With a baseball training academy led by MLB player Jack Cust and a softball training center led by Olympian Jennie Finch, Diamond Nation hosts a staff of professional players and coaches who cull their collective NCAA, MLB, and Olympic experience to refine the hitting, pitching, and fielding skills of burgeoning legends. The Jack Cust Baseball Academy and Jennie Finch Softball Academy share a well-equipped space and employ staffers who personalize player instruction.
Adrenaline-pumping fitness and thrilling combat come together in Rising Star Fencing Academy's classes. The United States Fencing Association-member studio's lessons are suited to children as young as 6, and every level teaches creative strategy as it hones stamina, agility, and mental discipline. On a long, rectangular dueling area, coaches and students practice the complex foot- and hand-work for all three fencing styles?foil, sabre, and epee?all using the traditional scoring system. This intensive training is possible, in part, because of the academy's rigorous adherence to safety standards: all students are outfitted with a steel mesh mask and clothed in standard-issue force fields.
The Baseball Center NYC, Manhattan’s only full-service indoor baseball facility, supplies youth, teenage, and adult baseball and softball players with access to 15,000 square feet of batting cages, pitching simulators, and fielding areas. During a private lesson, professionals instruct athletes on how to strengthen hitting, pitching, catching, fielding, and flying techniques.
The family-run Astoria Sports Complex offers batting cages and indoor soccer, and has one of the largest fitness centers around. The facility got its start more than 30 years ago, when owner Steve Poliseno converted an abandoned ice house, purchased at auction, into the gigantic sports complex it is today. The most recent addition to the facility is a gigantic, Olympic-sized swimming pool, where kids can take lessons and prepare to be the Model U.N. delegate from Atlantis.
Rain delays and snow-outs are never an issue within Hudson Baseball Center, where instructors lead baseball and softball lessons atop the indoor facility's evergreen turf. Working in individual practice lanes or in group clinics, players focus on improving distinct aspects of their game, including hitting, pitching, and fielding. Regardless of the specialty involved, every lesson places particular emphasis on critical thinking and physical discipline, valuable skills for both playing baseball and wrestling other jury members to settle an impasse. Comprised of former high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, the faculty includes the likes of a Class-A pitcher for the Reds, a high-school All-American with 14 years of coaching experience, and a softball player who spent 13 years with the Hoboken Shockers' traveling team.
S3 Leagues scoops up locals and arranges them into kickball, softball, and bowling teams according to their age and neighborhood, giving them the opportunity to enjoy team sports while meeting new people. In the summer 2010 season alone, more than 4,000 players took to the fields at McCarren Park for competitive kickball and softball competition followed by friendly postgame carousing at a nearby bar. After each game, teams receive two complimentary pitchers of beer to facilitate boisterous discussions about how many ounces are in a liter. This postgame partying perpetuates team solidarity, as does wearing matching team shirts, cashing in on food and drink specials together, and mingling at the end-of-season party.