At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
At Baseball USA, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, baseball isn't just a game; it's also a way to give back and teach kids about teamwork and discipline. So it's a good thing the center's more than 12 instructors are so thorough, covering everything from base running to outfield defense at their manicured 35-acre complex, which includes a 40,000-square-foot indoor facility and 16 batting tunnels. This comprehensive preparation pays off when players take to one of the center's 11 fields, each of which is available for rental by teams or individuals for practice or as part of a tournament. Visitors can also hit up the pro shop or practice on their own by stepping into the batting cages, where they refine their swings by smacking the baseballs and softballs machines fire at them.
Inside Texas Rock Gym, over 14,000 square feet of climbable surface wait to be gripped and clambered over by novice and expert climbers, who navigate routes that are regularly altered to keep things fresh. The gym’s mandatory orientation ensures that each visitor observes proper safety measures during their climb. Following orientation, climbers can strap themselves to a harness at one of more than 40 rope stations and begin top-rope climbing up lofty heights, while more advanced climbers lead trips up over complex courses or the stone faces of former presidents. Climbers can also skip the harnesses altogether and try their hand at bouldering across height-restricted surfaces, or head to one of the gym’s Tai Chi or Yoga classes.
D-BAT West Houston isolates individual baseball and softball skills to help players improve their performances on the diamond. Inside the 17,000-square-foot facility, players can practice fielding techniques on artificial turf and perfect their swings in batting cages for baseball and fast- and slow-pitch softball. A staff of former college players is also on hand to provide advice during lessons as well as camps and clinics, which are held throughout the year.
Trainer and fitness guru Justin Bradshaw modeled SGT. H20's CombatSwim after the rigorous training he received as an Army diver. His challenging exercises encourage full-body fitness, using workouts that build stamina, boost metabolism, improve swimming skills, and promote weight loss. Incorporating the best of land-based cross-training systems, CombatSwim includes plenty of high-intensity interval training and pulse-hiking calisthenics. In the pool, water adds extra resistance that amplifies the effects of the exercises, which include swimming sprints, endurance swimming, and treading water with weights. Designed to sharpen the mind as well as the body, CombatSwim leaves exercisers with the same confidence and conditioning as some of the world's elite military warriors.
During the two-hour sessions, participants will learn how to parry common strikes, slip out of grabs and holds, disable attackers, and cause confusion with Jedi mind tricks. Student defenders will also acquire tactics on escaping an over-sized attacker and how to defend against weapons. Class leader and multiple black belt Tim Mousel has been training people in martial arts since 1980, the year he invented martial arts. He leads group courses in the afternoon and evening most every Sunday in and around the Houston area. Check out a schedule of upcoming classes here. This class makes a priceless gift for a wife, friend, or sister akin to the passing of the family-heirloom mace.