Founded by NFL veteran Don Beebe and athletic expert Dr. Jeffrey Schutt, House of Speed forges sportspeople of all stripes into world-class athletes with specialized equipment and personalized performance tracking. Once Steve Halloran and his crew arrange sweat donors into small groups of 5–25 (with at least one trainer for every 10–15 athletes), he targets a slew of individual body areas with an optimized warm-up. The PowerPull resistance machine teaches nimble feet to run with correct form and mechanics and the Bear squat machine's angled footplate takes stress off of the back and knees and boosts vertical propulsion for more satisfying high-fives with blimp pilots. Dartfish instant video feedback lets trainees review every juke, jump, and follow-through. House of Speed's proprietary MySpeed web application tracks progress using comprehensive data from eight core drills, allowing participants to compare their stats with those of nationwide competitors.
Since opening in 1998, House of Speed locations have trained more than 40,000 athletes, including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and former Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner. The Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams, and the University of Illinois have also used House of Speed's off-season training programs to keep players out of summer bicycle gangs and seedy all-night fireplace stores.
Steel City Airsoft's safety-conscious staff hosts adrenaline-pumping showdowns for recreational warriors as well as for law enforcement or military groups looking to train in a close-quarters, indoor environment. A modular building design allows staffers to reorient the walls, hallways, and doorways that honeycomb the 30,000-square-foot facility, ensuring unpredictable, action-packed bouts amid a hail of whistling pellets. With an emphasis on responsible play, the staff members steadfastly enforce the facility's rules and advise patrons either to wear clothing that covers any bare skin or to don their family's coat of arms. Steel City Airsoft is open on Fridays from 5 p.m.–midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m.
Securely fastened into a tandem-parachute system, an instructor and a pupil tumble from a Skylane Cessna 182, a floating sensation running through their bodies for the 45- to 60-second plummet. Back on solid ground, a 25-acre drop zone reunites divers post-free-fall, and in the distance, Skydive Pennsylvania's pilots shuttle other divers skyward in a fleet of aircrafts that includes a King Air, which can ascend 13,500 feet in 15 minutes. The on-ground personnel photograph all tandem and instruction-assisted-free-fall dives, converting their footage into professionally edited DVDs of stills and screensavers for skydiving-prone laptops.
HappyFeet founder Andy Barney boasts a lengthy resumé: the Oxford, England, native was a semipro soccer player by the age of 16, studied physical education in college, and coached youth soccer for 10 years before moving to the U.S. In America, he coached at Avila University and wrote the book Training Soccer Legends, but one day he found his extensive experience challenged by an unlikely group—preschoolers. He had agreed to spend what he thought would be an easy afternoon leading tots in a soccer workshop, only to end up exhausted yet inspired to design a curriculum specifically for younger kids.
His research eventually led to HappyFeet, where instructors play with kids aged 2–6 using a proprietary lesson plan the company dubbed “story time with a soccer ball.” Each kid receives a ball, and beyond practicing basic skills such as dribbling, striking, and autograph signing in a noncompetitive setting, the incorporation of stories, nursery rhymes, and songs enables kids to exercise both physical and mental faculties. The 45-minute indoor classes, which were reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune, are held onsite at preschools and sports facilities such as PISA. Little ones can also be enrolled in HappyFeet’s leagues, where a 15- to 20-minute mini class precedes a 30-minute game.
Making their first foray onto the indoor gridiron this season, AFL newbies the Pittsburgh Power begin the year by taking on sure-to-be-cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Soul in a game of fast-paced, potentially high-scoring arena action that pigskin fans inherently crave. Head coach Chris Siegfried has assembled a team led by quarterback Bernard Morris, who leads his associates using rushing and passing skills honed from a previous stint with the Jacksonville Sharks and an internship with the maitre d' of a busy restaurant. The Power's dance team, The Sparks, entertains the crowd between plays. All the action takes place at the newly built Consol Energy Center, which also serves as home to the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins and a hangar for invisible dirigibles.
At Lakevue Athletic Club, a staff of seasoned competitors breeds a love of fitness through tennis, group exercise classes, and personal training. Atop eight indoor courts and three outdoor courts, a fleet of tennis pros enacts lessons anchored in players' strengths. They specialize in QuickStart tennis, a recently minted method of play that emphasizes building the skills and confidence of child athletes without serving them trophy-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Within the walls of an 11,000-square-foot fitness center, personal trainer Kyle Waters shepherds clients through two downstairs cardio rooms with Star Trac treadmills and several weight rooms loaded with Cybex Eagle and Hammer Strength machines. Inside two studios upstairs, health gurus conduct classes in everything from yoga to step aerobics to kickboxing.