Some swim coaches can only tout their credentials and experiences, but director Susie Collins can prove the results of her labor. One of her pupils is working toward swimming in the Olympics, and a thrilled parent recently praised her ease and dedication in teaching their special-needs son how to swim. All the academy's instructors receive training in water safety, stroke curriculum, and child development directly from Collins, who also teaches games and techniques to motivate even the most stubborn inflatable alligator. Students learn at their own pace, following Collins's stage-by-stage method that leads toward individual swimming goals, whether students want to compete professionally or use their butterfly stroke to blend in at the local dolphin tank.
There aren't too many places that kids, teens, adults, and seniors can all enjoy equally. Among that small number, though, is Quillian Recreation Center, which has hosted all-ages recreational activities since 1958?the same year the U.S. declared hobbies legal. Anchored by a caring staff, the facility's features include two lighted softball fields, fitness trails, soccer fields, and an aquatic venue with a diving board and slides. And that's just outside; inside, Quillian boasts a gymnasium, a game room, and even a climbing wall. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the facility year-round, though the center does offer special summer programs and summer camps for kids and teens.
In 1993, Calvin Murphy, former guard for the Houston Rockets, overcame all odds to became the shortest NBA player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Today he demonstrates his renowned defensive moves and free-throw shooting skills as the owner and instructor at Planet Hoops, a training facility dedicated to youth basketball. Girls and boys of all skill levels can master the fundamentals at the center?s basketball school, and the 4-week itty bitty basketball program accommodates 3-4 years olds with lowered basketball hoops and color commentary from Big Bird. Planet Hoops also hosts camps and clinics thoughout the year, and offers private lessons for individuals and small groups.
At New ADDition Childcare, daycare takes on an entirely new meaning. As opposed to a place for glorified babysitting, New ADDition keeps kids engaged, active, and learning with afterschool activities and summer programs that, in addition to structured playtime, include tutoring and homework help, hip-hop classes, and even Zumba.
It’s safe to say Catherine Fox knows her way around a pool. She won an Olympic gold medal for her ability to find her way from end to end. Partnering with Swim Jim owner Jim Spiers, a trainer for 2012 Olympics Bronze medalist Lia Neal, the pair transformed their expertise into a curriculum that helps others learn to love the water as they do. The resulting program, titled the Underwater Schoolhouse, forms the cornerstone of every class held at SwimJim.
Teachers take on students of all ages, focusing first on helping to cure land dwellers’ inherent nervousness around water. To do this, they use a combination of encouragement and humor, never pushing a student further than they’re willing to go. Once students take the plunge, the coaches focus on teaching the mechanics of a variety of strokes, such as how to kick during breaststroke or how to emerge gracefully from the chrysalis before butterfly stroke.
Memorial City Mall’s chirping cash registers and department-store scanners give way to the scraping of blades against ice inside Ice Skate USA. There, a full-sized rink large enough to host official IHL and NHL games reinvigorates bodies worn from shopping by imparting the freedom and fun of uninhibited speed during open-skate sessions. The rink also keeps a squad of instructors on hand who host hockey academies to sharpen everything from basic skating skills to puck control to discerning between team mascots and roving packs of wolves. Additionally, Ice Skate USA also works to expand the community’s appreciation for ice-bound culture during scheduled events such as The Nutcracker on Ice, with try-outs for the production encouraged for all students, and open to skaters of any skill and age.