Adrenaline-pumping fitness and thrilling combat come together in Rising Star Fencing Academy's classes. The United States Fencing Association-member studio's lessons are suited to children as young as 6, and every level teaches creative strategy as it hones stamina, agility, and mental discipline. On a long, rectangular dueling area, coaches and students practice the complex foot- and hand-work for all three fencing styles?foil, sabre, and epee?all using the traditional scoring system. This intensive training is possible, in part, because of the academy's rigorous adherence to safety standards: all students are outfitted with a steel mesh mask and clothed in standard-issue force fields.
With a baseball training academy led by MLB player Jack Cust and a softball training center led by Olympian Jennie Finch, Diamond Nation hosts a staff of professional players and coaches who cull their collective NCAA, MLB, and Olympic experience to refine the hitting, pitching, and fielding skills of burgeoning legends. The Jack Cust Baseball Academy and Jennie Finch Softball Academy share a well-equipped space and employ staffers who personalize player instruction.
In sports parlance, being "in the zone" means, of course, to achieve a state of heightened, virtually unconscious performance excellence for a sustained period of time. It's not an easy thing to achieve?there are no road maps and it can't be summoned by superstition?but the staff of high school coaches and former college standouts at In The Zone Baseball & Softball Academy knows something about being there. Mostly it takes loads of practice on every aspect of the game, including the obvious ones, such as hitting and pitching, as well as the subtler skills of strategy and furtively stealing bases by first becoming camouflaged in dirt. Instruction is dispensed through lessons and clinics held inside the academy's 8,000-square-foot facility, which includes six batting cages, two pitching lanes, and a fully turfed general use area.
In the open countryside of the town of Sparta stands a red-brick, 17,000-square-foot training facility. Inside are not the Greek warriors of legend but the sporting heroes of tomorrow, still growing into their uniforms. At DreamField Sports, developing athletes train year-round to unveil their inner champion. The facility houses a spacious, brightly lit indoor field that allows for air-conditioned versions of outdoor sports, including football, baseball, softball, and soccer. The enormous field also divides via retractable curtains or is lifted by a troop of dislocated circus strongmen to reveal polished hardwood basketball and volleyball courts. Away from the courts, waiting areas with flat-screen televisions let parents catch up on the local news when they're not looking in on the training sessions through large windows. Each session is led by a group of experienced coaches, many of whom lived former lives as professional athletes and some of whom train current professional and Olympic athletes. Not only do these gurus provide technical instruction, they also encourage positive attitudes and fair sportsmanship and instill the confidence necessary to enter the Indy 500 on roller skates.
Within the 5,000-square-foot Ballplayer’s Edge facility, baseball and softball players train to swing the bat faster, throw the ball harder, and play the game better. The facility’s crack team of coaches—led by Joel Burgos, hitting coach for Rutgers University-Newark—improve strength, agility, and instincts with training tools that include four adult-size batting cages and the ProBatter PX2 hitting simulator. The simulator immerses players in game-like situations, complete with virtual pitchers delivering strikes from either the windup or the stretch. Meanwhile, RightView Pro video analysis captures each home-run cut, shown bunt, and taunt lobbed at the computerized player, allowing for side-by-side comparison with major-league swings.
The certified trainers and coaches at Williams Sport Training, LLC work with clients at every fitness level to help them increase endurance and build strength for everyday life. Williams Sport Training offers a turf floor, state-of-the-art weight equipment, and a large, 2,400-foot training area.