It’s all about the smiles on the youthful faces. And watching the young clients’ enjoyment of playing baseball or softball increase.

“Our gratification comes from watching all the participants get really excited about being at the facility,” said Ron Witmeyer, co-owner of Frozen Ropes, located in 4S Ranch at 10710 Thornmint Road. “And it is really special to see the kids improving in all aspects of the game.”

Frozen Ropes, a franchise with more than 30 operations in the U.S., opened its San Diego location in 2008 and provides baseball and softball players in the area with a state of the art facility to practice and train – and features the highest level of professional instruction.

“Players of any age and ability level can improve their performance,” Witmeyer said. “We are here to get them better and promote their enjoyment of the game.”

Born and raised in New York, Witmeyer moved to California to attend Stanford University on a baseball scholarship, achieving his degree and then securing a Masters in Health and Physical Education at St. Mary’s College. In addition to playing on two NCAA Championship teams at Stanford, he was in professional baseball for six years, including time in the Major Leagues with the Oakland A’s. He also spent time as a hitting coach at both Stanford and the University of California.

Frozen Ropes has programs designed for all ages, ranging from the “Born to Play” for 3-4 year-olds to advanced training for high school and college athletes. “All of our training programs are hugely popular due to the level of training, quality of our staff (both as coaches, and the way they interact with the players), and the personal attention each player receives,” Witmeyer said. “We consider each of our players to be a part of the Frozen Ropes family and take our jobs seriously to give each of them a great experience while helping them grow as athletes and people.”

Witmeyer, who owns the spacious, attractive indoor facility with partner Joe McAtee, said Frozen Ropes is unique in San Diego because it is a true training center – not just a  batting  cage. “Over 80 percent of our  business is  instruction and training,” he said.

Crediting the excellent staff he and McAtee have put in place, Witmeyer praises the level of instruction available at Frozen Ropes. McAtee brings many years of baseball and teaching experience to the operation, including time as a professional pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Eric Andrews, director of pitching, has coached travel baseball for 10 years and is an associate scout for the Baltimore Orioles. Tracy Sanders was a 10-year professional baseball player in several MLB organizations. And Ryan Martin is a former CIF-champion baseball player and award-winning collegiate player.

Witmeyer – who lives in Rancho Santa Fe with his wife Marianne and their three sons (Luke, 12; Clay, 10; and Tommy, 6) – also feels what Frozen Ropes offers is important for the development of today’s young people. “There are so many entertainment options for kids these days,” he said. “We want them to get away from the video games, to stay active, and to enjoy their participation in youth sports.”

Which is why Frozen Ropes has several unique offerings for young people – such as “Spring Break Camps”, which are scheduled for April 5-9; and the extremely popular birthday parties, which include an hour of baseball/softball-related games in the turf area and a one-hour party in the “Clubhouse” for pizza, cake and presents.

And that brings Witmeyer back to seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and helping young people enjoy the game. “We are striving to be a valuable asset to the community and have conducted dozens of free clinics for area Little Leagues in an attempt to improve the overall level of play,” he said. “Though many of the area’s best players train here, we take great pride in helping players of any ability level get the most out of themselves and help them to enjoy playing the game more as they see their progress.”