Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking about trying out for Thunder Fastpitch softball? 

Here are some common questions we get about joining our fastpitch Family -- if you don't see the answer you're looking for, we encourage you to email us at

Why should my young athlete choose Thunder Fastpitch over other programs? 

Choosing the right travel program is a significant decision, and it hinges on the type of experience you seek. If your goal is to play 100 games a year, travel extensively, and participate in showcase events, Thunder Fastpitch may not be the best fit. Our program is not about quantity; it’s about quality and creating a holistic experience centered around softball, but extending far beyond the field.

At Thunder Fastpitch, we prioritize an inclusive experience. We welcome players who are eager to join our Family, learn the game the right way, and have an incredible time doing it. While winning is important, it’s not everything. Our focus is on long-term development rather than immediate victories. We aim to prepare our players to win consistently as they grow older, not just when they’re 10 years old.

We believe that building strong relationships off the field enhances confidence and performance on the field. Therefore, we go beyond standard practices and games. We organize numerous events that bring our teams together outside of practice, ensuring that every player truly becomes a part of our Family.

If this resonates with you, we invite you to explore more about us. We invite you to visit our Instagram page to see what we’re all about and get a glimpse into the Thunder Fastpitch experience.

Where are games and practices played? 

We practice and play home games at fields in Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, and Wheeling. This allows us to accommodate players from all over the area with fields that are convenient for both players and coaches. 

We also recently opened our brand new indoor training facility (aka the Thunder Dome) in Arlington Heights near the intersection of Palatine Road and Rand Road. The facility is conveniently located in a central location and our athletes have access to reserve batting cages, pitching tunnels and fielding space through an online app at no cost.

How do you support multi-sport athletes? 

Unlike other programs that practice multiple times per week year-round, Thunder Fastpitch encourages players to engage in various sports and activities such as basketball, dance, soccer, and volleyball. Our coaches actively seek input from parents to minimize scheduling conflicts whenever possible. During the offseason, winter activities take priority, and our training schedule is designed to accommodate these commitments. If a player has a scheduling conflict with their team’s training, they are welcome to join sessions with other teams to ensure they benefit from offseason training.

What is the Junior Thunder program? 

The Junior Thunder program is our player development program offered to younger (non-travel) players that are looking to train during the winter ahead of their house league season. The program is led by current Thunder coaches (former collegiate softball players) with support from experienced Thunder players and outside instructors. Junior Thunder players are also invited to participate in our House All-Star Team program, which allows house league players to play in a few travel level tournaments over the summer!

Speaking of outside instructors, do you have relationships with any?

We can recommend multiple instructors across all disciplines, including pitching, hitting, catching, and fielding, thanks to our extensive reach in the area. We also maintain strong ties with area high school coaches and incorporate their input to optimize our training programs, maximizing our players' performance when they reach high school. Impressively, 100% of Thunder players eligible to play on their high school team have made the team. Our external coaches bring a wealth of experience, having played college-level softball or higher, with one even having played for Team USA in the Olympics!

Where is indoor training held? 

We recently opened our brand new indoor training facility (aka the Thunder Dome) in Arlington Heights near the intersection of Palatine Road and Rand Road. The facility is conveniently located in a central location and our athletes have access to reserve batting cages, pitching tunnels and fielding space through an online app at no cost.

How do I get involved in coaching for the Thunder? 

Do you love the game of softball and have a passion to help young people get better on and off the field? Come join our experienced, fun-loving, and dedicated coaching team. We’d love to learn more about you and are always looking for team and player development coaches. 

If you are a former travel softball player looking to get started in coaching or a parent interested in moving beyond house league into the ranks of travel softball, please contact us at to learn more about opportunities to begin your coaching career with Thunder Fastpitch. 

What is the fee structure? 

Thunder Fastpitch annual costs vary based on team composition, coaching structure, and anticipated schedule. We also offer flexible payment structures to help ensure that all players that are offered spots have the ability to accept.

How do tryouts work?

Tryouts are held annually, and players are assessed on their skills, attitude, and teamwork. The selection process is competitive, but we look for players who show potential and a willingness to learn.

What is the team's success rate?

All of our eligible players have made their high school teams, and many have made their varsity teams in their freshman or sophomore seasons. Our teams perform well in tournaments and we focus on competing even if we don't always achieve the desired outcome. Our goal is for our teams to finish slightly above or below a .500 record -- if your team is winning all the team, we believe you're not playing hard enough competition. If your record is well below .500, you might be playing elevated competition and might benefit from more player development and friendlies versus competitive tournaments. We believe that finding that balance is part of the key to helping our players develop at the optimal pace for their (and their teams) level.

What equipment is needed?

Players need a glove, cleats, a bat, a fielding mask, and appropriate practice attire. We will provide a batting helmet, equipment bag, and other equipment for practices and games. If your player is a catcher, they will need their own catcher's gear.

How far do you travel for games and tournaments? 

Our teams generally play games within a one hour radius, though some "overnight" tournaments are possible within driving distance. Our most common "out of town" destinations are Lake Geneva, the Wisconsin Dells, Indianapolis and areas of Michigan, but no non-local travel is planned without parent/team discussion. 

We haven’t played travel sports before, how does the schedule vary from house league? 

Each coaching staff will assess their team’s overall talent level so that we can build a schedule that is competitive and appropriate based on the team composition. First year teams generally play more in the fall to help adjust to the increased game speed and build training plans for the winter whereas returning teams may use the fall to refine skillsets and play a few tournaments. 

Our fall season runs from mid-August through the end of October, highlighted by our fall event Thunderstorm (for teams 14u and younger). Games usually end by Halloween but with our new indoor facility players will have access to year-round training. We do understand that winter sports will take priority from November through March, but training is offered to give players the opportunity to improve during the offseason. Some teams will play indoor events over the winter, but that generally depends on how many players are participating in winter sports that will create conflicts.

Games and tournaments will resume in April and run through late June / early July. In total, most teams play 50 - 60 games per season. 

The main difference between travel and house league scheduling is tournament weekends, where you might have 4 – 5 games packed into a weekend (which wouldn’t happen in house league). Practices are held once or twice a week, with additional training sessions during the offseason. Games are typically on weekends, and there are around 4 - 5 tournaments per season, some of which may require travel.