At K2 Academy of Kids Sports, kids scurry around a 6,500-square-foot space filled with trampolines, balance beams, and rope swings spread beneath an overhead zipline. Accompanied by parents or legal-guardians, children can roam free across the indoor terrain during open-play hours or join gymnastics, cheerleading, and tumbling classes, in which instructors tailor lesson plans to each age group with an emphasis on fun, collaborative learning. Gymnastics sessions encompass everything from basic rolls to intricate dance routines, whereas cheerleading skills progress from simple tumbles to the ultimate inspirational challenge—making Eeyore indifferent. Tumbling pupils master cartwheels before tackling cardio training and jumps, further honing their skills in workshops and clinics designed as intensive studies of each activity.
During the off-season, day camps and summer camps keep teensy feet distracted from toppling store-window displays of fragile "Kick Me" signs. Year-round, the S.O.A.R. program tweaks the traditional gamut of classes for athletes with special needs. Using the Mother Goose Time curriculum, K2's preschool focuses on hands-on learning activities that aim to prepare children for kindergarten academically and socially.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
The veteran submerged seafarers at Sea Sports Scuba can instruct any landlubber on the basics of underwater breathing in a safe, welcoming environment. At each lesson, a wise, PADI-certified instructor will dish the fundamental tenets of the dive and marine astronomy. Students will dive into the provided gear and equipment before diving into a heated indoor pool for practice. In one 60- to 120-minute session, submariners will be primed to move on to more-advanced sunken adventures and confidently curse humanoid ancestors for voting to phase out gills.
Maximum Athletic Center's dedicated and experienced gymnastics instructors lead burgeoning tumblers ages 18 months through 18 years through routines that build strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance in a safe and supportive environment. Fledgling athletes of all levels cultivate skills and tumbleweed-stunt-double experience during one-hour classes once a week. Preschoolers engage in a meet-and-greet with the trampoline, the balance beam, the bars, and the matted floor, developing motor skills and self-confidence, and all ages discover buoyancy in trampoline classes as they bound across safe, in-ground trampolines. Girls and boys ages 5 and older can learn non-competitive gymnastics skills during developmental gymnastics classes, and those six and older can handspring into tumbling classes to learn how to safely flip across the mats and inconspicuously roll out of uncomfortable conversations. Check each location's website for class schedules.
The footwear aficionados at Fleet Feet Houston's four locations outfit runners, walkers, and other exercisers with the proper kicks according to specific gaits and foot biomechanics. Paired with a knowledgeable clerk, customers select sneakers from an inventory of shoes tailored to male or female arches better than pumice stones shaped like respective gender symbols. Masculine triathletes don the colorful Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 6, a racing flat that shirks socks in lieu of breathable open mesh and a perforated sock liner. Lady joggers experience the freedom of barefoot frolicking with lightweight Vibram FiveFingers Jaya shoes, snugly fitted sneakers that promote balance and maintain biannual pedicures by sequestering toes in separate sections.
Gander Mountain Academy's simulators render virtual targets at varying distances and with real-world precision, including accurate bullet holes. The simulators' technology delivers an array of training benefits, such as making the experience less intimidating for novices and letting advanced students choose more sophisticated target scenarios. Gander Mountain's ownership developed this training technology upon recognizing that with over 130 stores, it was among the nation's largest retailer of firearms. This led to Gander Mountain Academy, a place where technology meets elite-training resources previously available only to the military and law enforcement.