Though the designers of Columbia SportsPark might have squabbled over how many batting cages to build or whether the mini-golf course should have a waterfall, they unanimously agreed on one factor—the park should be a place for families to spend time together. Today, their collaboration fulfills that mission with a sprawling 15,000-square-foot playground of family-friendly recreational activities. Along the 18-hole mini-golf course, lush plants, gushing waterfalls, and pristine ponds recreate the peaceful feel of a tropical garden or DMV lobby. Skaters pull off stunts at the 15,000-square foot outdoor skate facility with ramps, pipes, and a four-foot spine, while batters slug practice balls in cages equipped with professional fast- and slow-pitching machines. Beyond the daily family outings, Columbia SportsPark regularly hosts camps, skate lessons, and community gatherings throughout the year.
The cracks of baseball bats, the slaps of softballs meeting mitts, and the advice of an experienced team of instructors resound within Thunder Stix Baseball & Softball Academy's cavernous 11,000-square-foot facility. Baseball and softball players alike hone their cuts inside eight pitching machines that can be adjusted from 40 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour, and brush up on their fielding technique inside four netted astroturf tunnels. Robert Banner—the academy's owner and the head softball coach at Alexis I. DuPont High School—and his instructors use the well-appointed digs to help players of all abilities develop their skills in every facet of the game, including batting, fielding, base running, and agility.
Since digging its cleats into the Philadelphia baseball scene in 1998, All Star Baseball Academy has helped launch the college careers of hundreds of players—and the big league careers of dozens more. Designed for ballplayers ages 5 to 18, the academy sharpens on-the-field skills with private instruction, leagues, camps, and tournaments. Read the academy's mission statement here.
This diverse selection of training opportunities stands as a testament to ASBA's growth: the academy now has five facilities under its umbrella, totaling more than 90,000 square feet of training space. Multiple times throughout the year, ASBA sets aside its own training areas to host prospect camps at universities and stadiums. There, coaches and scouts can watch ballplayers in action, timing how fast they run, assessing their pitch speed, and seeing how well they hit with pool noodles instead of bats.
In the world of athletic training, Robert Taylor, Jr.’s resume speaks for itself. In addition to stints as the strength and conditioning coach for two NCAA Division I programs, his expertise also landed him gigs with professional baseball, football, and basketball franchises. Now, along with the other experienced coaches at SMARTER Team Training, Robert shepherds high school athletes toward their full potential at training camps and clinics. Whether they’re honing game-specific skills for field hockey, soccer, or lacrosse, or increasing overall athleticism during the school’s signature Speed, Agility, and Conditioning Camp, students always find a challenging itinerary designed to bring skills to a more advanced level. There's even a college prep training program, which gets high school players ready for the increased intensity and remorseless, cold-eyed referees found at the college level.
The Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum provide athletics addicts with a one-two punch of sporting history, using priceless artifacts and multimedia exhibits to illuminate the lives and deeds of some of America’s greatest athletic heroes. Visit the Sultan of Swat’s first home, also known as The House That Built Ruth, to view the bedroom in which he was born, relics such as his childhood catcher’s mitt, and exhibits touching on his professional accomplishments and personal life.
All Seasons Sports Academy's massive indoor arena helps athletes of all ages strengthen their bodies and hone their skills in field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, softball, and football. At any time of year, a qualified and experienced staff coaches youth soccer players on the indoor turf field, helps pitchers shave down their ERA on the fully retractable pitching and hitting tunnels, and teaches the perfect swing technique during golf clinics. Kids and student athletes learn teamwork skills and accomplish personal goals during youth sports camps, and adults burn calories and build muscle during Zumba and self-defense classes.