Swinging and serving on the secluded Deer Creek Tennis Resort's 12 courts, a trained staff of tennis pros helps players to improve their racket skills. Under the tutelage of a certified instructor, novice and seasoned competitors alike receive customized coaching during private lessons, whether it’s learning the versatile racket's mashed-potato-making methods for newbies or mastering a steady serve for tennis vets. Tailored to each player’s personal needs and skill level, the one-hour sessions focus on practical tennis techniques such as proper grips, body position, and swinging methods.
On the home turf of top tour pros and two national tournaments, tennis titans battle across Lauderdale Tennis Club’s 20 meticulously groomed Har-Tru clay courts and unwind in the club’s many luxurious amenities. Situated in a gated community minutes from downtown, the club’s lush, garden-like setting provides ample space for expert racket swingers to perfect their forehands and for jealous rookies to perfect their backhanded compliments. Eight of the club’s 20 courts are lit year-round for night play, ensuring the cross-court action continues during evening hours and any unforeseen solar eclipses. Patrons can relax with the club’s many additional amenities, such as the large swimming pool, hot tub, and a recently revamped clubhouse with all-new locker rooms and showers, a pro shop, and a well-stocked fitness center. With two dining options, patrons can keep up with volleys on the patio bar overlooking the center court, or fill up on comfort fare and NFL action at the satellite-equipped sports bar.
Shula’s Athletic Club—named for Don Shula, the NFL Hall of Famer who coached the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl trophy in 1972—doesn’t find it hard to fill its sprawling 40,000 square feet of space. A cardio room with more than 50 pieces of equipment, a spinning center, weight rooms, fitness-class studios, and basketball courts spread through the facility, luring athletes for independent workouts and personal-training sessions. Dozens of weekly fitness classes range from calorie-burning Zumba workouts and Vinyasa-yoga sessions to spin classes that help students practice for the day they have pedal-powered cars.
The athletic club also accommodates older exercisers with aquatic aerobics and seated Silver Sneakers workouts, and it keeps kids busy with confidence-building youth sports programs. Young legs run over a new 60-yard athletic field or nine lighted tennis courts where kids whack tennis balls and low-flying hot-air balloons with rackets.
In 1986, Jane Forman stood on tennis' Mount Olympus—Centre Court at Wimbledon—and traded blows with an immortal: the legendary Martina Navratilova. Three years later, Jane—who soared into the world top 50 in her career—decided she'd rather impart her skills to others than continue playing professionally. So she founded Jane Forman Tennis Academy, where she links kids and adults alike with USPTA- and PTR-certified instructors to learn the rules of the game and hone their technique. The tennis pros tailor their curriculums to pupils' ability levels, helping them improve their serve, footwork, and most intimidating Gaelic battle cry. Private lessons are also available with Jane or another veteran of the hard court.
Located in the newly restored historic Coral Gables Country Club, Liberty Caffe serves freshly baked pastries, crisp salads, and local Florida orange juice. Behind a lit glass case stuffed with crisp salads and buttery croissants, baristas pour foamy cappuccinos at the coffee bar and scoop cups of house-made gelato made from traditional Italian recipes and garnished with fresh strawberries and hazelnuts. Diners can slide into tables facing a row of open, arched windows overlooking the country club's manicured landscape of green grass, swaying palm trees, and fist-shaking groundskeepers.
The coaches at Athletes Edge are dedicated to creating top-performing sportsmen and women. Just ask former UFC light-heavyweight champion "Suga" Rashad Evans, who benefitted from the company's rigorous mixed-martial-arts training program. They also help college prospects prepare for the NFL combine, and specialize in sports ranging from baseball, basketball, and soccer, to volleyball and tennis. The crew focuses on enhancing each adult’s or child's capacity for speed, agility, strength, and overall performance in a fun, sports-oriented environment. The classes are designed for all types of people with varying fitness goals.
Director of training Jeff Sanders, a certified strength-and-conditioning and performance-enhancement specialist, worked with several influential NFL coaches when he trained the Baltimore Ravens beginning in 2001. Sanders also gained clinical-rehabilitation and gait-training experience while working in the inpatient post-op division of Shands hospital. He and his team train athletes in the brand-new, 62,000-square-foot Fernandez Family Center and the two adjacent football and soccer fields on the Saint Thomas University campus in North Miami.