Helping youngsters succeed in gymnastics comes as second nature for husband-and-wife coaching duo Rosen Manolov and Neli Manolova, whose own daughters, Rali and Iva, grew up practicing gymnastics under their direction and now lead classes at The U.S. Gymnastics Academy. Rosen?s stint as the men?s gymnastics coach for Bulgaria at the Sidney Olympics and Neli?s years of competing internationally are experiences they call upon while guiding aspiring gymnasts toward their personal goals, whether they be to join an Olympic team or to dramatically end conversations with back handsprings.
The U.S. Gymnastics Academy?s sprawling 13,000-square-foot facility provides enough elbow room for fledging flippers to flourish, and its in-ground trampolines, foam pits, and high-quality equipment ensure a safe and fruitful learning environment. The world-class coaches also host various fun and creative summer camps, where kids tumble, draw, and learn to build campfires by high-kicking kindling in rapid succession.
Nowadays, the term “martial arts” conjures up images of flashy Hollywood kicks, championship trophies, and prismatic collections of ranked belts. Many often forget, however, that the martial arts are tools for self-defense. The instructors at McKenzie Martial Arts eschew the glamour and instead focus on teaching students how to protect themselves, encouraging participation from the entire family. They lead kids, teens, and adults through a range of disciplines, including Bruce Lee’s street-level jeet kune do, Gracie jujitsu, and weapon-centric Filipino kali and escrima. During each lesson, they’ll equip students with gloves and padded weapons and let them put their newfound skills to use in a ring or mat-covered training room. Family members, meanwhile, can watch their kin square off by meditating to the point of omnipresence or simply nabbing a spot in the comfortable viewing area.
The expert staff at Coaches’ Athletic enriches the batting and catching skills of beginner and advanced ballplayers alike with team, group, and private lessons. Loaded with baseballs and softballs by coaches or parents, self-feed machines launch slow and fast pitches at guests practicing their swing in the indoor hitting cages. The remainder of the turfed indoor facility accommodates drills and scrimmages, and the instant feedback of ProMirror video-analysis training lets visitors pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses after each play. Once practice is over, patrons can load up on athletic gear such as masks, mitts, and instructional videos on training zebras as referees.
The City of Eugene Recreation Services' dedicated staffers encourage locals to build strong relationships and muscles through diverse recreation programs offered year-round. They organize and lead snowboarding and kayaking programs for outdoor adventure-seekers, helm dance classes, and operate fitness facilities to provide indoor retreats for youth and families'. At Echo Hollow and Sheldon, staffers slip into indoor pools to lead aquatic fitness classes, or stay out of the water to monitor lap swims. In warmer months, the Amazon outdoor water arena allows swimmers to shoot down water slides at speeds faster than comets sprinkled with coffee. Aiming to make activities enjoyable to all partakers, the City of Eugene Recreation Services provides a bevy of adaptive recreation services for participants with disabilities as well as a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
At Family Karate Center, fifth-degree black belt sensei Elida Wagner employs her three decades of martial-arts experience to teach the self-defense skills, sportsmanship, and discipline inherent in karate. In her 26 years as an instructor, she has coached many students to victory in national and international competitions. But her dojo also welcomes novices of all ages, offering youth karate classes for practitioners as young as 3.
Great Grand Master Lee is a former U.S. Olympic trial tae kwon do judge and trainer. He's also spent time as a Korean Secret Service agent and a hand-to-hand-combat instructor in the Korean army. Armed with five decades of experience, Master Lee teaches classes for all types of students with all types of goals. Whether it's an Olympic-style tournament class or a fitness-focused lesson, Master Lee's curricula blend mental positivity and with self-discipline and perseverance. Children, senior citizens, and people of all ages in between are welcome on the mat.