Baseball and softball players of all skill levels descend upon Extra Innings' 18,000-square-foot indoor facility to hone home-run-hitting swings and more. Players can swing, pitch, or field for 60 minutes inside one of the five indoor hitting tunnels that stretch 70 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 30 feet high as adjustable pitching machines sling unlimited fastballs toward the plate at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. The facility outfits hitters with bats and helmets for no additional charge, and each tunnel is equipped with an L-screen, a pitcher's mound, and sliding nets that can transform the cage into an open-field area for practicing fielding skills and ribbon-dancing routines.
The original Strikers were born in 1977, when the Miami Toros moved to Broward County. Donning their popular red-and-gold hooped uniforms, the team experienced instant success—so much so that Lockhart Stadium underwent two seating expansions to accommodate the club's rapidly growing fan base. During those years, a playoff game between the Strikers and New York Cosmos drew a crowd of 77,691, which still stands as the record for a U.S. Pro League soccer match and most people squished into a single soccer net.
Even with all their success, the Strikers relocated to Minnesota after the 1983 season. The team returned five years later, and for more than two decades, competed as part of several leagues. Finally, after a failed attempted to bring Major League Soccer to Miami, the Miami FC of the United Soccer League decided to officially adopt the Strikers moniker and move to the North American Soccer League for the 2011 season. The Strikers didn't waste any time announcing their rebirth, as they made the league's championship series that same season.
Marc Anthony's favorite football team takes to the field under the gridiron guidance of head coach Tony Sparano with the aim to better last season's 7–9 record and make it to the post-season. Ease yourself into one of the 75,540 seats at the solar-existence-affirming Sun Life Stadium, and cheer on the Fins as they look to defeat Detroit, clobber Cleveland, and bring Buffalo to the brink of tears through kicks, passes, and well-timed blowhole expulsions. Splash zones are restricted to the sweat bouncing off of Reshad Jones' forehead.
County Line Dragway's track squeals in delight beneath all types of tires, inviting amateur and professional horsepower buffs to test the limits of their vehicles on a 1/8-mile stretch of pavement certified by the International Hot Rod Association. Engines and crowds roar in the schedule's myriad events as steely chariots strive to capture a record track time, one-up nemeses in grudge matches, or test performance in timed laps and odes to speed in iambic pentameter. Cheering groups bond over impressive shows of velocity, and the track’s open-minded atmosphere allows anyone to hit the ovular street with a minivan or amateur garage project and safely race against each other away from the obstacles and chatty stop signs of the open road. Tire type determines eligibility for each event, making for varied and colorful fields. Pros unleash speed demons upon unsuspecting cement during Big Dog Saturdays, in which finely engineered speedsters compete for track titles.
Cheer on the Hurricanes as they defend their home court from the hardwood harassment of evenly matched ACC conference mainstay North Carolina. Guards Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott lead the offensive attack while sophomore center Reggie Johnson controls the lane against UNC's sticky-heeled dribbles and drives. Tickets will be redeemed at the BankUnited Center in a specific area for Groupon subscribers before tipoff.
As the Advanced Class A affiliate of the Florida Marlins, the Jupiter Hammerheads showcase diamond-dwellers aspiring to follow the path to major league fame already trodden by alumni such as Cliff Lee. Gather a quartet of friends or singing barbers and witness the homeric battle between ball and bat as it plays out at Roger Dean Stadium, also home of the Palm Beach Cardinals and the newest baseball facility of its kind in Florida. From field box seats, stretching down the first- and third-base lines, fans will enjoy unobstructed views of Hammerhead players as they intimidate opponents into submission with rocket-fueled fastballs, gravity-razzing catches, and cryptic riddles.
Gábor Pásztor has always loved sports, his passion and athleticism leading him to compete in international track-and-field meets on behalf of his home country, Hungary. Today, he brings his speed, endurance, and coordination skills to the United States to help a new generation of soccer and track-and-field stars hone their natural abilities at Citius Athletic Club Miami. At his club, he helms US Soccer Federation–registered soccer teams in competitive play against other local organizations. And he's serious about the sport: He holds practice with four different age groups of students—ranging ages 3–13—three times a week.
