When he isn't coaching the Riverbank Nationals youth squad, Corey Stigar is best known as the "Hitting Doctor." It's a moniker he's earned by taking awkward, off-balance baseball swings and turning them into powerful cuts that propel his players to the next level. Of course, the game isn't just about hitting lots of home runs, and neither is Corey's instruction. Through clinics and one-on-one lessons, he also teaches players how to field, run the bases, and avoid the kiss cam.
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.
World Events teaches the fundamentals of baseball, flag football, basketball, and other sports to children ages 4–17 with its series of NFL-, MLB-, NBA- and WNBA-affiliated clinics, leagues, and camps. The noncompetitive Rookie League baseball league teaches children how to catch, throw, zip between bases, hit pitches from a strike-throwing machine, stand in the most flattering light for baseball-card photos, and more, and younger players can practice the same skills in T-ball lessons. Flag football and basketball leagues for boys and girls focus on speed, agility, and strategy, with occasional dodgeball sessions and punting or shooting competitions. Each flag football, basketball, and baseball team plays six to eight regular-season games (starting at $65/team membership). Students spend full days training in baseball, football, basketball, and more ($140/week) during the one-week summertime camps. World Events also proffers dance classes ($45/month) and martial-arts instruction for kids tired of hearing their dad follow them around acting as a sports announcer (starting at $45/month).
The Stockton Ports, a class-A minor-league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, slug spheres and cater to the cheers of hometown spectators at the storied [Banner Island Ballpark]. MVP seats afford a player’s-eye view of the base-spangled diamond from box seats directly behind home plate and extending toward both team benches. Ballgame enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the game while following the emerging talent of future big-league stars—the team’s 70-year history has witnessed the launch of numerous major-league careers, such as those of Ben Sheets, Trevor Cahill, and Stomper the elephant.
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.
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.