Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
For nearly a decade, the nationally certified instructors at ATA Family Martial Arts have taught students how to block, strike, and kick in a series of self-defense patterns. Classes for kids as young as 4 focus on coordination, listening skills, and confidence, and adult-geared classes teach sparring and weapons training.
On 10 a.m. on the first day of 2013, City Park's Great Lawn will fill with people ready to start the year off not with a resolution, but a commitment—a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. They'll run, walk, or jay-walk through the park and Marconi Drive on the flat, fast course, which it circles back to the Great Lawn where they started. After the race, runners can stick around for a post-race party to celebrate a successful first morning of the New Year.
In more than 30 cities across the nation, other runners will be participating in similar events as part of a movement that aims to stymie the rising rates of obesity and inaction in the United States.
Martin Percival starred in the principal role for Michael Flatley's North America–touring Lord of the Dance and played the original Flatley role of "the lord." This knight in tights and his lovely team of jig-jumping instructors will lay down the law of rhythm and greens with beginner-level dances like the reel and light jig.
SkateStart owner Patrick O'Toole started his skating career as many people do: by falling down constantly while skating a faulty board. He wanted to spend time with his skateboarding cousins, so his father bought him a generic, unresponsive deck from a big-box store. It barely rolled and always cancelled their playtime last minute to watch soap operas. His junky equipment and lack of knowledge kept him from keeping up with his peers. It wasn't until his father surprised him with a safe, professional skate set that his cousins finally slowed down and began teaching him the ins and outs of thrashing cement waves.
Now in his 20s, Patrick makes it his professional mission to teach the next generation of skaters the proper techniques they need to enjoy the sport. He and his team of certified instructors use his patent-pending skateboard system that shows beginners where to place their feet to push off, perform an ollie, and avoid tripping a board's self-destruct countdown. In addition to imparting fundamental skills, their lessons also build up the confidence necessary to tackle more complex maneuvers.
Even the most avid golfer understands that the game can have its drawbacks: travel, expense, and slow play are often found at the top of this list of grievances. Though they can't recreate many of the characteristics—fresh air, natural surroundings, easily impressed caddies—of an actual golf course, the 20 golf simulators at American Professional Golf Links seek to alleviate some of the common hassles of a real round of golf.
Each simulator allows users to play world-famous courses they might not otherwise play, including Doral, Congressional, and Royal Troon—27 courses in total. Golfers simply pick out the course they'd like to play on the computer's user interface, and then watch while the course renders on the simulator screen with striking accuracy. Golf shots hit directly into the screen yield the same results as they'd expect on a real course, combining factors such as launch angle, spin, and an excuse to yell "Fore!"