In addition to prepping youths for league play, he and his coaches lead fundamentals classes for beginning soccer players. The fundamentals classes cover the same skills and techniques as the competitive practices, but students aren't required to compete in games or maintain perfect pitch during the "National Anthem."
With state of the art 4G synthetic turf soccer fields spread across Miami, Soccer 5 has become a premier South Florida destination for soccer, football, and fútbol lovers alike. The program offers a variety of kids' camps, in which junior players up to 15 years old benefit from highly technical coaching, drills, and scrimmages. Adults can get in on the fun, too, with leagues and tournaments. The smaller fields allow for 5- and 7-a-side matches, which means players get more touches on the ball and opportunities to befriend the referee. Their fields are also available for rent for team practices, birthday parties, and private pickup games.
At Downtown Soccer Miami's two outdoor mini fields, players of all ages can practice and show off their skills with youth and adult leagues, training, pick-up games, and tournaments. The brightly lit, grassy pitches accommodate up to two matches at once, hosting after-work pick-up games. Corporate leagues help co-workers build cohesion and office-supply-punting skills.
Small Fish Big Fish Swim School starts young, teaching kids how to swim before they learn how to walk. That way, they will have a foundation for paddling and stroking through the water with ease. Swim classes start with float techniques for babies to reduce the danger of drowning and progress through swim skills for all ages.
At N Zone Sports, coaches develop players both on and off the field. Instead of cultivating a highly competitive atmosphere, they allow each child to get ample time in the spotlight—so long as he or she demonstrates a sufficient grasp of sportsmanship and teamwork. Tikes as young as 3 years old can prove their mastery of the concepts of flag football, soccer, cheerleading, basketball, or baseball or by shaking the hand of someone who just poured Gatorade over their heads.
When Christina Theiss, owner of Swim with Gills, was asked by a reporter from WFLX to describe the feeling of teaching a child to swim, she responded: “It’s a magical moment. I feel like I’ve saved a life.” Since she started a traveling swim school, her feeling of accomplishment has become infectious, spreading to her fleet of swim instructors and to her husband, the second half of the Swim with Gills team. Rather than forcing their pupils to swim, they focus on building a trusting relationship with each child. This method increases students' comfort level, allowing them to gradually submerge themselves in water and achieve the complexities of mermaid sign language.
The sound of little limbs cutting into clear water with increasing confidence fills Quality Swimming's facilities, where instructors keep class sizes small in order to give individual attention and encouragement to each student. All instructors bear Red Cross certifications in CPR, standard first aid, and general lifeguard skills, and some hold additional honors such as degrees in infant teaching from the United States Swim School or certifications in instruction for developmentally disabled students. The trainers also undergo extensive training in Quality Swimming's in-house program, which includes observational sessions, seminars, and shadowing with senior teachers. Despite this intensive program, they continue to hone their skills year-round with local and national workshops, regular in-house refresher training, and international Marco Polo tournaments.
Students of all experience levels slowly grow to revel in the dreamlike effortlessness of movement through water in outdoor pools at three locations. Instructors pass on basic water-safety skills and more advanced swimming techniques, always with the principal aim of teaching students to exist comfortably within water and respect the pool noodle's natural ecosystem.
At Tone Sports, the staff organizes co-ed sports leagues for football, softball, basketball, volleyball, and other popular team sports. Instead of emphasizing competition, the leagues emphasize the social side of sports, which began when Babe Ruth hosted the first cakewalk. To complement the sports leagues, Tone Sports' fitness facility also offers sports-training programs.
The Atlantic surf, the quiet shallow reefs, the warm stretches between islands—Jupiter Kite Paddle Wake makes these as accessible with ease. Amid racks of gear and boards by makers such as Cabrinha, North, Wainman, and Liquid Force, certified instructors wait to instill the basics of boarding in newcomers with kiteboarding lessons. Jupiter Kite Paddle Wake teaches everything from board set-up, to finding the wind, to idling patiently at sea turtle-crossings. Coaches are also happy to impart the basics of standup paddleboard cruising and racing in semi-private lessons, or train students to leave flat water and master cutting through the waves with paddleboard-surfing sessions. But the focus doesn't remain on oceanic newbies alone. Experienced aquanauts can join guides for private tours, or participate in on-water yoga classes atop their boards.