Brothers Ben and Jon Campopiano didn't start their careers by just appearing out of a cornfield like Shoeless Joe Jackson does in every sports movie. Both Ben and Jon coached baseball at Northgate High School, where they led teams into the post-season and helped youth athletes hone their skills. Today, Ben works as the Director of Baseball Operations at Santa Clara University, and Jon serves as Northgate High School's Vice Principal. At Bronco Baseball Academy, they distill their years of expertise into weeklong camps for players aged 5?12 years. Along with their fellow baseball instructors, the brothers Campopiano lead drills and games that focus on all aspects of the game: throwing, catching, hitting, base running, and everything in between. They also work alongside a certified athletic trainer, who ensures players stay safe and healthy throughout each day of training.
East Bay Youth Sports' year-round youth football programs strive to build kids' character as well as their passing skills. Kids as young as 4 get their start in the non-competitive, co-ed NFL flag football league, whose high-scoring but contact-free games teach values like teamwork, self-confidence, and sportsmanship. The contact flag-football league takes the game's physicality up a notch, while the tackle football league pits kids in full pads and helmets against others of similar weight, age, and experience. Relaxed, family-friendly schedules help keep practices fun and casual at all levels.
In the summer months, East Bay Youth Sports hosts Bay Area Adventure Camp, where kids aged 5 through 14 enjoy a wide range of activities under the supervision of experienced staff. The younger ones are matched with those leaders in a ratio of four to one, so they're never far from helpful supervision, whether they're playing soccer or learning to skateboard or ride a horse. The camp is partnered with a variety of other companies, which lets them arrange amusement park trips, archery, indoor skydiving, and other activities that require a lot of equipment or any number of roller coasters.
The two soccer fields and batting cages housed inside the San Ramon Sports complex grant athletes of all ages ample space to take kicks and whacks at their sphere of choice. The state-of-the-art turf fields host year-round soccer and lacrosse leagues for adults and juniors. The Lil' Kickers soccer program for kids 18 months to 9 years old introduces tykes to the sport, while 5- to 12-year-olds sharpen skills in Skills Institute classes. The batting cages hurl both softball lobs and baseballs at 35?80 miles per hour, allowing batters ample space to practice firing off line drives or psychically altering pitch trajectory. Camps and birthday parties are available.
The crack of the bat is an exhilarating sound, whether or not the batter is about to run the bases. At Triple Play U.S.A., players can hone their skills in cages that hurl baseballs or softballs at 25–80 miles per hour with more precision than a propped-up leaf-blower. Pitchers can also keep their arms conditioned in the center's pitching tunnel, but they’ll probably have to change up their throwing pattern on the center’s half-basketball court. While resting their arms, patrons can find snacks at the concession stand or catch up on the latest scores on one of two HDTVs.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Unfortunately, when it comes to getting fit, hard work is not enough. To reach their fitness goals, athletes need to know what kind of workouts will help them shed pounds or build up the bulky muscles needed to fill out a gorilla suit. Knowing this, Velocity Sports Performance’s crew of certified trainers leads clients through personalized workouts inside a sprawling 18,000 square-foot facility. There, they show guests how to master balance boards, power lift, and perform parachute sprints on Astroturf, depending on their agenda. Athletes with similar ambitions can be taught in group sessions including speed camp for kids aged 9–18, boot camp classes just for the ladies, and workouts designed for pros such as Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller.