The Commerce Journal

February 3, 2012

Thornton prepares to open up sports academy in Commerce

Caleb Slinkard
Journal Staff

COMMERCE — New businesses continue to spring up in Commerce and the most recent, Monster Sports Academy, intends to provide both entertainment and traning to Commerce youth. Lance Thornton, who co-owns and manages the Academy, has taught baseball in Commerce for the past six years and saw the need for an indoor facility for both select teams and individuals simply looking for something to do in Commerce.

“Ultimately, we’re looking to cater to someone who has a few dollars to spend to take some batting practice all the way up to select teams who want to use the facility to get extra work when it’s cold or raining outside,” he said. “We don’t want to cater just to the select teams, which some businesses do. We want to be able to be entertainment as well.”

Thornton plans to bring in area specialists to put on clinics and camps in different sports. A camp that he sponsered last year served 65 youth.

“I’ve coached traveling softball teams and I’ve always had a passion for the game, and there wasn’t anything in town for kids to do,” Thornton said. “I began doing private lessons myself about two years ago, and last year decided that I wanted to start a sports academy. The camp I had was kind of the springboard to go ahead and do an indoor facility.”

Thornton already has area specialists lined up to host clinics at his facility.

“I‘m bringing in area high school coaches and junior college coaches, the head basketball coach from A&M-Commerce and the strength and conditioning coach from CHS to offer specialized camps,” he said. “Eventually, we’ll have areas set up for indoor golf hitting, baseball, and basketball.”

The opportunity for area athletes to train all year in their specific sports is an important one in Thornton’s eyes.

“I believe that baseball is a year ‘round sport, and I’ve noticed through coaching that you have to develop yourself all year,” he said. “You won’t be affected by weather in our facility. We’ll be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The cages are set up so they can be pushed out of the way so a team could actually practice on the turf and do fielding practice.”

This kind of constant training is necessary if an athlete wants to become elite.

“Our slogan is ‘we don’t just train athletes, we train monsters’,” Thornton said. “If you want to be the elite kid, you have to work year around in your sport.”

Monster Sports Academy will be open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Thornton, who has lived in Commerce for the past two decades and has served as the city’s Chamber of Commerce president, knows that it will take strong community support for Monster Sports Academy to thrive.

“We hope the surrounding communities willcome and support it,” he said. “Without their support, we can’t be there.”

Those interested in finding out more information can visit, email Thornton at or call 903-243-2022.