “Parents and players really love our year-round skills and drills program and we provide quality instruction from top-notch instructors.”

The facility has been a dream of Swope’s for a few years so she worked on the “right business model,” to ensure that everyone can walk away from each time “feeling like they got real value from their time in our place.” 

“I have always wanted to give back to kids, hoping they would experience the game and all it has to offer,” Swope said. “It is important to me that players get the skill development that is so badly needed in this area. I also wanted it to be a place where you can come regardless of your ability.” 

A weekly hitting camp in May and a summer baseball camp are the upcoming events at the facility, which also offers private baseball and softball lessons and space for team practices. They currently have an Elite 13u team – which has GPA and community service requirements – and are planning to add more teams in the fall. 

Swope said she recently brought on a strength and conditioning and speed and agility coach to help expand Elite Level’s services to other athletes including football players. Several football camps are also planned for this summer.

The hitting camp for players ages 10 to 14 is scheduled for May 2, 9, 16 and 23 or May 3, 10, 17 and 31 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each night. Instructors will teach the fundamentals of hitting and work through drills with individualized instruction. The cost is $100. 

For the summer baseball camp, professional instruction will focus on skills, proper mechanics, speed and agility, personal growth and fun. Two different weeks will be offered from June 4 through 8 and June 11 through 15 with a morning session from 8 a.m. to noon for players ages 7 to 10 and afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for ages 11 to 14.

“Our focus at camp is to advance each individual’s skill and knowledge of baseball,” Swope said. “Each camper will receive specific instruction on how to play the game and how to improve on and off the field. We will cover all aspects of baseball.”

The cost is $150 per week and a T-shirt is included. Those interested can register at the facility or online at www.elitelevelsportsacademy.com or by calling (801) 972-2829. 

Swope got her start on the field as one of the original Bonnett Ball girls and started playing softball when she was young. She later played for Olympus High and accelerated teams and then watched a son and daughter play for a few years. She has been a softball and baseball coach, but has been part of the baseball community for more than 20 years—as a coach, Crown Colony Baseball board member and president and District Commissioner for Cal Ripken Baseball. 

“I was very fortunate, being able to travel all over the country, meeting people and experiencing so many things,” she said.

The life lessons Swope has learned from sports—working hard, discipline, competing, teamwork, failure and success—are also part of what her goals are in the services she offers the sports community at Elite Level Sports Academy. 

“I have seen sports give a lot of kids the structure and discipline they need to be successful in life,” she said. “To me, baseball and sports are really about a bunch of great life lessons. I love to see a young player find success when they have been struggling and having their hard work pay off.”