HARLINGEN – Danny Gidora knows a thing or two about baseball and what it takes to be successful at the sport

In 2007, the Harlingen native pitched the Harlingen South Hawks all the way to the UIL state baseball championship game – a feat that no other Valley team has accomplished since.

The Hawks ultimately fell short in the title contest, but Gidora went on to have a very successful college career at the University of Texas at Brownsville and even pitched professionally as part of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings.

And while his playing days may now be behind him, Gidora’s love of baseball continues as the founder and head of his own training academy.

Gidora Training is dedicated to the long-term development of young players with an emphasis on fundamentals and teamwork.

“I’m not interested in having kids train to win a youth tournament here and there,” Gidora said. “There is nothing wrong with that, but my main goal is to help develop young ball players over time so that they can one day win state titles in high school and then possibly attend college on a baseball scholarship and, finally, maybe play professionally.”

Gidora already has been working with individuals, but currently is seeking players 14 and under to form teams that would compete in monthly tournaments throughout the year.

“I want to take these teams and have them play against top-notch competition to help build their confidence as well as help give these youths much-needed exposure,” he said.

Right now Gidora Training is using a field behind Harlingen High’s KEYS Academy baseball facility, but Gidora said he’s looking to move things to a site at Victor Park.

The cost to join one of the traveling teams is $150 a month and includes eight practices, four games and one tournament per month.

“I’m looking for players who desire exposure, want to compete at a higher level, and are willing to sacrifice time and effort to become fundamentally sound,” Gidora said. “I’m looking for heart and commitment. Athletes that come to me must be more than willing to become better players. I’m looking for hard-woking, zero-excuse-making, good ol’ fashion ball players that will do whatever is necessary to help the team. My program definitely isn’t for everyone.”

Gidora firmly believes the Valley has the potential to become a hotbed for baseball talent if young players learn early what it takes to succeed.

“There is no reason why it’s been nearly 20 years since a Valley high school team has made it to the state tournament,” he said. “There is plenty of talent down here and I believe with the right preparation, the Valley can become regulars (at state).”