Seven days a week, crowds gather at Batter up & Bethpage Mini Golf to sink winding putts and take mighty cuts, thanks to a 18-hole mini-golf course and a row of baseball and softball batting cages. The cages are open for solo swingers, but whole teams are also welcome to reserve several pitching machines at once to practice syncing their swings for the seventh-inning stretch's big dance number. Team training is also available through the Batter Up Academy, which seeks to kick-start diamond dynasties via lessons in hitting, pitching, and catching. Next to the cages, a mini-golf course winds along a verdant landscape decorated with shrubs and flowers.
Gleaning attention from media outlets such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN Radio, and the Washington Post, not to mention endorsements from major-league players such as Mariano Rivera, Manny Ramirez, and Mike Bordick, Frozen Ropes has gained a nationwide reputation thanks largely to its unique training model. Coaches from all baseball and softball backgrounds integrate instructional elements ranging from basic strength conditioning to biomechanics and sports psychology, helping students build their skills the same way dentists do—through a scientific approach to relentless drilling. Since 1989, the program has been used to help novices and professional-level players produce more of the company's namesake, the “frozen rope”—slang for a hard-hit line drive or a strong throw. At each of the company's nationwide facilities, instructors must complete Frozen Ropes' comprehensive curriculum—including hours of classroom instruction, shadowing, and mock lessons—before they can even begin teaching students the proper way to eat sunflower seeds.
Amid its 25,000 square feet of climate-controlled indoor turf, Long Island Sports Complex treats up to 15 birthday celebrants to one hour of motion-based merriment, followed by a half-hour of pizza, cake, drinks, and party goods. The facility takes care of all the food, decorations and invitations, so parents can spend more time knitting the perfect birthday gift or reanimating it during an electrical storm. Sports-party revelers get to release excess energy with their choice of soccer, baseball, softball, football, or lacrosse without the outdoor inconveniences of grass stains or slingshotted acorns from territorial squirrels. Two to four sport-savvy supervisors will be on hand to make sure that everyone has a safe time.
Prospect Sports lacks the elements every baseball player dreams of—the smell of freshly mowed grass beneath their cleats, half-eaten pretzels hurling over their heads, rows of seats that seem to never stop climbing into the sky. But that's because the facility intentionally eschews such romantic distractions in order to foster an ideal training environment, which in turn fosters better athletes. Amid a top-notch synthetic turf that plays like real grass and an adjustable netting system that snakes across 25,000 square feet of space, players hone their skills through performance training, video analysis, and private lessons that focus on specific aspects of sports including baseball and softball. The center also offers a "Build-a-Player" program, which integrates skill and performance training into one program to develop well-rounded athletes that can handle the pro leagues' 400-pound baseballs made of solid gold.
Lil Athletes Sports' coaches introduce children ages three to five to activities and social interaction through fun, structured games. Children ages 20 months to five team up with similarly aged kids and experienced coaches to focus on the basics of soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and baseball. As kids become acquainted with their preferred game, they can try their hand at more complex maneuvers and team play, leading up to a real game against their fellow competitors. Not only does this approach ensure children have a firm grasp on how to play the game, it also fosters relationships with those around them and inspires them to continue playing sports as they grow. Sports trainers also host birthday parties that put the guest of honor in the spotlight while giving all guests opportunities to play in structured games.
The field at TM Baseball & Softball Academy extends both inside and outside letting players play during warm weather, cold weather, or nonexistent indoor snowstorms. During daily training sessions, the TM Baseball & Softball Academy coaching staff helps high school and college-level players–as well as children as young as 3 years old–hone their hitting, defense, and fielding abilities. They also infuse sessions with strength, conditioning, and agility exercises so that players can field line drives and beat mascots during 7th inning dizzy-bat races.