By TIM KELLY
A new local business venture built on a foundation of sports, coaching and giving back to the community showed its stuff on Saturday.
RA Development Academy, founded by Tyrone Rolls and Jill and Tom Adamson, is a coaching and training business that provides everything from one-on-one and group instruction in specific sports to clinics, camps and tournaments.
The firm hosts a wide range of such events for young athletes and area coaches, and will also design and deliver turnkey operations for clients who wish to stage events of their own.
On Saturday, RA Development Academy (“R” for Rolls, “A” for Adamson) hosted a field hockey clinic that featured instruction by guest coaches, Ocean City’s own Julia Herrington and teammate Eva Smolenaars, members of the University of North Carolina Tarheels, the nation’s number one ranked field hockey team.
“We are grateful to (Herrington and Smolenaars) for providing such great instruction, and to our sponsors who are helping to make the clinics possible, and everyone who has been so supportive so far. Julia and Eva were great with the kids,” said Jill Adamson, a former Ocean City High School tennis player.
The feeling was mutual for Herrington.
“It really was great coming back to Ocean City and working with the kids,” she said. “I feel like we were able to give a sense of some of the training we do at Carolina and for them to experience it.”
Techniques such as “dynamic warmup,” backhand shots and “air dribbling” were demonstrated and accomplished by the attendees.
“The girls were pretty good. They picked up on it,” Herrington noted.
Jill Adamson said the company was officially launched in July.
“We felt the time was right and the response has been very positive,” she said.
Adamson explained that the organization’s mission is to return youth sports “back to basics” with locally known and trusted coaches emphasizing a love for the game, respect for the training/coaching process and commitment to team.
“We like to talk about fundamentals, and putting the ‘fun’ back into the word,” she said.
The firm can design instruction, programs and events for almost any age, but the primary market is for grades 3 through 8 in boys’ and girls’ sports “because that is where we can be most impactful with instruction at a very young age, right up to when the athletes are ready to enter high school,” Adamson said.
The venture is still so new, the company website is not yet live and the winter and spring events schedules are still works in progress. Nevertheless, “we hit the ground running,” Adamson said.
Plans are shaping up for an extensive basketball program, indoor lacrosse and soccer, girls softball is slated for the spring as is a volleyball clinic and league, among many other clinics, camps, tournaments and other youth sports events. Exact dates and locations will be announced soon.
Jill Adamson handles the business development side of the venture, while Tyrone Rolls and Tom Adamson take care of much of the coaching. The company also hires local coaches to run events and provide instruction.
Rolls, an Ocean City born and raised police officer, is a well-known local coach, as is Tom Adamson, a former Mainland High School baseball player and union pipefitter/plumber who hails from Somers Point.
“All of the coaches we employ are locally experienced,” said Jill, whose full-time occupation is a medical speech-language pathologist. “Tyrone and Tom have been coaching their entire (adult) lives.”
A portion of the proceeds from Saturday’s hockey clinic and subsequent events will go to a scholarship fund the company has established to aid deserving athletes, Jill Adamson said.
On Saturday, she said the company had its first “full circle” moment when Herrington’s younger sister, Abby, bonded with Adamson’s daughter, Lila.
“It was a nice moment as they put their arms around each other,” Jill Adamson said. “Abby had her North Carolina gear on and Lila was wearing a T-shirt from one of our events, sponsored by a physician, Dr. James Herrington, Abby and Julia’s dad.”
For more information on RA Development Academy and its events and services, call Jill Adamson at (609) 214-2380.